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Homeschoolers being young for their ages or oblivious to peer pressure - Page 2

post #21 of 47
I think don't think it's accurate to label being peer orientated as being "worldly," it's immaturity. Neufeld's "Hold on to Your Kids" is a great book on this topic.
post #22 of 47
I don't see it as my kids being young for their age, but other kids being too old for their age. The worldliness some young kids express -- usually sexual, it seems -- appalls me. I am so glad my kids are still relatively innocent and can just be kids for as long as they need to be.

My kids are in some way traditionally gender-specific -- the boys wouldn't dream of wearing dresses or pink and they don't like to admit to being drawn in to the plot of Spring For Strawberry Shortcake. They run around playing a Star Wars-like game they call Science Battle. On the other hand they are openly affectionate with their mother in public (you can just see the envy dripping off the other mothers,) wear their hair long (even though my one son gets repeatedly mistaken for a girl,) and love cooking, hand crafts, gardening, dancing... things boys "aren't supposed to like". My daughter goes crazy over all the girly crap at the toy store -- the more pink and princessy the better. She loves high-heeled shoes and makeup. (How did this happen?) Her favorite play is pretending with dolls. But she's also very rough and tumble and athletic and fearless and loud and outspoken -- all things girls aren't supposed to be. I have no doubt that they'd feel pressure to deny some of their natural inclinations if they were in a more mainstream environment (and would likely be teased for whatever the bullies could dredge up anyway.) That's a pretty heavy violation to the soul.
post #23 of 47
I don't think that these behaviors are really "young for their age" - from what has been described on this thread they are young children acting like young children and not unusual or weird My oldest son is 7 and in ps. He hugs & kisses his brothers, myself & my dh in public and (at school). When I bring my 3 year old to school many of his friends (both boys & girls) throw their arms around him or hold him on their laps. He will happily watch Sesame Street and many of his closest friends are still girls.

It is rare that any of my kids wear "girl" colored clothes because they almost exclusively wear clothes that are handed down and with three boys it is rare that we are given any pinks or purples.

I wouldn't tell a kid not to do something they want to do or wear something they like because other people might tease them. They should know that anyone who teases them is bullying and that you don't change yourself for a bully. There are actually worse things than getting teased & to me the biggest is fearing being teased or changing who you are because you are being teased. I think the solid foundation concept is right on and we should all encourage our kids to continue to be themselves.
post #24 of 47
I talk, talk, talk to dd about these issues. She knows that kids sometimes tease others for being different, and she knows that is wrong. She knows that she may be teased for the choices she makes sometimes, and she willingly makes the choice anyway.

I talk to her about choices that I make that are different from the norm for my peers--for example, I don't shave and most of our adult woman friends do. She can see that difference, and has asked me why I don't shave like everyone else, lol. So I talk about doing what is right for me, even if it isn't the right choice for someone else.

I talk to her about standing up for my own choices.....like when I have to explain to a pediatrician that we are refusing vaxs. That is really difficult for me (confrontation), but I do it anyway because it is the right thing for me to do. So she sees that it isn't always easy for adults, either. That helps when things are tough for her.

All these conversations help prepare her for hearing that another child thinks her outfit is weird, or that her game is babyish, or whatever. She knows that others will have another opinion, and that is ok. Even if *everyone* else has a different opinion from hers.....as long as her opinion/action is not hurting anyone, it is ok.
post #25 of 47
I second (third?) the "Hold onto your Kids" book recommendation. With HS kids, their primary attachment is to their parents, so that's where they'll look for validation. If they're not attached to their peers, what their peers think about them is just not that important.

On the other hand, some PS kids are EXTREMELY attached to their peers. The peer relationships mean everything to them and they will therefore do everything in their power to protect those relationships. (Recent personal experience: 16yo SIL came over for Mother's Day dessert. She spent the entire time texting on her phone to her friends. If someone asked her a question, she would answer with one word without looking up from her phone. : : )
post #26 of 47
I haven't read through that replies, but I want to add to this. (I just read through many pages of the other threads....phew! Interesting threads this week!)

