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Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant
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Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  470 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The six-year-old is a complex child, entirely  different from the five-year-old. Though many of the  changes are for the good -- Six is growing more mature, more independent, more daring and adventurous -- this is not necessarily an easy time for the little girl or boy. Relationships with mothers are troubled -- most of the time Six adores mother, but whenever things go wr ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 15th 1981 by Dell (first published 1979)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  470 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've never been one to consult so-called "parenting books" and this is not one of those, per se. As my daughter neared the age of 6, I found her behaviors to be increasingly vexing and our relationship started to deteriorate rapidly. I felt like I didn't know her anymore, as I did not understand the causes or motivations behind her most frustrating actions (or inactions).

This book is slightly outdated (the section on discouraging boys and girls from playing together was particularly useless in m
Beth A.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Beth A. by: Laura Dotson
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
This book was written in 1979. But I haven't seen a more recent book that so specifically describes approximate age related behaviors and how they relate to discipline issues.

Ames' writing is easy to read. It's gentle, kind, and compassionate, reminding me to be, too.

Apparently six is a difficult age. I was surprised and relieved to find out that this is normal.

- Technique number one: Praise
- Counting
- Time periods until a task is done
- Sidestep defiance
- Give as few direct commands as possibl
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book has some useful information and helpful tidbits that transcend time, such as the advice that one need not phase out the pre-bedtime protein snack, such as cheese, just yet. However, most of the advice and examples are very dated and oddly phrased, such as the admonition to separate Father and Six at the dinner table allowing Six to sit next to Mother in case of spills, restlessness, etc. It is a very short read and the bottom line is that all the silliness, emotional outburts, restless ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good grief, what a perfect title. I'm dying here people. Having a six year old alternates between having a pet spider monkey who professes their constant undying love for you and a sullen grumpy teen who wants to be 30 already. She's brilliant and can master nearly every task and I'm learning that the more freedom, the more confidence and control of her emotions, but that's after I talk her out of trying to drive the car. The good news, according to Bates Ames is that this period will make adole ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
These Ames and Ilg books are by far the most useful parenting books I have read. Actually, they aren't about parenting, they are about child development. But learning that my children's annoying habits are merely a developmental phases AND that they will pass is incredibly helpful.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Helped me feel like I wasn't raising a psychopath
Emily E.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Very outdated, but also very encouraging. Helped me to realize my struggles with my six year old are normal, and I got some ideas about making our day to day life go a little more smoothly considering her age and development.
Monica Sheldon
Interesting, but hilariously out-of-date. Written in 1979, it includes things like constitutional psychology (a defunct 1940s theory correlating body type with temperament) and quaint asides like "At mealtimes, when things are so very likely to go wrong ... the path of wisdom is to have your child sit beside Mother and as far from Father as the size of the table permits.

I think I'm going to start a new category of fascinatingly out-of-date books.

Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd quote the whole book here if I had enough time and space and it wasn't illegal to do so.

This book quite accurately describes exactly what Hen is like right now. Unfortunately, age six is when kids pull away from their primary caregiver, who up to this point has been the center of their lives, and start placing themselves in the center. During this time of transition, the child often finds it difficult to make a decision - they do but they don't, they can but they can't - this sort of thing.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
For a long time, I felt my oldest was going through was I called cycles, periods of ups followed by a crashing period of downs. Both would last for months. I could see the down cycle coming, but was powerless to do anything about it. A great teacher at my daughter's preschool recommended this series of books. They could do with a lot of updating, but in basics, the pattern of a child's development really hasn't changed since when these books were published. I'm only a few pages in and I've alrea ...more
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, parenting-books
This book series is outdated in some ways to an amusing extent, but I still really like some of the age-related insights provided by the authors. One very helpful suggestion was giving "chances" if your child doesn't comply. My daughter has hit a stage where asserting herself is really important, and all too often we're locking horns over things - so offering "chances" instead of immediate punishment actually has worked well. It gives her the opportunity to rebel a few times and still comply. I ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
What a relief to read this and know we're not alone in dealing with a completely vexing six year old! The authors are right on the money --and most of it rings true even though the book was written a number of years ago. I highly recommend it for parents of 6 year olds and parents of 5 year olds (so you know what's coming). The book is logical, sincere, *not* preachy and very often funny. A quick read, too (which is great because parents of 6 year olds don't have much time or energy for reading ...more
Nikki Morse
All of these books are simple and old-fashioned, but this is the first one where the balance between that and the positive info about kids was negative. The gender narrative was way harder hitting, maybe because the kids they are talking about are getting older. This one included the instruction that girls should be taught that it's boys who do the calling. I mean, c'mon. This might be the last one I read.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pressures and influences on children may change from decade to decade, but the study of the cognitive, physical and intellectual growth varies little. This is an easy-to-read and helpful guide, and the pictures of the six-year-olds, circa 1979, add to the wholesome and, at times, "retro" quality of the book. I had many of the same haircuts and clothes!
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm amazed at how accurate this book is--it described many of my six-year-old daughter's current behaviors to a tee. The authors are careful to include as many variations as they can, and to point out that every child is different--but still, it was interesting to see how my child fit the profile.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Least favorite part of 6 year olds. I heart these books so much.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
My go-to parenting guide series for understanding what behaviors are "typical" as my children grow up.

