August 15, 2018 at 7:02 am #91238
My 9 year old son is very bright and struggles mightily with social issues in school. We are considering having him repeat 3rd grade. He has a summer birthday and in our town most boys with summer birthdays enter kindergarten a year late. My son did not, therefor, he is the youngest boy in his class and in some cases over a year younger than his peers. He is smaller than most of the other kids in his class. He gets average grades and has trouble organizing his homework. When asked about repeating 3rd grade he said “Sure, that way I can help the teacher since I’ve already done it. But I might miss my friends in 4th”. The truth is he has no friends in 4th or anywhere else for that matter. I am looking for insight on the issue of repeating a grade for social issues, not academic issues. I can’t find much research in this area. Holding him back would actually be placing him with his same age peers.
Because of his social struggles (temper tantrums, inability to maintain friendships, emotional volatility) my son had a psychological eval last week. The results show that my son has ADHD, problems with processing speed, graphomotor issues and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He also tested in the gifted range with an overall IQ of 131. His Processing Speed IQ was 103, 44 points lower than his Fluid Reasoning IQ which was 147 (in the 99.9th percentile) and the therapist said this is not normal and likely due to the ADHD. Shockingly, he tested at the 11th grade level equivalent in math (he just finished third grade with a B- in math). His school is hesitant to hold him back because he is so bright. I feel the cards are already stacked against him socially with his ADHD and to keep him in a class with kids a year older really stacks the deck. As far as academics, math at the 11th grade level is so far off from his grade level that I can’t see how being in 3rd vs. 4th. makes much difference in terms of academics. Please help me guide my son.
August 15, 2018 at 8:12 am #91239
Personally, I would never hold a child back. It could potentially make things worse. It did for me. The child may see it as a punishment or personal failure. The child may be targeted and/or looked down on by classmates. It can really take a hit on ones self esteem.
The school should be working with your son. The school should change the environment to meet his needs.
Does he qualify for MENSA? The members may be a good support system for the family.
August 23, 2018 at 8:27 pm #92147
There are as many people that advocate starting children a year later, which is pretty much what you’re thinking of doing by having him repeat a year, as there are people that say don’t do it. That’s a decision only you can make. My only question is if you know he has social skills issues why not get him into social skills training, done in group (you don’t learn to be social by being on one on one in therapy) you learn it through social interactions and redirection by people trained in behavioral modification therapy. He needs treatment so that he can become aware of social cues. It’s not likely to come to him on his own out of the blue. Leaving him behind a year won’t do anything for him, except leave him behind a year, and if he’s bright what is the point of that? My son, 10, struggled with the same thing. Always sad, felt left out, and other negative feelings towards himself. So I found a reputable summer social skills camp, 9 weeks of driving hell because it was far away, 5 days a week. But let me tell you, at the end of that process which he balked at plenty because my son is the type that doesn’t like to hear the word no and will try to negotiate and manipulate you to get what he wants (so he has problems with adults as well), but at the end, he learned to unwillingly comply with instructions from adults and most importantly learned how to read social cues and interact with other children his own age. Does he prefer still to be with younger children? Yes, and I let him. But the important thing is that he learned and can interact with his peers when he wants to, which was the goal. As to the adults, that’s next on the list. In this house, the therapy never, ever ends.
August 15, 2018 at 8:39 am #91242
I didn’t think that was still done, and I’m sad to hear it is even being considered. Don’t do it. I was held back in 2nd grade for the very same reason, and all it did was make things worse socially because I was stigmatized as the dumb kid who couldn’t even pass 2nd grade by my peers. Kids notice these things, and they aren’t kind about it. When he says he’ll miss his friends, he’s saying he wants to stay in that group, that there’s a comfort level there that he knows he’ll lose. Whether he’s conscious of it or not, he knows how he’ll be treated as “held back” kid. I spent the rest of my school years feeling shame and missing the group of kids I was separated from, even though none of them were “friends” by standard definition. They were still my “people.”
Social interactions can’t be forced. And they also don’t always look the same for everyone. Some of us are introverted and simply don’t need as much social interaction as others. But we think of others a lot, and have other ways of expressing friendship.
The best you can do is teach him social protocols. Let him find friends on his own terms, or he’ll never really appreciate such relationships.
