Vital Parenting Skills For A Healthy Middle Childhood

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated July 25, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Middle childhood, spanning the ages of six to 12, can be a crucial time in a person's life. The skills children learn during this time often inform their adolescence and can carry over into adulthood. 

Children might learn more about relationships, roles and responsibilities, conflict resolution, emotional control, and their bodies during middle childhood. Parents may ensure their children experience a healthy middle childhood by offering consistency and discipline, being supportive, encouraging an interest in learning, and modeling healthy relationships.

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Develop Parenting Skills That Can Help Your Child Succeed

What Is Middle Childhood?

Middle childhood is the period of life between six and 12. During this time, a child learns skills that will help them develop friendships and other relationships throughout their lives. Children between six and 12 may also learn about different roles and responsibilities, like completing chores and respecting others. As a result, these years can be vital, and a child at this age may benefit from trying different pathways and hobbies to get to know themselves and their place in the world.

The Importance Of A Healthy Middle Childhood

In early childhood, a child learns emotional control and attachments, cognitive skills, language skills, and motor skills. They often develop these skills and abilities further as they age and work through middle childhood. If they don't learn these skills during their early childhood, it can lead to deficiencies in their later life and may cause them to experience challenges as they enter middle childhood. They may also have difficulty in their adulthood due to this delay.

Children who experience environmental stress or inadequate care and attention from a caregiver may have delayed milestones. These delays might damage brain development, potentially leading to issues with social development. Though developmental delays can be assisted in later life, parents and caregivers can prevent some challenges by being present in a child's life. 

Setting Up Children For Success

Because your child may be constantly learning during their early years, the skills they gain can set them up for success into adulthood. For example, they may learn to strive for success in school and start caring for physical and mental health. They might also learn self-discipline and the ability to make positive decisions. 

Children often learn about healthy eating in middle childhood and may start forming healthy relationships and resolving conflicts. Each of these areas can be crucial to their success in later life, and a deficiency in any could result in mental health challenges, like chronic stress or anxiety. 

Children are often at risk during middle childhood for developmental and behavioral disorders, asthma, and other chronic conditions. It can benefit them to have healthy relationships and caregiver encouragement. If you notice your child struggling with mental or physical health, ensuring professional support can be vital, as it may prepare them to cope with similar challenges in the future. 

The Necessity Of Consistency And Support From Parents

It can be helpful for parents to remain encouraging and supportive of their children during middle childhood. While consequences for maladaptive patterns may help children recognize misbehavior, remain consistent and ensure your child understands why the consequences have occurred and how to take different actions next time.

During middle childhood, children can benefit from consistency in parenting. As they learn more about themselves and understand relationships, fairness and consistency can help them develop a healthy understanding of relationships, including boundaries. 

Promoting an interest in learning can also benefit children during this time in their lives. Modeling positive relationships, encouraging your child to develop connections, and helping them explore and experiment with activities can also be beneficial.

Support Options For Parents 

If you want to ensure that your child has a healthy middle childhood but don't know if your parenting strategies are effective, you may benefit from working with a licensed therapist to learn new skills and address mental health and wellness. You don't have to have a mental illness to reach out to a therapist.  

As a parent, finding the time in your busy schedule to drive to a therapist's office and attend sessions in person can be challenging. If this is the case for you, online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp may be a more convenient alternative because you can connect with a professional from home. In addition, you can choose an appointment time outside of standard business hours with some therapists. 

Research has shown that online therapy can act as an effective treatment for various mental health conditions, so if you feel that stress, anxiety, depression, or another challenge is holding you back from being the best parent you can be, online support may be a practical choice. In addition, the study notes that online options can be as effective as in-person therapy.

Develop Parenting Skills That Can Help Your Child Succeed


The ages of six to 12 are referred to as middle childhood. This stage can be essential because the skills learned during this time can impact children through adolescence and adulthood. During middle childhood, children may learn more about emotional control, relationships, conflict resolution, and roles and responsibilities. Parents can help their children move through this stage healthily by being supportive, offering consistency and discipline, modeling healthy relationships, and encouraging an interest in learning. If you're looking for further guidance, consider contacting a licensed therapist for insight and support.

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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