Crisis of 5 years in a child: features and methods of overcoming

The crisis of 5 years in a child is a period of whims, hysterics, aggression and isolation of the child. Not only the child himself faces difficulties, but also parents, who often do not know how to behave during this difficult period of time.

A five-year-old child differs from other children of other ages in the following features:

  • Distinguishes between “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”, “true” and “false”.
  • He makes attempts to apply adult logic, but so far he has not succeeded.
  • She loves games and fiction: during the game she can turn into a princess, prince, dragon, pony, soldier and other incredible characters.
  • Loves the company of children of the same sex as himself.
  • He really needs the praise and approval of adults and peers.
  • Strives to be the best among his peers.
  • Defines his own standards and tries to meet them.
  • Able to tease and offend children who do not meet the invented standards.

In order for the crisis to pass more easily, close adults need to be patient and sensitive to the child’s internal problems and contradictions.

When does the crisis begin and how long does it last?

American psychologist Erik Erikson believed that all people go through the same stages of development in life. Each stage has its own tasks. If everything goes well, the child solves them and moves on to the next stage of growing up. If not, a certain gap arises in the development of personality; in the future, it will be more difficult for such a person to build mature relationships with himself and with the world.

Before the age of 5, a child has already gone through several of these crisis stages:

  • In early childhood, trust or distrust in the world is formed. This stage occurs in the first two years.
  • When attachment with family is formed, the child is sure that the world is a reliable and safe place. This means you can try your hand at being a separate person from your parents. The most famous and frightening crisis of 3 years begins. A positive result will be the acquisition of a certain autonomy and independence; negative – shame and doubt in one’s own abilities.
  • The crisis of 5 years begins after the period of independence and continues throughout the entire senior preschool age. The result of development will be initiative, or guilt and passivity. If everything went well, then by the first grade the child will develop a sense of purpose, he understands his own desires and diligently strives to achieve them. If parents suppress the child’s initiative, the child does not want anything, is afraid to try something new, and the motive of avoiding failure predominates in activity.

Erikson himself did not consider the division into periods to be strictly dogmatic. Rarely is anyone completely independent, completely distrustful, or completely passive. Opposite poles are constantly present in the life of every person. It’s just that during crises, one of the development tasks comes to the fore.

What is he like, a five-year-old child?

Your child is no longer such a cute baby, not a toddler at all, but a personality, you see hints of what kind of person he is growing up. Of course, everyone is individual, but here are some features of the development of five-year plans:

  1. Can distinguish right from wrong, truth from fiction;
  2. Does not yet know how to use adult logic;
  3. Plays and invents a lot, especially in “transformations” (becoming princesses, ponies, pirates, etc.), all on a larger scale than at a younger age;
  4. Likes to spend time with children of the same sex;
  5. Seeks praise and approval from adults and peers;
  6. Wants to meet some standards (his own or those accepted in the children's group) and can even tease those who are different.

That is, a person already understands everything, thinks that he is an adult, but he still cannot think and act like an adult. In addition, the child develops the cerebral cortex and tries to learn to control his emotions.

Signs of a 5-year crisis

The critical period, of course, does not begin exactly at the age of five. The time frame for changes is from 4 to 6 years. This is a time of rapid development of emotional and social skills, a springboard for a successful start to school life. If the child's exploration activities are effective, then the five-year-old learns to handle objects, his own body, and other people in constructive ways. If the child is severely criticized, reprimanded, prohibited and punished for activity, then a constant feeling of guilt and ineptitude is formed.

What are the characteristics of a crisis period?

  • frequent lies to avoid troubles;
  • fears appeared that were not there before;
  • the baby, who previously fought for independence, suddenly becomes “mother’s”, asks his parents to stay close, does not let him go;
  • the child has become very sensitive to others: he has a hard time with the slightest disagreement between parents, tries to help, feel sorry for him, worries and cries with others;
  • there is a strong fear of the death of parents;
  • It is at this age that adults are inundated with requests to “get” a brother, sister, or at least a cat or hamster;
  • entrepreneurship, initiative and curiosity develop so rapidly that the results of some children's “experiments” force parents to grab pills.

