Homeschoolers being young for their ages or oblivious to peer pressure - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Can we talk about this? I'd really like to hear what other's experiences have been. I'd like this to stay in the hs forum, because I'm viewing it as something specific to homeschooling and I'd like homeschool perspectives.

My oldest son is about to turn 6; he would have otherwise been in public Kindergarten this part year. My youngest son is 3.5. I have raised them like many people at MDC, which is that I did not project common gender-related values on them. They are free to be who they want to be. Subsequently, they are very androgynous in many ways. I am happy that they can enjoy this before age brings an awareness of what men and women "should" be like.

As friends of ours started pre-K or ps K, I've watched them quickly change their preferences to match what other children valued. One of my relatives instructed her Mom to throw away all of her My Little Ponies and Barbies because they aren't cool toys anymore. The kids in school seem to much more worldly than my oldest and they seem to have an awareness of what pleases their peers; they want to please their peers. So, my (nearly) 6 year old son seems to be oblivious to peer pressure. He seems very "young" in comparison to his K counterparts but yet he's more mature in other ways.

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.

Sometimes, I worry about my son in his interactions with public schooled, peer savvy children; I worry they will tease him. It sounds like I'm bringing up the "weird homeschooled kid" stereotype, doesn't it? Sometimes I wonder if I've done him a disservice by keeping him blissfully unaware of these things. Then, I remember that I was a really weird public schooled kid (with popular parents no less!) and all school did was make me feel bad about myself. It didn't make me less weird; it taught me to hide my weirdness and feel badly about that part of myself. I feel happy that my son has very high self-esteem, unlike me.

One day, when my 5 year old wanted me to buy him some pink, floral sunglasses at the Gymboree store, we had a talk about society's warped expectations of gender behavior. I didn't buy the glasses simply because we have about 4 pairs at home that rarely get used. But I told him that people consider them to be girls' glasses and while he was free to wear whatever he wanted to, he should be aware that people will tell him that he's wearing girls' glasses. And he said something to the effect of, "That's not nice because that would hurt my feelings. I can wear whatever I want and I would do it anyway." And I validated what he was saying and told him that I supported him in this.

In a recent bell choir practice, I noticed that my oldest son was the only boy who hugged and kissed his brother in public, in addition to blowing liberal amounts of kisses to me. I think it's so very sweet, but then I wonder if I've set him up for teasing.

In school, kids would tease him for wearing pink glasses, watching Calliou and finding humor in Teletubbies (heck, I think they're funny too), owning a pink 'My Little Pony', enjoying opera music, owning a toy baby stroller, and many other things. They would shame it out of him and make him feel really crappy about himself. I'm so glad that he's not in that environment. 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.

I'm not really sure what I'm asking here. I guess I hope it generates a discussion on whether or not the homeschooled child often seems "young" for his age and I hope it includes BTDT stories and advice on interactions with peer-savvy kids.
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#2 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 09:44 AM
 
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I know exactly of what you speak. My son is almost 6 as well and he has a very creative way of dressing. For example, he wants to wear swimshorts with kneehigh socks and a long sleeve shirt with a sweater and swim googles while riding his bike. He's very adamant about it too sometimes and gentle persuasion for him to change before going outside to play doesn't work.


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#3 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 09:55 AM
 
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It take all types to make up the world.... and kids to march to their own drummer are my favorite types!!! :

I think it is great that your sons are very comfortable to be themselves and I wouldn't try to take that away so they won't get teased.... I think it is more important that they feel support at home from you. I think if you support them completely and then they aren't in school full time, they will really have time to really develop a high, high self esteem and then the teasing can't really touch that. I think it is fine to discuss what expectations of society are... letting your son know that he might get teased for wearing pink glasses but you support him doing so anyhow. I think that is just great!

