An interesting concept in developmental psychology of which parents should be aware is the “goodness-of-fit” model. It indicates that an effective match between a child’s temperament and the practices of her parents prevents emotional distress and produces optimal mental health.
The fact is that not all children are alike. Some will scamper to the top of the monkey bars and be swinging from their ankles before you can blink. Others will approach the equipment slowly and cautiously. Well, all parents are not alike either. Some are very nervous and constantly worried their little one will get hurt. Others are sky-diving, bungee-jumping daredevils who are always determined to go for the gusto.
Now if you have a swinging from the ankles child with a nervous parent that obviously can be a problem. Similarly, if you have a cautious child with a daredevil parent that can be problematical too. But it is important to note that the goodness-of-fit model does not require a match between a child’s temperament and the temperament of her parents. It merely necessitates a match between the temperament of the child and the practices of the parents.
Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult for a nervous parent to refrain from restricting an adventurous child. And it can be equally difficult for a go-for-the-gusto parent to refrain from pushing a hesitant child.
At Romp n’ Roll, even the most worry-prone parent can’t help but be impressed by the emphasis on safety in all the equipment and activities. And even the boldest parent can see how the fun and excitement imbedded in the equipment and activities is ultimately irresistible. That makes it considerably easier for the former to refrain from inappropriate restricting and the latter to refrain from inappropriate pushing.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.