August 19, 2018 at 3:07 pm #91655
Your story is very similar to mine. My son’s bday is October and we started him in kindergarten at age 4 because we could tell how smart he is and didn’t see any other issues. When school started, he clearly wasn’t meeting expectations but every year teachers told me he’s so smart that he’d catch up, even after the ADHD and LD diagnoses.
By the end of 4th grade, we just couldn’t move him forward because his experience was so traumatic at school, and even our son wanted to repeat. School pushed back because he was at or above grade level on assessments and has a gifted IQ. We pushed and he repeated 4th grade. It is the best decision we’ve ever made for him (he starts 10th grade next week).
Yes, there are studies that show having kids repeat a grade doesn’t help with academics and often damages their self-esteem. They don’t take into account developmental delays, social issues, age gaps, and executive functioning. Our son went from bullied and trying to throw up every morning to get sent home, to actually making friends and being a little more in line with his peers.
We did end up moving to a new district before the start of his 2nd 4th grade year, which helped, but we would have done it regardless.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
August 20, 2018 at 11:26 am #91693
We had a similar issue, although my son did not qualify for gifted. He started school very early and was never held back, even though he was young, due to his academic achievements. As he ended his elementary school career, it just became more and more obvious that he was not with his appropriate peer group, being a full year younger than many of his classmates.
We talked with him a lot, about being the smallest and the youngest, and about how he would feel repeating a grade. He made the decision that he would want to repeat the grade, but that he wanted to do it at the end of 5th grade, when everyone would be leaving the school anyway. The traditional public schools would not allow us to retain him, due to the fact that he was on grade level, so we began looking for an alternative educational setting. There are many options, including charters and homeschools, but we ended up going to a small private school that understood our concerns and agreed with our plan.
The decision we made was by far the best for our son. He knows that he was not ‘held back’ due to being ‘dumb’ or underperforming, he knows that he was involved in the decision to repeat the grade, basically to fix an error that we made when we allowed him to start school early in the first place. As a school employee myself, I have seen the detriment to retention and in general I am against retention as a academic intervention, but for my son (and maybe for yours), he will not struggle academically or feel inferior in that area; for him the issue really was social development.
I wish you good luck. This parenting thing is hard!
August 20, 2018 at 11:58 am #91696
Sooner the better. Approaching high school socially, emotionally, or physically unprepared can effect self esteem, productivity, and quality of life far longer and deeper then repeating third grade will.
Consider changing districts or a year of private school to avoid the social stigma.
August 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm #91709
My son is now almost 11. He has a late August birthday. When the time came for kindergarten, we followed the state’s recommended age, which meant he started school just shy of his fifth birthday. We had briefly discussed giving him another year and asked his preschool teachers, but they did not have any strong concerns so we moved forward.
Within a month we could see we made the wrong choice. His entire year became about behavior, not about learning. He hated school. He was simply too young to sit still and focus for the things he was being asked to do. His ADHD wasn’t diagnosed yet and many kids had trouble following the directions, but he was worse.
In January we talked with his teachers about our options at that school; hold him back or move him forward. Even at that point in the year she feared he would be bored with repeating the curriculum but moving him forward would continue the social and behavior issues.
We visited a Montessori where the teacher said, “I can give him a year to mature and keep moving him forward academically.” He has been there ever since.
When we were researching, one teacher said, “I’ve never met anyone who regretted giving their kid another year.” Now in our case, it was kindergarten, and the older they get, the tougher it will be. One parent told us her decision not to hold her son back didn’t really materialize until 16 when his immaturity really became obvious.
If you can give him another year–and as we and others have mentioned, find a new school might make it easier so potential stigmas are lessened by “repeating”–I would do it. It is a very hard call and I doubted myself; but after that first year he stopped talking about doing kindergarten twice and he loves school now.
August 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm #91718
I did this for my son John in the 4th grade and it was the best decision I ever made. He too was not socially where he should be and now he is having an easier time addapting to his grade. Don’t doubt your decision for one bit.