My oldest will be kindergarten age in the fall and I can already see the pressures that would come from school by a friend she made in the neighborhood that goes to school. Suddenly now this girl has told mine that x, y, and z are all baby things to do and that her brother should never be allowed to play with her because she shouldn't have to "babysit" him. Suddenly my daughter wants to play "makeover" and pretends to be a cheerleader and I can see a huge swing in her attitude. Part of it is normal growing up and part of it really irritates me because it causes division of the family unit we have. So, since most of these changes are irritating to me, I am so glad that she won't be in school and soaking up these attitudes for 7 hours a day.

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#4 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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My children at the same age as yours....two boys. Oh man I was smiling reading that. Last Fall I remember that I was shopping with my boys for winter pajamas. My oldest looked at the ones for "boys" which were all monsters, super heroes or camouflage. Nothing reflective of my sweet, kind little boy. He then found a bin of thermal pajamas and picked out a two pack---with pink cats on it and the words "I'm Purr-fect." I was conflicted but I realized these really were more who DS 1 was. We have 6 cats at home that he loves and helps take care of. Who decided that girls were sugar and spice and boys were snips and snails? Who decided that pink was a female color only and that boys are limited on their color selection? My favorite moment was when my ps teacher sister in law from out of town was visting and saw DS 1 in the pink cat pajamas. I could see they made her really uncomfortable. But being an adult she didn't say anything. I don't really like her anyway so it kind of made me laugh. I do worry about what other kids will say when they see DS 1 make a more traditionally feminine choice but honestly I worry more about DS 1 becoming marred, bogged down and forced into this stupid stereotypical gender role that isn't who he is. I will talk to him about society and their crazy ideas but I will also emphasize how important it is that he be who he is.

I too have some pre-k friends and I have watched her sweet little boy, so much like DS turn into the same little aggressive boy as all the others. We met at the park wednesday and he brough a gun-wielding robot---he never used to do that before preschool. I also see a downturn in his mouth I never saw before he started it. I'm not dissing preschool but it does tend to force children at an earlier age into gender roles that may not be who they truly are.
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#5 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:00 AM
 
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My experience is similar, although my eldest was in school for K and a bit of gr 1. He's got different experiences than his peers. He's not up on what's cool (clothing, phrases, toys - even music and tv) He happily watches Miss Spider with his youngest sister and plays imaginative games in ways that would most definitely be frowned on in a school setting. He also doesn't have a concept that most kids aren't interested in the stuff he is. He tried to strike up a conversation with his same aged cousin yesterday about Shakespeare. His cousin looked at him like he had 2 heads. His cousin tried to tell him about their new Playstation (x-box?) and R wasn't interested.

We hang out mostly with homeschooling families. We still see some of the public schooled families and one boy in particular that was R's good friend in school. I've found that the kids need a while to get comfortable, even if they have seen each other recently, and they need to find a middle ground between imaginative play and discussing "worldly" things. I am seeing the gulf widen but if we get together for a long visit or a few times in quick succession, the ps boy we see most often seems willing to involve himself in "younger play". He's still not likely to have discussions about anything academic but I don't know if that is a result of being drained by ps or not.

In large group activities which at this point are mostly sports related my son keeps mostly to himself (he's introverted). My daughter who is 6 (today!) is very outgoing and she can talk to anyone about anything.
I am perfectly willing to protect their innocence and childhood. I think that we (as a society) push kids into adolescence far too early and then keep them there for far too long. One of the reasons I homeschool is to let my kids develop their sense of selves at whatever pace is healthy for them. Even if that means that they may have some akward moments with some of their age mates, I think they are in a situation where they are much less likely to be affected adversely by it.
Sorry if this is disjointed - I'm typing in between getting breakfast and dealing w usualy kid stuff.

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#6 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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I wouldn't call this "young for their age." I would simply call it what it is: oblivious to peer pressure and societal standards of "stupid stuff." By "stupid stuff" I mean things that really don't matter in the larger scheme of things- such as caring about the boy/girl toy issue. The HSed kids I know personally do fine with societal standards about appropriate public behavior- because "not knocking down little old ladies" is a darn good reason not to run around in a supermarket or post office!

