It seems like overnight our babies go from being snuggly, lovable little angels to opinionated, moody, and obstinate kids. We’re left flabbergasted with emotional whiplash trying to figure out why every thing seems to be a battle suddenly — and they’re not even teens yet.
One TikTok creator, Zack Kasabo — who has a Master’s degree in school counseling (PK-12) and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology — explains why this change usually happens and why it typically happens when a kid hits 3rd grade.
“I'm Zach and this is what's going on with your third grader,” he begins in the clip.
Please do tell.
“Towards the middle to the end of third grade, most kids have their first big developmental shift where they start to care more about the opinions of their peers than of their parents and adults.”
Kasaba goes on to explain that this developmental change is totally normal and right on track with a child’s brain growth. This change, while may be hard for parents to take, is actually a great step towards kids gaining their independence.
He then lays out two major differences a parent might see in their 3rd grader while they work through these developmental changes.
“Their defiance will look like them being more verbal as they try to form logical arguments although their brains are still primarily emotional,” Kasaba explains.
His advice for parents working through this new shift in brain activity is to stimulate it. “Ask them questions so they can come to their own conclusions. An example would be instead of saying ‘Stop doing that’ you could say ‘How come you did that?’”
This seems like a welcomed change from all those years of asking a toddler or preschooler why they colored on the wall, poured out their entire entire cereal bowl, or cut their own bangs and getting a shrug in return.
Second —and the more heart wrenching change — is that a 3rd grader might hold back from divulging every detail of their life.
“They will start to become more private instead of wanting to share everything with you like they used to,” Kasaba notes.
“So if they're not opening up and sharing things, a great strategy is to be indirect by asking about their friends. Find out about their friends, you'll find out about them.”
Several parents weighed in on Kasaba’s video, sharing their own stories about the moment things changed with their 3rd grader.
“3rd grade was a wild ride. Half the time he’s a completely different kid. The other half he still wants to be cuddled with a stuffy in his arms,” one user wrote.
“Ooooh so this is why my third grader asked for long socks this spring because ‘short socks are embarrassing,’ another said.
One user echoed, “So true and I didn’t even realize it until I saw this! My 9 yo asks me everyday about how his hair looks and if he has anything on his face.”
“The invisible audience is realllll,” Kasaba replied.
A teacher chimed in and said, “As a 3rd grade teacher I always joke that my favorite age to teach is semester 2 2nd graders and semester 1 3rd graders. The shift is real & dramatic!”