Author Topic: I got culture shock just reading this...  (Read 21480 times)

Bracken_Joy

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I got culture shock just reading this...
« on: May 26, 2015, 09:40:15 AM »
http://nypost.com/2015/05/24/inside-the-bizarre-life-of-an-upper-east-side-housewife/

"many women on the Upper East Side time their pregnancies and IVF treatments to school enrollment, so their child will begin school at the oldest age possible"

"So Martin’s husband agreed to buy her one: a 35-centimeter bag with black leather and gold hardware. (A used version goes for up to $30,000.)"

"Since the way children play with others factors into nursery-school admission, many Upper East Side mommies hire play-date tutors. Aristotle Circle, for example, offered group play-date tutorials last year for $400 an hour, complete with a write-up of your child’s social deficits. They currently offer one-on-one sessions between toddler and therapist for $150 to $300."

justajane

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2015, 09:46:53 AM »
I did the opposite - well, not really. But all three of my boys have birthdays in May, which makes them some of the youngest in their classes. I guess I could have redshirted them (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshirting_%28academic%29) and made them the oldest in their classes, but then they would have been bored to tears academically. Despite being one of the youngest, my son still is one of the top readers and math students in his class -- not that that really means that much anyway. I try to keep it all in perspective. Just because he reads at a third grade level in first grade doesn't mean he's going to conquer the world or anything.

I tell you one thing that sucks about their plan - being very pregnant during the summer. That is a miserable experience that I managed to avoid three times by giving birth to kids in May.

Social engineering is not a new phenomenon, and you will even find some people on here that work rather hard to turn their snowflakes into the best and the brightest by optimizing every experience and relationship possible, even at a very young age.

ontario74

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2015, 09:59:34 AM »
What's funny is that in the real world these things start to not matter, I'd saying around the time kids are in 3rd grade or age 8. Once they hit around age 12 it matters even less; you lose a handle on their social groups (whether you like it or not) and they start to think for themselves.

I look back at all of the mommy competitiveness and just laugh.

Think about how some of your friends turned out: two guys I found unremarkable are now successful physicians, a guy I thought would be a star lawyer works in corrections, several have passed away or were killed. There are no guarantees no matter how rich you are.

justajane

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2015, 10:12:43 AM »
Think about how some of your friends turned out: two guys I found unremarkable are now successful physicians, a guy I thought would be a star lawyer works in corrections, several have passed away or were killed. There are no guarantees no matter how rich you are.

Very true. And so much of learning at the early ages is memorization and not true comprehension. My son can read a book in a few hours, but sometimes the understanding level is pretty low. And even in high school, just because you can ace the SAT doesn't mean you will excel in "real" life. The student in my class who got a full ride to a prestigious private school because of her super high SAT scores flunked out in the first year.

Having said that, I have been getting e-mails and Facebook posts about my 20th high school reunion, and it turns out that the most successful person in my class (at least monetarily) was the awkward, computer geek that the other boys taunted. That's pretty stereotypical! I called it in high school that he would likely have the last laugh.

James

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2015, 10:42:17 AM »
We mock and laugh (yes, including me) but is the average consumer really all that different? There is always some above and someone below us to mock. Think of a person living in a third world country looking at me as I upgrade my house despite everything working as it's supposed to. Sure it is 30 years old and dated, but everything still works and here I am replacing everything. My wife goes to school to get her Masters despite us making plenty of money with my job, why would she "waste" her time like that, especially when it means more hassle with the kids. We pay money to have our child take violin lessons and ferry him around to lessons, group lessons, recitals, camps, etc. He isn't likely to make that his career, why bother?


So not saying the people on the East Side aren't hilariously pompous and ridiculous, the certainly are. But so am I to some extent, and so are most of the consumers out there to a pretty large extent. But thanks for posting the article, it was an interesting read!

LalsConstant

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2015, 10:50:18 AM »
That was fascinating.  I would like to meet these people just to see if they would consider me some kind of primitive monkey man.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2015, 10:51:32 AM »
I think most people in the world would get culture shock reading that.

I also wonder if this is really representative of the Upper East Side, or just a very small part of it.