ADHD / Autism Mom,
August 20, 2018 at 1:21 pm #91722
My daughter has a birthday in November and was still 4 when she started kindergarten. She had such a difficult time learning to read and socially behind her peers. She was diagnosed adhd, autism and anxiety. In grade 3 we were changing schools for more classroom support for my older daughter. During this change to a new school we decided to have her repeat grade 3. She did amazingly well and went from calling herself dumb to gee I am smart! Her self esteem and academics increased ten fold. By grade 6 reading at a grade 11 level. Socially she has always struggled to fit in and this did not change much. She has always been socially younger by a few years of her peers. The positives far out weighed the negative of repeating grade 3 for my daughter.
August 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm #91736
I know an elderly lady who is 88 years old. She has been a heavy smoker for most of her life and eats a lot of junk food. She’s in perfect health, doesn’t even have a smoker’s cough. I know many people like this, and more who know other people like this.
Does that mean smoking and eating junk food are healthy activities? Of course not. That’s the difference between anecdote and statistic. Not everyone who engages in unhealthy behavior will get unhealthy results. But statistically, the chances of avoiding health issues as a smoker/junk food eater are rare (even if one’s personal experience makes it not seem so).
Pulling a child out of the only social group they know, and dropping them into a new one is statistically a risky thing to do. Deciding to do it requires a lot of risk/benefit analysis. Those of you who have had success, that’s great. But recommending it to others, especially when you don’t know the particulars of their situation, is as irresponsible as claiming smoking is healthy merely because you can pull out some anecdotes about healthy people who happen to smoke.
Also, those of you claim success whose child is still a child, you don’t yet know if there will be long term negative effects.
August 20, 2018 at 4:10 pm #91759
Our son repeated kindergarten by our decision. We knew we would likely never regret it. He does not have ODD, but has ADHD, dyslexia, slow processing speed, dysgraphia, summer bday and high IQ. He is a quiet sweet boy, but it was clear he was struggling more than he should be with social skills, following directions, reading and other little things I had trouble explaining to other people, but I knew. It was the BEST choice for him. We did it young, to try to separate his issues from his age. Frankly he was relieved! He found friends (not alot, but a few good ones) and we just reiterated how everyone learns and matures differently. He just started 8th grade, and I shudder at the thought that he would have started High School…he does fine but does NOT belong in High School this year. He has never complained. We also knew we would have him one more year to mature before sports, dances and college . My best advice (my 10th grade dyslexic adhd daughter is in Honors English!!) is to follow your gut. You know your child. You are his advocate. Don’t depend on anyone else to decide. If you are not satified with the situation, keep searching to find someone or a program to help him. That was my mantra. We did ALOT of remediations, therapies etc but it has totally paid off.
August 20, 2018 at 4:12 pm #91760
I would allow the child to repeat the grade. There’s plenty of time later on and no need to hurry through the formative time of elementary school. I wish we had done this for my child. He struggled in public elementary school and did ok. Then in middle school puberty kicked in and he needed a lot more support than mainstreaming could offer. Good luck!
August 20, 2018 at 11:40 pm #91794
While I am not dismissing your advice, I’d just like to point out that holding a kid back wouldn’t stop puberty from coming, nor would it stop them from becoming socially awkward during it, no matter how old they are in relation to their peers.
Also, “allowing” your child to repeat a year makes it sound like their decision. If your child approaches you with the subject of repeating a grade, then you should probably let them after making sure that the decision has been thought out. However, this is usually not the case, and it is ultimately the parent’s, not the student’s, decision, regardless of who brought it up.
August 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm #91762
My son, now 15, has a late July birthday. Also designated 2e,he struggled until this year. What he got out of that, was a couple of very strong relationships with boys like him, who have given him an anchor as he explores new friendships in high school. He was very small, awkward, and painfully shy. Now 6′, 185, he plays rugby. Th
Perhaps, if you had delayed kindergarten for your son, or repeated kindergarten…. But now, I would say that I would not retain him. There’s a LOT of social stigma associated with repeating grades, and kids remember. If he’s also gifted, that’s a nightmare concept for a kid to have to do all of that work again. I was a socially awkward and gifted child, and if my mom told me I was going to repeat 3rd grade, I would have cried all day for the entire school year.
Give him time, he will surprise you!
August 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm #91764
I am a male, now 79 years old. I could not read in third grade. I was diagnosed at age 65 with ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia. I am an Eagle Scout. I hold degrees in physics and mathematics with a minor in chemistry and I am a Registered Professional Engineer. My children are ADHD and my grandchildren are ADHD and they are also bright. The public-school system is just barley learning how to teach children with ADHD.