Nobody's going to get hurt if DS rides a pink bicycle, as long as he observes the same courtesy/safety rules he'd have to follow even if he was riding a blue bike.

DS is currently in private school for K, and I'm starting to see some of the peer pressure for him to be "boyish." It's one of the main reasons I want to HS him next year. The teacher's assistant in his K class (who's also a personal friend and a member of our shul) has noticed that the other boys sense that he's "different" but that they haven't yet labeled him as being "too girly".

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#7 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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I don't think my sons are oblivious. I think they don't care.
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#8 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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I'm not sure if my thoughts would be much help to you, but I think it's a combination of how you are raising your children, the hsing aspect and especially their personalities.

DS15 was ps'd until 11, and inspite of how he was bullied and the presure to "conform" to his peers, he did not and stayed quite true to who he is as a person. He's always defended the "underdog", never followed the crowd, was happy as himself in his own skin. It could be how we have raised him, that kept him so, but I kinda doubt it, mostly.

We're doing the same things we did with ds15 in how we are raising (this word feels wrong, but can't think of another to make it short)our other 2 children, and they are distinctly their own people and make more challenges for us.

DD8 has always been and continues to easily pick up from others behaviors and mimicks them, whether a good behavior or not. If she hung out with a whiney kid, she would whine for days, if she hung out with a kid that was not nice to her brother, she'd be mean to her brothers for days afterwards. ON the swing of things, if she's not been around dissrespectful kids, she is the sweetest child, helping mama's out at the park with their wee ones (think toddlers), doing kind deeds, ect. She also is "very young" in the sense she still LOVES her Barbies (ugh), "childish" like things, ie. fairy tails/stories, mystical creatures, songs (think "kiddie music"), playing young girl like dressup ( although one of her friends likes to do big girl dress up and is sucking dd into it ), finds joy and fun in simple things, and I can go on.

DS5 is the same, he loves what he's always loved, except nobody can tell him otherwise. If he doesn't want to do something, he simply won't, and may even protest quite a bit if it goes against what he believes is "right".

Again, I think a bigger part is all of this, is personality of the individual. I think it helps being hs'd because they are not repeativly exposed to conformation behavior. I know in our home we emphisize the joy and pleasure it is to be unique, and how it's something to embrace. We emphisize being true to yourself. The boys are tend to be inflexably true to themselves, DD on the other hand tends to waver often. Again, though, the boys both have very strong (hard to explain) personalities, where as DD is a very people pleaser type, and tends to change by the people she's hanging around with. The boys have "leader" qualities, whereas she has "follower" qualities. Not bad, just she needs to learn how not to be walked on (happens to her often, due to her not wishing to see the bad in others), as well as how to stay true to herself (very kind, sensitive, respectful, open...) and to stand her ground when she dissagrees with someones words or behaviors.

Sorry,t hat got loger winded than I intended.

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#9 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
I don't think my sons are oblivious. I think they don't care.
:

This is true for my dd. She says things like "So? They don't have to like it. They aren't going to wear it! I am!"
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#10 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:24 AM
 
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You know, I think this is one of those areas where the whole *solid foundation* comes in. Since our kids have this foundation they feel they CAN be themselves. Sure it makes others uncomfortable, but I think it's great that they can do it anyway. I don't they are oblivious to the attitudes, I just think they don't mean as much to them as they do to schooled kids. It's that they aren't as peer/society centered, KWIM? A non-wordly 6yo is a good thing IMO and is something I would actively cultivate.

I know that you worry about teasing and your kids feeling out of place but I haven't found that to be the case. As my kids get older I have found the opposite to be true.

My DD is 13 and we've had a lot of conversations about this. In a lot of ways she appears to be a *typical* teenager; she's a cheerleader, she dresses trendily, likes to wear purple mascara and be *girly* : and listen to The Kooks and My Chemical Romance BUT there are subtle differences.

