(continued from June 22 2009: Raising Super Children Ages 4 – 7)
Age Eight Through Age Twelve
Emphasize more individuality, more responsibility, more creativity, and more productivity during this age range.
Fantasy and Logic
It is also good to keep up with stimulating their fantasy mind as well as their logical mind. Fantasy keeps the mind stretching beyond what is familiar or comfortable and opens up tremendous opportunity for creative thinking and in nurturing artistic abilities. As long as they are not completely caught up in fantasy to the detriment of logic and rationality, then encourage them to practice thinking in extraordinary ways. Some of the most tremendous inventions came from the ability of the inventor to fantasize and see beyond the scope of what is typical or normal.
This is the age where most children unleash their full creative potential, so capitalize on that. Of course, it can happen earlier, but even earlier childhood creativity coupled with increased intelligence can awaken immense potential and prosperity for your evolving children.
Increase responsibilities and opportunities for self decision-making. Offer suggestions on a more limited basis and inspire children to really think things over for themselves. Give hints as a last resort before giving up the correct answer. Libraries and the Internet are a wealth of information. There is a lot of useless and even incorrect information on the Internet, but with knowing that fact and knowing how to search out the required information, the Internet can be a great tool for gathering knowledge. Prepare them for the dangers of the Internet as well. Give them an idea of what they might stumble upon and why certain content is available. Responsibility is earned so some monitoring maybe necessary on your part, but by teaching them the meaning of responsibility, your children can learn what to avoid.
Some children will exhibit the desire to have a boyfriend or girlfriend during this age range. It can happen at earlier ages, but typically, it happens for the first time at these ages. Some children will also begin noticing the sex nature of being human. Again, be up-front and honest about why humans are attracted into love relationships. Encourage them to research the scientific and psychological aspects of relationships, while providing your own input on the subject. As with the earlier age ranges, repeat the importance of sex responsibility to stay safe and minimize mistakes. Make sure they know it is their choice since it is their body and their life, but again, stress the importance of responsibility and remaining safe from dangerous people of all ages. Children will experiment, so it’s important that they know about appropriate behavior and that sex is better experienced as a responsible adult.
Again, add whatever rational suggestions you feel are important and repeat important information throughout your child’s life.
As mentioned before, when your child is confronted with any situation and asks for your opinion, always start out with asking what they have come up with as a possible solution. Stimulate them to ask intelligent questions and to figure things out on their own. After they have communicated their possible solutions, and you have suggestions that differ, prod them with questions and hints to see if they can formulate a new scenario similar to what is on your mind. If they go off on a tangent without coming up with any other viable solution, only then should you offer any suggestions of your own. The goal here is to let them integrate all the information they have to figure out an intelligent decision. If you see flaws in their logic or you can see potential snags in their solution, again, offer suggestions or help direct them to a source that can help. Keep the conversations going!
Prepare them for major changes such as entering junior high school, and all that entails. Competition, conflicts, relationships, and new friendships usually come with new environments.
(continued July 6 2009: Raising Super Children Ages 13 through 17)