“Mаma, I am a big now”: how does the 7-year-old child crisis manifest itself
If parents have already heard about such a phenomenon in the life of a child as the 3-year old crisis, few of them know about the 7-year old crisis. Therefore, when a son or daughter at primary school age ceases to listen to their parents, is making scenes and throwing tantrums, parents become very confused and do not know how to react correctly. Some turn to strict educational measures, some drag their children to an appointment with a psychiatrist, believing that something is wrong with them.
We invite parents to familiarize themselves with this article and find out what actually constitutes the 7-year-old child’s crisis.
- What needs to be known about the crisis period
- How do adults need to overcome this crisis?
- The consequences of the crisis
- Tips of a psychologist
What needs to be known about the crisis period
The underlying reasons for such an occurrence
In psychology, the age of 6-7 years is usually considered to be critical or transitional. The child leaves their preschool age, starts going to school and enters a new, grown-up life. They now have to sit in the classroom, do homework, listen to the teacher and take part in their school’s life. This puts the fragile child’s psyche under serious scrutiny. Remember how you felt when you had to change jobs or go to university. It is already quite difficult and nerve-racking for an adult to go through all of this. However, here, we are talking about a small child who was just playing with toy cars in kindergarten and taking naps during the day, a very short time ago.
Your child has just started school? Just for this occasion, we have gathered the best advice and psychologist’s tips about how to help the child to adapt themselves to school.
Nevertheless, it is a mistake to believe that only entering school creates a crisis situation. The child acquires new skills (in psychology they are called neoplasms), which will help them to successfully adapt to school life in the future.
The following is related to it:
The child loses their childlike spontaneity, and becomes more serious and focused. They learn to manage their behavior: they try to do what is necessary, and not what they feel like doing, and to follow certain rules.
Becoming aware of their own worries
The child gets acquainted with their own inner world, begins to comprehend themselves as an individual, and assumes their differences in comparison to other people.
The external point of view of a school student
By the age of 7, the child gradually moves away from games towards educational activities. They test themselves in new situations, master new forms of behavior. The ex-preschooler becomes interested in communicating with adults and discussing “adult-like” topics with them. Some begin to avoid the company of younger children.
The main features of the 7-year old crisis
All behavioral changes in the child may be classified into 3 groups:
- Crisis symptoms of the first category are related to a disruption or the disobedience to the rules that are lived by within the family, the child is:
- often rude;
- argues about everything, displays stubbornness on a constant basis;
- refuses to do something when asked;
- breaks toys, claiming that they are fed up with them.
- The second category of the features of a starting crisis is the urge to repeat after adults with the following:
- acting unnaturally, talks in a different voice;
- mocking adults;
- asking to buy them fashionable clothes and new gadgets;
- experiencing sudden mood fluctuations;
- getting offended when being laughed at or criticized.
- The third group of indicators is related to the child striving to be independent:
- starting to display interest in family affairs;
- engaging in conversations with adults;
- starting to take on new responsibilities.
If you have noticed one or more of the symptoms from each category, it means that your child is going through a 7-year-old crisis. And all of these manifestations that you observe, are important for the development and the growth of your child.
Boys and girls go through this crisis stage in different ways.
Psychologists agree that this age in life is more difficult for girls. A studious girl at school can start throwing tantrums at home and harass parents with constant whims. Moreover, girls at this age compete for the attention of a teacher or a handsome classmate, which could also lead to conflicts.
To help your daughter get through this stage of development successfully, praise her more often for good grades and school achievements, be interested in her relationships with classmates, and do not criticize the desire to look “grown-up”.
Boys at the age of seven, strive to prove themselves, to show that they are the most courageous, the strongest and that they are the best, in general. Therefore, they often behave aggressively, annoy girls and compete against each other. They are interested in events taking place around them, they strive to express their opinion on any occasion and defend their position as much as possible. The learning problems of boys arise from restlessness and the lack of concentration.
It is important to diversify the child’s school routine with hikes, trips, excursions, in which they can let out the accumulated energy and gain new impressions. It is also important to pay attention to sports and outdoor games.
The crisis through the child’s eyes
To understand how a child feels during a 7-year-old crisis, you need to look at what is happening, from their perspective. Here’s the story of a seven-year-old boy:
“I am 7 years old. I am now grown up and I go to school. I have got a big backpack and a pretty school uniform. I like them very much. My mother is now telling everyone that I’m a grown up. So I try to behave like an adult.
Yesterday I decided to wash the dishes myself and accidentally broke my mother’s cup. Mom scolded me for a long time, saying that I should not have started doing it since I could perform the task carefully. But I can do everything, it’s just that the cup was covered in soapy foam and that’s why it slipped out of my hands.
And the other day, my father’s friends came over. They talked about the rising fares on electricity. I said that the teacher was also not fair to me recently when grading my test. Dad’s friends laughed at me. It turned out that I misunderstood what they were saying.
We have a boy named Bob in our class at school. He often fights and offends girls, he is the loudest to laugh in class, although the teacher scolds him for this. I want to be like Bob. When I told my mother about him, she said that Bob is a bully and that I cannot be friends with him. I said that I would still be! Then my mother said that I was still a child and that there are a lot of things that I still don’t understand.