Malaysia41

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2015, 10:59:04 AM »
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 11:00:44 AM by Malaysia41 »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2015, 11:04:19 AM »
We mock and laugh (yes, including me)

I didn't intend it as mockery (I posted it on this board simply because it was the closest fit to the content, but I certainly didn't intend to shame anyway, in spite of the board name), it was an honest and true sense of 'culture shock'. That's just so far from my sphere of reality that I cannot grasp a daily existence like that. Paying for a list of your toddler's social deficits?

I do understand what you're saying I think though, that there are commonalities of human nature whether you're talking about a $150k handbag for social climbing or something a bit more common. Social climbing has always been a bit of a foreign concept to me, though. Unsurprising that I chose a career which allows me to wear the same thing every single day (scrubs).

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2015, 11:05:56 AM »
"Since the way children play with others factors into nursery-school admission, many Upper East Side mommies hire play-date tutors. Aristotle Circle, for example, offered group play-date tutorials last year for $400 an hour, complete with a write-up of your child’s social deficits. They currently offer one-on-one sessions between toddler and therapist for $150 to $300."
My guess? The kids will hit 17, go full-on trustafarian, and take their sweet revenge by becoming everything their parents loathe.

RFAAOATB

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2015, 11:14:09 AM »
Whenever I think that spending $48,000 a year to send a kid to Phillips Exeter isn't that expensive, I have to remember about the hundreds of thousands spent on coaching and prep to make sure the kids can get accepted to Phillips Exeter regardless of your ability to pay.

MgoSam

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2015, 11:18:26 AM »
I couldn't help but feel sad for everyone involved in this. It's just insane the world many of us live in.

mm1970

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2015, 11:29:06 AM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Aushin

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2015, 12:24:52 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

You can probably thank Malcolm Gladwell for this.

I'm a red panda

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2015, 01:01:13 PM »
Red-shirting kindergarten boys was a thing where I grew up in Texas.  To make them more likely to make football teams.

Aushin

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2015, 01:14:01 PM »
Red-shirting kindergarten boys was a thing where I grew up in Texas.  To make them more likely to make football teams.

Ah, then I guess this was popular way before Outliers came out haha

Peony

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2015, 01:17:35 PM »
What's funny is that in the real world these things start to not matter, I'd saying around the time kids are in 3rd grade or age 8. Once they hit around age 12 it matters even less; you lose a handle on their social groups (whether you like it or not) and they start to think for themselves.

I look back at all of the mommy competitiveness and just laugh.

Think about how some of your friends turned out: two guys I found unremarkable are now successful physicians, a guy I thought would be a star lawyer works in corrections, several have passed away or were killed. There are no guarantees no matter how rich you are.

In the NYC private school scene, it's all about giving your kid the best chance to GET IN to a school. No one cares where they're at when they're 8, or 12 -- at that point, they are already IN (and unless they're actually failing, they'll stay in). The focus is on kindergarten and competition is fierce for the kindergarten slots because if you don't get one, it's not like you can just do public school for a few years and then transfer your kid to private school in third grade. The slots are gone at that point. It's a nutty system.

Pooplips

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2015, 01:20:32 PM »
In Ohio we call it a "grey shirt" - two years of 8th grade for anyone athletically gifted. Bigger, stronger, faster. I know tons of 19yr old senior freak athletes.

Elderwood17

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2015, 01:58:20 PM »
I couldn't help but feel sad for everyone involved in this. It's just insane the world many of us live in.

I had the same reaction. 

Scandium

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2015, 10:32:59 AM »

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

I just learned it's a thing now! wow. I'm annoyed our son missed the cutoff by two months, since we now have to pay for expensive infant care and daycare for an extra ~10 months! But turns out I should be glad!

Having been the youngest in school my whole life I can see it's an advantage too though

CheapskateWife

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2015, 10:43:18 AM »
We had DS repeat Kindergarten, since we moved to a new State and transitioned from Private to public schools all at once.  He is on the small side and a late Nov birthday so in our new state, he should have been in K again anyway.  However, we thought he was very clever, and intellectually ready for 1st grade; I started pushing the schood for an accelleration to 1st.  I'm glad I backed off and kept him in Kindergarten, because the emotional bits still needed some development, and we have seen some huge strides in his patience and cooperativeness being with kids who aren't as far along as he is.  Developing that empathy has been a wonderful boon to his personality, and he will be tackling 1st grade as a well rounded little guy.

