My work captures the age-related “stages” children go through. It is when children act up and act weird at age-related times. Per the theory of many, these are times of internal growth. My work attempts to capture both the “irritating” behavior and the new abilities that seem to come with it. This is the page for 7+ year olds. This was last updated on June 29, 2020.
Middle Elementary Milestone 1: 7 years, 1 Month
Middle Elementary Milestone 2: 7 years, 3 Months
Middle Elementary Milestone 3: 7 years, 5 months
Middle Elementary Milestone 4: 7 years, 9 months
Middle Elementary Milestone 5: 7 years, 11 months
Middle Elementary Milestone 1 —Big Theories and Ideas and with Precision
Starts: 7 years, 1 month ish
Most Intense: 7 years, 1 month, 2 weeks ish
Ends: 7 years, 1 month, 3 weeks ish
Irritable Period Summary
• Marked by annoyingly weird behaviors such as:
• Grabbing other children and spitting on them
• Rubbing their genitals in public
• Repeatedly opening and closing a door (within inches of where it opens and closes)
• Inserts their things into other’s things, such as wrapping their string for a pulley around another child’s
• Won’t stop tapping or harassing others
New Abilities Summary
• This is marked by the ability to handle or create bit theories, ideas, or projects, and to handle many fine details that go along with it
• Makes a book and fills it in with elaborate detail, such as a Fan that picks up a Box and they go over an obstacle course and find gold and they have detailed drawings of all of this \
• Dying to do something physically demanding that requires a lot of delicate skill, such as Parkour
• Takes on a big challenge that also requires precision, like you go on a scavenger hunt and they announce, “I can find a grain of sand!”
• Very precise with details. You might ask, “A month has 30 days right?” And they reply, “Um, Mommy, a month can have 29, 30, or 31 days.”
• Likes a big challenge such as to memorize all 50 states
• In deep awe of beauty, such as sunsets and sunrises or cute animals
• Highly functioning within a family or team. They are aware of how they function and how others function and how to make it go smoothly
• Extremely helpful and encouraging. They might encourage their younger sibling to read and they will help them “if they get stuck.” Or they talk about how they can successfully “settle” difference between children
• Love to walk into a “big” place where a lot of things happen in which they might imagine themselves participating, like a college campus or a baseball stadium
• Thinks about what they might be when they grow up
• Takes on very adult like personas. “Call me science John”
Middle Elementary Milestone 2 —Finds “Easter Eggs” (Hidden and Deeper Meanings)
Starts: 7 years, 3 months, 1 week
Ends: 7 years, 4 months, 3 weeks
Irritable Period Summary
• Uncontrollable aggression
• Can’t seem to stop themselves from slapping other children or throwing blankets
• Jumps all over couches and crashes into furniture; just can’t seem to control themselves; as if a house is not the proper place for a 7 year old child to live
• Has trouble doing mental things that used to be so easy, such as adding 4 + 4
• Tries to pull “pranks” on people which are likely annoying but which they sincerely think is in good natured fun
New Abilities Summary
• The most striking new ability is how well they find “Easter eggs” in life. For instance, they might notice, completely on their own, that in the cartoon Aladdin, the tiger has someone’s pants in his mouth and then later a prince is missing that part of his pants.
• Really feels the deeper meaning of any topic. If you talk about what having a boyfriend or girlfriend is, they get bashful and melt, as if they understand it could be them and they are imagining it
• Ponders things like “Did you know that dinosaurs are still with us?” Because dinosaurs evolved into birds and so their essence is still here. (A sort of “deeper meaning.”)
• Notices things that are not the intent of what is to be noticed, such as notices the set designs that make a movie work, e.g., notice the set design of Wizard of Oz is actually a painting. Totally fascinated by such things.
• Clear views on how the family, society, or government should work. For instance, “I don’t care what the law says! I will always help someone if I can!”
• Remembers past issues, such as a time a bully hurt them, and its deeper implications, e.g., they are concerned they were “weak” or they want revenge
• Loves to insert themselves into situations to make positive change. Might get their sibling a blanket or initiate something entirely new. They are amazed when you say, “Thank you, that was a help!”
• Fairly conflicted on many things. For instance, their favorite topic is history and they are really good at math but if you ask them, they want to be an artist. This isn’t “bad.” They are just all over the place and wanting to do everything and almost uneasy with having to make such a decision as what to be when they grow up—even though they are intensely interested in it. Is it realistic? Does it make sense? But their passion is what it is, gosh darn it!
