One of the qualities I’ve grown to love about my logic level students is the quirky combination of playful innocence and sporadic insight. While the fluctuating maturity levels can prove frustrating, they also indicate a beautiful transition.
Below are four simple truths to help you and your child survive some of the possible obstacles common to the logic stage.
1. Transitions may be frightening, even painful, but they are healthy.
At some point during the logic stage, students often have to make some pretty painful transitions. These are the years in which they are learning (and parents and teachers are training them) to think for themselves. Consequences start to become more natural. It’s one thing to tell your child before he starts sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, “You’re going to have to buckle down this year because Mom and Dad and all of your teachers aren’t going to hold your hand anymore.” It’s another to discover missing papers on the kitchen table, in the couch cushions, in the floorboard, or worst of all, in the trash. It’s also another matter entirely the first time your straight A student makes a C on a paper or fails a quiz simply because she didn’t study or take her time. The work in the logic stage is different, it’s hard, and with all of the new freedom comes plenty of opportunities for students to stumble, and then, with grace and firmness from those placed in their lives to train them, discover what God is developing them to be.
2. Erratic behavior can be…normal.
I’ve had girls who refused to speak above a whisper when performing a recitation turn right around and ask to do hand motions while Christmas caroling at the nursing home. I’ve had boys squeal at random times and then giggle about it. A few weeks, days, even hours later, they’re asking deep theological questions about the trinity that most adults don’t even begin to know how to address.
3. The logic stage looks different for every child.
Many times parents’ frustrations include the underlying assumption that their child is the only one struggling with x, and therefore they shouldn’t be. But God develops people as he sees fit when he sees fit. Sure, there are patterns that he seems to follow, but there’s a wide range within those patterns for developing a unique story for each person.
So often when I hear from parents, it’s as if they’re thinking: Who is this kid? Where did I go wrong? We never had this problem in fifth grade! Or even the first half of sixth!
But now their A/B perfect attendance ray of sunshine is losing papers, turning in late assignments, failing quizzes, and worst of all…rolling her eyes and slamming doors. When they ask her what she has for homework, she sighs, maybe even falls into a fit of giggles, and answers, “I don’t know.”
Or maybe not. Maybe he insists on staying up past eleven working on homework due the next day, or Friday, or next week. He keeps his planner, crossing everything off the list. He won’t watch T.V., get on the computer, read his favorite book, or play outside. He begs to stay home from church because he “has so much to do.” But he won’t talk to his parents, let alone his teachers. He’s too afraid of disappointing them.
4.Students are naturally inquisitive, and they do want to talk.
I’ve had C students, students who struggle to keep that C, but are some of the best students I have ever had. These are often, though not always, the same students who communicate with their parents and teachers and do what they are asked when they are asked. Most of them genuinely struggle with reading and logic level/ analytical thinking. But they are, ironically, the ones who “get it.” By “get it” I don’t mean sentence diagramming or Shakespeare. I mean they seem to truly grasp that Christ is the center of everything, even the small, everyday occurrences. These are the kids whose parents talk with them when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise up (Deut. 6.7). While some logic level students may spend time giggling or flying paper airplanes, nearly all of them have plenty of questions, if not now, then later.
It’s hard to pinpoint the source of these changes. Some might say hormones, others busy schedules, still others a relationship conflict with friends or family--we could analyze the factors for hours and find plenty of possible causes. But at the end of the day, growing pains aside, I still see a group of kids who, for the most part, desire to please the Lord, even if, just like adults, they haven’t quite figured out what all of that means.
The ESV Study Bible.Ed. Lane T. Dennis. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. Print.