My son seems immature

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
My son seems immature
4
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 4:15pm
My son is in 5th grade, and turned 11 in March. Although his dad and I think he's fine as is, compared to other boys his age, he comes off as immature. Unfortunately, it seems lots of 5th grade boys are acting more like "teens" already, styling their hair, looking at girls, and no longer playing games. One of his friends has already ditched him, because he can't understand what's fun about banging off caps and playing games like capture the flag, squirt gun fights, etc. The other night at a school function, I noticed lots of boys in his grade who appeared interested in the girls - some of whom are already wearing makeup and provocative clothes. (yuk!)

My son is now gravitating towards a younger crowd in the neighborhood. In his after school program, the counselors have already noted that he has problems with kids his own age, and have allowed him to play with the younger kids. I'm afraid he'll have the same issues in summer camp (boys his own age not wanting him around).

My son can't understand what's up with these guys - why they prefer to stand around and talk, and don't want to chase him and play tag (or whatever). I can't understand why 11 year olds are trying to act like their 15, so I'm having a tough time trying to explain to my son that he needs to grow up a little. Any suggestions?

Avatar for frugal_mom_of2
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Fri, 06-06-2003 - 4:53pm
Hi! I agree that there is a major push in this country to force kids to grow up to fast. It happens in the media, in the schools and at home. Many kids are trying to act grownup to simply keep up with their peers.

If it were me I would just let him be. He will mature when he is ready. If the younger group he wants to hang with are good kids, then I'd let him. Keep him young and carefree as long as possible.

As for what to tell him, that's a tough one! I would just explain that everyone matures at a different rate. That alot of it is hormones and that part can't be helped(you could use the examples of facial hair, voice changing, etc). But that alot of it has to do with "false maturity". It has to do with kids seeing things on tv, music videos, in magazines, etc. and trying to imitate it. That alot has to do with teen celebrities like Britany Spears, etc. and the image they project that kids feel they must keep up with. Alot of it has to do with parents pushing kids to grow up before they are ready by making them take care of younger siblings, pushing the boyfriend/girlfriend thing, etc. Assure him that he is perfectly ok and to feel free to be a kid and enjoy himself!

My dd will be 11 next week. She too is immature in some ways. She still plays with dolls, likes to swing and run and play and play in the water sprinkler. She could care less about boys, makeup,etc. And I am striving to keep her that way LOL! So your son is not alone!

Sherri

Avatar for cl_janetlh
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 8:38pm
Welcome! ITA with Sherri. First of all, your son sounds perfectly normal to me. Can he find some boys in his grade with similar interests? I think it's great he has found kids in the neighborhood who want to play. Around here, there certainly are boys/girls acting 14 at 11, but my kids aren't (TG!) and neither are there friends.

Hopefully, his camp crowd will be different. The activities and environment may be different, and I hope for you and your son that it works out great.

For now, I can't give better advice than Sherri already did. Enjoy that sweet boy!

Janet

Janet


Jewish Family Life

Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 8:38am
I suppose that all kids mature at different rates, girls generally faster than boys. I don't know that you can 'force' someone to grow up before they're ready, and he'll probably catch up to his friends quicker the less you make it an issue. 10-11 y.o. boys should be out running around, playing tag, goofing off, having fun, and not be so concerned about their hair. But, the reality is that many boys do mature sooner than others ... just like some girls develop earlier than others (and that doesn't mean that everyone in the class needs to start wearing a bra.) If he's more comfortable with kids a little younger, then he probably should hang with them. (Better being with kids he's comfortable with, even if they're younger, rather than being forced to be with kids his age where he's feeling out of place.) My guess is that in a year or two, it'll all balance out.

My own DS is sort of at an in-between phase. He's into spiking his hair, and he likes to wear this chain he has ... and generally in the summer, with his blonde hair and FL tan, he looks like a surfer-dude. He plays baseball (and does it well) and exudes this air of confidence. But, he'll also talk like a baby, often feel more comfortable playing with his little sister than kids his own age. He acts goofy to the point of annoyance. Even the other day ... they had their 5th grade, end of year luncheon. It was held at a really nice banquet hall (where many people hold weddings,) and they hired a DJ. The girls were supposed to wear dresses, the boys their 'Sunday best' (just nice pants and shirts, suits not required.) Well DS got dressed in new clothes he actually picked out himself, and he looked really handsome ... and I said to go show dad how nice he looked, and he got all goofy and hid behind the counter, etc. I'm like "can you act the age you look, at least for now?" 'cause he certainly looked like a young teen, but was acting like a 3 y.o. Sigh! You can dress them up ...

Got him to school and all the boys looked nice, but they were congregated in a cluster and acting really goofy ... The girls were all decked out (one, it is rumored, spent $500 on this event ... between her dress, her hair, and {cough, cough} having her legs waxed!) After the event, DS came home with this long 'rope' thing he had made. The theme was 'sailing into the future' and the decorating committee had used small pieces of nautical rope to tie the napkins ... and the boys collected everyone's and tied it all together. (Guess they got tired of dancing.)

I think this is such a transitional age ... they are really in between being kids and being teens. My guess, too, is that the cool boys at school probably go home and annoy their parents (lol) and act goofy and immature in many settings. And, just like some girls get their periods and are wearing bras in 4th-5th grade, remember there are others that aren't at that point 'til 7th-8th. So it is with the boys. I think, too, that as parents of boys, when they do things that are weird or bizarre or not on the same level as their peers, we get concerned about their sexuality and such ... but what I'm learning is that sometimes, they're just weird.

OK, I'm rambling ... sorry, too little sleep, not enough coffee (yet.) My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to let him be. Let him hang with other kids, those younger than him, if that's where he's comfortable. Don't try to force him to grow up too soon. You probably want to start talking to him about hormones and changes in his body if you haven't already (What's Happening to My Body? is a good book for that) so he is aware of what's down the road ... and perhaps explain to him that different kids develop at different rates, so many of the kids in his class are already starting to go through those changes. And, he will, too.

Nancy

Nancy 

<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" />
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-09-2003 - 9:08am
Thanks for all your responses. Yes, I enjoy him just as he is! This weekend, he caught two bull frogs and a small painted turtle with his friends. We have everything in buckets out back, the boys had a great time with their new "pets." He and his friend (who's 9) had the attention of a whole table of kids at school this morning, as they told tales of catching the turtle as he was about to be eaten by a snake. I'm sure there were a few 5th grade boys smirking at this "childish" fun, but everyone at our house had a great time!