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when to hold a child back in school?
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when to hold a child back in school?

My 7yr old son is in second grade. He's very smart and is doing pretty well in school but emotionally and socially he's not quite up to his peers' level of maturity. He has always been a little introverted and immature.I spoke with his teacher briefly today, and she said that she thought he could do the third grade level work but thought he would have problems emotionally. My son has a July birthday so won't be 8 till after school is out. I'm scared that if we decide to hold hold him back, that he will feel like a failure or that we don't believe in him. He's very sensitive to things like that. My husband was like that when he was that age and didn't come out of his shell till junior high. I hate the thought of keeping him back because he's not social enough. My husband, on the other hand, wants to hold him back. Has anyone had a situation like this? Any suggestions?
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164559_tn?1233711618
I think it is better to be the oldest in the class rather than the youngest.  Dear friends of mine fought to have their son held back in grade two.  They knew he wasn't ready for grade 3 and didn't want him pushed through.  They told him that since he was younger than most of the kids in the class, they felt he should do another year in grade 2 so he would be with kids his own age.  He did great.  It made all the differance.  He is now a freshman in university on a full athletic scholarship.

You son will feel more confident in the long run if you don't push him on through.  He only gets one childhood, so don't feel pressured to hurry him when you don't think it is in his best interest.

If you act like repeating the grade is a great idea, he will think so as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
I dont understand why or how a school would allow a child to be held back if he is making the grades?
What happens if he is held back and still isnt up there socially/emotionally  next yr.?
School is supposed to be for academics. The social emotional needs to be taught at home.
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Avatar_f_tn
They all develop at different ages emotionally as well as physically. Personally, I feel that holding him back would be more harmful than letting him go on with the kids that he knows and is secure with. He'll be better off catching up emotionally with them where he is comfortable with than a whole new class of kids. Is there any way to have him bring a friend home and play with that is a bit more mature? They sometimes model after others very quickly. My son was a little immature for k,1,and 2 but 3rd grade popped right out of it. Give him some time and encourage him to discuss things, at his level of course.
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Avatar_f_tn
I would suggest that holding him back may cause him more harm than good (if you are speaking of holding him back to repeat a grade level). It use to be the way to hold students back, but recent studies have shown that students who are held back, tend to continue to lag behind socially whereas students who are promoted with their peers, do eventually catch up or stay within their curve of development. Each child is unique and will develop at their own pace and boys mature so much slower than girls, physically and emotionally. If he is a gifted student, there are generally tests available even at his grade level that a resource teacher could administer. It is possible that even if he is not gifted but loves a challenge, that his classroom teacher can provide him with activities within his grade level to challenge him. As far as the socialization, I would instead put him in organized sports or clubs that he would enjoy. Ask him if there is something he would like to do. Music also might be another option. It is possible you just have a child who expresses himself differently and is quieter than others, but that is ok too. Everyone has strengths in different areas and their unique personalities should be embraced. I hope this helps (I am a teacher as well as a resource teacher).
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Avatar_n_tn
If he is making the grades and you know he CAN do the work I would NOT hold him back - My 8 yr old is in 3rd grade and is still emotionally immature (I think she is anyway) but if she is doing the work I don't see why we need to hold her back.   Good Luck with this.  
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is one of the youngest 6th graders in his class at 11 years old. He was just at the cutoff age to allow him to go to kindergarten when he was a month away from turning 5 and he was socially ready so we sent him on.    He has always been academically and socially strong in elementary school - but the start of middle school has been an entirely different story.  I have to say that it was out biggest parenting mistake looking back.

What I didn't realize is that there's a huge gap in maturity for kids who are just turning 11 years old in the 6th grade and other student. There are already kids who are turning 13 in the 6th grade. My son is mature enough for his age - 11 years old and not a minute more. He's very much a little boy still and the pressure of the middle school change was a very huge deal. We're closing in on the last part of the school year but it's taken all this time for him to be comfortable. He's always had friends, but at this grade level, the kids are branching off into groups of the same interests and he feels inferior. He's not as tall as some of the other boys and we know that girls have a growth spurt at this age. I had always considered him tall but when compared to the older 6th graders, he's not. The transition was not pleasant & it took us as parents completely by surprise. He's an only child and has had a very honest, abundantly loving upbringing where we've spent so much energy teaching him to learn confidence and know his strength, but all that went out the window and it's been tough.

Anyway, I know the child you're referring to is still quite young, but that's why I'm posting. Never in the past would I have considered holding a child back who is academically ready, but in retrospect, I sure do wish I had waited a year at least to start him in school. It has come back around and we never expected it.

I have to also say that my son isn't the only child in his grade that had a hard time transitioning to middle school. There are a few other younger 6th graders and while talking to their parents, it seems to be a common theme.
Middle school is a hard enough transition for many kids but when you throw in the 1 year or more difference in age, it can get so much worse.

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Avatar_f_tn
One problem I see is people expressing concern about not moving your son forward with his peers. This isn't correct thinking if he is one of the youngest in his class. If that is the case, his true peers are in the lower grade. I think you need to keep this in mind when making your decision. Look at the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
I can't speak for any of the parents, as you know your child better than anyone. But one thing I would caution, if your child has low self-esteem already, please think long and hard before you decide to hold your child back. I was held back in 1st grade, and it was a pretty devasting experience. Almost on par with loosing a parent. Just imagine that everyone at your job got a promotion except you. Then at the yearly company parties, they rub it in your face about how great it was or made fun of you because you didn't get promoted. Or maybe they simply kept asking why you didn't get promoted, and you had to come up with an answer that wouldn't further embarrass or erode what little self-esteem you had left, by further making light of your inadequacies when trying to answer them. Now take it one step further and pretend that happened to you for the next 12 years in a row.   That's what being held back felt like during grades 1-12. Seeing all my friends move forward, while I stayed behind had a lasting affect on me. I always felt that I could never measure up. I never felt I was ever good enough, always lagging one grade back. I always felt I was forever one step behind them. I always felt I was never smart enough.  I still struggle with self esteem and self confidence issues to this day.

I'm not saying all children will go through what I went through if they are held back, but just be careful and make sure your child has a healthy self-esteem before you do decide to hold them back. When councelors or teachers say "your child is only 5, they'll forget and get over it. They're too young to know what's going on." Do not believe them. I'm 40 years old. I knew and understood what being held back meant when I was 5,  I'm still not 100% over it, and I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

Please, as a parent, if you take away anything from this post, do everything in your power to boost your childs self esteem at an early age. Because self-confidence is much harder to build when you're older. If I had a choice between raising a child to be over-confident and cocky vs one who had no self esteem, I would choose the former. A cocky child can always pick themselves up when they fall and with time, they will be humbled. A child who falls with no self esteem may not be able to pick themselves back up.
Promoting self-esteem, and self confidence in your child is the greatest gift you can ever give them as a parent.  The gift of loving yourself. Please be very careful and talk to them before you do decide to hold them back.
-Mo
P.S: I was a November child.
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