5 Keys to Overcome the Six-Year Crisis

Crises that happen throughout life are normal and necessary. Learn more about the six-year crisis and how to help your child through this stage.
5 Keys to Overcome the Six-Year Crisis

Last update: 22 February, 2021

Our children’s lives are full of adjustments and maladjustments practically from birth. The six-year crisis is one of the crises that they’ll have to overcome as they develop. 

Childhood is full of insecurities, imbalances, advances, setbacks, etc. But why? Because children have to grow and, on that path, they’ll experience ups and downs. Also, they’ll discover their limits and all of their possibilities. It’s a stage of exploration and, like any process, they’ll learn by making mistakes.

Throughout childhood, children start to build their personalities. They begin this process around the age of six and it continues into their teen years. These crises are necessary for your child to establish who they are. Do you want to know how you can help your child overcome the six-year crisis? Keep reading.

Why do children go through the six-year crisis?

From birth, a child’s brain doesn’t stop developing. As it grows, their thinking and action capacities increase, and at a very rapid rate.

In this stage, given their need to be autonomous and independent, they’ll reject rules and limits that you’ve established in the home. During this period, they’ll have a much broader vocabulary and, because of that, they’ll leave the temper tantrums and uncontrollable crying behind. Instead, they’ll start to use swear words and insults to express their anger and frustration.

At this age, children are very sensitive and they show their feelings more. It’s normal to see them jump for joy and then, minutes later, become very angry with the world for no reason. Therefore, we have to be careful of how sensitive they are at this stage. We should watch what we say to them, both flattery and punishment, because they can get hurt very easily.

5 Keys to Overcome the Six-Year Crisis

Children’s behavior during the six-year crisis

  • They make excuses.
  • They’re moody for no reason.
  • Emotionally unstable. They’ll laugh and then get angry. 
  • They’re often serious and thoughtful.
  • They’re stubborn, rebellious and sometimes domineering.
  • Constantly complaining about how unfair life is and that nobody loves them.
  • They’ll resist rules and authority.
  • Their attitudes will become very difficult.
  • They become more active and more dynamic.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • They don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions; they’re not very thoughtful.

These behaviors are totally normal at this stage. A six-year-old’s brain is very immature and is still developing. Their emotional and cognitive abilities are constantly growing. 

Keys to overcoming the six-year crisis

During the six-year crisis, parents have to let their child be more autonomous. However, they also need to establish clear limits and rules to help them coexist.

Keep calm

It’s important to stay calm when your child suffers from an emotional outburst. You have to understand that it’s part of their development and that they need to observe others to learn how to manage their emotions.

Adapt the rules and limits to your child’s age

Children are constantly growing and, therefore, won’t benefit from the techniques we used with them previously. They already know how to do things by themselves and, therefore, they need new rules and limits adapted to their age. 

5 Keys to Overcome the Six-Year Crisis

Be consistent with your consequences

If your child breaks the rules, you have to be consistent with your consequences for their actions.

Work on their habits and routines

It’s essential to work on their habits, since they’re starting to go to school. At this age, they have school obligations that they have to take care of. It may be difficult at first, but establishing these routines will make you feel better.

Educate your child about their emotions, listen to them and empathize with them

Talk to your child and let them know how important they are to you. Listen to them when they have something to tell you. Give them all your attention. Also, when they’re frustrated, sit down with them because that’s when they need you the most. Help them understand their emotions when they feel them and put yourself in their shoes. Then, from there, everything will be much easier.

The six-year crisis, like all crises that will arise during your child’s life, is key to their development. They have to build their personality and there will be some ups and downs in the process.

If you want to help your child in the best way possible, put these keys into practice. They can really help in the moment. Also, be sure to stay calm and to create a good atmosphere at home.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.