Some time ago, I asked on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page if parents had specific ideas for posts they would like to see and there were two questions about the seven-year-old. So, in honor of those families with developmental questions, Fridays will be “Developmental Fridays”. I think it is always comforting to know that our whilst our children are individuals, each with his or her own destiny, the human life is one of stages where others have trod before (and other parents have made it through).
The first question was regarding seven year old girls and their friendships. This first thing I thought of was something veteran Waldorf Teacher Marsha Johnson shared some time ago on her list about the six/seven change and community. I hope you find this post to be a good read.
The second thing I thought of was was this post about peer relationships in the six to eight year old here. There are many great comments regarding different situations parents were dealing with on this post, so please do take the time to scroll through the comments!.
The second question asked had to deal with a seven year old transitioning to the “real world” – where things are not fair, why do people do hurtful things, why are things not as black and white as they seem….Well, as to the “gray” part of life, I do not think that gets fully differentiated until adolescence and beyond. Twelve year olds still live in a black and white world, which is why in the Waldorf Curriculum we work with charcoal drawing – to work with and see some of those shades of gray.
Seven is about growing up, and about learning rules. If a seven year old is in a Waldorf School, they may be learning how to be a learner in a grades classroom, and learning how to get along socially, and noticing things as they stand a bit apart from the “oneness” with the world (which I think sees hints now in some children and then it really comes to a head during the nine-year-change). I think being a listener is very important at this point. I wrote a post some time back about talking to your seven and eight year old that could be helpful, along with this one about a need for protection. It seems that many times we see cases where folks talk about the six/seven change as the point where the early years end and “then the gates open onto life”….Well, it does open a crack, but you still have a lot of development to go through, including the nine year change, the twelve year change and the sixteen/seventeen year change! So, I think realizing this time is still rather an extension of the early years, a crack in the door leading to the nine year change, helps to put it into perspective. First and second graders are still very small and little. I think this this post about attachment and individualization could also be helpful here.
Hope that is helpful. Many blessings,