• Similarly, they might announce, “Super heroes are just fairy tales!” as they clearly get excited and jump around while watching their favorite super hero movie
• Readily gathers things to help them think. For instance, you start to describe how sunsets works and they gather up objects to be the sun and earth to understand how it works. Or they are working on a math problem and they draw it out on paper to help them think through it.
• Loves to look up information in an Almanac or Encyclopedia
• Completely commits to solving problems. They might get really excited to solve a mystery and say they need quiet because they need to think and listen. They might say they need to “think like a mastermind” to work through a problem.
• Voracious reader.
• They might like books like “Show Me How to Survive” or any others depending on their interest where they can enact positive change within a bigger, complicated environment
• It’s a delight really to teach them now. You can teach them a concept like “Adverbs are usually not needed in a sentence but help make it more precise.” For instance, “slowly,” in “Run slowly to the door” is the only word that is not needed. And they can apply this and find an adverb in a sentence easily now.
• May talk about their mind such as they can “break up any problem into a grain of sand”
• They might ask you to think through a problem with them or ask you to just sit and “think” with them.
• Their writing improves; the letters become smaller; and they are more willing to hold a pencil and make shapes correctly. Now is a decent time to introduce cursive if you wanted.
Middle Elementary Milestone 3 —“The Hulk” Milestone: Grows in Strength to Every Part of their Body, Takes Over Situations Easily
Starts: 7 years, 5 months, 3 weeks
Note: May be broken up into two parts: an A part from the beginning until 7 years, 7 months and then a small break, and then a B part until the end
Most Intense: 7 years, 7 months, 3 weeks
Ends: 7 years, 8 months, 1 week
Disarray Period Summary
• These milestones after the age of 5 tend to get long. It helps to think of it more as a “time of disarray.” They go for long periods of time in disarray, then become more orderly, then repeat the cycle
• Walks around “ancy.”
• This ancy behavior and other behavior can be threatening: give them what they want or do what they want or get hit or slapped.
• Wants your attention more. They may be ever grateful if you offer a simple hug or a simple evening together. They may still curl into Mom or Dad
• Grumpy, won’t smile when asked
• Likes to trick and stump others, especially younger children
• Highly evaluative and might do something frustrating like “Let’s talk about [another child’s] weaknesses”
• Might have trouble with short term memory or tell you their brain goes “blank”
• Just randomly hits things out of anger, such as garbage cans. You might ask why they are doing it and they say, “I HATE GARBAGE CANS!”
• Gets very angry over entire situations, such as if they are at a restaurant they absolutely hate
• Growls, menacingly, at other children
Most Intense Period
• Very angry, aggressive, very upset over random things and entire situations
New Abilities Summary
I like “The Hulk” image for this one: yes, the mild-mannered man who turns into the angry, green superhero full of muscles. It really is like some kind of hormone surges through them to take them from a more mild-mannered child to a strong one, who gets strength in places that didn’t have strength before. And like any new superhero, they can take over larger situations more handily. It’s also a sort of “the cowboy is in the saddle now” milestone
“The Hulk” Milestone: Grows Physically and Pushes Physical Bounds
• Pushes themselves physically a lot. They might try out monkey bars (when before they had trouble) or a new playground apparatus, like a witch’s wheel, or try to balance on logs in a creek.
• They love to do smaller things with their body too, like balancing a pencil on their fingers. They might try to pick up a big weight with their thumb, then tell you they have the “strongest thumbs!”
• Or, similar to nuanced physical challenges, they might challenge themselves to line up all birthday candles so they can see them in one line with their eyes.
• It’s as if there is a “strengthening hormone” in them and it’s extending out to every limb now. They are full of excitement, vitality, and strength, from their core out to the very tippy part of their fingertips
• Similar to being more alive in their body in nuanced ways, they might do something like make their eyes mysterious for selfies. They are very “self aware” at this one in this way
• They love to do something that they think will help their health, for instance eating a new food and being amazed at their “super smart brain and quick reflexes!”
• They get very specific and dramatic with their physical body in how they play. They might kill “zombies” with a gun in a very pointed, specific way, pointing their toy gun exactly where it needs to go.
• They get better and faster at academic things and notice. In the state of disarray, they probably had problems spelling simple words. Now they spell them right and quickly and take pride in that. Towards the end, they don’t even need to see words to attempt to spell them.
• Very likely to have a particular and possibly unusual hero now. Perhaps a sniper who crawled through enemy territory with venomous snakes slithering over them.
• Physically looks more like a “teenager” with longer legs and feet: so long they don’t know where to put them or do with them
• They take an interest in new foods: they might love the smell of coffee now
• In the state of disarray, they were very angry and even menacing, kind of like turning into Hulk. But now they are calm and pleasant.
