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I think I've failed to help my 9yo grow up, please help.

(107 Posts)
freshstart24 Fri 03-Feb-17 23:50:53

I have an almost 10yo DS. He is a lovely sunny happy boy, but isn't very mature for his age. Until now I've felt that this is ok because I thought there is really no rush to grow up, and I guess I'm guilty of unknowingly encouraging him to stay immature.

For example, he isn't bothered about how he looks, his hair cut or what he wears; he loves teddies and cuddles and chats to them; he shows no interest in becoming more independent and has to be nagged to clean up after himself and remember things; he is very cuddly; he talks in a baby voice quite often; he is very sensitive.

I recently helped on a school trip and was struck by the difference in his peers. I felt like a bad parent as he was possibly the only boy without deodorant or hair gel. His room mates realised his attachment to his teddy and used this to upset him- causing him to be in tears which made things very tricky for me as he really wanted me to comfort him- but I felt this would open him up to further torment.

I feel like I have failed to help him grow up as he should. I've looked at my parenting through fresh eyes and wonder if subconsciously I don't want him to grow up too fast, so have ended up making him immature and ill equipped to deal with his peers. Everyone is different but my feelings on fashionable hairstyles and trendy clothes on kids is that they look a bit strange and overdone- but I think I've been wrong about this now.

Part of me feels I should embrace him as he is, and not make him feel rubbish for his immaturity. Another part of me feels I should help him mature.

I don't really know where to start in helping him grow up and be less childish.

Please, any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated.

Godotsarrived Fri 03-Feb-17 23:55:35

But he is a child. He's only 9 years old. Allow him to mature in his own sweet time. Maybe buy him some deodorant to use and perhaps ask him if he wants his hair cut but other than that, let him be a child for a while longer.

I felt that same about my daughter, she was always ' younger' but I am sitting here waiting for her to come home from London on the last train out of Euston. They all grow up in then end.

MegBusset Fri 03-Feb-17 23:56:06

Your DS sounds lovely and totally normal, mine (same age) is the same, and most of his classmates. Only a minority are using hair wax and deodorant!

The teasing is unacceptable whatever the reason, I would have told the teachers in charge and expected them to deal with it very firmly.

oliviapl Sat 04-Feb-17 00:00:04

He sounds like he's getting there in his own time OP but if you are really concerned (and the biggest thing that stuck out to me was him not cleaning up after himself) can you start teaching little things that he should be doing? Like chores of cleaning, even if its just dusting or brushing the floor? At 11 I was home and cooking dinner for me and my younger brother (9), its crazy to see how different kids can be at different ages.

JoyceDivision Sat 04-Feb-17 00:02:33

Ii thnk you've just described DS !!!

DS is younger, if you like, to his peers, or someof them, but I don't care, he is thoughtful, caring, loving, happy, what more could you want?

Enjoy this age and phase, enjoy it so much xx

TabithaBethia Sat 04-Feb-17 00:03:09

He sounds adorable. I don't know that we parent to make our children grow in a particular way do we? They are who they are it seems to me.

He's only 9.

I have the same thoughts about my dc2 who uses a baby voice at times and still enjoys her babyish toys, while some of her peers have had pierced ears since birth more or less and now have mini 'bras'.

Just enjoy him as he is and let him grow at his own rate.

LovingLola Sat 04-Feb-17 00:03:19

Do you encourage him to clean up after himself? And allow him ways to become independent? Does he go anywhere by himself for example?

BikeRunSki Sat 04-Feb-17 00:04:22

I think he sounds lovely. Very similar to my 8.5 year old son. There's nothing wrong with not caring about fashionable haircuts and clothes at any age. As long as he is clean and tidy, then why does he need hair gel. Does he actually need deodorant yet?

I'm beginning to teach my 8 yo DS a bit of independence - he walks to school "by himself" (200 m with a main road pedestrian crossing) with DD and I following behind him; he showers and get dressed by himself; can get a snack and drink. Cubs helps too I find. And he still has lots of soft toys!

freshstart24 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:10:01

Thank you for your replies.

Thoughtful, caring, loving and happy is just how I would describe him Joyce and until now I thought that this was perfectly fine. However, I now feel like he is ill equipped to cope with the real world. The world where you need to have an element of toughness and grit to get through- if that makes sense?

It maybe doesn't help that as an only child he doesn't get 'picked on' at home in a safe environment by any siblings (I could do without any wise words on the dangers of only children, as I was unable to have more children).

freshstart24 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:15:25

Yes I do encourage him to do things by himself- but it is a struggle. So after his bath he would like me to dry him and help him put PJ on. I make him do it himself but he definitely would prefer not to.

He doesn't go anywhere by himself. I thought he was too young to do this, but in realising that maybe I misjudged this.

He is really well behaved and sensible so maybe I should be allowing him to do things alone- even if I struggle to feel he is old enough?

7SunshineSeven7 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:19:07

I think at 9 (and almost 10) he should be able to wash and dry himself on his own as well as put his own PJs on. He should also be able to brush his own teeth, get ready and dressed for school etc. I think at that age simply chores should include:

-sorting laundry
-keeping his own room tidy
-feeding any pets

Do you have a dog that you could let him take for a walk on his own around the block? It does seem you are babying him a little with the drying and that.

freshstart24 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:22:08

7sunshine I should clarify that I don't dry him or dress him. I make sure he does it himself. What I was trying to say is that he would like me to do it for him.....

Sorry that I didn't explain properly and thanks for the advice regarding chores.

7SunshineSeven7 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:24:39

Oh the way you worded it made it sound like you still did it at times, sorry.

