The crisis of 7 years in a child is the result of social development and certain educational standards. Among all age crises, this is the only one that is regulated and provoked by mankind, since it is linked by the social need to get an education in a clear time frame. In societies where there is no need to master knowledge in state institutions (lack of it or the possibility of choosing home schooling) or in the absence of a clear time frame for the start of education, such crises do not arise. That is why it makes sense to call the age crisis of 7 years educational or educational, since it is determined solely by the educational program.
In other development crises, the leading role is played by the resolution of internal problems of the individual, arising against the background of mental neoplasms and inconsistencies of the past social status of the child with his new capabilities and skills.
The school crisis of 7 years implies a maladaptation period of varying duration in connection with the establishment of other categories of social interaction, collision with new rules and new people. In the absence of the child’s preparation, the period of maladaptation can become quite long and difficult, and for all those around him.
Among the most striking phenomena, there are forms of active and passive protest to new requirements, general neurotization of the condition, sometimes accompanied by somatization (this explains the increase in colds, and not the epidemiological situation).
The child, feeling a change in his role, of receiving a certain share of responsibility and duty, begins to strive to behave like an adult. He feels that he is, there are frequent cases of detailed and long-term life planning, imitating the behavior of adults. Here parents can observe their behavior at home or their attitude to work in a caricature form — it is their reaction that the child will reproduce without thinking too much about relevance and conformity. It all looks unnatural, mannered, the mood can become unstable due to the confusion before new tasks, but attempts to match.
In relation to the formation of leading mental processes, key and final formation of basic cognitive functions, thought processes and imagination occurs. The child forms his first life concept, with certain categories and signs of good and evil, begins to independently distinguish such categories without prompting. Inclusion in society and the place it occupies forms self-esteem and finally completes the formation of self-awareness as an individual. This completely changes the perception of the world, because before, the child’s psyche felt a complete unity with the world, perceived parental figures as an indivisible continuation of their own being.
The problem of the crisis of 7 years is that many parents may miss changes in the psychological state of the child due to the load in the form of lessons and timetable. Spending most of the time on educational issues in complying with school requirements may well lose the emotional contact, the ability to notice the true problems inhibiting learning.
The Vygotsky crisis of 7 years was defined as the stage of the formation of the social self-perception of the individual. The main causes of crisis experiences are internal (psycho-physiological changes) and external (social and social norms) factors.
Among the psychological factors appears the need to actively assimilate their own new social role, as well as orientation in the hierarchical structure of society. Children who are used to communicating with all adults, as with peers, have long become accustomed to the fact that different behavior is needed with teachers. There is a division into friends and hermits in a group of peers, there is a need not only for self-presentation, but also for the ability to distinguish a suitable company. All this is very reminiscent of adult life, therefore, receiving responsibilities, the child begins to actively defend his independence and the right to choose, and this applies to all spheres, and not just learning. Parents are often unprepared for the perception of their child more adults and continue to use the kindergarten style of education, against the background of which there are many conflicts.
Having received an officially recognized new social role, the child does not have sufficient adaptive experience for a quick restructuring or the ability to support two behavioral patterns - a small one and a schoolboy. This results in either a desire to reject the past role (refusing to go to bed early or play with younger children) or regression (attempts to return to kindergarten, complaints, return to the behavior of five years). The final self-awareness of an individual forms two loci of assessment - external and internal, which forms a more mature personality. The child distinguishes his assessment of his own actions and that of others, realizing that they are not always identical. This strengthens the independence of judgments and actions, because now in order to perceive one’s personality in positive colors, and acts as correct, there is no need for complete submission to someone. This can increase the level of disobedience, because the mother’s frustrated face no longer means that he acted really badly - it becomes just her assessment of the situation.
The system of social relations becomes more ranked, in it appear close and formal adults, pleasant and unfamiliar peers. At first, the presence of such a variety of subcategories and the need for constant reality testing is energy-intensive for the child's psyche. The training activity remains the leading activity, in connection with which the level of tension grows in all directions, including both cognitive processes and the emotional sphere.
School rules and prohibitions are external factors that change the psyche. To study the limits of what is permitted, to find workarounds and manipulations, to improve his own life, the child uses not a conversational model (inherent in more mature stages of development), but a behavioral one. It looks like provocative behavior, disregard, disobedience, sabotage. The purpose of this behavior is the same - to check how really strong and inviolable the rules are, how far parents and teachers are influenced.