The idea of redshirting for sports eligibility however, rubs me the wrong way.  I believe it sets a precedent for the young person that sports is more important than academia (especially if we are making kids repeat the 8th grade to be bigger for football).   

Camarillo Brillo

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2015, 12:12:43 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

charis

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2015, 12:17:35 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.

CorpRaider

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2015, 12:46:15 PM »
It seems lots of upper east siders have read Outliers.

mm1970

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2015, 01:10:06 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?
$1400 a month for preschool?

Some kids "aren't ready" for kindergarten, and I can see that.

Some parents (who can afford an extra year of preschool), want to make sure their kids have an advantage.

Tallgirl1204

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2015, 01:20:53 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?
$1400 a month for preschool?

Some kids "aren't ready" for kindergarten, and I can see that.

Some parents (who can afford an extra year of preschool), want to make sure their kids have an advantage.

It cuts two ways.  Parents who are at the lower end of the financial spectrum often want to get their kids into (public) school younger so they can quit paying for day care or get back into the job market.  Sometimes a kid really isn't ready, and it's painful to watch those kids try to navigate a world they're not ready for.  (My son's class had a couple of kids who really really could have benefitted from a red-shirt year.)  It comes down to a choice between doing what is best for the kid and what is best for the parent-- sometimes those are the same thing, but sometimes they're not. 

mm1970

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2015, 01:23:33 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?
$1400 a month for preschool?

Some kids "aren't ready" for kindergarten, and I can see that.

Some parents (who can afford an extra year of preschool), want to make sure their kids have an advantage.

It cuts two ways.  Parents who are at the lower end of the financial spectrum often want to get their kids into (public) school younger so they can quit paying for day care or get back into the job market.  Sometimes a kid really isn't ready, and it's painful to watch those kids try to navigate a world they're not ready for.  (My son's class had a couple of kids who really really could have benefitted from a red-shirt year.)  It comes down to a choice between doing what is best for the kid and what is best for the parent-- sometimes those are the same thing, but sometimes they're not.
Yep.  At our school, there are some kids who really never catch up from being behind in kindergarten.

On the other hand, one girl in my son's 1st grade class was in kinder for a week before they moved her to first grade.

justajane

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2015, 01:29:06 PM »
It cuts two ways.  Parents who are at the lower end of the financial spectrum often want to get their kids into (public) school younger so they can quit paying for day care or get back into the job market.  Sometimes a kid really isn't ready, and it's painful to watch those kids try to navigate a world they're not ready for.  (My son's class had a couple of kids who really really could have benefitted from a red-shirt year.)  It comes down to a choice between doing what is best for the kid and what is best for the parent-- sometimes those are the same thing, but sometimes they're not.

My neighbor is a Ph.D. at a local Children's hospital who specializes in early development. She said that holding a kid back for developmental reasons or maturity reasons can be counterproductive, because then the child can fall even more behind. Then, instead of being the smaller kid who struggles, they are the oldest kid in the class who struggles. This makes it even harder to catch up. She said that the research indicates that putting a kid in kindergarten based on age rather than ability makes more sense, and the kids who were pushed early on did better long term than those who were held back. It's probably harder on the teachers but better overall for the children.

Edited to add a link to a mainstream article that discusses what I mean: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html?_r=0
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 01:32:51 PM by justajane »

gimp

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2015, 01:34:03 PM »
I read that the younger the kid is compared to their kindergarten peers, the higher the chance of them being "diagnosed" with ADD. (Square quotes because clearly this means there's a bias to assume younger kids - who, at such a young age, may be noticeably less mature/focused - are more than just young and immature kindergarteners.)

As long as that pitfall is avoided, the differences matter a lot less as time goes on. But it's a weird one, eh?

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2015, 01:43:03 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?


well for poorer families, I would assume the cost of childcare could be a big factor as to whether they put their kids in school early vs holding them back an extra year. 

Camarillo Brillo

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #30 on: May 27, 2015, 02:17:03 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.

justajane

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #31 on: May 27, 2015, 03:02:00 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.

Academics don't seem to factor into your analysis -- just sports and size. I just wouldn't care that much if my kid didn't excel in sports. I don't want any of my boys to be picked on, but small size doesn't guarantee this by any means. I would say if a kid is ready academically, it wouldn't make sense to hold them back.