Changes in child behavior and psychology at 5 years old

The intense changes occurring in the child’s body at the physiological and psychological level at the age of five leave a negative imprint on the baby’s nervous system. During this period, children are subject to experiences and changes in mood. Having noticed that the child began to behave differently, parents cannot always understand the reason for such changes in behavior. Advice from child psychologists will help parents cope with the situation, not harm the child’s psyche and not waste their time. They need to understand that:

  1. During this period, the child’s social adaptation occurs. He tries to understand the relationships between people, strives to make friends with peers, understand the reasons for the behavior of adults and evaluate them.
  2. Children as young as five are aware of the differences between girls and boys.
  3. They are sensitive to such moral concepts as “good or evil”, “attentive, sensitive attitude towards a person or indifference” and so on.
  4. They try to reason and present their own conclusions to adults, sometimes causing bewilderment to their parents.
  5. Children develop a feeling of fear: being left alone at home or in a dark room, losing the love of their parents, disappointing them with their actions, and much more.

During this period, the inquisitive child's mind intensively learns about the world around him and its laws. Children imitate adults in everything, especially those whom they consider the absolute authority. In fact, they still cannot correctly formulate and even understand the actions of adults. Therefore, it is during this period that all family members should show an exceptionally friendly attitude towards five-year-old children.

On the subject: What to play at home and outside with a 5-year-old child

What is the cause of the crisis?

Every crisis contains its own “turning point” - a choice between two opposing qualities. And if during the crisis of 1 year the basic problem of trust-distrust in the world is solved, then in 5 years activity counters the feeling of guilt.

At 5 years old, the role of the family continues to be basic. A child's identity is shaped by his mother, father, brothers, sisters and other close relatives.

Did you know? The most important task of this age stage is the formation of entrepreneurship and initiative. At the other pole of this quality is a feeling of guilt for one’s own actions and personality in general.

Over the past five years since birth, the preschooler has learned a lot and mastered various skills. Now the little inventor can easily come up with games and activities for himself, and experiment with his surroundings. Some of the results of such experiments do not please parents at all, and the increased activity and restlessness makes them want to find the “off button” on the little “energizer.”

The crisis of 5 years of age is associated with the active exploration of the world: the child studies objects, verbal structures, the body (his own and others), the limits of his own capabilities and relationships between people. Five-year-olds begin to perfectly understand the shades of emotions, they know how to feel and share the pain of another person, they can not only receive, but also give.

Why is there a crisis?

When moving to a new age group, a child experiences changes in his behavior: he becomes capricious, wayward, disobedient, and violently displays emotions. A child’s behavior is a kind of challenge to others, a desire to show his individuality, become independent, and attract attention.

Depending on the nature of the problems encountered, the child may show sadness, withdrawal or aggression. What are the causes of the crisis?

Children 4-5 years old can do a lot: they have a sufficient vocabulary for communication, play activities, developed imagination, thinking, which allows them to receive new interesting impressions about the world around them. The baby's psyche develops very quickly. Along with it, the mood may change, which at this stage is characterized by unpredictability, and undergoes a change in behavior - it becomes disorganized, chaotic.

Whims, quirks, hysterics, protest - the age crisis of a 4-5 year old child is rich in such manifestations.

What are the reasons for the deterioration of the child’s psychological state:

  • lack of care and attention;
  • lack of communication;
  • monotony in everyday life;
  • problems adapting to a new environment;
  • psychological pressure from parents.

The influence of others on the baby’s condition is of considerable importance. During a crisis, a child should easily share his thoughts, emotions, and experiences with others. Children have a hard time staying in the same environment for a long time; they need periodic active rest with new exciting entertainment. Otherwise, children experience psychological discomfort and the course of the crisis becomes much more complicated.

How does the child feel?

A five-year-old loves his parents not instinctively, but quite consciously. For him, his loved ones are the most precious people in the world. It is at this age that children touchingly confess their love to their parents. The feeling of affection and admiration is manifested in the desire to do something good: give appliques, crafts to relatives, draw mom and dad with crowns on their heads, prepare sandwiches or salad for the “beloved mom.”

The child really, really wants to be good, to please his adoring parents, to meet their expectations. This is one of the natural needs of 5 years old. And this seemingly positive need gives rise to such a quality hated by adults as children’s lies.

Did you know? At the age of 5, children lie out of fear that adults will not like their behavior. But for a preschooler it is vitally important to be “good” in mom and dad’s eyes.

Instructions in the style: tell the truth, then I will not be angry, but if you lie, I will punish you, they will only confuse you. After all, I had to lie because the baby understands that he did something bad. Why do adults get angry for trying to fix things with the help of lies, but not for the bad deed itself? Usually the five-year-old gets lost and repeats the lie again, making adults nervous.

In this case, it is better not to shame, but to use the child’s need to be good. You could say something like, “I like it when you tell the truth, I want you to always be honest.” And then calmly discuss the consequences of the child’s misbehavior.

