Things you shouldn’t tell your kids

How often have you told your five-year-old – “You are a big girl now!”? We are sure you literally do not mean this but somewhere once our children cross the first five years of their lives, we expect them to behave in a certain way that is more or less determined by societal pressures / norms. It is detrimental for a child to think beyond her age and behave like a little ‘adult’ masquerading the innocence and inquisitiveness.

Taking Cue from Nature
Similar to nature, human development happens in phases. Have we ever seen a seed sown blossoming into a flower overnight? Just as we plant the seed, enrich the soil at regular intervals, water the plant as need be; for our children we have to customize our approach to their growth based on the three phases they pass through.

Seven – The Magical Number
Seven is the number of great relevance. Much has been written about it. The significance of this number has an enormous impact in our lives as well. The stages of our lives are divided in phases of 7 years each. Most important would be the three distinct seven-year stages of childhood – preschool, grade school and high school.

The Preschool Years

pre school kid - ZenParent
This is the stage when the child is primarily active. Jack Petrash in his book – Understanding Waldorf Education shares, “This is evident in the kicking of legs of a crying infant and in the curling of toes of a nursing newborn.” This is a stage when the child needs to be engaged. A lot of active play needs to be a part of your upbringing in this first phase. Keep pace with the energy level of your young one. Do not try and bring her down to your energy levels. Your child needs to play and explore in this first phase of her life. Restrictions, is any, should be kept at their minimum as this is the phase when your child subconsciously draws lines on what she is capable of. You really would not want to de-motivate your child for life. Right?

Grade School
By seven, your child usually will begin losing her milk teeth full fledge. This is the time she enter her second phase. Self consciousness begins to develop in the second phase. There is a lot of inward introspection taking place. Does it make sense why we suggested not to de-motivate your child against anything in her first phase? This is the reason.

Petrash explains, “Over the course of the second phase of childhood, from the age of 6 or 7 until around the age of 14, feelings become paramount. This change occurs gradually, the way one season changes to another.” Be patient with your child if she shows unreasonable behavior to things she was accustomed to before. She is fighting an inner battle herself to understand and come to terms with her growing up years. She needs you like never before even if she says she likes being alone. This is a very crucial stage of her life.

High School
Where the second stage was more about ‘feeling’, the third phase shall see her lost in thoughts. Petrash elaborates, “Teenagers are certainly emotional and active (when they want to be), but their capacity for critical thinking shows itself in a pronounced way with the onset of adolescence and particularly at the beginning of high school.” You may find your teen lazing around, oversleeping, behaving clumsy etc. But these are the ways in which she is putting to rest the turmoil she is going through. In this phase the major transition happens of your child entering into adulthood. No doubt, puberty defines maturity levels, but we also need to keep in mind that the age to attain puberty differs from one child to the other.

high school student

This is the phase when children spend most of their waking up hours with their peers who may or may not have attained puberty hence there is a lot of emotional imbalance anyways they are witnessing with their peers. Stability of reaction is what they need from you.

Instead of confronting your child with irrational behavior, speak with your child drawing personal experiences or relate them to a story. This should help drive any message that you may want to. Confrontations shall only lead to your child being a rebel. We all have gone through this phase. We know the need we felt of being more with our peers rather than trusting our parents with the problems / issues we were going through, unless of course, our parents behaved more like friends than parents.

Growing up is a natural process. Each individual is different and needs to be treated differently. As a mother, trust your instincts rather than going by any rule book as laid down by the society for bringing up your child.

loader