What’s the deal with 7-year-olds?

I was thinking of writing this post, called "What's the deal with 7-year-olds?" (subtitle: "Who ARE these people??") but then thought I should try to figure out if it was just mine, or if other people are experiencing the same frustration.

Let's put aside the fact that for years you all have been saying "Seven-year-olds are so frustrating!!" but my older one was totally fine at age 7 so I just didn't get what you mean. I get it now. Boy, do I get it.

And it makes so much sense that 7 is a rough age, because we already went through the crappy developmental leaps-slash-sleep-regressions at 4 months, 9 months, 18 months, then that massive personality implosion of 3 1/2 years. So if we double that we get to 7 years. (And then 14 sucks, too, if you will recall your own life. I felt out of sorts at age 21. And 28, too, come to think of it.)

So it makes sense. But, also, I'm tired of it.

So I went to see if our friends Louise Bates Ames and France Ilg from the Gesell Child Study Institute had written a book on 7-year-olds. Their "Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy?" book saved my sanity twice, but I hadn't read past that one.

So I went to Amazon to see what the book for seven-year-olds looks like. (It turns out that Ilg wasn't on this project, but Carol Chase Haber was.) I was not disappointed: Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key

Well, yes. Here's the blurb about the book:

"Your Seven-Year-Old is devoted to the delightful but often
anxious and withdrawn child of Seven. Although any seven-year-old will
have moments of exuberance, security, and happiness, in general this is
an age of introspection. As it begins, parents and teachers may welcome
the quiet after the tussles and tangles of Six. But once the child of
Seven starts to withdraw it’s almost as though he doesn't know where or
when to stop. Seven-year-olds feel picked on by family, friends, and
teachers alike; they worry that no one likes them; they expect every
little task to prove too difficult to handle; tears come easily at this
age.
 
With wit and wisdom, Dr. Ames of the highly respected
Gesell Institute and Carol Chase Haber offer insights into what children
this age are feeling and thinking, and how parents can best deal with
these moody, serious Sevens."

Yes! Moody moody moody. Easily set off. Dramatic, as if every little slight is a deep wound to the soul.

I ordered the book, but am almost afraid to read it when it gets here, lest it confirm that this is really happening. Still, knowing is half the battle, so I'll read it.

Who's got a beef with a seven-year-old? Who's all cocky because they had an easy seven-year-old like my first one was? Who remembers being seven? Someone tell me it's not just my house, please.

 

* Good news! The internet tells me the name of the book about 8-year-olds is subtitled "Lively and Outgoing." That's hopeful. Nine more months.

 

55 thoughts on “What’s the deal with 7-year-olds?”

  1. Hijacking post right from the get-go because I popped in this morning intending to search the phrase “Why does my 3 1/2 year old want me to run away and never come back because I’m seriously thinking about it and why doesn’t she want to sleep in her own bed and ohmygod I want to mainline a nice, soft cabernet…”So thanks for the book links and all your previous posts on 3 year olds and the fun that they bring.
    I’ll book mark this post for my 3 years in the future self. End of hijack.

  2. My 7 year old (last year) was compliant and fun, stepping back into the shadows while the sassy 10 yo was getting disciplined. But this year the now 8yo is the one having the attention while the 11 yo has had a leap of maturity.My 8yo is constantly arguing over things that need no explanation. He picks purposeful fights with his brother. He dwells on every slight (every perceived slight!) and keeps a grudge. He seems to be playing dumb sometimes, not getting a joke at the dinner table or not being able to figure out what to do in a simple dilemma. Maybe he’s playing dumb, maybe he’s just… dumb right now?
    In any case, I liked seven better!