If your son is doing grade level work you are lucky. The socialization of a human-being within a culture is a never-ending work in progress, as both the person and the culture change. He will learn how to cope socially over time as all ADHD individuals have to do. Because of our physiology, most ADHD individuals are socially immature through their late teens, and some into their early twenties.
In my experience, the only reason to hold a child back is if they are not performing academically. My parents knew I was bright and even though I was not performing at grade level they did not hold me back. By the seventh grade I was reading at an eleventh-grade level and performing academically at a “B-” level, even with all of my undiagnosed ADHD related issues.
Support your son with focused specific affirmations as to his qualities, abilities, intelligence, and goodness. With your backing and full unwavering support, he will do the rest.
August 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm #91766
My son has just graduated from high school at age 17. He has ADHD and anxiety, and while he was always intellectually capable of doing the work at a higher grade level, socially and emotionally he struggled. I started discussing having him repeat a grade as early as kindergarten. When I went to talk to his teacher about it, she said “You can’t hold him back — he already knows everything we teach in kindergarten!”
I had the same conversation at various points with other teachers and counselors over the years, up through middle school. I found, though, that each year they became more resistant to the idea (I think because of the social stigma a kid who repeats a grade will suffer).
School was a huge struggle — he was smart enough to take all advanced classes, but emotionally and socially there was a lot of stress about keeping up with assignments. We struggled to find the balance between helping him meet his academic potential while also getting him the social/emotional support system he needed to get his work done. It’s a tricky balance — and one that schools don’t usually have a system to address. If my son had had another year to mature, though, there would have been a lot less stress about getting schoolwork done, etc.. If I had a time machine, though, I would go back and fight the teachers and have him repeat the grade.
That’s my 2 cents. Good luck!
August 20, 2018 at 5:37 pm #91772
Our eldest daughter repeated fourth grade for similar reasons. It’s been an overwhelming positive experience! Having peers at the same maturity level really helped her become a leader, instead of feeling like she was left out and behind socially. She repeated with the same teacher and enjoyed the role of teacher’s helper that year. It did take a some time for her to adjust socially, but she’s in the 9th grade now and is so thankful that we held her back. It helped us to talk to her teacher and to her about the situation. If you don’t feel like repeating a grade at the same school would be a good decision socially, is it an option to allow him to transfer to another school? Ultimately, I think giving your child an extra year to mature is a positive thing.
August 20, 2018 at 7:03 pm #91773
My son repeated 3rd grade for similar reasons (except he was not the youngest in his class) & now he has just started his first year of high school (he is 14, year 7 in Australia) we can really see that decision has paid off. We involved him in the decision right from the start & were guided by him-it would’ve been impossible if he wasn’t on board or feeling like he had no say. We weighed up all the pros & cons together, slept on it for a while & then he decided he was happy to repeat. He didn’t have many good friends in his year level when he was in grade 3, and that didn’t change much when he was repeating, but he was happier in himself. His slow processing speed had meant that he had missed large amounts of information in class & there were large skills gaps emerging in his reading and writing. He had a good IQ so it was frustrating to see him struggle to keep up & repeating gave him a chance to consolidate all those skills he had “missed” by not being able to focus or process.
At the end of that year, we changed schools to a school that made more accommodations for kids with ADHD & ASD. Socially he began to improve but when he began Ritalin (on the advice of his teacher-we were reluctant before then) we had a new boy who started to catch up in the areas he struggled with academically and he had made a really good friend. At the age of 13 he announced that he was “now interested in people” & has finally started to apply all those social skills he had learnt about in theory with conscious effort! Academically, he has evened out and is no longer just the kid who is only good at math, but he his doing well in all his subjects. Most importantly, he is confident, has a handful friends of lovely friends, he doesn’t get bullied & he loves school.
Every single child is different, but for our son the combination of repeating 3rd grade, changing schools & starting meds really worked. I wish you both all the very best.
August 20, 2018 at 7:17 pm #91775
Thank you for all of your responses. Clearly there is no easy answer. It really helps to hear your stories. Thank you to all of you for sharing them. We need to make a decision this week. I have read the research and articles but feel in many cases they don’t apply to my son. In his case we are, in many ways, correcting things so he is not pushed forward to be with a group of kids who are older than he is. We met with his school last week and they have refused to hold him back. It’s a private school, so they can do what they want. So, we would need to change schools if we hold him back. Please continue to share!!
