Space is the final frontier in parenting the six/seven year old as the child goes through a developmental leap during this time.
Many attached and connected parents do so well in providing their children the gift of time: time to have an unhurried, unrushed childhood. Time to just be: in nature, in the home. Time to rest. Time to grow and time to mature. No hurrying.
But I feel where many attached and connected parents fail is in giving their children the gift of space, especially during this six/seven year change. Space, along with time, are essential gifts to provide to our children to help them grow and become healthy adults.
Instead, we so often want to step in and solve the child’s feelings for them. If they say they are bored, we would like to help provide them ideas and will stand there for fifteen minutes throwing ideas out. If they say they don’t like a child in playgroup or a sibling or a cousin, we want to probe this to death. If the child says how they don’t like this, they don’t like that, we take it all so seriously and act as if it is our job to fix it all.
The truth is, we need to give them space.
The truth is….
No one died of boredom.
We all remember the friend we started out disliking or even hating and later grew to love and became best friends.
When we are under nine, we really don’t have extreme nuances of feelings unless we have been talked to to death about our feelings. Most children will tell you they feel “good” or “bad”. Good is good, bad is bad.
The truth is, the child of this age has an increasing responsibility to sit with feelings of boredom, dislike, and the other uncomfortable things because this helps him or her grow and mature.
We can offer the warm smile, the back rub, the “I see” and the “I understand” and know in our hearts all of these feelings can flip on a dime, and we must not deprive the burgeoning human child the opportunity to wrestle with these emotions.
Space truly is the final frontier for the six year olds and up; beginning to learn about how to handle those feelings and have the certainty that all feelings are okay but all actions are not, and how to really express those feelings in a healthy but not destructive way. A tall order, only a small beginning can be made here, but this is where it all begins nonetheless.
It begins in the space of the human heart, both yours and your child, and in knowing that your child will someday be a healthy adult who can express and sit with strong emotions and then transform those emotions into helpful and healthy action.