  3. My 10-year old is always dramatic; 7 wasn’t any more or less difficult than any other year. If she doesn’t win an Oscar I will be shocked!My 7-year old is having a great year, but we did a lot of work when she was 2-4 with communication so now it’s easier to see when she’s starting to escalate and, for the most part, I can head it off before she gets to defcon-5.
    In Chinese Medicine females are on a 7-year cycle and men are on an 8-year cycle of change/development.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! I have two of them, and most of their classmates are just now turning 8. This whole year has been rough. My twins tend to hit developmental changes several months apart, which has actually been a blessing. But the withdrawn part of the 7s has not happened around here at all. What has happened: Moody, uncooperative, resentful, deciding on their own to do things when parents aren’t watching (for example, taking the kayaks down to the water and going out on the lake before my husband got there, even though they KNEW they were not allowed), insisting they don’t want to do ANYTHING you suggest even though once they get there they love the activity as always. Very very contrary, aggressive, talking back “I’m NOT going,” etc. Oh, and also? They know EVERYTHING and you know NOTHING.Sorry for the caps but I had three of them in my house yesterday and while I love all three of them dearly and my two are the loves of my life, the atmosphere was thick with aggression. This morning I woke up to temper tantrums because their father had drunk all the milk last night when he got home and there was none for their cereal. The outrage! The refusal to walk across the street to the deli with me to buy some more! The insistence they should be able to bring toys because it was going to be SO BORING!! And why should they have to go?? Why couldn’t I just leave them in the apartment and go by myself?
    It goes on and on. The good news is that the one who goes through these phases first is shown signs occasionally of being more cooperative and agreeable…like the 8 year old you described. So 6 months from now I should be in bliss. They actually hit 8 in Dec.
    Thank you for posting about this. I have had them home all summer due to our summer camp major fail and I am about to go out of my mind, working and dealing with the 7 year old attitude x 2.

  5. I guess I should also point out that one of mine is an introvert who has a great deal of righteous indignation which keeps him from being withdrawn. The other is a true extrovert. He is the type who walks up to all the kids on the street, holds out his hand, and introduces himself. And such is his charm that he always wins over the startled child. So I think any tendencies toward withdrawal or introspection would get drowned out in their other character tendencies.

  6. You mean it gets more moody and dramatic than 6 1/2… or is this just the lead up to 7? Oh wait, she has always been moody and dramatic – I am afraid that it may get worse!

  7. I honestly don’t remember! So either she was really good – no issues, or I have amnesia. Either way, life is good!

  8. Jenn–From watching their girl classmates, I think girls go through this earlier so your daughter might very well be in it. And it seems to me that the brighter the kid, the earlier they hit these phases. Not 100% sure about that, just from my observations.

  9. My oldest just turned 7, I have a just turned 3 year old, and a 7 month old…I am insane.
    But the first 2 are girls…
    The 7 year old is a dramatic moody girl, and it’s been a tough time.
    I think it’s we expect more from them at 7, because they are able to to more for themselves… Especially with her being the oldest… Need to keep reminding ourselves that she is also a kid!

  10. I think these are all such generalities, and YMMV so much. Both of mine were awesome at 7 (but let’s not talk about 3.) My life took a major turn for the better at 14, so it shines like a bright light in my past. Neither of my kids had classic sleep regressions – one was a champion sleeper from the get-go, and the other was Sleep Fail.Do not doom yourself to an entire year of Bad Seven. Maybe “going through a phase” would make it seem less set in stone, and more liable to ending any old time?
    Best wishes through it and beyond!

  11. @Kathleen – I love you.No really. You have just described EXACTLY my 7YO son. And there’s only the one. Three of them might kill me.
    “My life is awful! You are horrible! You are the WORST MOM EVER. Why are you always so mean? When you’re harsh and mean, you make me think you don’t love me! Do you want me to think you don’t love me! This is the WORST DAY EVER!”
    [30 seconds pass] He throws his arms around me. “Let’s SNUGGLE! I LOVE YOU!”
    And then there’s the jumping (interspersed, of course, with wailing about injuries). OY.

  12. You know M, I feel a ton better now knowing I’m not in this 7-year old nightmare alone ;)I thought it was a ‘girl thing’ since I’m raising 2 girl children but I’m somewhat relieved to hear that it may be endemic to the age and not the gender ’cause the drama…oh, the drama! And the tears, and the, “You hate me!”s and oh so much more fun stuff (to which my 7 y/o would reply, “And by that you mean stuff that’s not really fun, right?” Spot on my girl, spot on).
    Totally feeling ya πŸ™‚ And I’m looking forward to the “Lively and Outgoing” of 8. Pleasedeargodletitbetrue.