And like I said above, the research doesn't really bear out holding a child back. But July is on the line either way. My district's cut off is mid-July anyway. That's not really redshirting. That's when you have a child with a birthday in March or April (or even in January) and still hold them back to give them an edge in life.

Honestly like the OP, none of this is really on my radar at all. I'm not looking to optimize my child's success or to create the perfect formula to transform them into successful leaders who rule the roost in school. My larger concern is with raising individuals who are curious about the world and care about others.

Psychstache

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2015, 03:28:02 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.

Academics don't seem to factor into your analysis -- just sports and size. I just wouldn't care that much if my kid didn't excel in sports. I don't want any of my boys to be picked on, but small size doesn't guarantee this by any means. I would say if a kid is ready academically, it wouldn't make sense to hold them back.

And like I said above, the research doesn't really bear out holding a child back. But July is on the line either way. My district's cut off is mid-July anyway. That's not really redshirting. That's when you have a child with a birthday in March or April (or even in January) and still hold them back to give them an edge in life.

Honestly like the OP, none of this is really on my radar at all. I'm not looking to optimize my child's success or to create the perfect formula to transform them into successful leaders who rule the roost in school. My larger concern is with raising individuals who are curious about the world and care about others.

Some of the research on this subject is flawed in that there isn't a way to account for the fact that students who are retained are because they were already struggling in the school system to begin with. It's not like an Ethics review board will allow you to do a randomized study where you assign kids who were supposed to be promoted to being retained and vice versa then see how they turn out 12 years later.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2015, 04:59:50 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.
Is it really just the youngest boys?  I mean - my older son is in 3rd grade, and he's small.  At the beginning of the school year, he's almost the shortest kid in the class.  By the end of the year, he's made it to the middle.  He's build like me, poor kid.  So, he's got friends a full head taller than he is.  On the playground, when playing kick ball, they let the kids have a "pinch kicker".

Well, when his team was losing, the bigger kids (not much older, he's a March baby and oldest kids are November) told him they wanted to be his pinch kicker because he's small.  He refused and said "I can't get better if I don't practice!"

Well, my younger son is a July baby.  And yeah, that means he will be almost the youngest in the class, and he's shaping up to be short like me and his older brother.  But...so?  Yeah, they seem to grow them big here in So Cal.  Why do I care really if he's smaller?  He's definitely more athletic than his big bro (he's not even 3 yet), but that's probably because he plays with his big bro.  I caught him trying to push a 2+ year old who was easily 4 inches taller and 10 lbs heavier than him off a piece of playground equipment.  He was unsuccessful.

Is that any reason to hold him back?  Nope.  My older son is doing just fine in school.  Younger one will too.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2015, 05:10:26 PM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.

Academics don't seem to factor into your analysis -- just sports and size. I just wouldn't care that much if my kid didn't excel in sports. I don't want any of my boys to be picked on, but small size doesn't guarantee this by any means. I would say if a kid is ready academically, it wouldn't make sense to hold them back.

And like I said above, the research doesn't really bear out holding a child back. But July is on the line either way. My district's cut off is mid-July anyway. That's not really redshirting. That's when you have a child with a birthday in March or April (or even in January) and still hold them back to give them an edge in life.

Honestly like the OP, none of this is really on my radar at all. I'm not looking to optimize my child's success or to create the perfect formula to transform them into successful leaders who rule the roost in school. My larger concern is with raising individuals who are curious about the world and care about others.
Yeah, when we chose to enter our son later rather than sooner he was still within his normal class year.  It's just that he is among the oldest in his class.  I'm not sure I'd ever grayshirt a child, but it does happen in my state.

Regarding academics, just because I didn't mention it, it is also a factor.  But, it's a mistake to ignore the role sports plays in a kid's academic success.  When my son entered high school we had to attend a sports orientation meeting.  The high school staff went over the stats.  Kids in sports did better in class, they had a lower drop out rate, they were not as often involved in drugs or alcohol, and they were far more involved in high school activities.

As the kids move from JV sports to Varsity, they start cutting kids. So, by the time they're seniors it gets to be a pretty select group. As many studies and books have outlined, it's the older kids that have an advantage during that timeframe.  So, there is a direct correlation to being older, having an advantage in sports, and having that directly impact their high school success.

