17 answers

7 Year Old Seems "Immature"

Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this issue...

I have an almost 7 year old son (bday in november) and he seems very "immature" for his age. Now, I realize that 7 isn't very old, but friends and his teacher have also noticed this. He has a brother who will be 3 in october, and they play very well together. He seems a bit "behind" his classmates and neighborhood friends. My son is very smart, loving, kind and helpful...this isn't really a BIG issue for us, but it is something that we have noticed. I will admit that we have sheltered him a bit...my husband and I worked different shifts so he didn't have to go to daycare very much, and now when we are both at work my mother keeps him. He gets along well with others, but is definitely the "follower" of the group. When he does initiate play it seems to be inappropriate for his age (like playing doggies or house). His kindergarten teacher thought that this pointed to a learning disability, but tests have proven otherwise.

Has anyone else faced this situation? Again, I may just be over-reacting. After all, he's only 6 right now! Maybe it's because he doesn't have an older sibling to pattern after? His favorite things to do are work on computers with his dad (and I don't mean play...he like to help repair them, and do electric work!) and do art projects. He is the sweetest boy I know, and will help me with any work around the house, yard, or help with his brother. I'm not complaining, but I also don't want to be holding him back from developing his own interests!

Any thoughts??? Thanks!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for advice, empathy, and just being a sounding board! Our son is definitely not without interaction with kids his age...we have a neighborhood full, and he is smack dab in the middle of the age curve. The kids all play together well, and honestly I'm happy that he does NOT do some of the things the other boys do...I've actually heard him tell them that an activity is "not very smart", and then sit it out and watch ;-). He has been in soccer and tae-kwon-do (he is a yellow belt)---we are taking a break now because his school issues required us to start some tutoring after class, and he has an eye problem that had to be addressed. Right now he does tutoring 3 times per week, and eye therapy (convergence insufficiency) twice weekly. Add in church/sunday school, reading club and family activities, and he's a pretty busy little guy. But right now it's Friday afternoon and he's across the street jumping on a trampoline with 4 other kiddos from the block...

That said, I called the first grade teacher today to set up a meeting with her for before school starts. I want to get her "take" on his situation, and see what she advises. Our school is fairly small, so she had plenty of interaction with him last year (when his was in kindergarten). I think we are going to take a break from eye therapy for a while, and maybe let him choose another "fun" activity for the rest of the summer. He loves the water, is learning to swim, and is very interested in taking swim lessons or joining the junior swim team. He has also talked about going back to tae-kwon-do. Maybe he does just need to be around kids his age a bit more, and develop some new interests that can be "just his."

Overall, I think I'm over-reacting. I have heard that boys mature a bit slower than girls sometimes, so maybe he's being held to an unfair standard. And yes, I am happy that he is "immature" in some ways because I think kids are growing up WAY too soon these days!!!

I appreciate all the feedback from you mommas!!! Thanks!!!

Featured Answers

Kids develope at their own rates, I think you are making more out of this than you need to. My 8 year old ( she will be 9 in October) is a little behind her peers in "interests" but she is sweet and helpful does well in school etc...let kids be kids...there seems to be such a rush for them to grow up...and they grow up too fast as it is...ENJOY this! = )

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, I was told this about my son, too. Actually, it's not uncommon for boys, and it's nothing to stress about. He'll catch up in HIS time and be just fine.
Honestly .......know-it-alls can find such odd things to pick at and make us worry, can't they ?

1 mom found this helpful

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Hi M.!

Don't worry about your son being immature; there are plenty of boys like him, including mine. I think that would be nice to help him to pursue his interests, and encourage him to be just the best he can be. Time ago, I was, too, concerned about my oldest because he was so immature for his age, and then I let him be, and I learned so much more about him. He is also very smart and mature for other things, so probably is just personality and/or they need more time to be kids..It is nothing wrong to let them be little kids unless they hurt others; but I don't think is a matter of too much concern. Just encourage him in those things he loves or likes a lot, and be there to help him on those things that he needs to think as a little bit older kid! You are doing very well in my opinion!

2 moms found this helpful

Kids develope at their own rates, I think you are making more out of this than you need to. My 8 year old ( she will be 9 in October) is a little behind her peers in "interests" but she is sweet and helpful does well in school etc...let kids be kids...there seems to be such a rush for them to grow up...and they grow up too fast as it is...ENJOY this! = )

2 moms found this helpful

sorry i'm responding late and I read your update and just wanted to tell you that don't let the school tell you what is supposed to be happening or is "normal". I don't believe in "normal" because if there was such a thing we all would be the same. That said I believe the schools get a little to judgmental on our children after all that is why they are starting to rush kids through the basics and now are starting algebra in the third grade! so let kids be kids and enjoy them while you can before they turn into teens.

2 moms found this helpful

He sounds to me like he is just sweet and mild mannered in nature. If he helps your husband work on computers he is clearly a smart kid and may just enjoy being more in the background rather than the center of attention.