  13. ha! I was on here earlier this summer, bookmarking the 7 year old bits b/c my daughter was hell. pure moody hell. worse than her normal drama. its odd tho, because she’ll come up to me later and snuggle and tell me she wasn’t sure what came over her and she just wanted to yell those things so badly even though she shouldn’t but she couldn’t stop herself…very self aware, that one. I’m looking forward to 8, just around the corner.exacerbating the whole thing is that my son just turned 4 so we’ve been in the tail end of the 3.5 yr mixup. He’s such a sunny kid that the bad times seem like such a blow.

  14. I guess my daughter (who turned 8 this spring) had some issues during late 6 and 7. But I just thought it was her personality – she’s always been intense, and Cool Experimental School was asking her to take on some really hard challenges. But there was a good bit of withdrawing in her behavior and that worried me a lot. Knowing it was age-typical is very useful. It also just doesn’t push my personal buttons the way some other kid behaviors do – I’m fairly introverted (you won’t guess it if you meet me because I’m very well trained for a profession that requires interaction) and also intense and perfectionist. So yeah, I get that these things really hit you hard.I do find that the now-8-year-old is MUCH more able to cope. But here I had attributed that to my excellent parenting during the crises of 7, hahahahaha. In case you’re interested, though, I’ll tell you what we did:
    Crisis #1: Mouse and a friend auditioned for a professional dance performance. Said friend is teeny for their age and had been taking classes for a couple months. Mouse, in her 3rd year of dance, is enormous for their age. Auditions were rows by height, so friend was with 6-year-olds, Mouse was with 9-year-olds. Guess which one got a part. Poor Mouse was c-r-u-s-h-e-d, mainly because she felt she has put the time in and the friend hadn’t. They’re in the same small class at school, and the friend was as nice as could be about it, no bragging, etc. but her mom did organize a school trip to see one of the performances. This just. could. not. be. fair. in Mouse’s eyes. Logic did not help. Explaining the size thing to her only increased her sense of unfairness. Talking through her feelings only intensified them. I ended up pursuing distraction – extra activities and dates with other people, and just pointing out to her when things went well, so she’d see that in fact she could go on. And I remembered that book about teenagers by Madeline Levine where she says that it’s really important to learn that you can make it through a crushing disappointment. I did insist that she go to the show and bring flowers, since it was her best friend and that is what you do when your best friend has a big moment; but I took her separately so I could sit with her and help her. She did really well, enjoyed the show, and just fell apart on the train going home. Fair enough. Honestly, this one is still painful to Mouse to this day.
    Crisis #2: the very hard school project. The main point of Mouse’s school is that kids work on projects, often really challenging ones, that reflect real personal interests. At one point last year, we tried an experiment with having things less individualized, but just as challenging. So Mouse had to reverse-engineer and construct a potential energy car, a project that I think is kind of neat but that just didn’t do it for her. And it’s quite hard. She ran into a lot of obstacles and stuck spots and she would just get completely dejected and withdraw and refuse to participate. She would not try any strategy besides ramming the problem with the same approach over and over. It was worrying her teacher, it was worrying me…until Mouse and I had a conversation where she said “I WANT to persist but I just CAN’T” and I hearkened back to (you’re gonna laugh if you’ve been at Moxie for a while) poo-poo presents. Yes, the little rewards that we used during potty training. Mouse doesn’t remember that much about that, but I asked her if she thought she could make those second and third tries if she knew there was a reward (because often the second/third try wasn’t going to bring a real project reward). She said yes, and so we had “persistence prizes” – any day that her teacher told me she’d showed even a moment of get-up-and-try-again, I’d give her a lego minifig (I bought a big box of them for cheap). And it really turned her around over a few weeks. She made it through the project with work she could be proud of, and the next one she got to choose herself and wild horses couldn’t get her to stop working on it, no matter what happened.
    But of course, she was heading towards 8 by the time this resolved, so I have no idea whether it was any use at all. But I think it felt good to both of us to have the extra reinforcement. And she was really proud of the persistence skills she gained…to the point where she got quite upset with a friend who had a hard time with persistence a couple months later.
    So that’s probably a novel and YMMV but there you go.