My eldest DD is almost 10, and VERY shy. She acts like a 9 yr old, and I LOVE that! She LOVES her babydolls, always has. She will every now and then say, "I feel funny taking my baby out in public b/c no one my age does." I tell her that if she is still interested in her baby doll, then she should still enjoy her. "Who cares if someone else thinks you are too old. If you were really too old for her, you wouldn't be interested in her, would you?" She smiles and continues to bring her along. (She is my DD who walked right past me to get to *HER new baby* when I had her 1st little sister in the hospital. "Who's Mommy?" She has always been VERY maternal.)
My 9 yr old gets intimidated playing w/ kids her own age. She is drawn to the little kids(under 4 yrs) at the playground. She often gets compliments from mothers who say she took such good care of their young DD/DS while playing. (What a break, they don't have to get in the tunnels and entertain their kids!) I was the same way as a kid. I got so much flack from the mother of a 5 yr old neighbor when I was around 10 b/c I played w/ her on their swingset quite often.

My PSed neice is 8(exactly 4 wks younger then my 8 yr old DD), and I can see the effect PS has on her and how she views things. She will ridicule my DDs for liking certain things she finds too whatever. Thankfully, I'm teaching my girls that their interests are valid, and they don't seem affected by her remarks. Parents of the kids often perpetuate it, though. I saw it happen to my good friend and her 3 sons. The phrase I most often heard from her mouth was "______ is too young for (insert son's name here)," or "(insert boy's name) is too old for ______." It made me sad that they were guided away from their natural interests b/c they had become "too old" for it to be acceptable either by their peers or their mother. So often, I would see nothing "wrong" w/ the things she would talk about, even from a mainstream/schooling perspective. This was back when I had ABSOLUTELY NO interest in homeschooling my kids.

I think my middle DD acts her age. She fits right in w/ her HSing friends her own age. She is very adaptable, though. I'm sure she would be able to fit in w/ kids of any age/gender. My 4 yr old thinks she is 16, but I think that comes more from trying to keep up w/ her big sisters. : She makes friends w/ 1 yr olds as well as 6 yr olds. She will not leave a playground, even after just 5 mins, w/out declaring that she made a new friend.

Wow, I didn't realize I had this much to say.
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarah0404 View Post
They're not being exposed to things that are way too old for them.
I noticed this about the school I grew up in. It was a public school in a very rural area, and a very sheltered Mayberry kind of place. The students actually *looked* younger in pictures that students from other schools, and I believe it was a direct result of not being exposed to adult stresses to soon. It is one of the principle reasons I want to homeschool. I think some would say that sheltering is not good socialization, but I don't see that as true at all, as my peers grew up to be normal functional individuals - some not so functional and some quite successful.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
I don't think my sons are oblivious. I think they don't care.
My ds is the same. Ds's favorite color is pink. He wears a lot of pink things, shoes, shirts, coats. Several times, PS kids have tried to shame him for wearing a "girl" color. He just says "whatever" and goes on playing.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftField View Post
He seems very "young" in comparison to his K counterparts but yet he's more mature in other ways.
I would say this about my kids in some ways too. Mine are older though. I have teens (13.5 and almost 16) that are very aware of teen culture despite not having been around tons of other kids on a regular basis. Some of it is just fine with them and they have adopted/adapted to that culture/behavior and some of it they are either clueless about or have decided that they think it's really stupid. In some ways they seem much older than their age mates, and in some ways they seem younger. Younger doesn't seem right here, but I am not coming up with anything better.

Quote:
I'm wondering if many other homeschooled children seem "young" for their age (i.e. unworldly) and if others could share their experiences with this.
My son is about to turn 16. He's never been on a date, kissed a girl, or even held hands. It's just not what he's been about or ready to do. My Dd is 13 and she is confused (and irritated) by girls her age having dramatic meltdowns or situations over who is boyfriend and girlfriend with who, who broke up with who, and who so and so is trying to "get with". Sure, she thinks boys and young men are attractive (we discuss that often! lol) but she's not ready for partnerships. These things make my kids seem less mature by mainstream standards.

Quote:
OTOH, he does come into contact with kids like that. It seems like other homeschooled kids are significantly more tolerant of stuff like this and that many of them are unconventional as well. But I'm not sure about the boys because my kids seem to gravitate to older girls in our group.
My Dd's best friend is a public schooler so she often meets girls that her friend goes to school with. (7th grade) There has been some tension between my Dd and these other schooled girls. In a nutshell they think she is odd and cares about strange stuff or is strange for the things she doesn't care about. Dd thinks they are often mean, judgemental, and shallow. It came to a head last year when Dd's best friend decided to have two birthday parties: one with her school friends, and one with her family that she invited Dd to. She said it wasn't anything bad about Dd, but she didn't want to deal with the issues between the girls. Dd has been so great about not compromising what she believes in just to be thought of as "cool" or "mature". I worry sometimes, but so far our discussing things has been a good foundation.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
I don't see it as my kids being young for their age, but other kids being too old for their age.
I completely agree with that. I think that kids who are primarily socialized by other kids develop bizarre coping strategies that society then labels normal.