Her clothes are *trendy* but only to a degree. She won't wear things she doesn't personally love no matter how *in* they are and she's a very modest dresser (now that she's in junior sizes finding clothes can be a nightmare!).

She cheers because she loves cheering, not to be popular. She could (and would) jsut as easily bowl or play poker if that was where her passions were.

She loves to read and will talk endlessly about books. She's a Harry Potter fanatic and listens to the movie soundtracks as much as her other Cds.

She loves history and talks as much about the historical documentaries as she does Bring It On.

In short, she is proud of her differences and her *weirdness*. The things she does she does because they mean something to HER, not because they are in or cool. I LOVE that she can be who she is and not care that she is not like everyone else. in situations where she is the *odd man out* (which honestly don't happen that often) she is able to see that the problem is with the others being intolerant and doesn't feel there is something wrong with her.

Another thing I have noticed is that while homeschooled teens/preteens do seem *younger* in some ways (like showing affection to parents, still *playing* and dressing differently) they also tend to be very much *older* in terms of maturity. They seem to be able to still enjoy tag, and yet be an assistant coach; to hold their dad's hand in Wal~mart and hold down a job. they don't see breaking away from being *young* as a prerequisite to *growing up* if that makes any sense.

Well, that's my novel for the day LOL!
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#11 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think it's always a bit confusing when it's an issue concerning one's first child, because it's unchartered territory altogether. I really needed the support and I appreciate that.

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Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I am perfectly willing to protect their innocence and childhood. I think that we (as a society) push kids into adolescence far too early and then keep them there for far too long. One of the reasons I homeschool is to let my kids develop their sense of selves at whatever pace is healthy for them.
This is what my husband basically says. He says that this is a "natural" childhood because there's no rush.

I think I have personal issues related to this, because I was always seen as "young for my age". It wasn't a responsibility issue. It was that I played with toys for much longer than my friends. I had zero interest in fashion and all the teasing only made me more stead-fast in my conviction that it was silly. At the same time, it really affected my self-esteem, because these things were anomalies in school. I somehow internalized that I wasn't as good as the other girls because I was really different. Even though I didn't cave to pressure at the time and even though I strongly support my sons' right to freely develop their sense of self, I guess I have some underlying issues. I was teased so much and I don't want kids to tease my sweet boys. But the homeschool crowd does seem much more diverse and tolerant so they should see lots of other kids like themselves; they should see their differences as being just another valid way of existing.

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I don't think my sons are oblivious. I think they don't care.
Maybe this too, as evidenced by his sunglasses comment. I don't think he cares and that's a sign of strong self-esteem.

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Originally Posted by lauracd View Post
My children at the same age as yours....two boys. Oh man I was smiling reading that. Last Fall I remember that I was shopping with my boys for winter pajamas. My oldest looked at the ones for "boys" which were all monsters, super heroes or camouflage. Nothing reflective of my sweet, kind little boy. He then found a bin of thermal pajamas and picked out a two pack---with pink cats on it and the words "I'm Purr-fect."
That's something my oldest would have picked out too, although we don't have cats. He loves "pretty" things. He used to have a pair of pink pajamas with bones on them. He loves bones and all things anatomy. The store had skeleton pjs in black or pink; he chose the pink.

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Originally Posted by 3momkmb View Post
You know, I think this is one of those areas where the whole *solid foundation* comes in. Since our kids have this foundation they feel they CAN be themselves. Sure it makes others uncomfortable, but I think it's great that they can do it anyway. I don't they are oblivious to the attitudes, I just think they don't mean as much to them as they do to schooled kids. It's that they aren't as peer/society centered, KWIM? A non-wordly 6yo is a good thing IMO and is something I would actively cultivate.
I like your analogy of the solid foundation. That's good food for thought. Thank you.

