Anyone else dealing with a DC who is also very mature for age?

(27 Posts)
wearingatinhat Tue 13-Aug-13 15:22:36

Just that really, we have always been told that DS is particularly mature for his age. At first, I did not necessarily see it - I just thought he was the 'sensible' type. However, having recently moved him to a new school I can see that he is very advanced and we were just fortunate that at the last school his best friend also happened to be very mature for age.

He is very bright, uses advanced vocabulary and has exceptionally well developed verbal reasoning skills. Therefore a discussion with him is like having a discussion with a lawyer. In some situations, with friends, he can also be very confident and can appear almost arrogant (we discuss this regularly!). Up until now however, he has always been very popular and a bit of a ring leader.

Now, the difference between DS and his contemporaries is quite stark. His teacher says they are a particularly immature year. Although DS can turn on the silliness, he has sometimes described his school friends as 'irritating' when they play games like stealing stationery etc. I am sure he would also like to be able to discuss topics he discusses with us: escalations of tensions in Korea or Gibraltar, weather conditions for star gazing and his love of History or comparing and contrasting various books he has read. He has never mentioned this though but has complained that the other boys have different interests which he does not share.

Added to this, DS is now showing some signs of early physical maturity. Grrrr!

The emotional maturity appears to have advanced a lot in the last year. Certainly, if we had remained in the State system I would have requested skipping a year. I have discussed it with his current school and they have been exceptionally supportive, but for reasons which are specific to the school, it really is not possible. Academically, it is not as much of an issue, as the school are working hard to ensure DS is stretched and making the progress he is capable of.

We're thinking that this is just the way it is going to be, at least until other boys have matured, and until perhaps DS is in a highly selective school where there are likely to be more boys with similar interests.

Anyone else been in this situation? How did it all pan out?

Au79 Wed 14-Aug-13 06:40:53

What chronological age is he? Are there any areas he is closer to average in-coordination? Creativity?

I'd suggest focussing at home on weaker areas for the time being, or absorbing his interest with musical instruments or similar.

wearingatinhat Wed 14-Aug-13 10:27:40

He is 8. I think his co-ordination is probably around average, but as he does not enjoy sport, it is probably more a case of lack of practise. A musical instrument is something we have discussed with him to broaden interest - he particularly wants to learn the Saxophone and I think he is too young for that! Yes, we do focus on the weaker areas at home but feel that it is not really going to do anything about DS feeling like a 'fish out of water' because he is so mature. Probably something we have to live with for the time being.

MortifiedAdams Wed 14-Aug-13 10:29:05

confused why is he too young to learn the Sax? Eoght is a good age to start learning to play an instrument.

wearingatinhat Wed 14-Aug-13 11:19:20

Really? Oh, from my dim and ancient past I thought you hand to be older to learn the brass instruments. Something about lack of puff to get a sound out? We will discuss with the school. Thanks.

FriendlyLadybird Wed 14-Aug-13 15:37:19

Actually you're right -- eight is a bit young for the sax. Woodwind and brass instruments do need quite a lot of puff. I was 13 when I started learning the oboe.

But you could see if there was a teacher willing to take him on? Or start him on the piano or guitar. He'd then find the sax a doddle as a second instrument.

anitasmall Wed 14-Aug-13 19:10:33

My daughter became 6 this week and already plays the recorder, reads music, etc. However she is not ready yet for any other instrument (cant't blow even the Irish whistle). There are other children that can already play the recorder at this age.

Musical instruments, languages, sport activities every after school activity can help.

wearingatinhat Wed 14-Aug-13 21:31:15

I did try teaching him the recorder a few years ago; his fingers were struggling to stretch, but I should really try again now. We also have a guitar which he has shown some interest in.

There is so much written about able children being very much their chronological age emotionally and very little about children who are also advanced both physically and emotionally.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 14-Aug-13 23:20:51

Shudder, saxophone is not a brass instrument, go wash your mouth out [grin. Dh started teaching our dd when she was 9 and she is quite tall for her age. She tried at 8 but couldn't hold it for long as they are quite heavy.
OP, my dd is very mature as well but in a completely different way to yours. It can be a curse as people think she is being cheeky as she has a really dry sense of humour and hangs around with arty types a lot. I suppose your down side would be people thinking your ds was big headed or a clever clogs, geek or something. It is a shame when they are what they are and you love them for this.
My dh has just come in and said "how very dare you" grin Saxophones are just that and not a member of any family. Give him a go, if he isn't ready you can always go back when he's a bit bigger. PM me if you need any help my dh is a specialist and I know a fair bit grin.

My eldest was a bit like this, though not so much as yours perhaps and we are a thoroughly unmusical family, so I hope my sons experience is of some help nonetheless.

He made a point of learning facts on subjects other boys would discuss, just to make conversation flow and not be stuck in the corner. He was never "sporty" as such but enjoyed lots of outdoor activities, was good at team building and winning tasks which went down well with the other boys. Perhaps there is something different your son could try which is purely physical and can relate to kids on that level?