This volume helped me appreciate that while my six-year-old is a bit of a hot mess, that's typical and while he may be prone to breakdowns, he's also glad to be the life of the party, so I should look for situations where he can shine.

I really wish the Gesell Institute would update these. They're wonderful, but you have to do so much reading through the lense of 35+ years of changing culture to
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I love this series. I started with the 2 yo one and then skipped to the 6yo book, but both times it was measly helpful! The cultural parenting norms are out of date (great throw back to our parents and grandparents), but the child behaviors and general sense about how to react is soo helpful. Now when my 6yo yells at me or The Best Husband Ever, or defies his teacher, I can laugh - and apply an appropriate consequence without going nuclear.
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It helps to understand

We have been at our wits end with our six year old. We often felt that perhaps she (or we) needed therapy. Surely this kind of behavior couldn't be normal, right? But after reading this book we're much reassured that our little one is actually pretty normal for six. And knowing that makes it easier to take. And this wonderful book provides some exceptional tips for loving with six year olds and not losing your mind.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Describes our almost Six Year Old to a T

Our eldest will be six in a month so I decided to read this and oh, wow, does this describe EVERYTHING we have dealt with in the last five or six months. Which fortunately seems to mean smoother sailing is ahead.
Jennifer Buczynski
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phew this book put my mind at ease about my almost six year old :)
Mary Fran Torpey
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
old-fashioned, but useful, just as all the rest of the books in the series have been.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nearly every line could be my daughter it was astonishing. Ames gives some ideas of how to tackle but some of it is outdated and steeped in history while other ideas are timeless and still apply today. Toward the end she gives a lot of examples of people who have written in and her advice to them. I thought this was the weakest part of the book the first several chapters were really strong with the information she revealed but she didn't go where I would have liked her to go with it. She blew my ...more
Chelsey Hillyer
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book, just ignore dates gender roles.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read a newer edition, but I am so glad I found this series. Just when I was beginning to question both my son's and my own sanity I found this and started reading it. My little one fits the extremes to a T. He's a messy eater, is contradictory, self-centered, but loving, empathetic, smart, and artistic. He can be amazingly good and then I get the phone call where I want to sink into the floor. Fortunately this book lets you know that's all normal and that it will change and basically what to e ...more
Apr 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: other parents of 5 and 6 year old chlildren
This is a helpful - if a bit outdated - summary of what one can expect from a "typical" six-year-old. The author repeats numerous times that each child is an individual and therefore what is considered "normal" is actually an average of a certain number of children of the same age and cannot be held as a standard that each child must meet or somehow be found wanting.

The biggest help to me, personally, was the description of how many six-year-olds experience mercurial mood swings that can be very
Jenn Majewski
I'm in the process of adopting two boys, one of which is about to turn six. Since I have never been a parent, issues like bath time, bed time, diet, education, etc., are completely new to me. I was looking for a book that would give me the inside scoop on what to expect developmentally with a six-year-old. This book, although written in 1979, met that standard.

However, some of the techniques they suggest seem questionable and outdated. There were also many points that the authors repeated severa
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Overall, I thought this book was an easy read, and it was full of objective-sounding insights into 6-year old kids. It was not explicitly a parenting book, which I appreciate, because I don't want someone else's advice on how to parent the generic 6-year-old child... I was seeking information to help me understand my specific child while I consider how I can best meet my child's needs. So I would recommend this book, or this type of book, to parents who feel like all the books they've read on ba ...more
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents of 6 year-old children
This is a short book that outlines the typical personality characteristics and quirks that defines the six-year-old child. So far, in my limited experience, it's fairly spot on and it highlighted to me the cyclical nature of child development, where children drift in and out of inwardized behavior and outwardized behavior as well as shifts in disequilibrium and equilibrium. While not all situations or behaviors will fit every child, it is still a good guide for what to expect. As it was first wr ...more
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have read one other book in this series, and what i like about them is that they tell you something about what is typical behavior. I find that useful in judging how worried I should be about some sort of thing a kid is doing.

This one was similarly useful, but, perhaps an old edition because some of the information was quite dated. I first noted this in some of the discussion about six year olds starting all day school for the first time (kindergarten is full day here, and many kids have been
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Louise Bates Ames was an American psychologist specializing in child development.[1] Ames was known as a pioneer of child development studies, introducing the theory of child development stages to popular discourse. Ames authored numerous internationally renowned books on the stages of child development, hosted a television show on child development, and co-founded the Gesell Institute of Child D ...more