But how am I little if I am already grown up! I go to school, do homework, help around the house… ”
Parents themselves often emphasize that the child is entering into “adulthood” while continuing to treat them as if they were little. Conflicting conditions arise in which the child does not know how to act correctly. Whether to behave “like an adult”, risking becoming an object of criticism or ridicule, or to stay in childhood, where mom and dad can solve all problems on their behalf.
How do adults need to overcome this crisis?
The child’s crisis at the age of 7 years old becomes the crisis of the parenting approach to raising their children. Previous measures of influence applied to a son or daughter are no longer effective. Therefore, it is important for parents to be flexible and to reconsider their views on the upbringing of the ex-preschooler.
To begin with, stop overprotecting the child and provide reasonable freedom to the developing individual. However, in order not to worry and to continue ensuring safety to your child, download the “Find my Kids” app from AppStore and GooglePlay. With it, you will always know where your child is, what they are doing, and how things are going at school.
10 DON’Ts for the parents:
- DON’T try to make life easier for your child at every step of the way.
- DON’T overload them with extracurricular activities and lessons after school.
- DON’T force or put pressure on the child.
- DON’T criticize their friends.
- DON’T ignore the child’s problems at school.
- DON’T scold or laugh at their failures or mistakes.
- DON’T talk about the school or the teachers in a negative way.
- DON’T compare your child to other children.
- DON’T humiliate or punish them physically.
- DON’T annoy them with long conversations about entering into “adulthood”.
The natural desire of all parents is to protect the child from all kinds of troubles in life. However, if you constantly monitor and correct their every step, your son or daughter will never learn to lead an independent life.
10 DOs for the parents:
- DO spend more time with the child.
- DO demonstrate your love towards your son or daughter with the use of hugs, kisses and words of support.
- DO allow the child to solve problems by themselves whenever they are capable of doing it.
- DO accept individual unique features of the child.
- DO help the child to become more self-confident.
- DO discuss any topic with them.
- DO listen to them carefully, without interrupting them.
- DO leave some time for games.
- DO laugh, play around and have fun together.
- DO help them with homework, but only when the child asks for help.
The consequences of the crisis
The result of the 7-year old crisis largely depends on the actions of parents.
If mum and dad manage to opt for the right strategy when raising children and accept all of the behavioral changes in their child in a calm manner, then by the end of the 7-year old crisis they child would have developed the following:
- a positive attitude towards school and academic life;
- a new social role;
- the willingness to learn new things and to extract new knowledge on their own;
- friendly relationships with their classmates;
- respect towards the teacher;
- the ability to act according to the rules, to set goals and achieve results.
If parents are overly demanding towards the child, if they pay great attention to academic performance and ignore other school issues, then the child may experience such a phenomenon as school maladjustment. It manifests itself in the following ways:
- the loss of interest towards studies, a decrease in academic performance;
- insecurity about their actions, and the decrease in self-esteem;
- conflicts with teachers and classmates;
- health issues, such as the loss of sleep and appetite, fatigue and headaches.
Tips of a psychologist
The 7-year old crisis is a vital stage of the child’s development. Therefore, parents have to have a lot of patience during this time and opt for the right strategy of raising their child:
- ask the child’s opinion on family matters, take their advice;
- praise the child for certain achievements and support them in their new beginnings;
A child needs parental support at any stage of their life. Do not ignore their problems at school and with their classmates, even if they seem insignificant to you. It can be a real tragedy for a child if the teacher called them a slob in front of the whole class, or if a classmate made them trip during break time. This applies in particular to anxious, timid and shy children.
- discuss the whole of the school life with your child, not just their grades. What traditional questions do parents have when a son or daughter returns home from school? Yes, that’s right: what grades did you get today, and did you get any Ds. However, what can be asked is what kind of new and interesting things did the child learn during the day, what lesson and which teacher they liked the most, and many other much more important things rather than grades;
- the child wants independence? Give it to them. Let them pack their bags for school, do their homework and set the alarm clock without a reminder. This is their area of responsibility;
- like in any other age crisis, some things remain consistent. If you do not allow something, do so always, regardless of the circumstances;
- do not make the child the prisoner of your unfulfilled dreams. If you stay up until the late night with them, making them re-do the task again and again in the event of a minor mistake – these are your ambitions. If your child wants to play soccer, but you sign them up for dance classes, only because you yourself were dreaming of it – these are your ambitions, too. Let your son or daughter live their own life: to choose what they are interested in, to make mistakes, to learn about the world around them through first-hand experience;
- a clear timetable for the day will make your and your child’s life easier. The time of the usage of gadgets should be limited;
- a 7-year old child is already faced with a number of requirements at school. In response to your phrases, such as “you need to”, “hurry up” and “do it right now”, the child may display a strong negative reaction. Therefore, try to convey the information in the form of “asks” and in a calm voice;
- do not focus on the child’s mistakes. The only person that doesn’t make mistakes is the one who doesn’t do anything;
- if the symptoms of the 7-year old crisis are very apparent, and the child does not want to go to school, is aggressive and rude, seek some help from the school psychologist.
The 7-year old crisis is a completely normal event in a child’s life. The research of psychologists has long shown that those children who had obvious crisis symptoms subsequently adapted better to a school than those who had “blurry” symptoms. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of such an age crisis. This is another step in the development of your child which will help them to become an adult!
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