August 20, 2018 at 10:00 pm #91783
my personal and professional opinion would be to allow him to repeat grade 3. i’m surprised his school is reluctant to hold him back even though his social/emotional is quite low. one should do what is best for your son. he is still young enough that the kids are still very much accepting of everyone with challenges. as kids get older they are not so accepting, more cliquey and the social/emotional becomes very key so with another year under his belt will only benefit him. he is willing to repeat so that is not an issue here. i’m not sure what the curriculum is like where you live but in many places the curriculum is changing and becoming more open ended and student driven so that he will be able to extend his learning in whatever grade he is in. he can be encouraged to be a leader which will only encourage his confidence. organizational difficulties and processing challenges is another reason for another year of practice. executive functioning skills are extremely important for academic success even if you are smart. knowing the answer, being able to express that answer and handing in your work on time are all different skills. i have taught gr 3 students for over 20 years, sometimes as a straight gr 3 or gr 2/3 combined class. there is huge diversity in just one grade. humans are social animals and social skills are important throughout life and has a huge impact on your emotional and mental well being as well. given the information you have shared, i would fully support he repeat grade 3. best of luck!
August 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm #91784
Hello! I’m happy to see this discussion. We’ve been through it, but I did not realize the number of other families considering it. I don’t want to repeat too many others’ examples, but I do want to say we had the same concerns as you. It was easier for us because we switched schools. Our son was diagnosed in 3rd grade. He finished 4th grade at the public school and since we were switching him to a private school anyway, we took the opportunity to enroll him as a 4th grader. It was the best decision we ever made for his education. Even his teachers agree. He was in the gifted program in public school, but his maturity was clearly lagging and he was not engaged. He knows he was not “held back,” which as others have mentioned, is the downside (stigma, self-esteem). In our case, we were able to explain that he would be learning a completely different curriculum for 4th grade at the new school–which he did, and it was MUCH more academically rigorous and engaging! The smaller class size, being with kids of similar maturity and a curriculum that fed his learning style were the magic that made it work.
The only area where he felt a bit self-conscious was when his Boy Scout friends all went up a grade without him. But he just explained that this was where he fit in his new school and he was learning so much cool stuff. So he’s okay with it. They all went to “middle school” last year while he was still in 5th grade.
I hear the naysayers, like JBoo, but do you really think we would spend an extra $10k for an extra year of schooling if we didn’t think it was the absolute best decision for our son? No way. We invested in his future by giving him the appropriate elementary education that he would need to build on later in life.
August 20, 2018 at 10:39 pm #91785
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, there is no ‘right’ answer. And you will angst and 2nd guess no matter what you decide. Our son has an August bday and we initially had him repeat Kindergarten. Immediately I felt it was a mistake as he was SO bored. So we had him do half of 2nd/half 3rd. He was in Montessori so it was easy. I’ve doubted that decision ever since. He’s where he needs to be academically but is clearly a year behind socially (now entering 10th grade). I do feel like the academic challenge has helped his confidence.(he too scored way above grade on tests). My husband once said to me, “holding him back was never going to make him more socially aware. He’d be just as awkward for other reasons.” Good insight. You know your kid. Go with your gut. Just know it won’t solve everything and there are pros/cons no matter what you choose.
August 20, 2018 at 11:25 pm #91793
Hi. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this issue before, I’d like to give my opinion.
As a kid, I was diagnosed with ADHD and Asbergers Syndrome. I too tested at the gifted level, and I too was tiny and, with my birthday being in very late August, literally the youngest of my class. I remember that at the end of the school year my mom asked me if I wanted to repeat 1st grade so that I “wouldn’t be the youngest anymore”. Looking back on this now that I’m older, I can see why she really asked, but at the time I very adamantly told her no, saying that I really didn’t mind being the youngest and that since I already learned everything for 1st grade I’d just be bored.
Even with my hindsight, though, I probably would have made the same choice. Since I already knew everything they would have been reteaching me, there would have been nothing to engage me in school, which for someone with ADHD is torture. I would have hated it, possibly causing me to loose the enjoyment of going to school that I had at the time.