It must be remembered that a preschooler thinks “here and now”; the ability to generalize and form long-term cause-and-effect relationships will develop a little later. That’s why talking in the evening about how to behave in kindergarten in the morning is so ineffective. The kid sincerely promises to be good. But in the kindergarten there is no mother nearby, but there are other children and an urgent conflict, which is resolved in the usual way, for example, by a fight.

Characteristic manifestations

For some, this period may last only a few weeks, while for others it can drag on for months. Let's look at the characteristic symptoms of a five-year-old crisis.

  1. The child actively demonstrates his independence. At the same time, he can, for example, declare that he will go outside on his own; he does not need his mother for a walk.
  2. Stiffness may arise, the baby will begin to withdraw and stop sharing his impressions with his parents. Often observed in children who were previously talkative.
  3. The toddler develops uncertainty in his abilities, fear of what is to be done, especially if this action is new.
  4. The baby is trying to copy the behavior of adults. He can imitate his mother who is preparing dinner or his father who comes home from work. Moreover, such copying will be intrusive in nature and can lead to knocking the adult off balance.
  5. The child becomes overly active. At the same time, his fatigue also increases.
  6. You may notice frequent irritability in your toddler. In response to comments, he becomes angry and aggressive.
  7. Often children during such a period become overly touchy.
  8. You can often notice hysterics, especially if something goes against the child, for example, he is forced to go to bed during the daytime.
  9. The toddler may begin to be rude, both to his peers and to adults.
  10. The baby begins to write a lot, inventing stories that seem very realistic.
  11. The child increasingly shows his disobedience and refuses to obey the requests of his parents.
  12. The toddler can cry all day long for unknown reasons.
  13. He can fulfill the requests of his parents, but do the opposite, even if in doing so he harms himself. The child is excessively stubborn; he stands firmly in his own opinion and will not listen to someone else’s.
  14. The kid is always dissatisfied with those around him and his surroundings, trying to tell everyone how to live.

Changes after the crisis

If everything went well, the little man emerges from the crisis with confidence in his own abilities and with confidence in a reliable parental support. This awareness helps to overcome various challenges of school life in the future. And in the future, from preschool activity will grow an understanding of what you want to do in life in general, and the confidence that this goal is achievable.

If reaching the very first crisis stage is trust; the second is the formation of strong-willed qualities and independence, then the successful passage of the third peak should entail the formation of determination.

"You can't stand scolding"

Some parents may find it strange to advise them to indulge children’s whims, let things go, turn a blind eye to tantrums and try to talk when it’s easier to calm the child down by shouting or spanking. Where to put the comma is up to you, but it’s better to be patient.

Any childhood crisis is a test for both sides, but it is an integral part of growing up at every age stage. This is the final stage of an entire period of childhood - figuratively speaking, the “annual control”. The task of parents is to help the child gently and without loss overcome this difficult path to the formation of a mature personality, the formation of his own “I”.

What not to do

During a crisis of 5 years, a little person becomes very vulnerable and trusting. He is more easily offended or frightened than ever. Psychologists say that most neuroses, stuttering, tics, and somatic disorders originate from this period of childhood. Due to the development of imagination, a variety of fears bloom in magnificent colors: monsters, darkness, skeletons, aliens.

Given this sensitivity, you should not do the following:

  • do not frighten with monsters, Baba Yaga, Babayka, because at 5 years old these characters are very real;
  • do not laugh at children’s fears, do not brush them aside, do not shame the baby, otherwise he will withdraw and be painfully worried, not hoping for the support of loved ones;
  • do not use intimidation as an educational measure: promises to send you to a boarding school, to strangers, and locking yourself in a room will leave a scar on your soul for many years;
  • do not insult the baby: at 5 years old he trusts his parents like no one else, and any insult, humiliation of his personality, devaluation of his efforts will affect him even in adulthood.

At this age, the problem may arise—how to teach a child to fall asleep on his own—. After all, he seemed to have already slept on his own, but now he clings to his mother, coming up with all sorts of reasons to stay longer with the adults. Fairy tales and “magic rituals” are very helpful here. Children's fear speaks in the language of images, so they cope with it with the help of fantasy: they offer to draw the fear, and then lock it in a box or destroy it. Or they make up a story about a monster who needs help (he has a toothache, sprained his leg). Or they come up with a “magic way”: hide under the covers, take your favorite toy to bed, read a special poem. The main thing is not to shame the baby, but help him talk about his fears. After all, what can be discussed becomes less scary, and therefore more controllable.