Someone mentioned about their son wearing an interesting outfit and swim goggles when going out to ride his bike. That describes my five year old daughter to a T. Not that she wears swim goggles on her bike, but the idea that, "This is what I want to wear, this is what I feel good in, so this is what I am wearing." I have wondered recently whether I need to start prodding her in a more conventional direction when we go out so that she doesn't experience teasing, but most of the kids we hang out with are also homeschooled and have a much greater understanding of kids' individual interests, so to my knowledge no one has ever said anything to her. I really, really don't want to crush my daughter's individuality, and I really try to nurture the authentic parts of her and protect them from outside interference. She would definitely be considered odd were she in school, and I think it would bother her but not enough that she would do anything about it.

I do think that homeschooled kids have an easier time being authentically themselves, but I don't think that means they are "behind" ps kids in any way.

As recently as March, my oldest daughter (12, joined us from Ethiopia 12 months ago) would walk around the neighborhood wearing a doll carrier with a doll inside it. She would take her doll in a doll seat when we would go somewhere, and she would push it in a shopping cart at the grocery store. Ethiopian kids tend to be less socially mature (by American standards) than American kids. I wondered how long this type of play would last. I knew that most 12 year olds did not do this anymore. Desta did get strange looks from people, both adults and kids, but she seemed not to notice them. She started school in late February and very quickly her interest in dolls waned. She is not interested in boys and makeup like the kids in her class, but she definitely has an awareness now of what is considered "uncool" and "babyish" in 6th grade. About 3 weeks after starting school, she suddenly announced that she didn't like Dora the Explorer anymore, and she seemed uncertain as to how we would react to that. Dh told her, "Well, the show is created for kids your brother and sister's age, but anyone can like it." She still maintains vociferously (a little too vociferously, if you ask me) that she doesn't like Dora, but she will very dramatically "give in" and watch it if her brother and sister ask her to.

I think my four year old son just doesn't care what other people think, and I don't think he would care any more were he in school.

dm
post #31 of 47
This has been a fabulous thread to read and relate too! So many of these anecdotes could relate to my son. He is very 'boyish' yet at the same time is 'softer and lighter ' than his peers and a little naive when it comes to peers trying to act older as well as the strict gender roles that seem to go on amongst his age mates within the system.


I sometimes refer to him as an old fashioned child, because he just hasn't been grown up by the world like so many kids today. A lot of the potty humor goes right over his head and he doesn't feel the pressure to be cool or go with the latest trend. He does get along with the kids he is just unique and not afraid to be himself.

What is interesting to me is his self confidence is very self oriented . He sets his own high standards and tries to live up to what he thinks he should be morally, socially academically etc. So he is always pretty happy with a smile on his face. He isn't filled with self doubt over superficial things like materialistic objects and acting a certain way to fit in. I think it's great because he measures his self worth as he sees fit and his confidence continues to astound me, even while he is aware that in some ways he is different from the mainstream.

I wish I had felt that great growing up but I learned the hard way that you can change for the world but the world doesn't change.
post #32 of 47
I'm always so sad when I overhear someone directing their little boy away from "girl" stuff. The neighbor boy (4 yo) was so conflicted when he wanted to try ds' roller skates. He wanted to use the ones that had side by side wheels rather than the roller blades, but they were pink. He kept asking me to put them on him, then not letting me actually put them on. You'd think he wouldn't care especially since he just saw ds using them (I traded ds and gave him the roller blades because the boy wanted the ones he was using).
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
She would definitely be considered odd were she in school, and I think it would bother her but not enough that she would do anything about it.

