Another View On Redshirting

I'm a grade-skipper: I skipped a grade and graduated high school at 16, college at 20 and graduate school at 26. Grade skipping worked out great for me. But then again, I'm a female.


It seems that the trend with boys is to hold them back. I'm not going to lie, even though I very much enjoyed being the youngest in my class and believe it was to my advantage, I find myself wondering if I should hold my sons back. I have a first-grader who we didn't hold back, but what about my youngest ones? Will they be at a disadvantage if they're not the oldest in their class?

This Op-Ed in the New York Times gives an interesting perspective: It is the youngest kids in the class who gain the most from school because they learn from their oldest peers.

Some children, especially boys, are slow to mature emotionally, a process that may be aided by the presence of older children. Kindergartners show age-related differences in social acceptance and self-perceptions, but these differences usually even out by first grade. The benefits of interacting with older children may extend to empathetic abilities. Empathy requires the ability to reason about the beliefs of others. This capacity relies on brain maturation, but it is also influenced by interactions with other children. Having an older (but not younger) sibling speeds the onset of this capacity in 3- to 5-year-olds.

This was exactly the reason my parents allowed me to skip a grade -- they didn't want me to be bored. They wanted me to be challenged. I had forgotten that point of view because it seems like everyone is redshirting nowadays.

I still feel that each family has to make each the right decision for each individual child, but I have to admit, this article spoke to me. Why am I thinking about holding him back? Is it peer pressure? And if I did, would it even benefit him? Maybe not.

How about you? How do you feel about redshirting boys?

OTHER VIEWS: NYT, Strollerderby