Feb 11, 201209:48 AMChina Mom
Old School Parenting
Just when I think I have the hang of this parenting gig, my daughter throws in something new. She does something completely out of character. She enters a new phase. She develops a new taste – or stops liking what she’s loved for as long as we both can remember.
Crazy kids. Growing up and developing. Don’t they know they’re supposed to stay the same so I can get on with my life? Why do they have to keep things interesting like that? When she was a baby and toddler, I found myself running to the What to Expect… books. But now that she’s older, I’ve been missing those old books. I need advice. Yes, there are countless parenting books out there – and that’s been part of my problem. So many choices, so many styles. I’ve felt adrift in a sea of advice.
A few months ago, one of my best friends from college recommended a parenting book in passing while we were visiting them in Dallas. It was on her kitchen island and she commented, “These books are great – they’ve been around forever, but I’ve always found their insight to be spot-on.”
I glanced at the book, saw a number on the cover and thought, “Great! I’ll remember that and pick it up next time I’m in the bookstore.”
Famous last words. I’m rarely alone in a bookstore with time to browse and a Google search of “parenting book with age on the cover” was fruitless. So I did something crazy. I emailed my friend and – gasp – asked her.
It’s a classic series titled, Your Five Year Old, Your Six Year Old, etc. by Louise Bates Ames, PhD and Frances Ilg, MD. The series was published in the late 70s-early 80s and is a tad dated. I just look past the “traditional” parenting roles and remember a time when television shows couldn't be recorded and watched whenever, wherever.
But childhood development hasn't changed. Children are still growing up and going through the same stages and when it comes to that, the series is helpful and on-target.
The title alone gives me comfort. Each book has a subtitle and this one is Your Six Year Old: Loving and Defiant. That pretty much describes most any morning in our house between 7:00 and 7:08.
And the inside flap alone gave me peace: “The six-year-old is a complex child, entirely different from the five-year-old. Though many of the changes are for the good…this is not necessarily an easy time. Relationships with mothers are troubled -- most of the time Six adores mother, but whenever things go wrong, it's her fault. It used to be, at Five, that she was the center of the child's universe; now, the child is the center of his own universe.”
It’s like they know me.
And it’s nice to know what’s “normal” for this age and keep my expectations realistic. I also understand “why” my daughter’s acting the way she is now (sorta) and how I can better respond (sorta).
Because just as soon as I have this phase figured out, she’s going to change. And from what I've read, seven is just as bumpy of a ride.