You Can Stick Your Tickbox Up Your A***

We need to support parents, not put them on the guilt train.

Sam H Arnold
Nov 28, 2019 · 3 min read

I am so fed up with professionals telling me there is something wrong with my children.

In the UK we have a series of ‘milestones’ that children are meant to achieve at certain times in their life. Our children are assessed to see if they pass a task and a tick is put into a box. It is as simple as that, the problem starts if that box isn’t ticked. If there are too many ticks missing that is when the trouble starts.

Developmental milestones are separated into four functional areas:

  • Gross motor

My two-year-old has developed in every way possible. She was walking before she was a year old. She is completing games on my iPad for 3–4-year-olds. However, with her social skills, she hasn’t hit her milestones. She doesn’t speak. is reluctant to feed herself or try new foods. She hasn’t hit one of her social milestones.

From this lack of ticks, she has been assessed weekly. Last week it was mentioned that she was on the Autistic Spectrum.

I was so shocked, I could have dropped down. I joke, I wasn’t shocked at all. The way we were told, was the shocking thing. Doctors who tell patients they have two months to live could have learnt from this paediatrician. It was as if the worse that could have happened, had happened.

I could not care less, whether she is on the spectrum or not. She is my little girl, my mother instincts will tell me how to deal with her meltdowns. Some may say the shock will hit me, it wouldn’t, I have no problems with her diagnosis. I am raising the next evolution of man.

However, it raises one huge question for me. Should there not be a separate series of milestones for children who come outside of the box. Who the hell decides who is in the ‘normal’ box or not, anyway.

The developmental milestones are designed by a company called the CDC. It is shocking when you learn that CDC stands for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since when has lack of development, meant a disease. Government officials sit in an office and decide what our children should be doing, at what age. Several of them don’t even have children.

Through these assessments, I felt that my instinct as a parent was no longer good enough. I argued that she was advanced in some areas and behind in others, they weren’t listening. No professional was interested in the milestones she had achieved before the age. They only cared about the boxes that weren’t ticked.

Then again this week my new baby girl has lost weight since being born. This is natural, as they lose water once they are out of the womb. Once again though we fell outside a milestone. Ten per cent lose is fine, 12% and the alarm bells ring. More professionals getting involved with my child. Another professional, another disapproving look.

As parents, this is another system to make us feel guilty about our parenting.

Parents have enough to deal with, we second guess ourselves and wonder if we are doing the right thing. We do not need anything else to make us feel guilty. The majority of us are doing the best possible job we can.

When will children be allowed to be children? Why do we have to measure their success against pointless milestones? All children develop at different speeds. Parents don’t need anything else to make us feel guilty.


Every Child Matters

Issues that concern children, parents and teachers. How to deal with behaviour and general issues that relate to family. How to improve your teaching practice.

Sam H Arnold

Written by

UK writer & mentor. I share articles on writing, LGBT issues, parenting, mental health & more. For all my articles follow me on Facebook.

Every Child Matters

Issues that concern children, parents and teachers. How to deal with behaviour and general issues that relate to family. How to improve your teaching practice.

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