I know, I always say kids could have chores but I think being one of 6 kids and a single working mum we each had a lot more responsibility and I have learned kids are capable but not often given that responsibility - we were but out of necessity IYSWIM hence me cooking mine and my little brother's dinners.

clary Sat 04-Feb-17 00:27:36

He sounds lovely op. If he d in year 5 tho is there any way he could start walking to or from school without you? Maybe with a pal? My three all did by this age.

Or maybe small errands to a nearby shop if there is one - just to encourage independence. More useful than hair gel grin

LovingLola Sat 04-Feb-17 00:27:50

An almost 10 year old boy who would still like his mother to dry him and dress him does need encouraging to start to become independent.
Are there places he can safely go to alone? Do you live in a locality where it would be ok for him to walk or cycle to a shop maybe? My ds was about 9 when he first went to the shop for me to buy milk - it was the longest 15 minutes of my life (at that stage lol) but it was good for both of us!

LovingLola Sat 04-Feb-17 00:28:57

Or would he be ok at home on his own if you left him for a 15 minute walk?

Astro55 Sat 04-Feb-17 00:31:32

What do you do for him OP?

I would definitely stop the baby voice - don't you find that annoying?

WyfOfBathe Sat 04-Feb-17 00:37:59

I'm 29 and I still have a teddy - although it's not in my bed anymore, it was until I was in my 2nd or 3rd year of uni. At least in 1st year, I know that a few of my friends had teddies as well.

To address him wanting you to dry/dress him, do you make sure he gets plenty of physical affection at other times? It could just be that he's a very "touchy feely" person. I certainly appreciate touching (hugs, holding hands) more than a lot of other people do.

I probably would introduce deodorant at about age 10 - along with things like daily showering if he doesn't already - obviously depending on his physical development.

ShoutOutToMyEx Sat 04-Feb-17 00:41:04

I think he sounds lovely. Agree with a PP, they all grow up in the end.

Some kids just like to be held a little tighter. I was independent from birth according to my mum, wanted to do everything myself, hated being looked after in any way. My brother however was pretty much exactly as your DS sounds! I remember him still wanting kisses and cuddles goodbye outside school at 10yo and crying when my mum told him he'd have to walk about 2 min down the road by himself. Two completely different kids, raised in the exact same way, just different personalities. You haven't failed him at all.

By all means support him in little steps to indie

thisgirlrides Sat 04-Feb-17 00:41:59

I would really discourage ignore him when he talks in the baby voice if for no other reason than it's bloody annoying otherwise just gradually try and introduce a bit of independence - posting a letter up the road, asking the neighbour to borrow something then build up to going to the shops (or sending him in to buy something whilst you wait outside)walking home from school etc. Deodorant is pointless & purely for show for 99% of 9 year old boys and if he doesn't like hair gel then I really wouldn't worry.

ShoutOutToMyEx Sat 04-Feb-17 00:42:46

Posted too soon!

To independence. But don't worry too much. There will come a day when you realise you can't remember when he last wanted a cuddle!

And I still have my teddies and I talk to them and I'm 25

holidaysaregreat Sat 04-Feb-17 00:47:41

Do you have OH or are you single parent? My OH has always been keen to get DS to be independent for the reasons you stated. Kids can be mean. It's a good thing to work on it before big school so he doesn't get picked on. Lots of boys in DS7 class are using gel and spray, have decent trainers etc and they are in Y2. Ridiculous as it is. Try to get him a bit more with it for his sake. So decent hair cut to start.
It is sad that kids are like this nowadays.

FriendofBill Sat 04-Feb-17 00:48:53

I think he is the right age to start getting some independence, and IME when most parents start to let them go a bit.
Perfect timing.
I wouldn't introduce deodorant unless he needs it.

He is going to be an adult for a long time.
As PP have said, let him develop in his own sweet way.

Had a similar conversation yesterday about my (immature for 8) DS.
He is also sweet, loving, playful, tactile.
These sound like qualities rather than defects!

Comparison is the theif of joy.
Enjoy your precious son.

glitterazi Sat 04-Feb-17 00:49:14

Not read all the replies, but OMG. He's 9!! I have a 9 year old. I also have a nearly 14 year old.
Neither of them do the deodorant thing or ever have done. even though teenager should be at least open to the idea by now
My 9 year old still has teddies at the end of his bed. So does the nearly 14 year old who would most likely die of embarrassment if this fact was ever mentioned to his mates. grin]
Yes I do encourage him to do things by himself- but it is a struggle. So after his bath he would like me to dry him and help him put PJ on. I make him do it himself but he definitely would prefer not to.
It's nice that he still wants you to help him. However at 9 he can put his own pyjamas on and dry himself. I get banished from the room whenever mine changes...

He doesn't go anywhere by himself. I thought he was too young to do this, but in realising that maybe I misjudged this.
Mine doesn't either, but I've recently started letting him go to the corner shop at the end of the street by himself. As I figure he'll have to get used to be going out by himself when he gets to high school.
Obviously it depends on area but do you have a very near corner shop he could go to buy himself a few sweets or a packet of crisps from?
Slow steps to independence. They still seem so tiny at that age, I sympathise.

DistanceCall Sat 04-Feb-17 00:49:40

They all get there in the end

No they don't. My dysfunctional aunt and uncle never encouraged their son to do anything - in fact, they actively discouraged him: I remember thinking that he must have been the only toddler in the world who never ran, fell, got bumped, or got scabs on his knees. Whenver someone pointed out that perhaps they should encourage him to do X task, they would always say "oh well, he will have got round to it by the time he's 18".

He turned 25 and was still unable to tie his own shoelaces. His therapist (because he eventually needed one, badly) had to teach him how.

You have probably been enjoying having your baby boy for too long. The baby voice needs to go. And you need to start getting him to do things by himself and be less coddled. Is his father or a male figure anywhere in the picture?

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