“Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key” by Ames and Haber

I mostly hate books about parenting. They’re full of reasonable sounding things that I promptly forget once I close the book, and reading them takes time away from reading for pleasure, which is my recovery FROM parenting, And yet, every so often, I’m so perplexed I break down and read a parenting book. On our recent big-a$$ summer driving trip, my 7yo would not answer people’s questions of him,make funny noises instead, and then run away from being hugged. This is not endearing behavior when our little family had driven umpteen bazillion miles to see many and various members of our extended family, who unsurprisingly were hoping for a little interaction.

In other words, I had of late lost all my patience over his behavior, and wondered why he was being such a pain in the butt, so I read this book.

Four years ago, when the boy was 3.5, I was introduced to the series by someone, I forget who. They recommended Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy? Which I HAD to read because it is such a hilarious AND perfect title. As far as I’m concerned, 3.5 is when children are possessed by demons. I don’t remember at all what the book said (see first line) but I do recall it had to state explicitly at some point that 3yos were NOT the enemy. i found that helpful at the time. So I borrowed Your Seven Year Old: Life in a Minor Key, hoping for some insight.

The premise of this series is that kids tend to go through stages at around the same ages. The authors posit that year-ish periods of equilibrium are balanced by disequilibrium. Unsurprisingly, to me, both 3 and 7 are disequilibrium years.

There’s tons of information in here, much of it super dated especially re: gender roles and spanking. There’s also a lot about some stuff that I haven’t encountered in either of my boys, such as the persecution complex and fear of failure. But it did affirm that an inward focus, a lessening of talk and wanting to be touched and an increase in clownish behavior were all right on track for 7.

Concrete strategies for the trenches? Not many. The value of this series I think is in the same kind of empathy it advocates using with kids, what with mirroring troubles and trying to loosely guide to solutions. It’s a short fast read though, with helpful reminders that kids aren’t evil plotting geniuses, they’re just small people who are growing in fits and spurts in body and mind. They’re individuals, yet they’re also just like everybody else. Isn’t it true for us all?

One Response to ““Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key” by Ames and Haber”

  1. Jess Says:

    I loved this series-especially the fact that the books are short and manageable and relate stories about behavior so common to the age. I used them throughout the first 12 years of parenting and now on to the teen years. !!!! They are dated, but surprisingly forward on issues of hormones and interest in the opposite sex. Like you, I found parenting books to be off putting, I found them to be a chore and too long. These books are so helpful-great advice. Great post!