Here is the child at 6, in a year, as was to be expected, a difficult year. From the age of 5 and a half, the change began; the tranquility and the joy of living were followed by moments of impatience and nervousness. See also how to keep 3 to 5 years old during Confinement.
Now it’s sudden mood swings, where the child throws everything in the air and doesn’t want to do anything, followed by social advances and regrets for the mistake. The child appears to be in the middle of a crisis. Is he in pain? Anxious? Confused? Looking for something or someone?
It’s a bit of all of this and something else. It is the dawn of a new era, now made up of intellectual activity and emotional calm, which for five years will lead your child to the threshold of puberty. But to take hold, this new phase of evolution causes a break in the previous adaptation.
As the age of 6 approaches, all the forces of growth which, until now, were united and going in the same direction, fall apart. Everything happens as if intelligence, in order to transform itself, needed affectivity to crack, as if physical progress to be accomplished needed psychomotor control to deteriorate as if sociability in order to manifest itself needed language regresses.
On closer inspection, these changes are significant. Already in the body, the baby teeth are starting to fall out, the first permanent molars are emerging. Body balance deteriorates; the child complains of ailments that are very real and to which attention must be paid. He has pain in his legs, feet, neck. He is too hot, his throat, eyes, and ears hurt.
And in fact, doctors treat a large number of tonsillitis, styes, and ear infections in children aged 6, not to mention contagious diseases and allergic disorders such as asthma, which are frequent this year. All the mucous membranes, all the skin, become hypersensitive.
Fatigue is usual, many falls and a 6-year-old child is a “bad patient”, he does not allow himself to be easily treated, he does not want to stay in bed – except on school days – he screams when he is treated. boils and half-faints when he sees a little blood on his wound or when his bandage is changed. Both emotional fragility and organic fragility are at their maximum.
A few tips before going any further
The recovery of the sick child will be hastened by not presenting the bed to him as a punishment, but as a place where he will rest and recover in order to play better afterward; we will also avoid making fun of his sensitivity and letting the elders treat him as a “wimp”, so that he, for fear of being mocked, does not hide his accidents which would worsen for lack of care; mom and dad will never quarrel over caring for a sick child, which they often do out of anxiety.
You should know, in fact, that you cause a lot more harm to a child by quarreling about him than by caring for him badly. The physical illness heals quickly at this age, and treatment errors are corrected. The child’s psychological balance, which you upset by arguing about her, is much more difficult to restore.
A child who is the center of his parents’ arguments or anxious concerns becomes anxious, sleeps and eats poorly, abuses the situation to refuse any adaptation effort, and to keep his audience on their toes. He remains preoccupied with himself, self-centered, and unhappy. Later, he risks behaving like a small domestic tyrant vis-à-vis his parents and his brothers and sisters, to the detriment of which he will have been “in the spotlight”.
The psychology of the sick child
If you protect your child too much because he has bronchial problems, for example, he will not heal and will remain fragile. Try to solve the difficulty by getting him to lead a normal life as quickly as possible, never tell him that he is fragile; if his lifestyle is to be a little different from everyone else’s, he does not need to know the cause, as he would be led to use this argument himself to find false excuses.
If your child has a physical disability, for example, after-effects of polio, a heart or other defect, hearing or visual impairment, he must accept his disability as a natural part of his personality and aim to occupy the place he is capable of occupying. Do not consider him to be a disabled child and do not accept that he sees himself as such and uses it as an excuse to evade the normal obligations that he may assume.
Do not privilege him, from an emotional point of view, over his brothers and sisters. But find him directions where he can validly assert himself: drawing, music, class for example so that he understands that despite his handicap, quantities of activities are allowed.
The Psychology of a Healthy “6-Year-Old”
Even when he is not of a particularly fragile constitution and he is not sick, so when a deficient state of health is not at the origin of the modifications of his emotional life, the child of 6 years old presents spectacular behavioral problems.
He has exasperating outbursts of anger, like at 2 and a half, especially when something resists his efforts. He lost the beautiful control of his 5 years. He swings, dances, squirms, cries, screams, sucks, or tugs his hair.
He starts to stutter again, he is contracted and restless, opposing and rude, domineering and destructive, shy, or flippant. He destroys the flowers, he scares the pigeons from the square, he annoys his brothers and sisters, says “no” to his mother, hangs out to go to class; he now refuses to wash or dress.
He makes a fuss about his clothes because he’s suddenly flirtatious, but doesn’t take any care of them and throws them anywhere. All this to ensure his power and build his individuality.
What should parents of a “6” do?
It is useless for parents to seek to act directly on the rigidity of these behaviors, whether by suggestibility, by the promise of rewards or the threat of sanctions, because at this age, the child will not do so.
just the same at its head and the adaptation difficulties will increase sharply in the face of hardening, punishment, or coercion. The right method is to prevent, by directing this inner turmoil towards concrete achievements: making something, perfecting yourself in a certain game or in a certain sport, starting any collection: postcards, stones …
Recommended read: 64 clues to keep children busy in quarantine.