Rules of conduct for parents of seven-year-olds

  • Find a balance between the desire to teach your child to be independent and the desire to make him as obedient as possible.
  • Demonstrate your trust and respect for the growing family member, emphasize his maturity and praise him in every possible way for his achievements.
  • Give up categorical prohibitions. They escalate conflicts, and at the same time the seven-year-old is deprived of the opportunity to gain important life experience.
  • Do not allow absolute connivance. It causes an acute feeling of dissatisfaction, which lowers self-esteem.
  • Gradually shift the responsibility for the child's well-being onto his own shoulders. On the other hand, let the baby feel responsible for rash actions in order to learn from his own experience.

Establish basic rules for your child’s behavior in all situations. The list of rules should include categorical prohibitions that protect the baby from danger, as well as a list of undesirable behaviors that you can tolerate under certain conditions. The most extensive list should be of actions that the baby can perform at his own discretion. This category should expand with age, covering all areas of the child’s life.

During the age crisis of seven years, the child still needs your support and love, although he strives for greater independence. You need to help your baby become a little more mature by forming useful habits in him and instilling rules of behavior in society.

How did you cope with your baby’s age-related crises? Share in the comments!

Game and educational activities

Before preparing for school, they usually try to focus on intellectual development: a foreign language, chess, learning to read, logarithmics, etc. Such seemingly useful activities turn into harm if they take up the entire child’s schedule, leaving no time for long-term independent play. Meanwhile, experiments on rat pups showed that, deprived of play, they stopped developing, and the frontal lobes of the brain remained immature.

Another danger of classes is if parents perceive them not as a kind of game or hobby, but are necessarily waiting for results. Then the relationship is at risk. There are results - there is praise from relatives and communication. Because of the desire to “be good,” the baby quickly adapts to his parents’ ambitions - and studies diligently, losing understanding of his own desires, social communication skills and the ability to create. Constantly busy with classes or computer games, a child loses another important ability - the ability to entertain himself and not get bored alone.

Therefore, it is important to let children at the age of 5 fully “play enough” and participate in children’s fun, because this is the most important thing now. And let there be few activities if they are really fun.

How to help a child overcome a crisis?

-Any crisis must be overcome competently; you cannot do many things in relation to a child. How can we help him in this difficult period for everyone?

-Talk more with your child, ask about his successes, failures, tell him how your day was, communicate on any topic (ask how his toys are doing, tell him that a new employee came to work today).

-Explain to him everything in an accessible way, if he demands something, for example, to go for a walk alone, explain that he is still very small and needs to be accompanied by an adult (tell him that you will sit on a bench in the park while he is walking, and just follow him from afar observe).

-If the child refuses to sleep, explain that it is necessary to sleep during the day so that the mood is good, you can make concessions to him - move sleep a short distance (sometimes sleep can be replaced with another very quiet activity, so that he can get a good rest in any case) .

-Allow the child to do adult work if he so wants to grow up quickly (watering flowers, wiping dust).

-Be patient with your child, always praise him for every little thing. If you see that something isn’t working out for him, don’t rush to help him if he doesn’t ask. Let the child come to the right decision himself (praise him for collecting all the toys).

-If you forbid your child something, do not be categorical in your words, offer him an alternative, several other activities to choose from, so that the child does not get nervous or capricious (if you forbid him to watch TV, turn on an audio fairy tale for him, let him listen).

-If a child shows character with his fists, if he fights with his sisters or brothers, or is rude, you must clearly explain to him that this is unacceptable in your family so that this never happens again (tell him that this is very bad, if he gets hit, it hurts him , and it hurts others too).

-Love your child, show him your love, how much he is dear to you, show affection and trepidation towards the child so that he feels your warmth and care.

-Read bedtime stories, play games with him (put aside all your activities so he can see it, and play his favorite games with him).

-For a child to really trust you, become a friend for him, share your emotions, walk together more often, talk with him on any topic.

In this way, you will win over your baby, and perhaps the crisis will go smoothly and smoothly.

What do we have to do

Careful handling does not mean permissiveness and lack of discipline. 5 years is the age of formation of school readiness, therefore the development of strong-willed qualities, the ability to cope with impulsive desires, and understanding of the rules will be very useful at school. Moreover, at 5 years old, the rules are easier for a child, because there is a powerful motive to “be good.” If adults firmly adhere to discipline, show respect for the personality of the five-year-old, and build warm emotional relationships with the grown-up child, then the school crisis—the 7-year-old crisis—will pass quickly and calmly.

When children are in crisis at the age of 5, the psychologist’s advice is very simple: do not interfere with children’s initiative, take time for conversations and discussions, and show respect for the developing personality. Children's imagination and curiosity among older preschoolers are at a very high level. The child’s further social success will depend on how adults react to such research activity, and which pole will become dominant - initiative or guilt.

