Latency Age Child Behavior Problems

The ages between eight and twelve, often referred to as the “latency stage” is a period of vital development for children.  During this time frame, children have a need to be productive and do work on their own. They should be both physically and mentally ready for it.  Interaction with peers at school also plays an imperative role of child development in this stage. For the first time in their lives, children face a wide variety of events to deal with, including academics, group activities, and friends. Difficulty with any of these leads to a sense of inferiority.  Increasing numbers of children become stagnate in their development during this all important stage due to addiction to technology, video game addiction, entitlement, laziness, and poor parenting.

Program for Latency-Age Children

It is essential for the child at this stage to discover pleasure in being productive and the need to succeed. The child's relationship with peers in school and the neighborhood become increasingly important.  The Family Bootcamp is a great intervention for children who have yet to discover the pleasure of productivity and success.  It is a great intervention for children who are struggling to develop relationships with peers.

All children develop at different paces and have unique experiences of growing up. The years when children are aged 8-12 are filled with lots of cognitive, social and emotional changes. Some children may begin physically maturing earlier than others, meaning that hormonal or physical changes in body shape may start to become apparent.  The primary school years are an important time for social interactions and skill building. Children begin to identify their own abilities, and take pride in their achievements. For example, you may see children showing delight in their constructions, coloring, dancing, football, or homework tasks. 

Cognitively, your child is developing an ability to think in more abstract ways (in terms of ideas or concepts). This means they are moving from thinking about things in concrete or factual ways, and instead beginning to use judgment, creativity and problem solving. For parents this means giving your child the opportunity to ask questions, think about possible outcomes, be creative, and allowing them to explain things that are happening.

This stage is about beginning to develop a sense of self-worth, which continues into adolescence. You may already be starting to see this autonomy in the later primary school-age years (10-12 years), or as children begin high school. Around this time children start to become more independent, and develop a more adult view of the world. This can include having more complex relationships with “best friends” or boyfriends/girlfriends (at this stage most relationships with children of the opposite sex are quite innocent).

The social nature of this stage means that if children feel inadequate or incapable around others, they may have more difficulties later on with self-esteem or confidence. For parents of children 8-12 years, this means providing encouragement, support and belief in what your child can achieve. By doing so, you can help your child to feel confident and not to doubt their own abilities, feelings and experiences.

Program for Child Behavior Problems

For parents it also means understanding that their child’s world is getting bigger. While in early childhood parents may have been their child’s main focus, they are now placed alongside school, friends, sporting teams, and other social activities. This doesn’t mean that you are no longer important; but rather that your child is developing in a normal and healthy way, that includes extending social activities and relationships.

Tips for parents:

Talk to your child about their feelings, their worries, and their hopes and dreams.

Show your child that you are interested in what’s going on for them and who is in their life. This means going along to their sporting games or team events – watch them and encourage their achievements!

Encourage relationships with extended family and others in your child’s social world.

Spend time together as a family, and individually. This can include mealtimes, driving in the car, shopping trips, or a walk to the park.

Ask your child about school, their teachers, and their friends. Keep in regular contact with your child’s teacher about their progress.

Your child will look for more independence so increase their choices and decision-making when you can. This includes giving more responsibility around the home and supporting them with increased school responsibilities.

Remember to offer guidance and keep clear boundaries around behavior. Respond consistently to both good and bad behavior.

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