Techniques for Handling the 6 year old
informed by, Gesell et al. "The Child from Five to Ten."
Praise- The child is very aware of the importance of being 6. Praise him for all those tasks and qualities he has fought hard for within the last 3 years. Praise the "step back" to encourage the 'step forward.
Give many chances- "No, I won't!".... "I guess your going to need three chances on that one." "Let's see if you can do it before I count to 10." "Do it your way first and then try the other way." Indirect approach works best, power struggles can be disastrous. Gently guide and praise, guide and praise.
Sidestep the issue- Give as few direct commands as possible.
Bargain- Bargaining is highly successful and "Give in". This will provide them a model to follow in later peer interactions or parental interactions. Work out the win/win or give in.
Isolation- Temporarily separating the two of you from each other. On bad days, Parents may wisely let things go and "head for the hills". Understand that this is a transitional stage, and repeat Gesell's jewel of a motto, "No other time makes a greater demand upon a sense of perspective and a sense of humor."(1) This, too, shall pass.
Ignore- Try not to notice every naughty thing. Withhold the reaction and watch as the absolute opposite tact follows almost immediately. Keep thinking to yourself, "Sunshine and Shadow!"
1."The Child from 5 to 10, by Gessell, Ilg & Ames, (Harper Books, 1977)
2."Your Six-Year-Old, Loving and Defiant, Ames & Ilg, (Gesell Institute of Human Development, 1979)
3."Varieties of Temperment.", Sheldon, William H., (Hafner, NY, 1970)