Terrible Two's and Terrifying Three's are common tropes that parents hear constantly. We are conditioned to think that ages 2 and 3 are the hardest. Don't get me wrong, they are HARD. Kids are learning how to assert themselves and gaining understanding of their worlds which leads to questioning the world. There are many cognitive leaps in the years between 2 and 4, so kids tend to struggle with many daily demands. The years are certainly difficult for parents, and kids, alike.
However, these early formative years don't hold a candle to what befalls us at about age 6. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later. But there is a large hormonal surge and developmental leap around this time causing those precious 4 and 5 year olds to spiral. My fourth seems to be entering this stage. She only turned 5 in April, but we are seeing signs of independence and persistence that we experienced with our older three. I didn't expect it this soon, and maybe this isn't the age 6 surge. However, little miss is certainly testing her limits.
She argues with everything. Even the walls that try to stand in her way. She inserts herself into every. single. conversation. Every one. She melts down when told it isn't for her. She demands to be part of all the things. Even those far above her head. She knows everything and won't listen to anyone telling her different. She is either over confident or acts like she is incapable. She sort of follows directions...but only in her own way. I just now told her to get out her cornet book, so she started getting out the cornet.
It often seems that I come down harder on my kids when they go through these stages of development. I kind of do. I enforce rules and direction following more strictly because they need that structure. Their brains are rewiring and growing exponentially so they need to know that the structure is there and solid. I am constantly reminding them of the rules and expectations because their brains on otherwise focused, so they struggle to remember them and act on them.
Every time one of my kids struggles with behavior more than normal, I know some sort of leap is on the horizon. As they get older, the leaps are somewhat less apparent as they have learned the control over the years. My oldest is almost 14, and her leaps are typically short lived and actually rather gentle at this point. I spend two hours talking with her, we have an understanding and move on. There isn't an hourly or even daily battle. So, reach out when your littles are leaping and get the support you need to weather those storms.