  15. @Kate–Yep. It’s psycho. But it helps to see that we are not alone, doesn’t it?
    Our friends with a 7 year old are having all these problems as well, including the withdrawn part, which I would find even harder to deal with. I’d rather have them just yell at me and get it over with. Plus the yelling results in a time out and I get 10 minutes or so of peace.

  16. 7&1/2 was all Drama! And “I never get to do anything”. When I refused to buy her a T-shirt she fussed, “I never get anything I want” This said while we were in DISNEY WORLD. Really??But she is also very snuggly, so that makes up for it.
    She is almost 8, so YAY.
    Glad to hear there are Gesell books that go that far. I only have thru 4. Will have to go to the bookstore.

  17. @Charisse – I remember potty presents and used that concept (really neat, wrapped gifts that you never mention and wait for the kid to ask about) for the binky going away. We also did a binky fairy thing with a known reward.I have a 7-year old, but he’s, shall we say, always been a bit of a pill. And I NEVER let him do anything fun EVER because I am so MEAN, so of course, he has every right to act this way. (eyeroll)

  18. My 7.5-year-old has the persistence problem, too. Anything that looks like she won’t be good at it right away, she won’t attempt. “But I CAN’T!” How do you know you can’t? “I CAN’T!” Tears. Grumpy in the morning. “We’re going out for lunch today.” Knee-jerk response: “I don’t want to.” “We’re having spaghetti for dinner.” “I don’t want to.” Etcetera.But she is also creative, generous, lively, funny, and silly. We’re doing gratitude time during evening prayers, and practicing being positive and resilient. I hope she’ll grow out of the Miss Grumpypants stuff if I keep giving her the tools.

  19. Kate and Kathleen, you must be living in my house.T (who tends to hit such milestones about 6 mos. early) turned 6.5 two weeks ago, and the switch was flipped. Oy.
    “…deciding on their own to do things when parents aren’t watching … insisting they don’t want to do ANYTHING you suggest even though once they get there they love the activity as always. Very very contrary, aggressive, talking back “I’m NOT going,” etc. Oh, and also? They know EVERYTHING and you know NOTHING.”
    Exactly.
    And the pouting; the sarcasm; the eye-rolling; the door-slamming; the jumping off things, sustaining small injuries, freaking out because it’s the wrong icepack or I-wanted-to-put-the-cream-on-MYSELF-Mom! or the healing kiss was in the wrong place… sometimes it’s hard not to laugh, and sometimes it’s hard not to scream.
    Luckily, a good portion of the time he’s a lot of fun to be around. But I’m not looking forward to another 6 months of this part.

