Have You Met Nine?
With Nine comes a bit of calm. Nine is when you get to see a slower, more focused, independent child. Nine has developed some maturity and parents enjoy this. Nine is able to recognize basic social norms and appropriate behaviors, in themselves and others. They are quick to catch their parents making mistake! Nine has learned emotion regulation skills, and are better able to control their anger and frustration most of the time; the mood swings are less frequent now than with Eight.
Nine has become more self-motivated and determined to accomplish tasks in their own way and may pull away from adult caregivers. Nine is moving happily toward independence, which is often hard on parents who are not quite ready for Nine to grow up so fast. As Nine pulls away from the adults in their life, they move toward stronger, more complex friendships and peer relationships as their primary means of support. You can support Nine through this change by talking to them about their friends, accomplishments, and what challenges they might face. Helping them talk through their emotions during this time is invaluable. If you haven’t started, setting up regular “coffee dates” or “talking walks” lets Nine know you are available and have time carved out for them when they are troubled.
Nine is curious about relationships, particularly between boys and girls, though will never admit to this interest! Instead they will continue insisting that they are “grossed out” by the opposite sex or the notion of “romantic” partnerships. Peer play groups are often segregated by gender, by choice. Nine may experience more peer pressure at this time, and same-sex friendships become emotionally important to navigate problematic peer relationships. Because Nine has gained a strong sense of empathy, they able to see the point of view of others more clearly than in previous years. Nine has a tendency to perceive the world as unfair. Though this can be frustrating for parents, it is important to remember that Nine’s perception is their reality. Parents can help with efforts to make things as fair as possible, particularly in group situations with siblings or peers. This is the time parents can mirror calm emotional discussions and remind Nine about their ability to self-soothe.
Nine is facing more academic challenges at school, and is able to accomplish the increasingly
complex tasks and projects assigned,
such as math homework or book reports. Nine will enjoy reading, comprehending and challenging themselves with more complicated books. Help them to find specific topics that peak their curiosity to learn more. The “magical thinking” of younger years tends to disappear by Nine, causing Nine’s viewpoint of the world to be more realistic. Parents often are both relieved and unsettled by Nine’s change in worldview. Explaining things to Nine in logical terms will appeal to their concrete way of thinking. Nine may ask “Hey Mom, why can’t people just get along?” Your explanation could be “people struggle to get along with others not like them, because listening is hard sometimes,” can help to show Nine how to use their empathy and practice their communication skills. Nine is able to apply simple logic, draw conclusions, and reason with a rational way. Homework struggles may increase as they are tired after using their brains all day. Letting Nine take a break from school before starting homework will likely decrease tensions at home.
As Nine is starting to think more independently, their ability to have increased attention