Would I be unreasonable to think that a small than average child has a lower than average IQ, whilst a taller than average child has a higher than average IQ?

(44 Posts)
Howsaboutthat Tue 05-Mar-13 18:32:03

I suspect that I probably would be if I thought that for a minute.

So why when a child small for their age does something well for their age it is commented by so many people as being such a great achievement, whilst when a child large for their age does something well for their age it is commented by so many people that of course they would do well it is down to them being bigger.

I have one of each child -
The short one finds the responses very patronising
The tall one finds the responses very critical.

Schooldidi Tue 05-Mar-13 18:34:33


My dds are both very tall for their age and people seem to expect them to do things earlier or behave better than other children of the same age. Why? Size doesn't affect development.

I think that people associate height with age. So a smaller child is more likely to be younger, and so the same achievement is more noteworthy.

I certainly think people expect more mature behaviour from a taller or bigger child.

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Mar-13 18:38:44

Yes very odd of those who comment in such a manner. It's very rude to comment on people's appearance anyway...unless it's a passing flattery like I love your hair today or something.

People should not bring height into it.

What ThreeBee said - whether consciously or not, people assume they are older and expect them to lead their peers. My DC both "suffer" from this (as in, they are tall, and people expect them to do stuff appropriate to their height rather than their actual age)


So far as I know there's no correlation, and if there were, it wouldn't be a matter of being reasonable or unreasonable, would it?

mellen Tue 05-Mar-13 18:43:18

I think that people associate size with age, so are more likely to assume that a taller child is older than a shorter one, but it doesn't make sense, IMO that IQ would be different depending on height.

SnotMeReally Tue 05-Mar-13 18:45:13

physically and academically you would assume that children who are smaller/younger may develop and be able to do things at a different point to older/bigger children - this would be seen in schools eg in PE, and in their academic progress (particularly in the early years) - but even in the 11+ exam, there is a weighting for the younger ones in the year group, which personally I think is daft as they ought to have caught up by the time they have had 6 years of schooling!

But as for actual IQ being related to size - tosh!

MrsWolowitz Tue 05-Mar-13 18:46:05


I think people assume that it is more of an achievement for the smaller child as they may look younger and people therefore assume that they are.

SnotMeReally Tue 05-Mar-13 18:46:52

children who are tall for their age can also be labelled as "naughty" or "immature" , by those who dont realise they are just younger and behaving perfectly normally for their age

Hulababy Tue 05-Mar-13 18:47:52

Do you think it might be more if a child looks older/younger than they are, rather than their height?

Howsaboutthat Tue 05-Mar-13 18:50:06

But this occurs with people who know the child's age - ok they may not know their exact age but know which school year they are in.


DD1 is very tall for her age. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from HCPs to strangers in waiting rooms, is shocked to hear shes "only" 4.

I find that people expect more of her because of it, and I have seen peoples dirty looks when she was younger and acting like a 2 year old instead of a 3 year old iyswim!

Equally, a girl in her class who was born a month before DD1 is physically smaller than most in the class, and is quite often patronised and treated like a younger child!

Howsaboutthat Tue 05-Mar-13 18:52:51

When tall child achieves any school award - well of course they're going to do well at their size - how does that mean they will win the maths award confused

When small child achieves any school award - it's amazing how well they do when you look at them compared to everyone else - how does the fact they are a couple of inches shorter than the rest of the class mean they can't win the music award hmm

I get what you mean, but are you sure you are not being a teeny bit oversensitive? Are these people commenting aware of the actual ages of yor children and not as others have suggested, just making an assumption on age?

FWIW I have twins who are smaller than average plus speech delay so often are assumed to be younger. My one year old on the other hand, is assumed to be older as he is bigger and walked early.

N0tinmylife Tue 05-Mar-13 18:56:32

I used to get this when DS was younger. Because he is small for his age people would be amazed at how well he could speak. I have never noticed it from anyone who knows his age though, there are certainly some odd people about!

Howsaboutthat Tue 05-Mar-13 18:58:01

This is other parents at classes, I probably am being oversensitive, whether it in school or external classes.

It bothers me because it bothers my kids. But this post was done after a parent commented to me on another child who's also tiny, "I think it's amazing how well they do considering their size". The other parent was shocked when I said that I didn't think it was amazing and that they had just done as well as the others who had achieved the same in class.

And realised it wasn't just my kids who get the comments these judgements are all the time.

zwischenzug Tue 05-Mar-13 18:59:07

In answer to the title, you could well be correct:


Studies have shown a small correlation between being tall and being more intelligent.

SolomanDaisy Tue 05-Mar-13 19:02:47

I get this with my DS and also remember it from when I was a child. DS is so tall that when compared to other children his height he looks really wobbly and as though he's behind physically. People expect him to behave like a nearly 3 year-old when he is only 20 months. Weirdly, other toddlers seem to understand how young he is.

DC do it themselves, though - there is a boy in DD's Y1 class who is tiny compared to DD (who is, admittedly, the tallest) and his mother tells me that most of his complaints about people treating him "like a baby" are about his classmates - even though they all know perfectly well that he is the same age [confsued].

Even in Y6, DS has a mate who is about half his height (OK, not quite, but DS is about 5ft 5 and this child must be not much over 4ft) and he seems to have adopted a very loud, in your face (in a nice way) persona to make sure that he gets noticed and to forstall any attempts at patronising him.

RedToothBrush Tue 05-Mar-13 19:13:22

I think that size is associated with age and intelligence and its not just in children!

