The Ups and Downs of the ‘Gang Age’

The Ups and Downs of the ‘Gang Age’ Cover Image

The years between 7 – 11 years is termed as late childhood and pre adolescent’s stage. This age is marked by changes in the child’s interests. What should parents do in this case? Let’s understand the challenges of this age.

An enthusiastic parent sent her 7 year old to learn vocal music. He was excited as he was accompanied by his best friend. A few months later, his friend lost interest and quit. The child too slowly started losing interest in singing. But the parents were adamant and things got worse when the teacher started mocking at the child. He developed an aversion towards singing. Despite being gifted with a good voice he is sour about his experiences.

What is ‘Gang Age’?

The years between 7 – 11 years is termed as late childhood and pre adolescent’s stage. Children are in their formative years of primary education. Freud called it the ‘latency period’. This age is marked by changes in the child’s interests. The child looks ‘outward’ and his focus shifts from family to friends and buddies. It is also called the ‘gang age’. Children love to cluster around their friends who have common interests.

Children of this age try out new experiments and are buzzing with varied activities. Parents many times find it difficult to hold and channelize their energies constructively. Most parents try hard to hone the child’s talents and try out various activities like music, dancing, drawing, sports and physical activities.

If the child feels at home with such activities, he starts to focus on some and builds his skills around the activity. If parents and the child do not seem to zero down on some common activities, the child feels forced and may resist participating in the activity. It’s important to know as parents, what did you aspire to learn or what did your parents wish you to learn? Chances are that the unfulfilled dreams or aspirations of the parent are being fulfilled via the child. So watch out for being pushy and compulsive towards your child.

Easy Reckoners to focus on your child’s hobbies and interests

  1. Introduce and create an initial exposure to various activities.
  2. Get your child to explore various mediums, games, activities materials in a non-threatening and controlled environment.
  3. The child may express affinity towards some activity and show inclination to take it forward.
  4. Do not commit till your child does not. There are times, the child may show initial enthusiasm about singing or dancing and once you pay up, he would find excuses to avoid the class.
  5. Before you commit, have a chat with your child and enrol him for the least amount of time before you renew the session.
  6. Do not get over anxious if your child is jumping from interest to interests. At this age, they usually do, till they find the area of their liking.
  7. Exposure converts into passion and achievement so do not stop your child from exploring.
  8. It is not his or your failure if he still refuses to pursue a hobby or develop any talent. Instead encourage him with positive affirmations and leave the rest to him.

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