Cowboy in the Saddle
• Puts themselves in a fully responsible position over a large-ish situation. For instance, they set up an imaginary house with boxes or chairs and they pretend to be the Dad, Mom, or full architect of the whole thing who has to “think of everything.” Certainly this will be unique to an individual child’s personality
• They fully take over any lesson taught. They are very much like a “cowboy in the saddle” now. If you tell them energy increases mass, they are apt to grab a ball and start trying it. Or if you are charting something in a science experiment, they take over the charting.
• They imagine going to big places and how they would operate. They want to go to the Mediterranean Sea. But they’ll bring a jacket. In case it gets cold.
• Their experiments are highly orderly. They might line up pumpkins from smallest to biggest on a lever and jump on the other side to see what happens
• May really want to have total mastery over something, such as to play an instrument by themselves if they don’t already
• They are fairly responsible now over some things like turning in homework assignments or showing up to places on time, semi-reliably
Loves to Push the Bounds
• They like to apply the lessons they learn in a more heroic way. So if they are learning about all of the elements, they might like to think of the strongest element ever. Or they like to think about breaking the sound barrier, etc.
• They easily relate how the problem 7/2 is just like 70/2 and if 70/2 is 35 then 7/2 is 3.5. They go between the big and small easily.
• They’ll push the bounds in their own way: maybe going too far in a creek. They might have goals or challenges they make up and don’t give up on, like getting a stick that’s far away in a body of water. They want to push into the “unknown.”
• They might absolutely stun you with their new talents. They might come up with some solution to a very difficult problem or game that even the most talented adults wouldn’t.
• They grow in their adventurousness as they imagine their older selves. Before they wanted to be an artist. Now they want to be an artist and an explorer.
• They might get highly imaginative about impossible things, like “teleporting” back into history, or they make up a story about a baby elephant who is immortal, or they imagine a parallel universe or universes in universes, or they marvel how “complicated” the whole world is
• Highly evaluative of things. They are the expert on anything—and they are dramatic. They don’t LIKE something. They LOVE it.
• This highly evaluative nature can take a negative turn, such as “Let’s all take about my little sister’s weaknesses.” I recommend being quick to defend any victim of their newfound judgment
But Sensitive and Perceptive
• They are much more aware of conversations about religions, sex, politics, etc. They are likely eavesdropping on you when you talk about such things, understanding much more than you realize
• They are VERY sensitive to what you think. If you get upset over something, they will likely alter themselves to not do it again
• Very aware of who they are and what others think of them.
• Might tell you things about themselves, “I like sleeping and reading. And that’s it.” Or they recognize they are “sensitive.”
• They may get indignant that you told them something. “Because they already knew that!” This is the sort of self-awareness they have now
• They might notice something nuanced about a larger environment. For instance, you and another adult are arguing over if a place is louder or quiet than another place and they say, wisely, “The music is louder. The people are quieter.” They just really drink in the larger situation
• They are very apt to figure out something like the fact that Santa is real at this one: all on their own, just because they figured it out
• They can keep the larger situation in perspective. If they watch a scary movie and you explain that the special effects are just jello, they might sit through the scene consoling themselves, “It’s just jello! It’s just jello!”
Conflicts Between Their Core Personality/Will and the Larger Situation
• Their core personality is with them from birth. However, how they are different from other children will be in high gear now. They take over so much of the larger environment and are so uncompromising about their will in that environment that potential issues are sure to arise. For instance, if they are a strong introvert, they will NOT want to sit in the middle of a tightly packed group of children. Or if they are easily overwhelmed or frazzled, they won’t want to be at a party for longer than 4 hours—and they SAY SO now. Or, opposite, if they love parties, they absolutely don’t want to leave. Who they are is in full force. I hope you can respect such issues as much as possible.
Middle Elementary Milestone 4 — Dispenser of Life Wisdom: A Pre-Preteen
Starts: 7 years, 9 months
Most Intense: 7 years, 9 months, 3 weeks
Ends: 7 years, 10 months, 2 weeks
Disarray Period Summary
• The conflict between their personal desire and the larger situation is still highly present. They have very strong opinions about many things, such as what restaurant you go to.
• Gets super angry. They might even get proud of how angry they are, as if they are showing off
• With their newfound leadership over other children, they might make too many decisions on behalf of others, such as showing them a cool new way to open a container that they learned
• As they find themselves to be the dispenser of all life wisdom, they really don’t like when younger children beat them at games
• With their newfound wisdom and leadership, they might start blurting out wisdom or answers in inappropriate places, such as a movie theatre, where you are supposed to be quiet
• They might dangerously make up their mind about something when mad. When you are leaving a place, they might dart off in a new direction, in a parking lot where this can be dangerous.