Now, on a different note, here are some other things to consider.  The older kids get their drivers licenses earlier (in some cases almost as much as a year earlier), they start dating earlier, and they go through puberty earlier.  So, there is also a big aspect to their social life.

As I stated in my first post, I simply don't understand why a parent would choose to put their kid in school earlier than necessary (assuming day care costs were not a factor).

Malaysia41

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2015, 05:40:13 PM »

Davids

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2015, 05:56:10 PM »
The only negative about enrolling a child early to school as opposed to a year later based on where their birthday falls is that they will be the last of their friends to turn 21, I say that as someone who was on that cusp and did not turn 21 until the end of the fall semester of my senior year of college. Of course I still drank, I just couldn't get into bars yet.

chesebert

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2015, 01:49:31 AM »
http://nypost.com/2015/05/24/inside-the-bizarre-life-of-an-upper-east-side-housewife/

"many women on the Upper East Side time their pregnancies and IVF treatments to school enrollment, so their child will begin school at the oldest age possible"

"So Martin’s husband agreed to buy her one: a 35-centimeter bag with black leather and gold hardware. (A used version goes for up to $30,000.)"

"Since the way children play with others factors into nursery-school admission, many Upper East Side mommies hire play-date tutors. Aristotle Circle, for example, offered group play-date tutorials last year for $400 an hour, complete with a write-up of your child’s social deficits. They currently offer one-on-one sessions between toddler and therapist for $150 to $300."

No so crazy. I worked in NYC (for a short while) and had bosses making multiple millions a year and crying poor... Of course, when they compare to their neighbors making tens of millions a year... I soon left NYC and never looked back.

Special edition H bags often go well over $200k - think about that.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2015, 04:25:55 AM »
It sounds like a nightmare life to me.

I've read that there was research suggesting that the children of richer, privileged parents are more likely to develop mental health problems as adults.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2015, 05:09:40 AM »

Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too
[/quote]

A developmental psychologist who evaluated my oldest son said the same thing to me.  I kept my oldest and youngest sons, both spring babies, back a year so they could catch up socially and emotionally.  I've never regretted it.

Sorry if this didn't quite quote correctly.  I tried to trim out the stuff that wasn't relevant to my comment.

charis

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2015, 07:21:35 AM »
I am surprised at the wide range of age cut off dates.  My son has a very end of June birthday, but the district cut off is Dec 1.  Holding him back wouldn't likely be an option.

Psychstache

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2015, 09:02:24 AM »
I became aware of this when my eldest was entering kindergarten.

I was having lunch on a business trip with a coworker - it was a packed place, right next to the convention center.  We ended up sharing a table with a male couple and their two kids.  The elder child was 5, and I asked about kindergarten.  His dad said "no way, we are waiting until 6, we want to keep him home for longer."

When I returned home, I spoke to my son's former preschool teacher.  She said "it's a thing.  The poor kids start kinder at 4 (at the time the cutoff date was Dec 1), and in the rich schools, the parents hold them back until they are 6, so they are older/ bigger/ smarter."

I didn't know it was a "thing" until then. 

My younger son was born in July, and yes will be one of the youngest in his class (cutoff date now Sept 1).

Why would a parent not want their kid to have the advantage of being older/bigger/smarter?  What is the rush to put them in school?

First, they aren't "smarter" just because they are "older" when they enter school.  This is a misconception - they may do better in the first year, but statistically perform the same or worse than their younger peers after the first year.  Second, being bigger is pretty irrelevant unless the child is significantly smaller than their same-aged peers or they are being professionally groomed for a sport where size is a significant factor.
Our son has a July birthday and prior to entering school we met with several educators to get their opinion.  The Principal of the local school said that in several decades he had never seen a parent make a mistake by waiting to enroll their kid, but he could count dozens of cases where they made a mistake by entering them too soon.

Looking back on my schoolmates, I vividly recall how the youngest boys just never seemed to fit in.  They were often picked last for every sport, they matured far later, and they were more often 'followers' instead of 'leaders'.  On the other hand, the older boys sure seemed to have an advantage in every area.  Given a choice (and assuming money for day care wasn't an issue), I still cannot fathom why a parent would not want to give their kid the advantages.

Academics don't seem to factor into your analysis -- just sports and size. I just wouldn't care that much if my kid didn't excel in sports. I don't want any of my boys to be picked on, but small size doesn't guarantee this by any means. I would say if a kid is ready academically, it wouldn't make sense to hold them back.