---
Thank you all, again, for responding. I really appreciate your insight and support.
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#12 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:50 AM
 
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I think its more to do with not being influenced by peer pressure than being young for their age. I love that my children are children! They're not being exposed to things that are way too old for them. I've never specifically avoided gender stereotyping but my boys are not particularly boyish, and my girl isn't girly.

My dd is 6. She doesn't play with dolls that often. When she does its more the baby doll type of dolls rather than barbies. She was very disapointed that someone gave her a Bratz doll one Christmas. She thinks Bratz are really ugly looking (and they are!) and she always asks me what she's supposed to do with them and the barbie type dolls. They don't have much play value for her. She prefers doing craft sort of things, or playing lego or trainsets with her brothers.

I was just thinking the other day about how my boys 5 and 3 are not so much like other boys. They're not into football or sports like all the other boys are. They don't rush about playing sword fights or playing with weapons. My 5 year old attends nursery 3 days a week. Sometimes he comes home with some catchphrase from a TV programme that we've never seen. He usually forgets about it after a few days though. If i have to go in to collect him he's always around the nursery workers, watching them empty the water tray or he's at the sink washing paintbrushes or something. He tends not to be part of the other boys activities. I suppose he just isn't interested. He does love water though - and any kind of squishy or messy stuff!

As a child I was never really into the latest crazes or popular things either. And I went to school. I remember all the children in my class used to watch Australian soaps at dinner time. I couldn't stand them!!! I was one of the oldest in the class, but probably one of the youngest when it came to things like that. It was a soap for adults. i was a child, it didn't interest me in the slightest. People in my class used to be able to sing along to songs that came on the radio. I didn't listen to any popular music, and didn't know who they were talking about most of the time. I think i was about 12 when i bought my first music single. Even then, my music tastes tended to not be mainstream pop music. At about 8 or 9 some of the girls in my class had pop star pin ups on their walls. I wasn't interested in that at all. In fact I reluctantly gave up playing with dolls when I was 12. But I didn't "suffer" for being different. People maybe thought i was a bit odd that i didn't like pop music or whatever, but we still played together and got on well.

I don't think my children would care if someone teased them because they didn't play with Bratz dolls or whatever. My dd would probably be quite unaffected and be able to explain why she's not interested in playing with Bratz.
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#13 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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Add to the mix that my 6yo would be in public school K, but we decided to put her in "1st grade" for homeschool. So she often participates in activities with kids a little older.

We were in a girl scout troop this year with all public school kids and OY! It just wasn't a good fit. Next year we are transferring to a homeschool girl scout troop where I already know the girls and their families. I anticipate a much better fit.

We enjoy celebrating her childhood (and dd2's!) and our family. I find our concentration on family to be viewed as strange by many of the ps-families that we know.
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#14 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 11:04 AM
 
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This is exactly what I needed to hear.

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Originally Posted by hotwings640 View Post
It take all types to make up the world.... and kids to march to their own drummer are my favorite types!!!

I think it is great that your sons are very comfortable to be themselves and I wouldn't try to take that away so they won't get teased.... I think it is fine to discuss what expectations of society are...
BUt just my point. We were at the grocery store and my son has a plastic carrier for bubbles with a Dora the Explorer on it that he loves. While he was standing there waiting for a turn on the mechanical ride the two boys there were calling him a baby. Fortunately, he didn't understand that they were calling HIM a baby as my younger son was with him.

I understand that these are all door openers to discuss why it's hurtful to tease. It just seems like 6 is sooo young for that.

Ok, now that we are home my son has just changed into one of his "outfits"
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#15 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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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?

If your almost 6yo wanted to go out wearing one of his creative outfits and gentle persuasion to change didn't work? I mean saying something like, "you might be cold only wearing that? Or maybe we should save those shorts for the swimming pool?"

How do you say, "you shouldn't wear that outside because the other kids might give you grief" or something along those lines? I'm really torn about this because I hate to give the message that you have to look like or act like what somebody else says.


