Taken from Raising Your Spirited Child:
“Kids go through developmental surges. You can mark it on your calendar. Somewhere around their birthday and their half birthday, you can expect trouble. They get cranky and uncooperative. They might be incapable of doing what they were able to do just a few weeks before. Nothing seems right. They’re easily frustrated. Every time you turn around, they’re crying about something else. They won’t cooperate. They want to be held and then push you away when you hold them. They’re angry–angry at you, at the world, and at themselves. They are more easily upset by anything.
The developmental theorists tell us that this is a time of disintegration, a time when children are moving from one stage of development to another. Their inner systems are restructuring, creating a new, more complex way of understanding the world. Think of five building blocks. Stack them once on top of the other until you have a tower of five blocks. This is your five-year old–his inner structure that controls how he sees the world and responds to it. It works well for him, but as he nears his sixth birthday, changes begin to occur. A new block will be added to the structure, but it won’t just be added to the top of the stack. Instead, the tower will come crashing down; it will disintegrate and a new structure with six blocks will be formed. This time it may be in the shape of a pyramid, with three blocks on the bottom, two in the middle, and the sixth resting on top. It will be a totally different structure. During this construction time, which can take four to six weeks, everything that was working well for your child doesn’t seem to be operating anymore. He becomes overwhelmed easily and is more vulnerable to spill-over tantrums.
It happens to all kids, but as is always true for spirited children, their reactions are much stronger. Mark your calendar and be ready for the surges.”