Physiological changes (tooth changes, rapid growth, increase in strength and muscle mass, improved concentration and endurance skills) provide many new opportunities. At the same time, it is the physical (albeit positive) changes that are given to children hard. They are not realized, but they require adaptation, the habitual ability to control one’s body changes, which ultimately causes a state of constant background unconscious anxiety. It is rather difficult to understand one’s irritability associated with developing a habit of carefully applying force or adapting one’s own body and its proportions to new parameters.
Symptoms of a crisis of 7 years
The peculiarities of the 7-year crisis manifest themselves individually and the amount of time is related to the atmosphere in the family, the level of parents' understanding of what is happening with the child, the availability of help, support and preparation for change. Understand that changes in life are given to a child can be difficult for certain symptoms. Most often this is manifested by disobedience, since the child expresses his own protest of changes for which the number or the intensity and intensity of which exceeds the usual norms of mental stress is not ready. This may be a peculiar attempt to return everything as it was or to show adults that it cannot cope with the required volume or pace.
Disobedience can include not only a direct refusal to fulfill requirements or requests, but also manifest itself as stubbornness in upholding one’s opinion. For example, a schoolboy agrees to do all the lessons, but stubbornly defends the opportunity to do it at a convenient time for him or may not perform the tasks on one subject, considering it uninteresting. Often in behavioral manifestations and whims that appear most often in situations of information overload or emotional exhaustion. Just as at three years with the help of crying, the baby signaled about the distress of reality, the whims at the age of seven speak about the unsatisfactory conditions in which he currently lives. If you ignore them, then the next step may be somatization or a nervous breakdown against the background of barely withstanding voltage.
The desire to appear more vividly manifests itself, a 7-year-old child has a businesslike tone, he can spend time with his parents after he finishes important things (he will speak out in much the same way). Copying adult gestures and behaviors, abandoning children's games are vivid signs of incipient socialization. The fright of the parents that cigarettes are imitated with a candy stick is not justified at this stage and does not mean that a first grader smokes around the corner - this is an imitation of adult behavior. In the gestures and reactions there is a lot of control because of the need to comply with the requirements, to meet certain standards. Such a forced necessity leads to a loss of spontaneity, and many begin to behave fictitiously.
Criticism and requests are perceived negatively, because now the child considers himself an adult and hones the skill of confrontation as much as possible. This is a necessary element in first adult life among first-graders because of the inability to distinguish between the two is manifested almost everywhere. It can be said that the main thing is to refuse, to show one's self, to reject criticizing remarks about the possibility of another solution. But after a short period of time, the refusal may be replaced by agreement - he comes to eat after a short period after the refusal, he fulfills the advice of the parents regarding his work. So it may seem that there is an inconsistency of actions and feelings, which is quite explainable by the need to implement the ability to resist.
Noticing how the rules have changed for him, a 7-year-old child begins to try to change the rules for the whole family, to establish his power. At best, this will be the schedule according to which the whole family should live with a certain lunch time and classes, at worst this turns into terror and attempts to fulfill any of their whims.
Recommendations to parents
Faced with a huge amount of new responsibilities, the child responds nervously to any requirements and responsibilities. All your wishes must be formulated in order to actualize the child’s own interest or the need to fulfill them. Orders or even requests can be perceived negatively. Requirements for behavior is better not to pronounce, but to show their own example. If such situations do not arise, you can show the relevant films or tell stories without indicating the need to comply. Children at this stage eagerly absorb information about the rules of existence in society, so they easily seize such veiled messages.
To reduce the level of stress, immediately exclude play activities from the child’s life, replacing it with learning activities. He must have a gap in his familiar world where he can rest and relax. It is good even before the school to conduct training preparatory classes concerning not only the study of basic knowledge, but also regarding the forms of education (the need to adhere to the schedule, respect the adults, etc.). Encourage achievements related not only to cognitive functions, but also the ability to establish and navigate in social interaction. The first good mark can be noted as a family walk, and the acquisition of new friends can be encouraged by children’s chats with chips and fruit.
It is important to respect the decisions made by the child, even if they are ridiculous. As a correction, a reminder may be appropriate, for example, that last time walking on an empty stomach was unpleasant, and experiments with appearances should be left until peer review. In the event of a dispute, do not press the authority and do not prohibit something without arguments, so you encourage direct protest or stubbornness. Speaking with the use of facts, you will not only learn the child's motivation, but also get the opportunity to speak out and hear him. Any dialogue leaves you in touch, which is more meaningful than the formal preservation of positions. There are still a lot of crises and difficult moments ahead and subconscious confidence in parental support is important, giving the opportunity to consult on controversial issues and get protection or practical advice in cases where it is impossible to cope on your own.