And like I said above, the research doesn't really bear out holding a child back. But July is on the line either way. My district's cut off is mid-July anyway. That's not really redshirting. That's when you have a child with a birthday in March or April (or even in January) and still hold them back to give them an edge in life.

Honestly like the OP, none of this is really on my radar at all. I'm not looking to optimize my child's success or to create the perfect formula to transform them into successful leaders who rule the roost in school. My larger concern is with raising individuals who are curious about the world and care about others.
Yeah, when we chose to enter our son later rather than sooner he was still within his normal class year.  It's just that he is among the oldest in his class.  I'm not sure I'd ever grayshirt a child, but it does happen in my state.

Regarding academics, just because I didn't mention it, it is also a factor.  But, it's a mistake to ignore the role sports plays in a kid's academic success.  When my son entered high school we had to attend a sports orientation meeting.  The high school staff went over the stats.  Kids in sports did better in class, they had a lower drop out rate, they were not as often involved in drugs or alcohol, and they were far more involved in high school activities.


As the kids move from JV sports to Varsity, they start cutting kids. So, by the time they're seniors it gets to be a pretty select group. As many studies and books have outlined, it's the older kids that have an advantage during that timeframe.  So, there is a direct correlation to being older, having an advantage in sports, and having that directly impact their high school success.

Now, on a different note, here are some other things to consider.  The older kids get their drivers licenses earlier (in some cases almost as much as a year earlier), they start dating earlier, and they go through puberty earlier.  So, there is also a big aspect to their social life.

As I stated in my first post, I simply don't understand why a parent would choose to put their kid in school earlier than necessary (assuming day care costs were not a factor).

The thing is, if you changed the word sports to 'robotics club' or 'Japanese club' or 'quiz bowl team' or 'peer assistance and leadership' or 'AVID' in the quoted paragraph, it is still true. Research shows the outcomes come from being involved in group and activities in your school, not specific to sports. Just don't tell any of the local here who worship at the mighty alter of the pigskin. Wouldn't want them to think there are nerds in their ranks.

Sibley

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2015, 11:52:44 AM »
I like what my mom did. When she had to decide whether to enroll me or not, she went and spent a day in the kindergarten classroom, just observing. Then she spent a day observing the preschool. She said I acted more like the kindergarteners, and thus I started school. I was always one of the youngest in my grade, but other than being a tad behind socially I did just fine. In fact, am doing better than many of my former classmates.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2015, 01:07:02 PM »
It cuts two ways.  Parents who are at the lower end of the financial spectrum often want to get their kids into (public) school younger so they can quit paying for day care or get back into the job market.  Sometimes a kid really isn't ready, and it's painful to watch those kids try to navigate a world they're not ready for.  (My son's class had a couple of kids who really really could have benefitted from a red-shirt year.)  It comes down to a choice between doing what is best for the kid and what is best for the parent-- sometimes those are the same thing, but sometimes they're not.

My neighbor is a Ph.D. at a local Children's hospital who specializes in early development. She said that holding a kid back for developmental reasons or maturity reasons can be counterproductive, because then the child can fall even more behind. Then, instead of being the smaller kid who struggles, they are the oldest kid in the class who struggles. This makes it even harder to catch up. She said that the research indicates that putting a kid in kindergarten based on age rather than ability makes more sense, and the kids who were pushed early on did better long term than those who were held back. It's probably harder on the teachers but better overall for the children.

Edited to add a link to a mainstream article that discusses what I mean: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html?_r=0

This surprises me, as from what I know about developmental psychology, the rule is always "when in doubt, wait - later is better." You never want to put a young child into a situation they are not developmentally ready for, as it can slow or even halt brain development if the brain perceives the situation as a threat - the brain goes into emergency response mode and just acts to protect itself. Brain development happens differently for every child, and there is wide variability of normal development. The activation of the pre-frontal cortex can happen normally anywhere between age 5 and 7, and going to kindergarten before that shift happens would be extremely challenging. Because that shift happens around kindergarten age, some children really will benefit from being held back, and others really wouldn't - it all depends on whether the child has or hasn't been through the shift yet.

