Parenting Perspective: Normal behavior for 9-year-olds
February 23, 2010 (WPVI) -- This week's blog is about how "nine is divine" but can also bring its own set of challenges and question marks when it comes to your children.
Chip Wood from "YARDSTICKS: Children in the Classroom ages 4-14" has some great ideas for tackling the tricky parts of your 9-year-old's behavior, while enjoying all the many positives!
First the great news: Nine-year-olds are better coordinated, love word play, are intellectually curious but not as imaginative as their 8-year-old friends, and are beginning to see the bigger outside world like concepts of "justice and fairness." Your nine-year-old can master cursive handwriting; will enjoy pushing their physical limits with wrestling or racing and take pride in detailed work. Interestingly as they pass through one milestone of their childhood, the single digits, they may sometimes revert to baby talk, they like to negotiate and do "let's make a deal" over everything; they may also be critical of others and enjoy the occasional "dirty" joke. All this is perfectly normal. Laughter is often the best approach, and positive reinforcement minus the sarcasm. Just be kind and patient... they'll come around.
Now for the more challenging parts.
Nine-year-olds often complain about their aches and pains, bemoan the fact that things aren't "fair," can be moody and negative saying "It's boring" or "I hate this." They may twist their hair or bite their nails to relieve tension. And yes, they're often restless. They're generally worried and anxious, needing clarity when getting directions. It's not easy dealing with their sullenness, or the dark view of school, friends and family sometimes. But just know that their pensiveness will pass. They often do feel "the weight of the world" as they move from being a small child to being a pre-teen or tween, as my son Jake likes to call it.
What are some fun things you can do with your 9-year-old young man or young woman?
They love poetry, enjoy researching things on the web, they might enjoy Scrabble, Sudoku or other word games now that their spelling and reading have improved. How about practicing a game of fractions, counting the change in your pocket while you time them or testing their multiplication skills with a Twizzler for every full number they get right?
Favorite themes for children this age include cultural history, our country and the world (right now they would enjoy learning more about the people of Haiti or the Olympics in Canada.) They enjoy learning about ethnic diversity, the environment and literary characters. And when all else fails, they still love a romp around the closest city park or bicycling with you as you point out the winter berries, bare trees and rock formations along the way.
Have fun with your young pre-adult. They're truly smart, enthusiastic and still young enough to catch your positive vibes!
monica malpass parenting reports, parenting, monica malpass
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