Personally, when I think back upon my years in childhood, I am often surprised at the way I used to understand things. I distinctly remember telling a lie to my friend when I was younger, but not realizing the at the time that it was a lie at all. Only in retrospect did this puzzle me. Too often, it is easy to erroneously believe that children see the world the way that we do.
Make your own parenting and your children’s lives better by understanding their world through their eyes, not your own.
Use this handy guide to help you figure things out.
|Age||Stage Name||Cognitive Ability|
|0-2||Sensorimotor Stage||* No concept of time
* Understanding of the world based upon senses (no
* Touch, smell, sight, sound and taste incredibly
* Expose your infant to many different, healthy
* Cannot understand life from someone else’s point of view
* Can DO an action but cannot THINK the action through
(i.e., can crawl, but doesn’t understanding the different steps in order to
|* Begins to see the world through pictures in their mind
* Begins to see the world through words in their mind
* Can now THINK an action through (i.e., can imagine
sticks making a play-house and then use sticks to make a play-house)
* Have difficulty understanding difference between
imagination and reality (if they imagine a scary monster, that monster can be
as real as if it had walked through the door)
* CANNOT think logically
|* Can now think logically (i.e., If I push my brother
over, it will hurt him and he will be upset)
* Logic limited to what can be seen/done (i.e.,
understands pushing brother over, but can’t imagine the steps in an algebraic
* Able to classify objects (i.e., “This is BAD. Things
like this are BAD. This is GOOD. Things like this are all GOOD.)
* Understands some of others’ feelings
* Can see a little from another’s point of view
|12- Adulthood||Formal Operational
|* Can reason more abstractly
* Has stronger ability to understand another’s point of
* Does not need a picture/visual stimulus to understand
how something works (i.e., doesn’t necessarily need a diagram; can understand
description words on their own)
* Starts to envision “a perfect world” (i.e., can
Why is it important? If you, as a parent, understands where your child is coming from, you can better address their needs!
*If you try to tell a four-year-old a list of consequences for a specific action, they will not understand your logic. They’ll know you are upset, but not truly understand why
*When your child reaches 7 or 8, you know that they have a concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Because of that, you can ask them what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things are in their eyes, and be understanding, and not using some kind of punishment that they view as completely bad
*When your child is 13, you’ll know that “Don’t go there, it’s bad!” will not be nearly as effective as “If you go there, this is the consequence; in a perfect world, you don’t want that consequence, so stay away from there”
The more you can understand your child, the better mom/dad you can be! Think hard on how you discipline your child. You might be surprised that the kind of discipline you use might be way over (or under) your child’s understanding and be less effective.
As always, kids and teens are CRAZY! Best of luck to you as you figure out how to be the best mom/dad ever~!
*Stages based on Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
Tags: cognitive ability chart