Transition to Scholar is a sub-phase of Love of Learning that deserves special treatment. Pre-adolescents kind of have their foot in both Love and Learning and Scholar worlds, and need to be free to be either/both/neither as the day may be.

Age: Transition to Scholar occurs in most girls between ages eleven and thirteen and in most boys between twelve and fourteen.

textbookThe student is as complex an individual as ever she will be! Usually she will advance unevenly in the various aspects of personality and physical, emotional and intellectual maturity.

This strange situation leaves not only the budding youth feeling out of sorts, but all her relationships become subject to forces beyond her control.

Is she able to articulate her needs? Does she know what’s bothering her?

No, and no.

Is she a child needing a hug or even lap time? Is she a youth wanting to be given her own space? Yes, and yes.

The key words for this Transitional period are independence and protection.

The Transitioner benefits greatly from a parent that is secure about the changes that are beginning to manifest in her.

Parents and teachers can help the child/youth by listening without fixing, and reassuring her that much of the turmoil or confusion that seem to have come from nowhere, or alternatively, which are being blamed upon coincidental things (like: a recent move, the death of a loved one, a change in the social circle, etc.) are really just the natural process of the body gearing up for rapid growth and hormonal activity.

Putting other issues in their place and addressing them separately is important; identifying that  the transition to adolescence is challenging (with or without the extra complications) is vital.

Parents who treat ten-year-olds like they are still children (which they are!) in the physical relationship, such as sitting them on your lap and giving them a big hug, while simultaneously talking to them and treating them with dignity and respect as an adult, will see the best results.

(And it may be that this formula does not expire even as the child grows older.)

Perhaps the most important thing to know about the Transition to Scholar is that it is a sub-phase of Love of Learning. And, as such, that it is all about Love–not just Love of Learning.

The Transitional child is in such a constant state of becoming that she can never quite get her bearings on who she is right now.

Having an environment that is abundant in the physical affection that she took for granted when she was small is comforting and signifies that the relationships around her are not changing–even though she is.

This anchoring influence will reassure her that the changes that are fast coming upon her are not to be feared, and do not mark the abandonment of all they valued before; rather, this is a welcome and anticipated development that brings opportunities and rewards along with the challenges.

For more on the Transition to Learning, including:

  • Traits and Behaviors
  • Discoveries
  • The 35 Parenting Skills for Transition to Scholar
  • Separate and specific recommendations for mothers and for fathers
  • An extensive Q & A section

See Chapter 6 (pp. 153–189) of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning.

Additional Resources: