Have you met Seven? Seven can be a challenge to some parents as they see increased understanding and connections being made in a child's world. Seven is a child who is highly observant about the world around them. They often notice details that were previously overlooked. Seven can feel big emotions, but has more control over them. They have anxiety about things out of their control and can strive for perfection. If you know Seven, you know that they can appear withdrawn and broody. Sometimes you may feel like something is wrong, but much of what is going on is normal with Seven!
Seven has a better understanding of themselves as individuals, separate from other people. They may highlight the experiences of their peers and siblings as evidence that the the world is stacked against them. Seven is very concerned with fairness; he may focus a lot of his attention on the injustices of his day. He will complain about how so-and-so is always called on in class and how his sister gets more attention from mom. Seven begins to formulate their personal identity. Seven may start to align more with their same-sex parent as they develop an understanding of gender in relation to the physical differences of boys and girls. Following the lead of their same-sex parent helps.
In an effort to sort out their own sense of self, Seven is likely to turn inward and be more withdrawn and quiet. Feelings are internalized more now, where before they had been released as external bursts of energy (think about Four, Five, and Six). Seven is prone to large shifts in mood and cries more easily, and she feels more embarrassed about it more than in previous years. Seven is sensitive, they can interpret bad experiences as rejection or personal failure, and take it extra hard because they value their relationships with other people. Seven is more likely to withdraw when conflict arises with their peers and siblings. They are less argumentative with their parents and caregivers, although their moodiness is often directed towards these caregivers. Parents can often wonder "What happened to my sweet Six?" Seven may put blame on others and has a hard time owning up to their mistakes. They don’t want to admit to their wrongdoings despite noticing those of others.
It is important to Seven that the people in his life are happy, particularly his family. Seven might not like to help with household tasks, but doing so will help boost his self-esteem and feelings of significance in the family. So long as pressure is not put on them to perform the task perfectly. You can encourage Seven to help you with chores by giving them three-step instructions, which will help keep them engaged and focused.
Seven's sensitivity is compounded with their ability to comprehend big worries for the first time, particularly about things that are unpredictable! Seven values consistency and might start to have big worries about the possibility of their house burning down, natural disasters, war, or their family's finances. Ignoring these worries will not help them go away! You can help Seven process these big worries by taking time to listen to them and do some calming activities together. Being WITH Seven during these stressful times is especially important. Being honest with feelings and helping them to feel CONNECTED and IN RELATIONSHIP with parents is KEY!
Seven's brain and body are developing many important skills at this time. Their brain is working hard at observing the world around them, controlling impulses, planning ahead, and problem-solving. Seven is reading and comprehending a lot more, understanding numbers and math strategies better, learning to spell correctly, and striving to meet their own high standards for quality of work. Seven is fine-tuning their fine motor skills needed for writing, drawing, cutting, and stringing beads. Gross-motor skills improve as well, such as hand-eye coordination, and the ability to jump rope, swim, or ride scooters. All of this coordination improvement helps boost their confidence and enjoyment in participating in organized sports, gymnastics, dance, or martial arts. Seven might feel more easily fatigued as a result of their energy and focus on mastering these skills. You can help Seven by giving her extra time to transition and finish tasks, as well as offering more breaks along the way.
Seven will be so excited to share their knowledge with others. Seven is not only highly observant about their surroundings, they are curious about how things work and they will ask a lot of questions to help them learn more. Seven is figuring out a lot of things about themselves and the world around them. Seven may have more worries and be more moody than Five or Six, but Seven has a big heart and they value close relationships with others. Giving them the opportunity to have success in their interactions with peers and family is invaluable to Seven. They are trying to figure out their place in the family, and will want to spend more quality time with them. They want to show you all they know. Seven's externalizing behaviors have likely calmed down some, which will make spending time in public places easier for Mom and Dad.
If you’re concerned about Seven, remember that they are learning how to control their emotions and process the world around them. They may feel overwhelmed by fear or anxiety about things they can’t control, but it should not consume them. A parent may feel disconnected, but having this as a constant is not good. If Seven looks significantly different on your child than others or they extremely withdrawn and have little or no social interaction then something could be up. Reaching out to talk to a play therapist can be a wonderful thing, even if nothing is wrong! Being reassured and giving Seven another safe person to connect and talk to can work wonders for both Seven and parents. Seven can seem like treacherous territory, but when you know what is going on you can connect and parent Seven in a way that caters to their individuality and age-based expectations & needs!
Adapted from D. Ray (2016)
What's up with 7 pdf here
Seven Years Old pdf here