What to do to develop entrepreneurship:

  • React calmly to hectic activity, patiently answer annoying “whys”, “whys” and “what will happen if” - this is how the intellectual entrepreneurship of the little why one develops.
  • Don’t panic or become angry at children’s experiments, explain why you can’t do this, and outline the space in which it’s possible. For example, you can’t cut out anything from new things, but you can cut flaps for a doll’s dress together with your mother.
  • Do not stop your little fidget from running, jumping, climbing - in general, testing your own physical strength and dexterity in every possible way. A child whose parents allowed freedom in choosing activities learns to understand his own body and the limits of his capabilities.
  • 5 years is the age when fantasy and role-playing games flourish. Support the playful endeavors of the little dreamer, do not rush to load the child’s brain with “science”; the child’s mind at this age develops best in free role-playing play.
  • To develop initiative, a child must have free time to independently invent and develop game images and plots. And here we are not talking about computer games, but about interaction with real objects.

What kind of beast is this, this crisis?

Psychology views a crisis as a state when the old has stopped working and the new has not yet been invented. And now a person is at the junction between what is outdated and what has not yet been invented.

This is why he experiences a lot of unpleasant emotions due to instability and uncertainty. For example, anxiety, fear, anger, disappointment. Therefore, outbursts of anger and changes in mood or behavior become understandable to us.

But if a crisis occurs in a little man, this, quite clearly, scares him terribly. He does not have any information about personality psychology and age periodization, does not have life experience and any knowledge about the properties of his own character.

And then his parents swear that he has changed and is not as good as they think. What's the best defense? That's right, an attack. This is why uncertainty, fear, aggressiveness and closedness appear. He begins to think that he is bad, not worthy of love, stops trusting others and in every possible way defends his right to be himself.

Emotions at the moment of hysteria go off scale, which is why he needs help in calming down, and not high-quality punishment, which will “shatter” his nerves even more.

Remember yourself, when you are upset or sad about something, will it help you if someone else threatens, for example, with deprivation of love and attention? It is unlikely, most likely, this will upset you even more.

Therefore, it is important not to fight or treat hysterics, but to teach them to recognize their feelings and calm down. You will learn further how best to do this.

If everything goes according to plan, or rather, with the support of adults, then this difficult period will take about 6 months, for some it will take a little more time, for others a little less. But if a small personality does not cope and cannot solve the life problems of this age, then in the future he will regress. That is, sometimes returning to her five years old, despite how old she really is.

Other tips

One of the biggest fears for 5-year-old children is the death of their parents. The topic of death can be very sensitive even for adults. However, if you see that your five-year-old is afraid of death, if he asks questions about whether his family will leave him, then be sure to talk about it. You don't need to go into too much detail, just say that people tend to live long lives and you're going to take every precaution to keep your loved one as long as possible.

There is a saying: development comes from a point of peace. In relation to a child, this means that if the baby is calm in the family, if he is not tugged at, forbidden, and is not constantly pulled in the direction the parents want, then the baby calmly grows and develops at his own pace. All that is needed is the love of parents, communication with family and others, security and, from time to time, adventures and surprises.

How to behave inappropriately

It is unacceptable to raise your voice and physically punish

  1. Never show open aggression directed at your child. Undoubtedly, there may come a time when you will not be able to restrain yourself, but in such a situation it is better to move away from the baby, go to another room and try to calm yourself down. Communicate with your child only after you are absolutely calm.
  2. Assault and aggression are unacceptable. You need to understand that no one can encroach on a person’s freedom or cause him pain, including physical pain.
  3. It is unacceptable to say phrases like “you won’t be able to do anything anyway,” “don’t bother me,” “go away,” “don’t even try.”
  4. You should not read notations or try to emphasize the child’s young age.
  5. Under no circumstances should you bend under the pressure of your baby, especially at the time of his inappropriate behavior and excessive aggression.
  6. It is unacceptable to ignore the toddler and put your needs above his.
  7. If a child repeats curse words heard earlier, do not focus your attention on them and do not scold them, otherwise the little one will deliberately repeat them again and again. It is best to pretend that you do not notice that the child is saying something wrong. There is a possibility that he will forget these words.
  8. It is unacceptable to let the situation take its course. If you see that your child’s behavior is clearly different from the behavior of his peers and begins to scare you, do not hesitate to contact a specialist. A psychologist will help you determine the cause of such manifestations and teach you how to behave in order to improve everything.

Now you know what to do if your child has a crisis at the age of five. Remember that the parents’ task is to behave as calmly as possible so that the baby can more easily survive this period and quickly return to normal life. Do not forget that there are a number of actions that are unacceptable when raising a child, in particular during a crisis.

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