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The Skills Stage
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SKILLS AND STRUCTURE (Visited the first time round between 6-12yrs)

This developmental stage is characterised by a hunger for excitement .The child is beginning to really get to grips with acquiring the skills necessary to get on with others. She also needs to develop an internal structure that will support her as she moves out into the wider world.

She will be exploring how to deal with differences with others (‘You’re friends with Lisa and I don’t like her so we can’t be friends anymore’). She will also be needing to make sense of rules – hence challenges such as ‘All of my friends are allowed a mobile phone – so how come I’m not? It’s so unfair!’ The affirmations listed below will support her in getting the developmental tasks under her belt.

Too many restrictions and admonishments/a lack of the appropriate affirmations might lead her to become reluctant to attempt work and try new things as she internalises the message ‘Don’t make mistakes’.

Older children/young people who for example, are reticent to attempt work for fear of failure, or who have on-going difficulties in managing friendships, may well benefit from revisiting the Skills and Structure stage and’ hearing’ some of the associated affirmations.

 
Competitiveness, which will most probably have been around during earlier stages, can come to the fore. This helps the child to get to grips with the task "To test abilities against others".
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Developmental Task Affirmations for the Being Stage Helpful adult/carer behaviours Indicators of possible need to revisit this stage
  • To learn skills, from mistakes; to learn to be ‘good enough’
  • To test abilities against others
  • To identify with one’s own sex
  • To test ideas and values
  • To reason about wants and needs
  • To learn to listen in order to collect information and think
  • To practice thinking and doing
  • To check out family/school rules and structures
  • To learn the relevance of rules
  • To experience the consequences of breaking rules
  • To learn what’s one’s own responsibility and that of others
  • To disagree with others and still be wanted
  • To develop the capacity to cooperate
  • To develop internal controls
  • To know when to flee, to go with the flow and when to stand firm
  • Continue learning earlier tasks

  • You can learn from your mistakes
  • You can find ways of doing things that work for you
  • You can trust your intuition to help decide what you want to do
  • You can learn the rules that help you live with others
  • You can learn when and how to disagree
  • You can think for yourself and get help instead of staying in distress
  • We still want to be with you when we differ and we can learn together
  • You can think before you say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
  • To continue learning earlier tasks
  • Teach conflict resolution and problem-solving skills
  • Give lots of strokes for learning, thinking and finding out own way to do things
  • Encourage skills development
  • Be encouraging, enthusiastic, reliable and consistent
  • Respect child’s opinions and beliefs and allow discussion
  • Be clear that mistakes are part of learning
  • Challenge negative behaviour and confront discounting
  • Encourage participation in rule-making, and be clear about negotiable and non-negotiable rules
  • Behaviours related to a fear of failure – not attempting tasks for fear of failure; destroying work perceived to be imperfect; not attempting work
  • Difficulties with peers eg conflict
  • Debates about the fairness of rules
Need help understanding the table above
The developmental tasks are the jobs the child/young person needs to begin to get under their belt in order to optimise their growth. This is facilitated by the adults around him/her providing permissions via the affirmations. These tend to be communicated primarily non-verbally, examples of which are given in the ‘Helpful adult/carer behaviours’ column.

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