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jmrps
jmrps asks:
Q:

We are thinking of retaining our son in the 7th grade.

Giving our child the gift of time to mature socially and physically is paramount to him fitting in with groups in school and not feeling like he has to "please" kids to have friendships.  He is younger than 85% of his classmates having an August birthday. Reasons:
#1 Academically he is a strong student but as time catches up to him it becomes harder for him.  He is talking about feeling "pressure" in school.  This is because so many kids are older than him and there is a lot of competition.
He is insecure about his size (first thing registering him in school was everyone is bigger than me…I’m small and need to eat more) - Birth Date…being younger for his grade level, not emotionally ready...Feeling pressured…
Kids teasing him and him not being able to take it. He's sensitive. Strives for attention to fit in.
Maturity level compared to friends (can’t hang)
He is a competitive football player. We want him to have every advantage. An athletic scholarship in college.
Another year would allow him to grow and get stronger. He is not losing a year of his life, he is gaining another year of childhood.
In Topics: School and Academics
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Mar 7, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

You have given a lot of thought to your son's retention.  Research shows that retaining students after Kindergarten (some times in first grade) is not in the best interest of the child.  With that being said, you know your son.  I would suggest that you have a long hard conversation with him.  Discuss the pros and the cons.  You have pointed out many of the pros, but generate a list of cons before talking with him (such as classmates teasing him, teachers' looking at him differently, how your family will see him, repeat of curriculum, etc.)

I don't want to talk you out of this decision, but I want you to think about all the affects.  Your son is in 7th grade and that could be a bigger factor than you think.

Personally, I agree with you that students who the older in their class have a higher rate of success and feel more confident.  Then again I taught on the elementary level, not middle school.  I had one nephew retained in Kindergarten and another one stayed home an extra year before starting Kindergarten because of fall birthdays.  Giving them that extra year to grow and mature has helped them in the long run.

Here are some questions you can use to start the conversation with your son:
How will you feel if you repeat 7th grade?
What do you think your friend will think about you staying another year in 7th grade?
Do you feel you are ready for 8th grade?
Do you want to go on with your classmates to 8th grade?
What to you think your teachers think of you? Do they think you are smart?
How is staying in 7th grade another year going to help you?
Will repeating 7th grade give you the edge both in school and on the football field?

I would also talk to the school to see how they feel about your son's possible retention.  If they feel he needs to be retained as well and you move forward with this plan, ask them how they are going to help you get him back on track and will they change his teachers or modify his curriculum.  

You may even want to have an independent evaluation to see what else is uncovered.

This is not an easy decision.  Good luck.

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Additional Answers (1)

LuBailey
LuBailey writes:
We are in a similar situation; same grade and age(late August) I find it ironic how there are those that bang on the negativities of retention, without possibly considering the consequences of what would happen otherwise, what has happened up to the decision point, or the dailey struggles that have taken place over a span of YEARS before the retention decision was finally made.
People also tend to forget that retention has taken place for many years. And, there are many past-retained individuals who, after being retained, turned out to be healthy, active and beneficial members of society. Life itself is a gamble and there are an equal number of studies that support the idea of retention under given circumstances. Generally, retention is not taken lightly, especially for the parents.
The way we see it, if we have the support of family members and school staff(especially in a district that strives not to retain), there are probably a variety of reasons that are all in the best interest of the student involved. Wishing you and yours the best!!
> 60 days ago

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