From becoming a first-time parent to having the last child leave the house, parents are faced with numerous transitions as their children grow up.
As a parent, you might have noticed that your child has had different expectations perceived of you whilst he/she evolves their way from infancy to preteen. Moreover, maybe you find yourself saying “I wish you wouldn’t grow up so fast!” As children grow older, they become increasingly independent from their parents. The pre-teen years (7 -12 years) parents must also grow to support their child’s independence.
Stages of Parenting
Psychologists have noted different stages that parents go through, based on the level of independence that a child requires to mature to the next stage of development. In the first stage, a parent learns to interpret the cues that children display to express their needs – identifying different cries for different needs. During this nurturing stage, the child is learning to trust that their needs will be met. In the next stage, parents must adjust themselves to the increased calls from children to do things by themselves, as they begin to develop a sense of individuality. This stage is known as the authority stage and is marked by establishing rules and parental disciplines.
When a child starts preschool and school, he/she has enveloped a new level of independence with friendships formed outside the home. In the interpretative stage, children learn through imitation, particularly with peers, and will begin to navigate the world on their terms. As parents, you must respond to their questions and help solidify their values and beliefs, that will guide them in their own life’s journey, which includes parents being faced with an increasing push for independence and challenges to parental rules. (Your New Wings, 2016-2020)
The Interpretative Stage: A Friend and Parent
Ranging from 6 to 12 years, your child is developing his/her sense of competence. Failures could leave children questioning their confidence. As a parent, you might feel pushed past the boundaries of the disciplinary rules set, as friends begin to become a strong influence. This resistance might feel like rejection sometimes.
As parents, you must self-evaluate and slowly step in, to support this surge of independence where a relationship of reliance can be nurtured with your growing child. The important role of helping children to navigate themselves in the world – as a parent and as well as a friend, that they can talk too - by helping them develop their values and to reason out and face problems, such as bullying, peer comparisons etc; that they are faced with, that could affect them adversely. Get to know your child, through regular sit-downs together. (Ar Better Beginnings, 2020)
This stage of parenting will have many lessons and precious memories created as you try to give room to develop your child’s individuality. Your greatest tools are going to be your ability to be firm but kind and flexible in your relationship with your child. (Melbourne Child Psychology, 2021)
Counsellor - Child Psychology
Child Psychology, Educational Psychology and Counselling
Lecturer in Sociology, Psychology and International Relations
Your New Wings.com. (2016-2020). Parental Development. Available: http://www.yournewwings.com/how-can-we-best-support-our-children-through-big-transitions-support-ourselves-first/. (Accessed 18th April 2021)
Ar Better Beginnings.com. (2020). The Six Stages of Parenthood. Available: (https://arbetterbeginnings.com/sites/default/files/pdf_files/Six%20Stages%20of%20Parenthood.pdf) (Accessed 18th April 2021)
Melbourne Child Psychology.com. (2021). Adapting Your Parenting Style For Your Child’s Developmental Stage. Available: www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/adapting-your-parenting-style-for-your-childs-developmental-stage. (Accessed 19th April 2021)