Running head: MY VIRTUAL CHILD REFLECTION My Virtual Child Reflection Misti R. Neely Ivy Tech Community College 1 MY VIRTUAL CHILD REFLECTION 2 My Virtual Child Reflection Raising a virtual child exceeded my expectations. When I first heard about this assignment, my mother said to me, “isn’t raising two real children proof enough.” The first night I started raising my virtual child Elena Michelle, I was completely surprised to see how many similarities my virtual child had to my biological child! I was amazed! Suddenly this project became exciting, because my daughter is almost a year old and through raising this virtual child I can see what effects my parenting methods will have on her and her two year old brother. The Early Years My virtual child was born small and was an extremely fussy baby. Which matched up perfectly with my daughter. The program showed that this can be a very stressful time for parents, and I completely agree. Having a daughter born with milk allergies and colic lasting over four months, is enough to make anyone want to pull their hair out. Then, suddenly in the program, when my child was 8 months old, I was apparently in a car accident. It’s pretty interesting that they added real life curves in there, for the reason that you never really know what is going to happen. And in real life bad things happen all the time. The main point of the early years of my virtual child is that raising an infant can be terribly exhausting and stressful, but it can also be rewarding and fulfilling depending on your outlook of things. I was pretty excited to see that my virtual child was up and walking at 9 months old, because while I was playing the simulation, my 9 month old in real life was also started walking. It was almost eerie how similar the simulation was to real life. As each month passes and the child gets older it reaches new capabilities and achievements. Almost as if it’s a developmental latter, each month unlocking new capabilities. It’s amazing how fast an infant grows from birth to 12 months alone, physically and mentally. MY VIRTUAL CHILD REFLECTION 3 Child Rearing When it comes to raising my children I am very hands on and put their education first. When we have a chance to go to a museum, a musical, or an educational program, I am the first in line with my children. I am constantly introducing new vocabulary to my children every day. Therefore since this was my method of real life child rearing, I chose to stick with this method during my virtual child, I was thrilled to find that my virtual child was above average on language skills and motor skills. I continued to take my virtual child to educational programs and get her books and encourage her to read and worked with her, as she continued to grow. At six she showed strength in math, science, reading and writing. I fully believe if children are helped by their parents and worked with daily, they all have the ability to succeed. When a student enters into first grade and doesn’t know up from down, the parents are at fault, not the teacher. Therefor in the early years of child’s development it’s crucial that take time out of their days to work with their children and help the child discover new skills. Important decisions. Throughout my virtual child I continued to read with and supply my child with reading materials, encouraging reading. I also encouraged my child to play sports and be physically healthy. At a young age my child had to play a musical instrument. She later on decided it wasn’t something she was interested in anymore. I found this pretty funny, because when I was a child I wanted nothing more than to play the flute in band. My parents spent a lot of money buying me a flute only to learn years later that I had never learned how to actually play the instrument. It’s funny how strong but fleeting your childhood desires can be. My virtual child, ended up becoming very good at soccer, where I was good at volleyball. And both of us maintained good grades. I do feel that grades come first, but it’s important to find a hobby that your child enjoys and is good at and encourage the child to practice and stick with it. But, it’s MY VIRTUAL CHILD REFLECTION 4 also important to let the child make decisions on their own their own. Some of life’s greatest lessons are learned through the mistakes that we make. Development testing. Before my virtual child I never knew there were so many developmental tests available. Honestly I didn’t know there was a way to tell if your two year old was developed or not, until they started grade school. I like the fact that this program showed me where my child was developmentally and the different stages the child was going through. Every parent worries whether their child is “normal” or not. It’s good to know that most children do go through these “phases” or “stages” and can grow out of them. The thing I didn’t like about this program was that it didn’t have a stay at home parent option. Although it’s extremely rare, there are stay at home Mom and Dads out there, and I would like to see how these children develop. Are the codependent? Do they have separation and behavioral issues? I’m curious to see what the effects are if a mother stays home with her children until they reach preschool. Ending thoughts. Overall I was pleased with this program. My child did very well academically and developmentally, through the parenting tactics I used. I think you just have to find that perfect balance of socializing, educating, encouragement and nutrition to have happy healthy kids. Being a parent myself, I know this is hard to achieve, especially when it’s easier to grab a pizza and have a movie night. Also along with the perfect balance of award and punishment children learn to make good and bad decisions, leading them to needing the independence to make their own decisions to learn from their actions. Raising a child is one of the most difficult things to do. The decisions you make from day to day can affect the entire future and development of the child. I really enjoyed this program for the simple fact that it assures me that my kids are going to be alright. And that’s all any parent can ask for.