  20. yeah. Mr G’s 7 ate my brain. Hence my post: http://hedra.typepad.com/hands_full_of_rocks/2008/08/seven-is-not-my.htmlIt’s different by child, in my experience. I complained about this with G, and then B was pretty easy. But then he already was a social roll-with-it kid, so he came in with skills, and even when he tanked on the brain transition, he still had more than average. So he was pretty okay, though still, er, not super fun.
    And then M and R, who are just coming out of this? Hide under the desk, INCOMING MOODY ATTACK! Moody, fragile, moody, emotional, reactive, moody, angry, fragile, volatile, moody, and did I mention MOODY? Add in that estrogen and progesterone are coming on line from about 6 years old, and you get random hypersensitive/think-first-trimester-pregnant interspersed with random self-critical/depressed/PPD. (My sister insists that at 12, you get two weeks of each in series, as their hormones start to really pour through… lovely!)
    One will throw things and scream, the other throw things and run away crying. One will be b*tchy to the other, then insist they weren’t mean at all, and the other is out of line. One will pitch a fit of epic proportions because she wanted a turn to watch tv, the other will pitch a fit of epic proportions because I spoke to her. At all. Forget mentioning that her hair might need attention before going to church. “Do you have a plan for getting ready?” is met with (at about ‘you’) “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO??!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN??!!! WHY ARE YOU SO BOSSY!!! DO YOU THINK I AM *STUUUUPIDDDDD*?????!!!!! YOU ARE A TERRIBLE MOM!!!!!” (she stops short of ‘I hate you’ because we’ve already done that round and she knows it won’t fly) And of course, when I insist she use appropriate tones of voice it goes into either wounded or attitude-from-hell PULEEZ. Head-spinning wow. And then 2 seconds later, she’ll be leaning against me, or asking me to pick her up and dance, or being silly about whether we can have boogers for dinner. AAAH! AAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!
    My kids hit the phases around a quarter of the way into the year, and then ease out about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through, so worst on the half-years (thank you Ames+Ilg, I am not crazy, it is normal!). So we’re seeing self-control assert itself in the midst of a meltdown, so we get a child retorting that I am Not Parenting Effectively ThankYouVeryMuch while still in mid-freak-out/melt-down. But hey, presence of mind enough to say ‘mom, that is not an appropriate technique to apply to me at this juncture, please give me some time to get myself sorted out here’ instead of just screaming or running off to cry. You know, more data coming back my way so I can manage better instead of putting my foot in it? Yay. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY. I so much more relate to the 8 than the 7, in that it fits my brain better. Maybe some people prefer 7 to 8, but I love 8. I always loved 8. Brains all on line at 8, even if not very skillful yet.
    It has looked different from each of them, but yeah, still not my favorite age. And so far, 15 is looking fandamntastic. 14 didn’t suck, and 15 is already impressing the heck out of me… (Yes, I had 7, 7, 10, and 14 all at once. I survived. Now I get 8, 8, 11, and 15 as reward for surviving! WOOT! though really, 10 wasn’t bad. 7 + 7 + 14, notsofun.)
    I remember being 7, but it probably isn’t relevant since it was all PTSD and dissociation from being raped. Which may also mess with my ability to cope with 7 year olds, but then, y’all give me hope that it isn’t all about the abuse. πŸ™‚

  21. @Charisse, we did huge long parenting projects with G, too, and it probably did have some long-term impact in terms of skills, but overall, probably mostly he just was 8 next, and it would have clicked with less work then. But it gave me something constructive to do with my ‘must DO something’ energy. Funny, I didn’t do any of that with Mr B or Misses M and R… er. Not sure if I’ll regret that later. And yeah, they don’t have the same saving-for-stuff and planning-for-work skills G has now, either.

  22. Wow. Yes. My reaction to the Seven in our house is something like “oh my God, you are trying to manipulate me with all these negative emotions” suddenly veering to “oh, no, you are really suffering and I am a mean mom not to empathize” to “wait, now you’re engrossed in the Yankees box score and don’t have a care in the world.” The kid leaves me reeling every day.

  23. FML!!!!I keep waiting for things to get easier with Eldest Daughter, and it hasn’t. Not for nearly 6 years now.
    This morning she went completely hysterically apeshit at the library – like, hyperventilating and headbanging – for….I don’t know what reason. It was not a tantrum. It was embarrassing as hell for me, but it wasn’t an “I don’t want to go” sort of thing. It was just….suddenly upon us.
    After she calmed back on our walk home, she melted into the saddest sobs and told me, “I don’t know what is WRONG with me, Mommy! I don’t understand what happened in there!”
    The worst part for me is that I don’t either. I used to be able to say, “Aw, crap, there was dairy in that.” Or, “must be lunch time!” and shove a high-protein snack into her mouth. But this one totally blindsided me as much as it did her. I saw NO triggers whatsoever.
    Except….her 6th birthday is in a month? Maybe?
    Anyway, Yes, we practice strict dietary control (sugar and dairy are huge contributors to behavioral issues for her). Yes, she takes Chinese herbs every morning to help even out her system. Yes, she gets cranial-sacral therapy regularly. No, I can’t control her weird sleep patterns and night time wakeups (though the herbs help a LOT).
    But seriously. You’re telling me that I’m in for two more years of this weird unbalanced hell?
    Can anyone share coping mechanisms beyond hiding like hermits at home until she leaves for college???