Besides, even though I was, in hindsight, very far behind my classmates at the time in terms of social skills, it honestly didn’t take me long to catch up. The progress was gradual, so I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but I was basically all caught up by 5th grade. In fact, my freshman year of High school, a lot of the upperclassmen I befriended thought I was a sophomore for the beginning of the year, despite how much younger than my actual age I looked, let alone in comparison to everyone else in my grade, claiming that I acted too mature to be a freshman. I’m currently in college now, living away from home in my dorm, and I’m doing just fine socially. While, granted, I still have a few issues due to my mental disorders, I’m actually coping with them really well, and staying back a year wouldn’t have helped any with these anyway.
Bottom line: your son will probably be perfectly fine, and maybe even better off, continuing on to 4th grade with his classmates. Granted I am a girl, and it is a scientific fact that girls generally mature faster than boys, so this might be a confounding variable, but this really shouldn’t affect too much at that age, especially considering that all the other boys are maturing later,too. As long as he gets caught up socially with all the boys in his class by the beginning of Middle School, your son will be golden.
I hope my personal perspective has helped in your decision, but keep in mind that I am not an expert, nor have I met your son. Ultimately you know your child best, and this decision is yours to make. If you decide to hold him back a year, then that could very well be the best choice for him. Please just consider the points brought up in my anecdotes, and do what you think is right.
I wish both you and your son the best.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by sewing4fun12.
August 21, 2018 at 11:24 am #91826
I would not recommend repeating the grade.
At the end of the school year for second grade, we were counseled that since our son was having difficulty reading and had problems with “maturity” he might not be “ready” for the demands of third grade. We trusted the teacher and reluctantly agreed to have him repeat the second grade.
The best advice we received was from our friends/neighbors who were educators and then administrators in the NYC school system and had know our son since he was born. Their response was an immediate concern:
-‘If your son is going to REPEAT the grade, what is the school going to do DIFFERENTLY than they did last year?” and
-“Immaturity is not a reason to repeat a grade. We have seen seniors that can act like kindergartners and vice-versa. One year may not make a difference at all.”
Although we had a diagnosis of non-hyperactive ADHD and a 504 plan in place, this was a wakeup call. After scrambling over the summer, we secured testing (at our cost b/c we didn’t trust the school nor did we think they could complete the testing in time to be effective for the coming year) which confirmed an encoding-decoding problem as well as dysgraphia. It also confirmed that with an above average/gifted IQ, this was a learning disability that the school needed to address. This led to an IEP and additional intervention.
Our son (now 15) still regrets the “lost year”. Thanks to other options for socialization (Boy Scouts, Ski Team, Soccer) he was able to keep up some of the friendships and weather the criticism of his lunchroom peers who said he was “held back” (i.e. too stupid for third grade).
August 21, 2018 at 2:21 pm #91868
sharing my experience….we got my sons diagnosis during last 4 months of kindergarten..then after diagnosis i was reluctant to give him medicines n try theropies..in this situation developmental paediatrician confused me by stoping psychiatrists medicine by diagnosing it as asd and not .adhd.actually his main issues were adhd.by the time i started his medicines it was the last month of kindergarten n so much curriculum y to cover.it wa sreally stressful on child n me too.all the things he has to learn stepwise was very difficult he couldnt learn in a last month.or whether it is academically behind i really dont know..though my child is socially not maturedas per his age the main reasono of repeating was the situation leading to stress and late decision ofst starting the medicine..
but it has helped me for sure as he developed some skills during the year of repetition .good luck.
August 21, 2018 at 2:43 pm #91875
There is a very clear trend in this thread that I hope everyone ponders very carefully. Those that have experienced being held back directly tend to be against it, and those that are parents of kids being held back tend to be for it. Not true in every case, but a clear trend.
I’ll let the individual figure out the meaning of that.
