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Asynchronous development occurs when children develop “out of sync” or not at the same time.  For example, a six-year-old is supposed to look, think, and feel like a six-year-old.  A six-year-old’s development should look like this:

Physical Development – 6

Intellectual Ability – 6

Emotional Maturity – 6

But what happens when one of those developmental areas is advanced or delayed?  For example, what happens when a child is intellectually advanced?  Generally their development will look like this:

Physical Development – 6

Intellectually Ability – 9

Emotional Maturity – 4

Many of the kids I work with have this scenario.  They are in a six-year-old’s body, with the intellect of a nine-year-old and the emotional maturity of a four-year-old.  The body has a way of balancing itself out and when intellectual ability becomes advanced  one area will often become delayed,  that area being emotional maturity.

When this occurs, it’s important to do 2 things:

1.  Try to raise emotional maturity.  This can happen by having children begin acknowledging their own feelings.  There are a variety of feelings cards out there (I prefer Feeleez) that can be purchased and at your doorstep within a couple of days.  Modeling your own feelings is also helpful and can occur on a daily basis by saying things like, “I felt frustrated when that car pulled out in front of me.”  When you model appropriate emotions kids learn it’s okay to become frustrated and it’s okay to express it, as long as it’s in an appropriate manner.

2.  Keep things kid-friendly.  Just because your child can have an intellectual conversation about Omar Kadafi doesn’t mean you should have one.  Just because he wants to listen to NPR or watch CNN doesn’t mean you should let him.  Doing advanced math problems is fine but when it comes to exposure to world events and adult-level topics, keep things at your child’s physical developmental level.

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