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6 year old son too clever by half(14 Posts)
Any advice is really welcome here.
I honestly am stuck with how to be a good mum to my 6 year old son. He's a lovely boy - so sweet and affectionate and so gentle with his younger brother (who is just sunny and polite and easy going and lovely). He has friends in school and we always get glowing reports at parents evening.
When he was four and a half, he'd been at school for 2 weeks and he came home and said "mummy, I can read now." He bloody well could. Everything. Fluently and expressively and with understanding. So, he devoured all the kids books we fed him. He's now six and he has read all of the Harry Potter books, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables, the Secret Garden, and is now reading Tom Sawyer with gusto. He doesn't just 'read' them - he really has a very advanced understanding of character, plot and so on. He's decided he doesn't want to read with me in the evenings any more, because I read too slowly and he wants to know what's happening next, and he wants a kindle for Christmas and has a list of books he wants to have on it.
So, the problem I have is that he can read like a 12 year old - but he wants the responsibilities of a 12 year old too. He has specifically set out the chores that he wants to do, and how much he would like to be paid for them (all very reasonable and within our means). He wants to decide when he goes to bed - and when we let him do this, he goes at a reasonable time, on his own, nicely. He wanted to take responsibility for his own homework and not have us review it - and he's been doing much, much better since (we've secretly reviewed it after he's gone to bed!) He wants to be able to 'earn' going on the computer when he wants to - and is willing to do whatever we want him to to earn this.
I'm typing this and I think this is a me problem, isn't it? He's so lovely, and so sweet - and so young sometimes - he wants cuddles and kisses and just to chat with me and show me some leaf or twig he's collected. I don't know what to do - to give him the responsibilities that he wants, or to treat him like a 6 year old. I want him to be 6, really, I don't want him to be so grown up so soon. He is a 6 year old after all. I'm so proud of him for being so independent and smart - but I don't know what to do - I don't want to make him feel that he's old before his time or give him too much to do or cost him his childhood by making him do chores for cash! I don't want to lose my snuggles and reading and closeness with him. I was prepared for this when he was 12, but this feels so soon! I want to do right by him so badly - just for him to be ok - to be happy - but I'm sort of lost as to how to let him be himself whilst still taking care of him the way 6 year olds need to be taken care of.
You need to remind him that you're the parent, and he's the child, regardless of how bright he is. Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter books (partic. 4-7) are not suitable for a 6yo to be reading! Especially not is he fully comprehends them.
Try the Hiccup series (12 books), Narnia books (7 books) etc.
Still read to him, as he will not pick-up on the correct pronunciations of words ('forecastle', 'boatswain', 'victuals' etc., for example).
Chores do not need to be paid for; anyone living in a house has responsibilities to the home, and to the others living there, therefore all should be doing age/ability-appropriate chores. He is old enough to have pocket money completely separately from chores, and it will teach him how to save (if you give a set amount for a month, and when it's gone, it's gone).
Re homework- it's great that he wants to take responsibility for this, best thing he can do really, however, it's prudent to review it before it's handed in. Sounds like that's what you're doing anyway.
Interesting - not sure why you think the books aren't suitable. I'd say that if a child can read a book for fun, it's suitable. He reads with a dictionary in his other hand, and is very good at working out from context what words mean.
The proper definition of a book worm is somebody who knows what a word means but not how to pronounce it - not too worried about that.
Criddy - just because he understands and can read words - does not mean books are suitable. Would you let him play 12, 15 or 18 year old games or watch older films ?
I'd also agree that the books aren't suitable for a 6 year old - have you read them yourself? The later ones are very dark and menacing.
My eldest likes a lot of responsibility too, I think it's usually a feature of eldest children, but totally agree you can give them too much too young. She acts much more mature than her age most of the time, then something happens and we're reminded that she is just a small child.
So in your case I'd say encourage a certain amount of independence but don't allow him to dictate rules to you, even if at the moment they are reasonable ones. Children need boundaries to be in place to feel secure and loved, even if it's a slightly artificial boundary for the sake of it IYSWIM.
Also he wants, he wants, he wants feature a lot in your post - you are the parent !!!!!! Sometimes my children WANT to eat sweets all day BUT I have to say no. Sometimes my children WANT to do their own homework BUT they have to show me what they have done - They understand this is because I care about them and their school work !
It's not the words that are inappropriate but the content.
Move onto factual books if he has a thirst to read. Books about wildlife, different countries, natural sources of power, etc. This might lead to an interest in growing vegetables, or whatever. He needs to be stretched in other directions.
Do you ever say no to him?
You are his mother and he is 6.. you don't need to bow at his feet and let him make his own decisions on a whole load of shizzle because he's bright. They still needs boundaries as has been said.
Would you let him play age inappropriate video games or watch a film?
He's running rings around you because you let him . Learn to say no and involve him in age appropriate social groups and clubs. Agree with encouraging non fiction and suitable chapter books . Magic Treehouse series might keep him busy for a while and inspire imagination . You are the adult and have to rein in his "wants".
My 5yo has GDD and can barely read his own name but he will try and wangle computer time in exchange for various, piously carried out, tasks. All of my dcs have tried the 'Oh, mother, you do so much for us, let us clean the floor and incidentally, can we have money for sweeties/some pointless app/crappy comic.'
You are perfectly within your rights to tell him to do one.
My eldest is bright, but he wasn't allowed to read the later HPs until he was about 10 even though he could read all the words at 6. I could read all the words to Jackie Collins 'Chances' at 12. It doesn't mean I should have read it.
Richmal Crompton is good for precocious readers.
I agree about Richmal Crompton; any 'old' books will be good on vocabulary and language, but mild on content.
Swallows and Amazons series, Stig of the Dump, Just William, Famous Five etc.
I could have read Stephen King, Clive Barker, or Brett Easton Ellis at 6- should I have?
I did read them at 13, along with Mailer and Heinlein... it was still too young.
I agree with everything Moonrocket has said. Not only should a child of 6 not be reading some of the Harry Potter books but I would say he should not be reading Anne of Green Gables either - because it robs him of the experience of reading it as an older child and truly understanding what is being said and how well it is being said and the great humour with which it is being said.
I could have read all of the books mentioned here at age 6 - I am so glad I read them when I truly understood the humour/writing etc. not just ticking off "read Anne of Green Gables" "I'm bright I read Dickens"
Give him more non-fiction, age appropriate adventure stories and histories, and poetry to read. The old ones are great. Rifles for Watie or the Rosemary Sutcliffe novels are great for boys.
And even though he is bright he is still just 6 - he would love to run the house on his rules. even if those rules coincide with yours, you are doing him a deep disservice by letting him think he is in control. Being in control is stressful. You only get to be age 6 or a child once - there is enough control and responsibility in his future. Be a parent, let him be a child.
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