This was my DD in school. A little *odd* and taunted for it. She didn't care enough to change, but the teasing and shunning did bother her. When I saw her begin to change to *fit the mold* I knew I had to do something. That's when we pulled her. It wasn't the only reason we took her home, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
post #34 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who participated in this thread. I have really enjoyed it and I have really appreciated the support. Now, I think that he's not immature, but that other kids are more mature. Thanks for helping me to see it in a more positive light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larksongs View Post
I sometimes refer to him as an old fashioned child, because he just hasn't been grown up by the world like so many kids today.
I like this analogy and I agree.
post #35 of 47
Sometimes I really think it's an issue of the mainstream having one definition of maturity and the not mainstream having a very different one. (For this conversation I guess home/unschoolers are the not mainstream. )

A girl we know that is just about 12 was overheard telling my Dd that "so and so has a boyfriend already." Dd ended up saying that she herself did not have a boyfriend. The girl said something to the effect of "Well she's more grown up so it makes sense." I don't know the girl she was referring to so I can't vouch for her level of maturity or lack thereof, but I can admit to being suspicious about whether or not an 11/12 year old girl has a boyfriend because she is actually ready for that kind of thing or because she thinks she's supposed to have one because it's considered cool and mature.

For me maturity involves kindness, honesty, some restraint, thoughtful decision making, and etc. From what I see in the mainstream when it comes to kids and teens, so called maturity involves getting into as much romantic relationship drama as possible, judging based on appearance or social standing, having certain clothing brands, and the like. So yea, different definitions.

I know some adults that I don't find all that mature (by my definition) either actually.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
How do you draw the line between letting your child be a free and creative spirit versus not letting them be a target for bullying?
My 9 year old is a creative dresser and we talk about how other people will most likely be dressed, but she still sometimes goes out dressed like a pirate or frontier girl or whatever. She is really confident, though, so if any one says anything to her she just tells them that she likes what she's wearing and doesn't care if they do or not. (My 10 year old on the other hand prefers not to draw attention to herself, so she likes to dress "normally.")

You really can just talk to your kids about this stuff without making a judgement. I see myself as providing information so that they can make their own informed choices, not deciding for them which path would be best for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Sometimes I really think it's an issue of the mainstream having one definition of maturity and the not mainstream having a very different one. (For this conversation I guess home/unschoolers are the not mainstream. )
Yes, my kids still play with my little ponies, sleep with stuffed animals, and want toys rather than electronics for gifts, but they are kind, responsible, and interested in issues like the environment. They can cook without me,
take care of the pets, and behave really well in a wide variety of situations.

They seem to be growing up without feeling like they need to abondon their playful side.
post #37 of 47
Thanks for that. It really helps to hear that from someone who has btdt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
My 9 year old is a creative dresser and we talk about how other people will most likely be dressed, but she still sometimes goes out dressed like a pirate or frontier girl or whatever. She is really confident, though, so if any one says anything to her she just tells them that she likes what she's wearing and doesn't care if they do or not.

You really can just talk to your kids about this stuff without making a judgement. I see myself as providing information so that they can make their own informed choices, not deciding for them which path would be best for them.

post #38 of 47
I haven't read all of the posts, but I just wanted to say that the op's son doesn't sound immature or un-worldy to me, rather he sounds like he is acting exactly right for his age. I think the way children act once they are in a school setting is not the way children should be, and they wouldn't act that way if the gender roles weren't forced onto them. Let your children be who they are and let them know that some ppl will pick on you no matter what you do, just ignore them and do whatever makes you happy.
post #39 of 47
I don't mean to nitpick but IME it's not only school where the peer pressure thing comes in.

My oldest ds especially was into girly things when he was 4-5. He loved to wear makeup, dress-up, pink, etc.

He hung out with a lot of older neighborhood kids who were very "mainstream" and were 100% schooled. They didn't bat an eye when he showed them his latest lipstick Maybe because he was so much younger than them?

The kids who would have absolutely shredded him for his choices were the crunchy kids from our playgroup. Not all of them were school-aged at that time but they had a lot of the behaviors that are usually associated with schooled kids. Judgemental, bullying, exclusive, gender stereotypes....yup, that was them.

When he did start school his interests changed somewhat but not 100%. Same with his brothers. My 5 yo was picking out prizes at a game arcade. He chose some gold MardiGras beads. He proudly wore them the rest of the day. All my kids love fake jewelry and still wear it.

It does help that our school is very small and nurturing. It does seem that the kids at our school are more innocent than some others but I could be wrong. The public school kids that I've known have been pretty nice FTMP.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
He hung out with a lot of older neighborhood kids who were very "mainstream" and were 100% schooled. They didn't bat an eye when he showed them his latest lipstick Maybe because he was so much younger than them?
Ds had one older boy giggle at his toenail polish when he was 3, but another kindly admired his bike w/o mentioning it was a girl's bike, so it just depends, I guess. I generally assume the main source is family since some of the kids do it so young, if not from parents than older siblings telling younger ones what is for boys or girls.
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