From what I understand, for a child who has experienced pre-frontal cortex activation, regardless of their size or age, they'll probably be fine in kindergarten and school generally from a development standpoint. They might be ahead or behind in reading or math, bigger or smaller relative to peers, but those things are not what people who advocate for holding children back are really thinking about. A child who is held back because their brain cannot yet respond appropriately to the requirements and expectations of a school setting will only benefit from not being put in a situation their brain isn't yet able to handle. Conversely, there is certainly no long term advantage to holding back a child from school entry if they are developmentally ready. Development isn't really about age or size at all, though there are obviously age and size ranges that tend to correspond to developmental stages. School readiness has little to do with their current academic ability or their size, though that seems to be what many people use to make their decision.

The article above talks about holding children back for reasons that are not based on developmental need, but rather on physical size, academic abilities, or perceived age advantage. At one point it says that development can't be put on pause but that isn't entirely true - delays in development can happen because of situational and environmental considerations. The only argument that seems of note to me is that they are one year behind their peers in entering the workforce, but losing a year in the workforce is something I personally I wouldn't be concerned about. If my child needs an extra year or even two to be developmentally ready for the school environment, they will be more likely to leave school developmentally ready for the adult world, and with all their mustachian skills and attitudes they will likely catch up or fly past their peers in terms of financial security. Kids who go to post-secondary school or take a year off to travel are also behind others in workplace entry time - but one year in a whole life is easy to catch up, especially if that time was spent fostering and nourishing their brain's development.

I read Outliers too, and while I appreciate the point he is making - that there are factors in success that we ignore or flat out refuse to be true, which are sometimes beyond our control and are simply luck or circumstance - attempting to use his writing to try to give kids a leg up is missing the point. His point is that the system doesn't acknowledge its own biases in giving more opportunity to kids born at the right time of the year. That doesn't mean we can beat the bias by holding kids back.

justajane

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2015, 01:11:11 PM »
I just saw somewhere that certain schools encourage redshirting so that they can artificially increase their test scores in the earlier years. Egad!

I also thought that this quote from an earlier Slate article was interesting: "There’s also the fact that kids are sometimes redshirted because they have behavior or learning problems that parents mislabel as immaturity—I’m sure Kalee’s tendency to throw chairs at adults will go away once she turns 6, so we’ll just wait a year. This could explain why redshirted kids often need special education services and also why they’re more likely to drop out of school and not go to college. In other words, redshirting might not actually increase the risk of these problems—it may just be a sign of existing problems. Yet redshirting these types of kids “can in fact make the problems worse, in that the child’s access to support is delayed as the family and school wait for maturity to kick in,” Graue says.

I think that was what my psychologist friend was saying - that holding a kid back will exacerbate the reasons why you are holding the kid back in the first place.

Also, it appears that the academic advantages of redshirting end by middle elementary, but the athletic advantages continue on into high school.

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2015, 01:20:07 PM »
@mc93 - It surprised me as well, as I would have originally thought that holding a kid back was better. But her reasons were sound, and I learned a lot from that conversation.

We were specifically discussing a child in my extended family. The grandparents were encouraging the parents to hold him back (May bday) because he didn't yet know his letters and numbers and displayed no interest in learning. She explained that he likely wasn't getting much teaching and reading at home, and it didn't make sense to give him another year at home without exposure -- that this could be a real detriment long term.

skunkfunk

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #46 on: May 28, 2015, 01:53:11 PM »
So not saying the people on the East Side aren't hilariously pompous and ridiculous, the certainly are. But so am I to some extent, and so are most of the consumers out there to a pretty large extent. But thanks for posting the article, it was an interesting read!

Whoa

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #47 on: May 28, 2015, 04:02:09 PM »
Red-shirting kindergarten boys was a thing where I grew up in Texas.  To make them more likely to make football teams.

Redshirting is freakin' ridiculous.

I come from a long line of people born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 when the school cut-off generally was Jan. 1. Thus, everyone born in the same year was in the same class. My family members and I thus graduated high school at 17 and college at 21.

To anyone who says it helps sports, consider this. I was born in October of 1969. My classmates included Brett Favre (Oct. 1969), Herman Moore (Oct. 1969) and Ken Griffey Jr. (Nov. 1969). All graduated high school at 17 and went on to Hall of Fame sports careers. (Herman Moore belongs in Canton but nobody appreciates him since he played on lousy Lions teams. Yes, I know that's redundant.)

