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Is my child ok?

Yes, this is the question that plagues all parents at some time or other. Am I doing what my child needs? Are they developing as expected for their age? Is my child doing ok?

As a doctor, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and anthropologist I explore this question with parents in my clinic every week from many perspectives:

What are your expectations and assumptions based on- are you comparing your son or daughter to their siblings, cousins or peers at school?

Are you remembering what you were like at their age? Do you secretly wish they were more (or less) like you?

Are you dealing with the competing voices in your head (or indeed your experience or perception of your parents or friends' opinions), and imagining "they must think my child is not doing well enough at this..." or "surely he or she ought to be able to do that by now..."

OR, (with my anthropology hat on), are you struggling with the powerful cultural norms within which we live? We live in a complex society which profoundly influences our viewpoint.


More often than not, the children I meet in my clinic are delightfully "ok"- in fact they are blossoming and developing in their own time and their own unique way. Being curious about what the child in front of us is actually like, celebrating their way of BEING, with perhaps less thinking about their DOING, makes life happier for all of us parents. Accepting our children enables them to grow confidently into who they are.

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