When he got older he went in for extra curriculars which played to his verbal reasoning skills, eg debates, politics, drama.

He still has a tendency to sound condescending but his friends all subscribe to this and try to outdo one another. We as his humble family get to prick his pomposity as much as we can. Really, with his friends his emotional maturity became useful in that he is known as " the shoulder" of the group.

His younger brother, however, has the emotional maturity of a 2 year old and it is poo jokes all the way and giving the teacher hell. Try a one on one play date though, he is happy to talk about all sorts and even play chess. Maybe your son just needs to get to know some kids a bit better outside of the group dynamic?

prissyenglisharriviste Thu 15-Aug-13 00:10:25

Dd2 and ds1 are both a bit like this. We have largely given up with dd2 - she isn't particularly interested in the playground age-appropriate stuff and finds the silly bickering and games pointless. The school offered her 1-1 sessions with their counsellor last year (they had flagged her the year before) which dd2 loved. 1-1 time with an adult to chat to philosophically about relationships. Great. The counsellor enjoyed her company and realised dd wasn't at all bothered by not being a standard issue 8 then 9 yo, and it was rather everyone else's problem who were trying to get her to fit the mould.

Ds1's maturity is overlaid by some social issues anyway (he is either socially stunted by his giftedness or by some mild aspergers traits and giftedness, the psychs can never decide which - as well as by being highly distractibility, which is either add or gifted 'flow' grin) but he does enjoy some of the same things as his peers. He really started making friends through cubs, rather than school - at school the differences were paramount, whereas at cubs there was more of a level playing field (no one cared how many years ahead he was in maths or whatever - standard education was completely irrelevant).

It isn't always this way with gifted kids though - a lot of it is personality. My eldest dd is also gifted, but has always been very socially adept, and although emotionally mature and with mature interests, was able to get along with her peers with no issues at all.

I would agree with viper though - the pricking of pomposity is a valuable tool in a family unit, and should be employed as often as necessary to help children develop into socially adept human beings. No-one likes a self-absorbed braggart expounding on what he or she knows, however clever they are.

Labro Thu 15-Aug-13 21:28:05

Ds is very similar, recorder will be good if he wants to learn sax as it teaches the idea of positioning his fingers. Ds plays piano and trumpet, though drives his teacher crazy by not practicising and then passing the exams anyway! Would second scouts as its friendly without being about school (though watch out for the groups where all the kids come from the same school and the leader is a prominent member of the teaching staff and your child comes from a 'different' school.) My ds is 11, talks like an 18 yr old but has a few times exploded like a 10 yr old in the blink of an eye! His sanity is the lunch time clubs his school runs where the children have a common interest and don't have to face what his headmaster laughing calls the 'heaving mass' of the playground.

anitasmall Sat 17-Aug-13 21:27:28

It is often mentioned at Mumsnet that many schools divide classes to ability groups and the academically advanced children move 1 year up at Maths and English. My dd is in year 1 and she goes to read to year 2 with her group. If your daughter is not only mature but academically advanced ask if she can move up, too.

I have the opposite problem: my daughter is academically advanced but she is the youngest and shortest in the class...

AbbyR1973 Sat 17-Aug-13 23:13:07

Just picking up on your comment that DS is showing signs of early physical maturity.
Do you mean your DS has signs of puberty or something else?
If DS has signs of puberty at 8 years of age then you need to pop him along to the doctor to exclude any possibility of an underlying health cause. Puberty below 9 years in boys is considered abnormal until proven otherwise.
I know this has little to do with the main thrust of you post...

wearingatinhat Sun 18-Aug-13 11:39:17

Just thought I would respond to how the thread has moved. I know it is difficult for people to glean the full situation from these threads as obviously we try and limit what we put. I do not think there is a problem with DS appearing arrogant or pompous (at least the school assure me that there is n't). However, I am always sensitive to this and do have conversations with DS about it. Infact, DS 'dumbs down' fairly well but if a child has an amazing general knowledge, or excellent verbal reasoning skills it will become apparent, by the kid just being himself. I have realised that in 'pricking pomposity' I risk damaging self esteem, which DS certainly suffers from, particularly in a child that is already socially very aware. His social skills were assessed by an Ed Psych as more than a year ahead, several years ago. I listen in sometimes on play dates and If I think the other child could be upset by DS's exuberance I will say so. This left DS's 5 year old self saying ' Mummy if you love me, why do appear to prefer my friends!' There is certainly a limit to which we can expect our children to adjust to 'fit in'. At the end of the day, I feel comfortable in my own skin - I want nothing more for DS.

My concerns stem more from the sort of things that DS has been saying; from time to time, he simply 'feels different' - it is something coming from within. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that there is little I can do about it for now.