I had modest sports genes and wasn't going to be an elite athlete regardless.

Teenagers like Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Johnny Bench, Al Kaline and Griffey Jr. routinely used to reach the Majors before their 20th birthday. That's because they graduated high school at 17. This doesn't happen today because high school grads are 18 1/2 or older.

Not only have we shifted the school deadline four months -- from Jan. 1 from Sept. 1 -- but now idiot parents like the ones in this story redshirt their kids another year because of sports or -- even better -- "socialization." WTF?

We have neighbors where the father applied his frustrations over a modest high school wrestling carer to his twin sons, born in December of 1995. Already they would have been the oldest in their class, but he held them back another year. Thus they're graduating high school this month -- finally -- at the age of 19 1/2. They will wrestle in college, but they probably would have anyway had they not been redshirted. The old man relentlessly pushed their wrestling careers at the expense of his other three kids.

When I was 19 1/2, I was finishing my sophomore year of college. Like so many others of previous generations.

Our younger son was born in August. People thought we'd start him in school a year later than we did. I thought nothing of it. Heck, he's two months older in school than I was at the same age. He's thriving academically and athletically.

It makes no sense to hold your kids back. If sports is your thing, your kid is going to thrive by playing with kids older and more advanced.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 04:03:55 PM by LiveLean »

NoraLenderbee

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #48 on: May 28, 2015, 04:20:13 PM »
WestchesterFrugal, are you there?

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Re: I got culture shock just reading this...
« Reply #49 on: May 28, 2015, 04:28:45 PM »
Red-shirting kindergarten boys was a thing where I grew up in Texas.  To make them more likely to make football teams.

Redshirting is freakin' ridiculous.

I come from a long line of people born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 when the school cut-off generally was Jan. 1. Thus, everyone born in the same year was in the same class. My family members and I thus graduated high school at 17 and college at 21.

To anyone who says it helps sports, consider this. I was born in October of 1969. My classmates included Brett Favre (Oct. 1969), Herman Moore (Oct. 1969) and Ken Griffey Jr. (Nov. 1969). All graduated high school at 17 and went on to Hall of Fame sports careers. (Herman Moore belongs in Canton but nobody appreciates him since he played on lousy Lions teams. Yes, I know that's redundant.)

I had modest sports genes and wasn't going to be an elite athlete regardless.

Teenagers like Mickey Mantle, Bob Feller, Johnny Bench, Al Kaline and Griffey Jr. routinely used to reach the Majors before their 20th birthday. That's because they graduated high school at 17. This doesn't happen today because high school grads are 18 1/2 or older.

Not only have we shifted the school deadline four months -- from Jan. 1 from Sept. 1 -- but now idiot parents like the ones in this story redshirt their kids another year because of sports or -- even better -- "socialization." WTF?

We have neighbors where the father applied his frustrations over a modest high school wrestling carer to his twin sons, born in December of 1995. Already they would have been the oldest in their class, but he held them back another year. Thus they're graduating high school this month -- finally -- at the age of 19 1/2. They will wrestle in college, but they probably would have anyway had they not been redshirted. The old man relentlessly pushed their wrestling careers at the expense of his other three kids.

When I was 19 1/2, I was finishing my sophomore year of college. Like so many others of previous generations.

Our younger son was born in August. People thought we'd start him in school a year later than we did. I thought nothing of it. Heck, he's two months older in school than I was at the same age. He's thriving academically and athletically.

It makes no sense to hold your kids back. If sports is your thing, your kid is going to thrive by playing with kids older and more advanced.

Citing specific anecdotes doesn't invalidate the idea that being older in those early ages of sports can lead to a kid "showing more potential" and getting more playing time, getting to be on varisty instead of JV, etc. Pointing out all time greats being good despite not redshirting doesn't prove anything.

Considering that wrestling is a sport where competing is based on weight class, not age, it makes him just look like a fool.

Yes, some kids who are athletically gifted genetically might be successful whether they are redshirted or not, but when we are talking about tiny differences separating the elite from the very good, the 1st round draft picks from the 4th round draft picks (which is millions of dollars apart), there is something to it.

(Note: I don't condone the idea of redshirting your 5 year old because you have dreams of them playing in the NFL, but I don't think it's an invalid concept if that is your goal).