By observing over 10,000 infants and children, Gesell concluded that all children go through predictable stages of development, but the timing (starting points and length) are specific to each child. The stages are composed of periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium. As you may imagine, the periods of disequilibrium can be tough on the child. Rapid growth and development can lead to issues with eating, sleeping, and behavior. Consequently, these times can also be rough on parents. And guess what Gesell's first period of disequilibrium is? 18 months!
As you can see in the diagram below, Gesell's stages of development progress in a spiral pattern- the periods of disequilibrium happening around the half-year and the periods of equilibrium occurring at the year mark.
|Photo credit: centerforparentingeducation.org|
- Difficult, impatient (occasionally)
- Frustrated when she can't communicate, cries or tantrums when not understood (I can see the frustration, but luckily we don't have too many tantrums.)
- Can't make body do what she wants (I really haven't observed this.)
- Can't do what she is asked, if she doesn't want to do it (Hmm....this is an interesting idea. I've always thought of reluctance to do something you don't want to do as a choice. I certainly see that she is starting to exert her opinions about what we do and don't do.)
Halverson, L.& Guddemi, M. (2008). Stages of development: Ages 2 to 7. Retrieved from http://www.gesellinstitute.org/pdf/AgesAndStagesHandout.pdf
Understanding your child: A development point of view. (n.d.) The Gesell Institute. Retrieved from http://www.gesellinstitute.org/pdf/DevelopmentalPOV.pdf