So true.
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I think it's always a bit confusing when it's an issue concerning one's first child
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#16 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 11:39 AM
 
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Well, I think my oldest ds (15) is very true to himself, and I do think a lot of that is due to homeschooling. I wouldn't call him young for his age at this point, but he resists peer pressure to a level that amazes me. I know I would not have been that strong at his age.

For instance, for a few years now, overnights with friends where you stay up all night and play video games are all the rage. He *loves* video games and has x-box, playstation, nintendo, and regularily reads Game Informer and various gaming websites, but he does *not* like to stay up all night, esp. if he has something to do the next day. He has refused many of these invitations just so he will not be tired the next day. He does get teased/pressured to go, but he knows himself well enough that the experience is not worth it to him.

He also is involved with a Dungeons and Dragons group. He loves it and plays every week. Unfortuantely, D&D has a "nerdy" reputation, and he sometimes gets teased (he is well aware of stereotypes at this point). However this group/game is of great value to him and he ignores the teasing. He will, however sometimes turn down invitations to play or ask to be picked up early if he knows he has something going on the next morning.

He loves to snowboard also, and recently told me that he does not like to hang out in the half pipe because he doesn't like to be around the kids that hang out there because they smoke, swear and are generally cocky. He does however, like some of their clothes.

So yes, I do think homeschooling allows for kids to really come to know themselves if given the freedom to do so, but I don't think it necessarily will make them less "worldy". I agree w/pp's who have said that these kids are not oblivious to trends and peer pressure, just know themselves well enough to be themselves.
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#17 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 12:26 PM
 
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How do you say, "you shouldn't wear that outside because the other kids might give you grief" or something along those lines? I'm really torn about this because I hate to give the message that you have to look like or act like what somebody else says.
I think rather than saying "you shouldn't because..." I would more say "do you understand that some people may want to tease you because they think....., but I totally support you if you want to...."

Some kids don't care if others tease them and would rather be themselves anyhow and I wouldn't want to stop that.

I think too that if you don't express how you support them and really explain why other kids can be mean, it can actually feed into kids teasing others. Such as if I were to tell my daughter "Don't wear that little pony shirt because it is for babies and kids will tease you." She really could take that message and turn it around to teasing other kids who are wearing that little pony shirt because they are wearing a "baby shirt" that I have already stated is worthy of teasing.... know what I mean?

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#18 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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My dd is also "young" in some areas but mature in others.

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#19 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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Maybe I have a warped view on this but I'm GLAD my son isn't worldly or worried about what other's think. My niece is 7 months older than DS and she started full time K this year. You can REALLY see the difference in her. She wants to be with her friends all the time, she fights with her sister, etc. My mom and sister have even commented on how much she's "grown" up this year.

DS is homeschooled although we really haven't done much but homeschool fieldtrips this year. He's a sweet, smart, sensitive child and very much "family oriented". He does have little friends but wants to be with us more than anything. And I LOVE that he doesn't worry about what others think. He has Blue's Clue's swimsuit that he's worn for 3 years and doesn't care what others think!

He seems more "innocent" than a lot of kids but he's more mature in some ways. He can rattle off more theology than a lot of 10yo's.

I wouldn't worry too much about people teasing him..He'll know how to ward it off because he won't find his self worth in what other's think!!!

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#20 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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Thank you! It's sooo simple. I think I just got stuck in worrying about the teasing since we've already had some problems with bullying behavior from a couple of kids in the neighborhood.

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I think rather than saying "you shouldn't because..." I would more say "do you understand that some people may want to tease you because they think....., but I totally support you if you want to...."
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#21 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 01:45 PM
 
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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.
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#22 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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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.
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#23 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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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.
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#24 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 05:02 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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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. : : )

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#26 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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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.
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#27 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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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.
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#28 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 47 Old 05-18-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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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.

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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.

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#30 of 47 Old 05-19-2007, 12:43 AM
 
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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.

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