I know all my friends that are regularly ID are short arses. The tall ones are not.
And that they are also treated accordingly; if you are shorter you tend to be patronised and spoken down to more than if you are bigger. I think people adjust their expectations of someone based on psychical build throughout life.

people think bigger means older. even if they know the age in their head they are thinking older.

I remember being taught that about IQ and height at university.

However you have a point about people assuming the age of a child from their size and treating them in line with their perceived age. I remember my tall DD being told that she was too big to have me carry her at a restaurant and it was her second birthday, but the waitress thought she was at least 3.

BrandiBroke Tue 05-Mar-13 21:09:35

My mum was a teacher and she used to get really exasperated with other teachers expecting more from the taller children than the smaller ones. One girl was very tall for her age and my mum had to have a bit of a chat with the teacher who found her 'immature' and was surprised at the struggle she was having learning to read. She wasn't any more immature than the other children and her struggles had nothing to do with her size. My mum sympathised as she'd had 2 very tall children and was tall herself as a child.

People do expect more from tall children. I've known people let some kids get away with things they wouldn't let others - purely because they are 'little and cute.' If taller children did the same thing it would be a case of 'don't do that - you're supposed to be a big sensible boy/girl. '

YouTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 21:13:39

What a load of bollocks! I'm less than 5ft and my IQ is somewhere over 130. If it was true, and I was taller, I'd be a fucking genius. hmm

Expectations of small children should have nothing to do with their height. Just plain silly.

HollyBerryBush Tue 05-Mar-13 21:18:23

Height and aethetically pleasing looks = earning power.

Plenty of studies to corroborate that. Although someone is going to pop up with a vertically challenged child with the IQ to equal Sheldon

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 05-Mar-13 21:21:44

Well.my DD is 6..on the 98th centile for height..and just mastering "hello"wink

Floggingmolly Tue 05-Mar-13 21:24:20

People making the comments are probably just assuming they're older / younger than they actually are, nothing more.

ceeveebee Tue 05-Mar-13 21:24:46

Ah shut up, I'm 5 foot nothing and am far more intelligent and than my d umb sis who is 5 ft 7.

There's no correlation and people make that assumption because dim as mince is the prevailing wind.

It's a similar thought in misogyny where in the 19th century men tried to prove that women shouldn't have the vote because their brains were smaller.

landofsoapandglory Tue 05-Mar-13 21:30:11

My DC have always been tall. People presumed they were older than they were, but I don't think they thought they were more intelligent than a smaller person.

I was always tiny, and I don't remember people saying I did something well for my size either.

chartreuse Tue 05-Mar-13 21:36:07

Ds is very small for his age, he is nearly 13 but wears 9-10 clothes. It makes his life a misery as he is constantly teased. He has an IQ of 136 which is in the gifted range. He would prefer to be taller and less intelligent.

seeker Tue 05-Mar-13 21:44:23

It depends what you ae talking about. Anyonr who said "he did very well in the maths test, considering his size" would be completely bonkers. Anyone who said "he did very well in the rugby match considering his size" would be being perfectly reasonable.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Tue 05-Mar-13 21:45:25

youthecat I assume you know what an outlier is then given your lovely high IQ? grin <for what it's worth I don't buy into the taller = smarter thing>

YouTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 21:46:31

My dad was 5ft4 and played rugby for Sunderland 1st team. Height has nothing to do with it. Halfpenny, who plays for Wales, is quite small.

YouTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 21:47:49

WhenSheWas, I hope you aren't referring to me as one? grin

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Tue 05-Mar-13 21:51:35

I know a really thick tall person too grin

YouTheCat Tue 05-Mar-13 21:52:32


blackeyedsusan Tue 05-Mar-13 21:53:47

ds is little and cute looking. just as well really. he has asd and can occasionlly look about 1-2 years younger in behaviour. it is less embaressing when he only looks 3!

seeker Tue 05-Mar-13 21:56:31

Having such a fantastic IQ, you will be fully aware that anecdote and data are different things......

Revengeofkarma Tue 05-Mar-13 22:04:08

I was always the tallest child and also the youngest (summer birthday and skipped a year, so two years younger. Still the tallest, though.). It drove me crazy.

Now though, people wonder where I got my leadership skills. "Because I've been put in charge of everything ever since I could remember because I was the tallest." And yes, I'm smart and have been identified as such from early on (see skipped year above), but to assume that height=intelligence would mean that everyone shorter than I am, which is the vast majority of the population, is not as smart as I am. That's simply ridiculous, though it would be nice for it to be true - I'd have made a fortune by inventing something or the money markets or something! Equally, if the presumption were true, we could determine lack of intellect by people being short. I'm not going to break it to Phelan Hill that he's not very bright. Would you?

It is the perception of the age thing in kids with height. Ad it isn't true, and it isn't fair and it isn't right, but then lots of things in life aren't. Find some good role models for your kids to show them how it can still benefit them ultimately, whichever end of the spectrum they are on, and don't be afraid to let idiots know they're being idiotic.

MrsWolowitz Tue 05-Mar-13 22:04:18

I'm tall but am totally fick.


Lueji Tue 05-Mar-13 22:23:30

Because people equate size with age.
Even if they know the age.

Also, my reasonably tall ex was fairly fick, whereas I'm on the shortest side and have always been fairly bright - best student in class type, but also usually good at solving problems. except when I married him

For some reason tall people tend to be more successful than shorter people, but it may well be due to other people's perceptions of them than to intelligence.

numbum Tue 05-Mar-13 22:36:56

I agree. DD is short for her age and everyone always comments on how brilliant she is although she is brilliant of course. But I've seen children much taller than her doing thing she can do and their efforts being shrugged off.

I think DD benefits from it confidence wise but do feel bad for those taller children

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now