Yes, DS does enjoy some really good lunchtime clubs and we have found some good activities outside school.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 18-Aug-13 11:47:01

Ds is at a 'highly selective' secondary and the boys are still very immature! He gets on better with the teachers (his RS teacher loves him as he contributes so much to the lessons) and has a few friends who are more like him. He did steer towards the older boys when he started but no year 10 wanted to hang around with a year 7 so they would take the micky out of him and he does get random boys telling him that he's a 'sanctimonious dick' sad It's very difficult for children like this to be honest.

A cello is a good instrument.

BlehPukeVomit Sun 18-Aug-13 12:40:47

My boys were like this. They were fun loving but didnt do the silly behaviour that lots of totally normal boys would do. They were well behaved and generally cleverer than their classmates. They both dealt with it by being quiet but they had plenty of friends and a happy childhood. They are at Uni now and they are still sensible boys. They tend to hand out with other more brainy students but these 'brainy' kids sound as though they can be as silly as any other (think getting extremely drunk etc etc)
My DH is very sensible and I think my kids take after him. It's not a suprise. They are very happy and laugh a lot but are a bit 'square'. It is not a problem.
They were careful never to be pompous though. That would go down badly with a lot of kids as they get older. confused

ll31 Fri 30-Aug-13 16:49:04

I think becoming an expert in something the othere boys like could help ie soccer etc..

BlackMogul Fri 30-Aug-13 17:25:33

I think it is extraordinarily difficult to deal with children like this as they do vew most other children as annoying. The problem is that it works both ways as other boys will not like a pompous know all! That said, an intelligent child who listens to advice will be able to temper his character in order to find friends . Interestingly you say he had one at his old state school. Private schools harbour just as many silly boys as elsewhere. Some children are mature and a bit intense but still should enjoy fun things. You cannot change his school classmates. Going up a year rarely helps as they may be less mature in other ways, eg in forming friendships. A good teacher will differentiate the work and really stretch him. Contrary to popular mythology, this happens in state schools too!

wearingatinhat Fri 30-Aug-13 20:46:54

Mmmm.....some state schools maybe Mogul- not ours! I would never have moved him if they had, but that is a whole other thread. I think the point is (and point of this thread) he is very mature socially, so friendship forming skills are and never have been a problem. He mixes well with a very wide range of children - but a bit lacking in 'soul mates'. I think the issue is I am not happy about someone having to 'temper their character' when the 'natural fit' is probably a year ahead.

BlackMogul Fri 30-Aug-13 21:02:34

OP . You do not actually know if the natural fit is a year ahead though, do you? This is why I suggested that an intelligent child can understand that other children may seem less advanced, but they learn to muck in with them because that is the mature thing to do. You rarely get everything you want for your child and at least DS is having his educational needs met. Your OP did say "up until now he had been very popular" which led me to believe he was experiencing friendship problems. Sorry if I misunderstood your post.

keepsmiling12345 Sat 31-Aug-13 18:51:56

You say that his current independent school are unwilling to move him up a year which suggests to me that the school do not share your view that "the natural fit is probably a year ahead". In my experience, independent schools are perfectly able to move children up a year if they felt it was in the child's best interest...but they clearly have decided it is not in this case. Have they given you any indication of their views on your suggestion?

wearingatinhat Sat 31-Aug-13 19:50:23

The school have been keen to discuss with us, but as I said up thread, there is something that is particular to this school which means that they are unable to move DS up a year. I do not wish to go into details as it would identify the school. With that in mind, if we are happy then they are happy. I agree that most indies are more flexible re year groups. I can see the logistical issues that this would cause. Academically, they are doing more than the state school but I also know that they have been concerned about whether they are doing enough in the circumstances, because they told us.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 16:45:23

Wearinatinhat I was a very mature bright child and I am the mother of such a 9 year old.
I was put up a year for a while at school and can tell you it was the worst two terms of my entire school career, number 2 on the list of things I would never do to my child.
DD has chosen all by herself to extend herself sideways she plays clarinet, recorder, sings in 2 choirs, plays in the orchestra, last year she joined every club going from Netball to chess to gardening to climbing. We sit down together at beginning of each term and set achievable targets based on house points, certificates etc.
this approach is working very well the teachers say they can on occasions detect her frustrations with other children, but she never ever voices or acts on them. Academically she has stormed ahead and she loves all her activities.

TwoStepsBeyond Sun 01-Sep-13 17:51:14

Perhaps you could encourage him to take part in more after-school clubs and activities with mixed age ranges? That way he can socialise with children who are more on his level so that the friends he has at school are not the only or most important ones.

WRT to music, I think with some wind instruments, you need to have your adult teeth to be able to play them properly so this may be why there are age restrictions on some lessons.

FWIW, my DCs are 2 school years apart and each have friends in different year groups, they get on well with each others' friends and don't appear to notice whether someone is a year older or 'more advanced' than them. DD is 6 and very grown up, but she enjoys nurturing younger ones and feels more on a par with older children, but her closest friends are the ones she spends all day with, regardless of whether they share the same interests.

Try not to make your DS too self-conscious about being 'different' from his peers though, as his true friends will accept him as he is and perhaps learn from him too.

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