Let's just say that our child has learned that there are more grey areas in life, but would prefer that there weren't. So we haven't exactly outgrown the rules-orientation, but have picked up a bit more flexibility. I don't know that I would consider it a stage so much as a kind of asynchrony (cognitively high understanding of rules, but developmentally age-typical social skill set), combined with a certain temperament (anxious and people-pleasing, in our case).

Another child had exactly the same cognitive understanding of rules at the same ages, but responded differently to them. That's the DC who, at 18 months, was told to eat only in the kitchen, and immediately responded by deliberately standing in the kitchen, right at the edge of the tile floor, and leaning over the living room (hardwood) floor, eating. All while looking me right in the eye. Still following the rules, right? wink