When your Child is 6 to 12: Middle Childhood Is The Last Good Chance To Hold Your Child Close

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9781561480944: When your Child is 6 to 12: Middle Childhood Is The Last Good Chance To Hold Your Child Close

          We've been over-run with child-rearing manuals for infants. We've been swamped with advice for relating to teens. But little has been offered to parents whose children are in middle childhood! John. M. Drescher, a wise voice in the field of parenting literature (whose books have sold more than 400,000 copies), addresses particular delights and difficulties of this stage in a child's life.

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About the Author:

     
     John M. Drescher, Harrisonburg, Virginia, was born and grew up near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is married to Betty Keener and they are parents of five grown children. He has authored 28 books among which are Seven Things Children Need, If I were Starting My Family Again, Now Is the Time to Love, Spirit Fruit, When You Think You Are in Love, Meditations for the Newly Married, Why I Am a Conscientious Objector, and If We Were Starting Our Marriage Again. Drescher has written for more than 100 different magazines and journals. His books have appeared in 10 different languages. He has spoken to numerous conventions, retreats, and seminary -- particularly in the area of family life.

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Introduction This little book discusses a most intriguing time of childhood called middle childhood-those years when a child is ages six to twelve. We could call this period "the missing age of childhood," because these years are too seldom researched or written about. Yet these are prime years for particular preparation for adolescence and adulthood. Here is the great age of imitation when the child wants so much to be like parents and others whom the child admires, when the child will go to almost any extent to be like those who are the child's heroes. Children at this age seek to excel in areas for which they have received compliments and try to please persons whom they admire. The burden and conviction which I bring to this book are that, while all stages of child development are significant, middle childhood is especially crucial in the development of the inner life, which prepares the child for the rest of life. Here the foundations are laid for the teen years. And since the middle years pass so rapidly and with relative ease because the child loves to please, parents are inclined to miss the nurturing and preparation so essential during the years six through twelve. Much of what I share on the following pages I have discovered not only through studies, but also from exchanges with many parents in retreats, as well as seminars and more specialized meetings and classes. I give primary emphasis to children's moral and emotional development. I touch very little on their physical development. Children have a primary need to be loved by their parents. But, in child-rearing, love is not the only prerequisite for parenthood. Understanding is a second great requirement. The child needs a love which carries a special kind of insight into the child's world, which feeds the child's spirit. This love should give the child the inner strength to build firm and healthy concepts about self and about life itself. In addition, the child needs the kind of moral guidance which gives the child a sense of responsibility and reverence, in order to make right decisions and to respect other people. May those of you who are at the job of rearing children be helped by what you read here. May you find good hope and encouragement as you parent and prepare your children for adolescence and beyond. -John M. Drescher Chapter 1. Parents' Last Great Opportunity Middle childhood is a stage often swept over too quickly by parents and educators because it is so calm compared to the storm of adolescence. If children will ever be good, they will be good during these years. And so parents assume that all is going rather well during this time because the child, on the whole, seems cooperative, wants to please, and loves to be with the family. It is not overstating the situation to think of this stage of childhood as "the last chance." It is the time to do many things with and for your children which you will not be able to do in the same way or to the same extent again. Holding Your Child "Have you hugged your child today?" is a popular slogan and bumper sticker. It is still a good question for parents. The child who does not receive daily expressions of love during the middle years will, in a few short years, reach out for love in wrong ways and to persons parents will react against in a critical way. Middle childhood is the last good chance to hold your child close. Most children up until the ages of eleven or twelve love to be held and respond lovingly to a hug or kiss from parents. A child basks in the warmth of parental love. A child needs the assurance of being loved deeply and the security of feeling at ease in the arms of parents. An adolescent is unlikely to feel close and cared for by parents if the warmth of love and togetherness is not experienced prior to the turbulent teens. In the middle years, the child's most important reason for wanting to be good is not fear of punishment or disapproval, but the love of parents. When love is lost or not felt, a child has little reason to be good. This means relationships must be relaxed and comfortable. Love in the early years has a lot to do with being held close. The child must feel loved in spite of failure and even wrongdoing. Especially in times of failure and wrongdoing, love must come through. When the child has failed, the child needs the comforting arms of loving parents. Love is most important when the child is least lovable. Even when being disciplined, the child dare not doubt the parent's love. Over the years, as a speaker, I have had the privilege of getting into many homes. And I have learned, to some extent at least, the power of touch. The Creator has placed in the heart of children the desire for closeness, for hugging, for being held, for loving. We humans-no matter our age-have been created with a desire for closeness, for hugging, for being held, for loving. In some homes I observe that it is natural for a child to sit close to the parent as we visit, with the arm of the parent around the child. It is easy to sense a feeling of genuine love flowing back and forth between parent and child. [continued]

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