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Milestone Anxiety

When Milestone Anxiety Is Good

Sometimes, a parent just knows when something is wrong with a child's development. In these cases, trying to ignore the problem would not be a good idea. Instead, use the anxiety to help you spring into action. Make an appointment with your child's doctor and express your concerns. Get a second opinion if you don't feel your doctor is taking your concerns seriously. See a specialist, if necessary. Do what it takes to get your child the help he or she needs. You are your child's best advocate; you should not ignore your parental instincts.
Sometimes, a missed milestone can be a way to help a parent realize that they have been holding a child back in terms of development. For instance, if your doctor tells you that your child should be able to drink from an open cup, but you always give your kid a sippy cup, a bit of anxiety may be the motivation you need to let your child learn to use a regular cup.

When Milestone Anxiety Is Bad

Sometimes, a parent can become so anxious about a particular milestone that they can't enjoy the child's development. The parent may try to push the child to meet a milestone before the child is ready. This can leave the child frustrated and feeling inadequate. Occasionally, milestone anxiety will cause a parent to avoid playgroups and situations involving other young children. This robs the child of opportunity for valuable social interaction.  
Sometimes, milestone anxiety may result in unnecessary medical tests or referrals, wasting money and sometimes causing pain for the child. If a parent is overly anxious about a child's development, the doctor may be more likely to explore the small possibility that a problem exists, rather than simply watching and waiting a bit longer.
Occasionally, milestone anxiety may cause a parent to avoid or delay important doctor visits for their children. For instance, a parent might wait until a child learns to walk before scheduling the 12-month checkup, perhaps causing a delay of weeks or even months. Some parents may even lie about milestones to the child's doctor, saying that all milestones have been met, rather than dealing with the possibility that there might be a problem.
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