• They seem to grow in their appetite. Increasing how much food you offer them may help with all of this anger
New Abilities Summary
Before they took over large situations as they saw such large situations arise. Now they are more likely to create the experiences they want. As my almost 8 year old said, “I like to try things and see the results.” They have a much broader view of larger situations, becoming dispensers of much advice, wisdom, and thoughts of these situations.
• They will figure out a solution to anything. If your calculator doesn’t have a negative sign, that’s fine. They can type in 1 – 2 to get -1 and use that.
• Self-initiates and executes more projects now. Perhaps it is initiating an entire art project or wondering how far they can push their dirt bike on a nature trail.
• You might find them lost in thought “thinking about what to do.”
• They’ll do things they were afraid to before, maybe go on a new amusement park ride
• Highly interested in helping out and taking care of younger siblings and in a way that you can somewhat trust them to do it well. They can handle situations that get out of control, even. If a child is distraught, they’ll start coaching them, “Hey! They are on our team! So if they win, we win. We can be happy about it.”
• They certainly start to notice other boys or other girls
• They really want you to be genuinely interested in what they are interested in.
• They are stunned by the babyish-ness of stuff younger children do. How can there be big, huge accidents in Paw Patrol but no car accidents? That makes no sense. They are so over that and moving on to bigger, more realistic, more important things.
• They find things “above” a situation to be funny. They might paint a derby car to have a racetrack and a derby car on it. They find it funny.
Middle Elementary Milestone 5 — Copies Adult Strategies
Starts: 7 years, 11 months, almost 3 weeks
Most Intense: 8 years, give or take
Ends: 8 years, 1 months, 2-ish weeks
Disarray Period Summary
• Acts out all of a sudden, after weeks of calm. Perhaps becomes aggressive with other children, such as pulling their hair
• Doesn’t like when things don’t go their own way or they are emotionally overwhelmed. They might throw everything over a balcony
• Very upset when something they decided or planned doesn’t go as they expected. Perhaps glue doesn’t dry the way they thought it would. It is totally wild, nearly unbelievable behavior in how upset they get.
• They are completely wrong about something but totally insistent they are right. They might think a restaurant has their favorite meal, when it doesn’t, and yet they command you all to go to the one they think has it. Or they are completely confused about the rule of a game and insist you follow it, even though they are wrong. This causes a lot of confusion, tears, and problems.
• Gets really upset if they can’t figure out how to plan a game or how to win
• Might draw the kind of things they draw when going through a milestone, such as angry faces
• They go back to old favorite books and toys from when they were very, very young
• They might remember particularly traumatic events from when they are younger and even again try to “punish” the people they perceive as responsible
Most Intense Period
• They remember things from long ago that were unfair and are completely distraught about it.
New Abilities Summary
• Really loves and takes pride in helping younger siblings with stuff, perhaps calming them down, helping them walk down a hill, or building an interesting toy for them
• They pick up on the exact nuances and style of how adults do things, such as how to help a younger child, e.g., they might understand the type of things you do and why, the exact timing of something
• Really great at coming up with ideas to help younger ones, such as playing Rummikub can teach a younger child the idea of consecutive numbers
• They relate some life lesson you are trying to tell them to something they’ve seen before and they are accurate about it. For instance, you teach them about trusting their instincts around predators and they say, “It’s just like Star Wars! Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts!”
• They can copy your strategy at a game with minimal instruction, such as how to win at Tic, Tac, Toe
• Can reliably set up their own projects and science experiments, in fact are likely to stubbornly takeover
• When they get to a place, they size it up for how they might act in it: “Oh, there are lots of places I could hide here!”
• They can handle academic challenges with multiple moving parts, such as solving something with 2 equations. If A + D = 11 and A – D = -7, what is A and D?
• For a mathematically inclined child, rips apart math challenges, such as, to get two numbers as close to 0 as possible, “Put the biggest number on the bottom and the smallest number on top”
• Might reduce an abstract idea down to its parts. After solving a complex algebraic equation, they say thoughtfully, “It’s not complicated. Everything becomes simple.”
• Might be good at doing and learning new highly physical things, such as snorkeling or learning a new swimming stroke
• Yet, oddly, comes up with bizarre, magical solutions, such as their favorite shirt that no longer fits can magically change size if they just sit down with it on
Evaluative of Adult-like Decisions
• Tells you talking about something is a “waste of time.”
• Tells you buying 2 pizzas instead of 1 is a “waste of money.”
• Really wants an allowance; perhaps they have big life goals to do with the money
• More reasonable and less angry. They willingly go along with what you ask, such as turning the TV off for bedtime