  24. Laura–Your daughter may be on her own track. It sounds like she has more issues going on than just the regular developmental ones happening. Although maybe she could also be an early bloomer? I have seen girls who are 6 acting like boys that are 7 and then by 7 they are over it and acting like very civilized sweet 8s. So don’t panic yet!As far as coping, it’s like the 3 year old book said, “Make sure you are getting breaks.” Hand them off to a spouse or a sitter so that you are not getting overwhelmed and reacting badly. Keep as consistent as you can and when they misbehave, send them to their room or whatever time out type of activity you do. And be vigilant about it because if you slack off, they get worse. They need to know bad behavior (all this testing of limits) is going to result in something that won’t be fun. The bad behavior happens less often when they have had sufficient consequences. I sent my boy today to his room about 5 times. It helped every time. He eventually started up the bad behavior again but it gave me some time before it started again so I was able to not snap.

  25. So just tonight, my 7 year old was telling me how awful school was, and how no one likes him and that it wasn’t fair that he had to go school, and why can’t he just have some peace??? He actually said that: “I need more peace.” You and me both, buddy.It’s really nice to know that this might be just a phase. He sailed through 4, 5, and 6. I was beginning to worry that this was the beginning of a psychotic break, or that my parenting abilities had reached some maximum, and that I was really screwing him up. I hadn’t considered that this might be a phase.

  26. @Laura, look into FODMAPs as contributors. They’re not going to show 1:1 because it accumulates over three days, so you may have the same ‘sugar-like’ contribution but with NO obvious pattern at all. The ‘I don’t know what happened in there’ is exactly (!!!!!) how Mr B responded. He has Fructose Malabsorption. Sugar and Lactose are trigger sugars for him (fermentable) but sugar is really a volume thing once he gets the fructose load down, no Inulin/FOS/chicory, no whole grains except oats, and nearly no fruits (no onion or garlic, either). She could also have SIBO (small bowel bacterial overgrowth) which has the same behavioral symptoms. (Low FODMAP diet is used for IBS and Fructose Malabsorption. Note that Fructose Malabsorption only has any GI symptoms at all about 50% of the time, the rest is just the behavioral symptoms.)The huge red flag for me on what you said is the sleep issue – fermentation in the gut from FM or SIBO will prevent tryptophan from being absorbed. That’s needed to create both serotonin and melatonin. Brain goes haywire randomly, emotions are all over the place, rage and intense hour-long screaming meltdowns because an immediate minor item wasn’t exactly as wanted. (low circulating tryptophan = high focus on short-term wants to the exclusion of long term needs, self-centered behavior, rage attacks, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.)
    Please look into both FM and SIBO (you can join my Fructose Malabsorption Australia yahoo group to talk to other parents who have had exactly the same situations happen. There are contributing variations in many cases, salicylate or food allergy or celiac as underlying or comorbid conditions, but it might give you the missing parts of the puzzle).
    I feel for you, and for her, soooooo much.
    I despaired for Mr B. It was heartbreaking, and scary, and bewildering, and exhausting. Fortunately, diet change with this is a near immediate impact, and for some kids is a complete fix in 4 days. Before, Mr B said it was like monsters came and took over his brain. He was trying so hard to be nice, and kind, and thoughtful, and it just would not come out. On the flip side, once his diet was even basically under control for the fructose, he was spectacularly kind, thoughtful, and generous. Since he’d spent so long trying and failing on that, he relished the feeling of being able to choose how to act. He has remained thoughtful and considerate (though a bit more normal range) in the years since. We have occasional fails, and they show, but it is much better even then, because his baseline is better.
    It takes only a few days of trialing a strict baseline diet to see results (day 4 was like a switch for each of the kids). Check out the FM content on my blog (start with: http://hedra.typepad.com/hands_full_of_rocks/2008/10/how-it-all-bega.html maybe).
    Hang in there. Even if this is not the key issue, if it is a contributor it’s worth the pain-in-the-butt for them being able to live a relatively normal internal life.

