Often on Waldorf lists and groups, I see threads regarding puberty. These threads typically concern the outward signs of puberty, or perhaps issues not of puberty but of sexuality, such as a discussion on what to tell a six-year old or a nine-year old about sexual relationships.
I have already discussed in an earlier post how the development of the child during something such as the nine year change is viewed from a spiritual place that looks at the development of the soul, and how the curriculum and parenting in a Waldorf way meets the child during this point whether outward, physical signs of puberty are taking place or not.
This is one of the best articles I have read regarding puberty and what we as adults can do to support children going through this phase of development: http://www.waldorflibrary.org/journals/24-waldorf-journal-project/954-waldorf-journal-project-3-puberty-and-its-crisis-educational-help-in-overcoming-difficulties. It is twenty pages long, so be sure to have time to sit and really read and digest it. I think it is invaluable, and it immediately points out the definition of puberty we use in Waldorf parenting and education, which takes into account more than just the physical changes of puberty:
No period in human development shows such noticeable changes as
puberty. Puberty means sexual maturity but one must broaden this definition if one wishes to understand the phase of development between ages twelve and fourteen in terms of more than just biological (sexual) maturity. We know that sexual maturity is only a partial aspect of this phase of development and that fundamental changes become clear in other areas as well. Without factoring out the biological, one can come to grips with the term Rudolf Steiner calls earthly maturity. Earthly maturity identifies the possibility of familiarizing oneself with the world: the laws and principles at work on the earth, with other people and how to encounter them thoughtfully, sentiently, and actively. It is also correct to speak of becoming mature for encounter because, during this phase of development, the young person will become inwardly prepared for encounters, for love in the widest sense of the word, for love of the earthly world. He or she will also gain the ability to meet the
world in active way—in a constructive, formative, or even destructive manner. Love as sexuality is a special aspect of becoming mature for encounter and initially plays only a limited role.
I look forward to talking more about puberty and what this means for our children and for us as parents in the future.
Many blessings and peace,