26 Mar Raising Children – The Next Stage (7-14)
This stage is about teaching children to make good choices. I have been asked to begin with the skill set the 7-year-old can have.
Sacred Seven – the ending of littleness, your child can manage:
- To make their bed
- Fold pyjamas
- Dress entirely
- Cook toast, butter and cut
- Wash and cut up fruit & vegetables
- Make purchases while shopping
- Sort and fold washing
- Pack away before embarking on next activity
- Unload dishwater
- Set and clear table
- Help with housework and garden
- Write the shopping list
- Help plan meals
- Make eye contact
- Open a discussion
- Accept responsibility
- Tell the whole truth
- Help to clear cupboards, clothes and toys to give to charity
- Read to someone smaller or to the elderly
They are now ready to take small steps out into the world, sometimes without you.
At this stage, they begin to find out who they are through peers. Their strengths and also their frailties will being to show, this is normal – this is life. I hasten to add the more of the above-mentioned capabilities they possess, the less likely they will be to feel powerless, inadequate and self absorbed.
They will take small risks and then run safely back to you. Allow them this (even if your heart is in your throat). Reassure them they’ll be fine. Teach them responsibility and resilience. You only have seven years.
Be mindful to not allow your fears to become theirs. Show them you have faith in their capabilities. Enjoy their pride at achieving something they’ve never done. Watch their confidence grow, ever mindful of our 0-7 values, now including temperance.
As issues arise with friends, encourage them to take their part, this helps them to learn and accept who they are and who they want to be. Eventually, if you keep out of it – hard, I know – they also, through these interactions, learn who they don’t want to be.
They need to spend time out of their comfort zone to become comfortable. This is very, very important. Your job is to spoon feed life to them. Just do that. We all know life and learning is not always comfortable.
If you’ve done your job, by 14 they will have a measure of resilience and endurance. The laying of these foundations are imperative for them to lay their own stepping stones for an adult future.
Listen to your instincts, decide differently to the way your own parents may have. Ensure they respect you and that you can trust each other. You’re going to need that more than anything else, 14-21.
Children need to learn to relax, to simply be. This valuable skill/tool is vital for surviving the rest of their life. Provide space for it, teach it now before drugs, alcohol or other activities fill that now-safe space.
- Limit TV and technology
- Snuggle under a rug
- Lay on the trampoline at night and look at the stars
- Allow the stare into space (this connection with alpha state, feels good for a reason)
- Spend the day in PJ’s
- Float in the pool
Consider the value of this reset or realign, like rebooting a computer, connecting both with themselves and you. Restoring equilibrium ensures they can go out again from a more steady, trusted and rested place.
Again, I have my own personal views regarding bedtime, healthy eating and technology – another time maybe…
The perfect storm strikes between 12 to 14, when the seismic, organic, hormonal surges transform your child into what they believe is more adult.
Children around this time are faced with the inevitability of growing up. They have spent so long wishing and waiting for it. When it onsets they often don’t want to grow up after all, and fear the changes and responsibility bigness brings.
Their skin breaks out, their voices change or they bleed for the first time. They often fall into themselves or tumble out of control. Everything feels like it all happens at once for them. It doesn’t, it happens in steps and stages. Keep the boundaries clear, the lines of communication open and plan for some connecting fun time.
If the guidelines 0-14 are considered, 14-21 is more easily navigated and negotiated.
They say it takes a village to raise a child – and I say – as you raise the child, they become that village.
Always teach relaxation, resilience and responsibility
Never let a chance go by to deliver their love language:
Acts of service
Words of affirmation
Oh, and please Never reward great behaviour and success with bad food, just saying…