August 21, 2018 at 7:27 pm #91924
We are holding our daughter back this year for 5th grade and we are SO thankful that we are doing that! Our daughter was SUPER young for her grade- late September birthday. When she was in preschool, she was bright and social. It made sense to push her along. But EVERY year the demands get more intense for kids and the social stuff gets harder. This last year, she and her best friend started to drift apart because her friend started getting into pre-teen (harmless and normal) stuff but my daughter still plays with legos, dolls, and pretends. Plus, the anxiety she felt about school demands, mostly due to her ADHD and dygraphia, got worse. She did not like school. So I am actually homeschooling her for the year. We’re calling it a “gap” year and not holding her back. Though the AMAZING thing is that after talking to other parents about our plan, two other families decided to hold back their 5th graders to repeat 5th to give them an extra year to mature! So she is not alone. Ultimately you need to do what is BEST for your child! Don’t let horror stories get in the way of your decision. For mine, her anxiety has almost all but gone away not being in traditional school this year and knowing that she gets a year to “exhale” and not be so stressed. If it were me, I would hold back your child if he is for it. But let’s be clear, he needs to be part of the decision process and you need to be open and flexible to ways of accomplishing that. It may mean going to a different school for a year if that is what you decide together. It also will depend on the school environment or school he attends and if that school will handle it well. My daughter is HAPPY to be repeating. She tells us so. When we started exploring all the options and the benefits she will have from getting an extra year she came on board. EVERY child is different. I wish you luck. It is a HARD decision process! We pondered it for 2 years! But every year it became more and more clear it was right for us.
August 23, 2018 at 11:11 am #92059
I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. It is nice to hear different experiences.
My now 13 yo daughter is about to start high school. Se struggles fitting in and relating with kids in her grade. I don’t know if holding her back would’ve been helpful…too late now. She doesn’t want to redo a year.
My 6 yo son is not thrilled about school. I pulled him out of school and will homeschool this year. We shall see how much he matures…
Good luck and best wishes.
August 25, 2018 at 10:43 am #92261
What a dilemma.
Your sons levels of frustration appear to be an issue, which reflects in his behaviour. His social communication skills, affected by his apparent difficulties to communicate his needs, difficulty articulating what he wants to say or what he has heard. Has he been tested for Auditory Processing Disorder? This means that hearing is fine but brain has difficulty processing what has been heard, thus responses could be in inappropriate or misinterpreted. The approach is speech and language therapy. Auditory Processing Disorder can run parallel to A.D.H.D. as can other conditions.
The schools response is a double edged sword. Keeping him back a year to improve his social skills whilst his peers move up a year. The school is basically saying that by being in a year group that is in your sons chronological age they hope that this will improve his social skills, whilst acknowledging that he is above average academically. It is an unusual approach.
your sons emotional well being should be one of the major considerations. It would appear that your son knows he is different and the lack of friendships could be impacting on his sense of self worth. His adverse behaviour apart from poor social skills is also a form of attention seeking. The attitude being if I play up people/peers take notice of me. To onlookers who don’t understand the child’s difficulties consider that your child is being very immature.
Mum try not to let your anxieties transfer to your son. I know easier said than done.
With your son being “Bright” it is important to be aware that we don’t kill his motivation to succeed academically.
I have known some kids who choose to underachieve in order to “fit In.”
Your son could benefit from seeing a therapist to improve his social skills/social interaction skills and social imagination skills. Perhaps he/she could start with some play therapy or art therapy. If you do decide to go down this route hopefully the therapist will give you some coping strategies.
You can contact me should you want a few ideas.
good luck to you and your family.
November 27, 2018 at 12:33 pm #104494
Thank you for your post! We are in a very similar position right now and are leaning heavily towards having our 8 year old girl repeat 3rd grade at a new school. She has a very late bday (Aug 30) and (so far, we think) a dx of ADHD and anxiety and she is tiny. She struggles academically (still working on identifying why) and has very recently made social gains. The private catholic school she is currently enrolled in is not working with us (we feel); they are putting her in the hallway when she cannot complete her worksheet and the teacher wants to review it with the class (so she is missing additional time with the curriculum which we feel will inevitably have gaps in foundation). We are taking steps to work through the current academic year but have very recently decided to move to a very highly regarded and ranked public school district (we will move houses also). We are not open to moving mid year due in part to the significant social gains she recently made and we also have a kindergartner to consider. We believe that with moving houses to a new school district, we have been presented with a unique opportunity to have her repeat 3rd grade, be closer in age and allow her time to (continue to) mature socially and academically. We believe moving houses and schools will help dispel stigma as well as benefiting from the resources at a well funded public school district. My sister is a teacher and told us from the beginning to hold her back/delay entry. We thought we would be OK but hindsight is 20/20.
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