“I’m the boss of me” and “you’re not the boss of me” are phrases I’ve been hearing from my 5-¾ year old son lately. And with plenty of anger behind it that has included stomping off to his room and slamming doors.
As a Waldorf-inspired mom, I’ve heard of this six-year change, but I haven’t taken any steps to prepare myself or husband or our child for it.
We’ll, it’s upon us. The six year transformation is alive and well within my child.
In Waldorf circles it’s sometimes called the “first puberty.”
As a homeschooling mom, I’ve been blessed to have two Waldorf teachers open their homes for nursery and pre-school programs that my son attended.
I reached out to both of these teachers (who I gratefully call my friends) for advice.
Both teachers recommended the book “Your NOT the Boss of Me! Uunderstanding the Six & seven-years-old Transformation” by Ruth Ker, a longtime Waldorf early childhood teacher.
No such thing as coincidences.
Needless to I am patiently waiting for that delivery to arrive.
Until that arrives though, I found two articles online to enlighten me on the changes my son is going through:
“Observing the Six-Year Change” by Ruth Ker.
“The Six-Year Transformation: Discovering Waldorf” by Michelle Brightwater (a Waldorf teacher in Long Beach, CA) on Donni Webber’s wonderful site The Magic Onions.
Here’s how Michelle describes this changing time:
“This developmental shift is not simply the next step in a linear progression, but rather a full transformation into a different being. It is likened to a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. Everything changes for your child…physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally. Her body is changing, her consciousness is changing and her connection to the world is changing.”
That sure sounds like a “first puberty” to me!
They understand the world in a different way. They have more questions about the world. Questions are still best explained through story rather than wordy intellectual explanations.
They are separating from us. There is a magical transition from the security of the early childhood cocoon into child spreading his/her wings and discovering their own individuality.
This is an exciting and scary time for them so I’m prepared for my son moving between wanting to venture out on his own more and wanting us to hold their hand and help guide them.
Feeling become focus and they can become very sensitive. Some children will say “kids are mean to me” or “they don’t like me.”
This could just be a means to stay close to a parent. There will continue to be the ebb and flow of come close/stay with me and I can do it by myself/leave me alone.
Although these feeling may be temporary, they are real for the child and I would never discount them. I’ve learned if I allow space to go deeper I’ll learn more.
For example, after allowing the space for emotions to settle following a recent upset at home our son shared that, “you were laughing at me.”
It surprised me because I’ve always been very conscious of not laughing at him.
What was finally revealed was that I called him a silly nickname, “Evan the castle builder” in observation of the activity he was involved in. Random nicknames and are not welcome right now. He wants to be called by his given name and only a few special nicknames.
I’m so grateful he was able to share his feeling with me so I can be more sensitive to his growing emotions.
Children loose baby teeth and the adult teeth come in. They stop looking so childlike and loose baby fat and the dimples on their hands.
Their limbs stretch and they develop actual wrists, waistlines and necks. These changes may accompany complaints of achy legs, joins and even tummy aches. These growing bodies getting hungrier too!
My son is really pushing for new boundaries. So far I’ve seen this happen mostly when it comes to play.
It happened recently while at a local restaurant with a friend and her child of the same age. We announced it was almost time to go and the whispering began. Then the hiding started. After a public display of “you’re not the boss of me” and finally settling down, my son shared that he wants to play with his friends more and that he’s with me too much.
Sure that stung a little, but my role here is his growth, his education, his development into a healthy, compassionate adult. And he’s right. This is the age he’s ready for more to do outside the home.
We live in a small, rural town and most of my son’s friends live about 40 minutes away in the city. He has a few friends locally but I’m taking steps to find more friends and involve him in the community.
I’ve volunteered us at our local community garden to meet new people and learn skills to bring home to our own garden we’ll be starting soon.
I also found a local Facebook group of like-minded parents and we’re coordinating a meet at greet at my house. Evan is so excited about it. I little while after I told him we were going to do this I heard him singing a song learned his Waldorf home schools:Make new friends but keep the old, One is silver and the others gold, The circle’s round, it has not end, That’s why we will be forever friends.
His sweetness just melts my heart. Yes, there’s anger, even rage. He’s human.
And I’m here ready to nourish him with lots of love, compassion, healthy food and sound boundaries through this cycle of change . . . and the next . . .
With Love, Laura
I’d love to hear your comments and parenting experiences! Please feel free to leave a comment below.