  27. And my sympathies again… I’m flashing back to all the things we tried, all the days I just put a mental bell jar over us so I wouldn’t notice the other people staring at us while my child had some catastrophic lockup/meltdown in public, all the well-meaning advice (that I was exhausted by because it was mostly the same things – and sorry to be adding to that, but I suspect it is not one of the usual directions it goes… sooooo many bells going off for me here).I was even exhausted by the sympathy and empathy and kindness, because I didn’t have room for anything that wasn’t actually contributing to a solution. As much as FM sucks in terms of daily management (sending food to school, pricey gluten-free/wheat-free foods, not even being able to use most gluten-free/wheat-free foods, bringing treats to parties, being the mom who says ‘no you cannot have an apple slice, or watermelon, and you’ve had enough carrots for today, have a rice cracker’), it is such a relief to know what it is, and to know that when something goes wrong it is temporary, and to be able to help my kids learn how to manage themselves effectively (diet and behavior both), because we just plain KNOW what is up? Intense positive there. Whatever the baseline issue, I hope you find it.

  28. Thanks, Hedra and Kathleen. It’s good to know I’m not alone in the craziness.She is definitely on her own development track. My regular and consistent break this summer was a sweet little Waldorf summer camp twice a week. She was not adored by her teacher, which was an interesting challenge for her to face, but I was proud of her for weathering it. (The teacher was not ever unkind; she just noticed the difference in warmth of interaction between teacher-her and teacher-other kids.)
    It’s VERY hard to get babysitters who can handle her strong personality mixed with incredible emotional sensitivity. Working on that right now. I’m homeschooling both girls (#2 is 2.5), and getting onto a stronger rhythm for fall will make life easier as well.
    Hedra, I’m going to tinker around with the fructose thing. It will be easier to do naturally as summer wanes! My kids are both happiest when they eat massive amounts of meat (very odd for me, raised as a strict vegetarian and very new to cooking/eating meat!). We avoid refined sugar and most sugar in general, but I do use dates and a lot of raw honey to sweeten things – would that possibly cause a huge disturbance?

  29. dates and honey are two of the worst items. Also terrible are apples, pears, and any fruit with a pit, and any juices with those in them. (and garlic and onions, as noted) by comparison, straight sugar (cane juice, etc.) is much easier on them, but the symptoms from sugar usually show up faster.Safer: white grapes (a few, not juice), oranges/clementines (we do best with clementines), blueberries (not the wild kind, the big highbush or average size kind). A few raspberries or blackberries (2 or 3). Cranberries are also okay (even sweetened). Froz concentrated OJ is fine, some ‘fresh squeezed’ are too high in fructose.
    If you sweeten with honey and dates, and she eats wheat and whole grains and fruit, she’s probably way over the daily adult maximum capacity for absorption. So she might not even be malabsorbing, just overloaded (yeah, a healthy diet doesn’t look like what we think… if anything is sweet, or out of season, likely the sugars and fructose are way over the limit).

  30. Wow! Okay. Yeah. I’m going to definitely tinker with the diet. Lots of whole grains here, lots of stone fruit this summer…and she has a high fiber cereal with applesauce and peanut butter on it every morning. lol.Hopefully I can bring things back to a dull roar just by making a few switches.
    Sigh. I’m really weary!! But thank you so much for your help. It’ll be worth the effort.

  31. Other ‘normal/sane’ things you can add to the mix for ‘healthy/natural’ without so much fructose impact: buckwheat, baking potatoes (for any potato purpose, the large baking potatoes are best, or use some of them and some of another potato just to ‘thin out’ the fructans/fructose), and oats (they can be whole grain). Also, for pasta variety, try white rice pasta (go to an asian grocery to get it at a normal cost, instead of crazy pricey).Think 1850’s farm food, pretty much. A little corn on the cob or hominy, a little wheat as bread or rolls, but more potatoes and buckwheat and oats and pearled barley and meat and broccoli and squash, and very little ‘spice’ (herbs are fine, onion/garlic can be a hard hit).
    Peanuts/PB is fine, too.
    Gotta run, hope that settles things out!

