So our seven year old daughter has been going through a bit of a “phase” recently. Argumentative, back-chatting, highly emotional in some of her reactions, sour puss faces etc. I know this is pretty normal for most kids at various times but it has ramped up in intensity recently. Hubby and I are both wondering “is it us?”, “is it her?”, “are we not parenting properly?”, “what are we doing wrong?”, “has she been a devil-child in hiding all this time?”. Not knowing what to do, or how to deal with this phase I typed into Google “seven year old behaviour development” to see what came up. I’m glad to say there was some relief at hand and not in the form of an alcoholic beverage or prescription 😉
The article that leapt off the list was called “Worse than Terrible Twos, the Stroppy Sevens”, Some of you will have heard of Piaget’s childhhood developmental stages. Well it just so happens that 7 yrs of age (on average) is the transition point between the “pre-operational” (2-7 yrs) and “concrete operational” (7 – 12 yrs) stages, hence the terrible two’s being before “pre-operational” and the even more terrible teenage transition at (12-13) the end of the “concrete operational” stage. In the middle therefore is another volatile transition point we now have a name for……… The Stroppy Sevens!!!! Phewwwww, so it’s not just us having this issue 😉 I checked out a few articles on the issue and came up with a short list of things to think about when parenting a child of this 6-7 age bracket during this transition period and what to expect.
The Good Stuff:
At this age they will be gaining an increasing level of focus, and increasing level of patience (believe it or not), an ability to focus on activities that require longer periods of time, better cognitive skills, better communication skills (hence more arguing), and better physical skills (hopefully less careless knocking over of drinks at dinner-time!!)
The Challenging Stuff:
They are learning how to handle setbacks and begin self-regulation, explore boundaries and identity, and embrace the torturous art of whining. Talking back, as they develop better communication skills their complaining or arguing is expressed more verbally and logically. Perfectionism, being easily frustrated with not being able to achieve a specific goal. Remember bad behaviour is part of their maturing process, but it needs to be managed well…
- Help them identify and express their emotions appropriately and in socially acceptable ways.
- Make talking a priority.
- Set boundaries and limits that are clear.
- Use quiet time effectively.
- Set a positive example in your own tone when communicating with them.
- Teach them how to take a breath or count to ten when feeling a strong emotion.
- Reward charts can be effective for this age group, but rewards don’t have to be immediate like they are when children are younger. Daily rewards can add up to something at the end of the week to develop their patience and longer term thinking.
- For really negative behaviour there needs to be a consequence e.g. taking away something important to them for a period of time, or banning TV or computer time if that is their thing.
So be encouraged, it’s not just you. It seems to be there is a name and identity to this wobbly transition stage that no-one ever told us about………The Stroppy Sevens!! For more detail on the subject check out the following articles.
Written By Sam Shazzan AKA School Mum