Cognitive Delay

apronsMy mother was quick to anger.  She had very little patience with me and I was all thumbs and left feet. I have a salient memory of needing to make an apron from a paper pattern (which was child abuse, if you ask me) at home for Home Ec.  My mother was an excellent seamstress and while I struggled with something bunchy under the tines of the sewing machine foot, she snapped, “Let me do it.”  In two seconds I was standing aside watching while she silently and effortlessly finished the whole thing. I will never forget that. The things I learned were this:

I was too stupid to live.
My mother was all powerful, all knowing, bigger than life, and scary.
I was useless, inadequate and not worth teaching.
I disgusted her and she didn’t like me very much.
I was afraid of her and I didn’t like her that much either.
Of-course, I never learned to sew because I never tried to do it again.
Children from difficult beginnings often have cognitive delays in their executive function: working memory, attention, self-checking, cause and effect thinking and planning and time concepts.


Be thoughtful about what you are teaching your child, when you are quick to anger when they cannot easily do a task YOU think should be a piece of cake.  Children, teens, adults from hard places are managing their brain functions all the time and they sometimes cannot easily access parts of the brain that would help them make good decisions, listen to an entire sentence, remember how to do something that they do all the time, check for their own mistakes, know that breaking the rules will beget some kind of consequence, and figure out when it is time to stop playing and start their chores.
Love Matters,
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Ce Eshelman, LMFT 



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