  32. My seven year old is actually 6 3/4 so I have both books at my house just now. (He saw one, opened it to the Table of Contents and upon seeing the chapter about birthday parties immediately flipped to that page and began to read. I was able to reclaim it before he read too far.)I’m not sure I’m up to facing a year of full on moroseness…

  33. My 7.5 yo doesn’t suffer much from theatrics or melodrama but he WILL NOT listen unless I tell him something like a gazillion times! It is as though he is totally distracted or absorbed by his thoughts, so if you really want him to listen to you, you have to hold him by the shoulders, look him straight in the eye and talk. Even then it doesn’t always work.We still have some early bird risings. But he will entertain himself until the next person wakes up. This has been going on quite a bit now, so it maybe a sign of needing to go to bed a bit later and not so much some kind of sleeep regression.
    Looking forward to the 8s, but don’t know if I’ll be able to handle even more livelieness from my extremely extrovert little guy.

  34. I know this is a few days old, but I had to come back to say that 7 also seems incompatible with piano lessons.Most of the bad stuff with 7 seems to be over for us, except when I try to get him to play piano. And then, OMG.

  35. Oh, Nell, I am working in the bedroom as I hear T have a total meltdown over *actually being asked to practice piano!* in the LR. Aagh. And he LIKES playing piano. But, y’know. Feeling very grateful for my husband’s patience right now.

  36. Oh my goodness, my seven year old, I should have known it was a “thing” but he is SO MOODY. He cries over homework almost every night, he is petulant and whiney. Then he turns around and laughs deep belly laughs while reading Calvin and Hobbes. I ground him from his DS (for throwing it!) and he says he is glad he is grounded. It’s just crazy. I’m glad I’m not the only one, and I think I’ll check out the book because, seriously! :0)

  37. I hated 7. Loathed it. My husband hated 7. We thought that we had really really screwed up.Thank goodness for Hedra’s blog post. I needed the affirmation that neither the kid or I were losing our minds.

  38. Now, age 7 I enjoy. I HATE age 5 with all the loathing I can muster — all three of my oldest drove me bananas with age 5.My DD just turned six — hallelujah!

  39. I love you all. Really. It is SUCH A RELIEF to know I’m not alone or insane or the worst mommy in the whole world.Thank you.

  40. Thank you for the reminder to pull out my Ames and Ilg books! The tot just turned 8, but she is holding on to her melodrama from 7. “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME!” is a commonly heard sentiment in our house. Seven was awful enough that I’ve even repressed having read the book. I know I read it. I just can’t recall it, LOL. Now Tater is getting ready to turn 4 and I realize I completely skipped the 3-year-old book with him, but yes, 3.5 was pretty awful too. So it looks like I have some reading to catch up on!

  41. I remember being 7, and it felt like the whole world was just waiting to mock me. My 4tear old us already so emotionally sensitive, 7 may actually kill me.

  42. What Annie came to know, is that in a group dynamic of the old therapy ways, where you all sit around and ‘share’ your story, the story wasn’t being told. But, put them in a room doing art, without rules, just giving them the supplies and a few words, incredible things would show up. The body and unconsciousness would be doing the art!

  43. Thank you for posting this & reminding me to go get it from the library. I have a 6 year old, but she’s the youngest in her class, so is going to school with many 7 year olds. I fear that she is watching them & learning behaviors she wouldn’t otherwise see.So, I’ll be getting both 6 & 7 from the library!

  44. OMG! Thank you so much for this post! I thought I was the only one (don’t all moms at one point or another!). I have the most loving, sweet and caring seven year old that has suddenly decided he doesn’t want to see, talk to or in general be around ANYONE! He is already shy and quiet but this is a whole new level of withdrawn. I was really getting worried. I feel much better now…

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