As children grow up, the world’s expectations of them seem to change at the speed of light. Schoolwork is suddenly more challenging. Sports that were fun become more competitive and physically demanding. Activities, games, and TV shows your child and her friends loved one day are considered “babyish” the next.

All kids struggle to navigate shifting social norms and expectations of parents or teachers, but when a child matures more slowly than her peers, the changes can leave her feeling left out, embarrassed or bewildered by the things her friends are doing. Luckily, as every formerly awkward adult knows, immaturity is usually temporary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for kids who are in the thick of it.

“In most cases, as kids grow up, things even out,” says Rachel Busman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “They’re going to catch up. But the process can be hard.” Our role as parents, she explains, is to reassure kids and give them the support and scaffolding they need to make it through.

This article in its etirety can be viewed on by clicking here. It was written by Rae Jacobson.