Here are some symptoms to look for:
• Alone time. Children around this age (remember, it could start as early as 8 years old) want to be alone.
• They also tend to be very "Nobody likes me" - this particular symptoms just gets stronger as they move toward adolescence
• They begin to question their existence and they might even want to change their identity - change their name, change their hairstyle.
• It's a time when authority is questioned. Parents might find themselves being questioned a lot or refuted. "You get knocked off your pedestal" But that doesn't mean you have to stay there or even that you need to take it personally. In fact, if you don't view it personally and you can find a way to communicate in a different way that still asserts your authority in a loving way, you will begin to find a new way to communicate that exhibits mutual respect.
• There is an awakening to faults, whether it's faults within themselves or faults in others.
Children around 9 years will start to withdraw a bit. A child who may have been a very enthusiastic greeter may now be a bit withheld with his/her emotions.
There sometimes is an abrupt awakening in the child. Sometimes - and you can often find instances of this in historical figures/authors/etc - children realize their destiny at age nine. Here is an example:
I n her memoir, Little by Little, Jean Little
remembers the moment she began to live like a writer. She was home, sick
in bed, and her mother brought her a fleet of orange slices on a white plate.
Jean says, "I lined the bright litde boats up, one behind the other, on the
windowsill beside me. The world outside was dark, and the wood of the windowsill
was a mahogany brown. The orange segments glowed against the
sombre background. I loved the look of them. I could hardly bear to spoil it by
eating one." As Jean took the farthest-away orange slice and began to chew
the pulp, she realized with a pang that in a day she'd forget how beautiful the
line of glowing orange boats looked. "It's part of my life," she thought, "and
I am forgetting it." She straightened her shoulders, stared at the brave little
fleet and said, "I will remember, as long as I live, how these orange boats look
right now." Reflecting back on this moment in her memoir, Jean says, "What
mattered was that for the first time I saw my world and my life as something
that belonged to me, and began to put small scraps of time away in a place
where I could take them out and look at them whenever I needed to remember"
These moments of awareness and awakening happen throughout our lives.
Right now in our household, we are experiencing a lot of questioning whether we really are the authority figures. We get a lot of backtalk. It's normal and I think the best approach may just be to remain even-keeled. I find it very effective when I do not raise my voice. Obviously, for me easier said than done. But I guess practice makes perfect. I mean, I suppose there will be LOTS of incidences to practice as we round the corner to 9 years.