2 moms found this helpful

He sounds absolutely adorable! My own daughter is just like your son. Now my daughter is growing up in a daycare. But understand that I am able to direct what happens around here. I can nip certain conversations or habits in the bud. I am able to encourage any behavior, pretend play, or television that I want. My daughter is suddenly developing more interest in older things, shows I don't like etc. But she's almost 9 and still leaps and bounds behind other children her age. I'm GLAD!

Don't worry about holding him back. Shelter him as much as you like. You are not hurting this boy one little bit.


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I have a 7 1/2 year old that is immature, he has a different immaturity than your son. His is more of an emotional immaturity, it's getting better.

He's ahead of his peers as far as learning.

Your son sounds like a great kid. Don't worry about sheltering him, frankly I think kids are exposed to things that aren't developmentally appropriate for their age.

I would tap into his interests. Community Colleges have workshops for kids for all kinds of activities. They had one by our house where the kids learned about airplanes and how to make different paper planes. My son isn't a big sports person but he loves to build things.

Also Lowe's has workshops for kids.

2 moms found this helpful

each of us develop at our own rate and have our own interests and things that really get us excited about life. I think your son sounds like a wonderful young man. My first thought was that the reason he doesn't initiate play with others is that he was lucky enough to be at home with his parents the first few years of his life...and maybe didn't learn how to interact with children his own age at an early age. Dont worry..it sounds to me like you have a great boy there...just enjoy him and let him grow and learn and explore at his own pace!!
R. Ann

2 moms found this helpful

Please don't let the general culture's definition of "mature" be a judgment on your son. Kids grow up way to fast now a days- and this seems to be the "maturity" you are referring to. If he is on track with his education and is sweet and caring (and can work on computers no less!!) then he is perfectly fine. The time for knowing things about the world and playing more big boy games, etc will come soon enough.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I was told this about my son, too. Actually, it's not uncommon for boys, and it's nothing to stress about. He'll catch up in HIS time and be just fine.
Honestly .......know-it-alls can find such odd things to pick at and make us worry, can't they ?

1 mom found this helpful

I think he is fine. I am not a doctor though so if you are worried take him in. My daughter will be 7 in August. Last year in kindergarten there were a whole group of children who play pretend like they were animals. I think it is great that you have sheltered him a little my children never went to day care either and I monitor watch they watch on TV and yes I do shelter them. I think they are fortunate to be sheltered. There are to many children out there forced to grow up too fast. If you are worried that he is a follower maybe give him some tasks to complete on his own at home, ones that he can succeed that and then praise him for a great job. This will help to build his confidence.

Good Luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Boys mature slower than girls and of course as you know, all children develop at their own rates--even siblings. I have four boys and they are all so different!
Sometimes, it is their own personality too. My eldest has always had an "immature" side to him. He can act mature though when he decides to do so. He will play with his youngest brother (age five)and then he can switch into "adult mode."
Also, look into ADHD. Immaturity is one sign. Medications are great. I KNOW from experience!
Have fun riding the parenting rollercoaster. Your young son sounds like a real delight!

1 mom found this helpful

M., i know exactly what your going through. my 6 yr old has been tested also andall they can tell me is that he is 2 yrs behind his age. he has a speech problem and has just recently started to learn how to write his name. he doesnt recognize some of the letters in the alphabet and didnt start talking good (using full sentences)until last yr or the yr before. it is hard because we just dont understand why or even what to do. i have a 4 yr old nephew and my son is at his level. you get the 2 of them together and you have double trouble. my son is bing worked with at school one on one and is slowly getting better at things. the school that he goes to doesnt believe in holding back students unless its absolutely neccesary. we live in a small town so its easy for the one on one thing to happen. he also has a low attention span, he cant sit still doing one thing for very llong because he gets bored i guess. i guess my advise to you is just keep working with him one on one. keep things simple when you are explaining stuff to him. thats if he has a hard time understanding. like if you are asking him to pick up a toy dont say pick up the truck, you instead would say pick up the red truck. i hope this helps and if you ever need anyone to talk to feel free to contact me. god bless, R. pardee

Mine is not so much an answer, I also have a 5 and a 1/2 year old. I just found out from his school teacher that he has been having issues at school, and she said she felt he was not learning, (this is a private school) he gets distracted easily, tends to talk alot within his group, likes to daydream and talks alot to himself.
I wonder if it's a learning issue or a behaviour issue with him. or both. The Immature subject came up, and we were told that he acts too immature for his age, and he may have to repeat kinder. as a parent is hard to deal with all this issues, and you try to avoid at all costs to have your child labeled, I have a 9 yr old who has cerebral palsy, and to hear that my 5 yr. old has isues has been a blow to me. I pray and hope you son is doing better.

Please get your son into some type of group activity! Sports teams thru school, Scouts, religion class, 4H... any organized group with other children his age. He needs interaction with kids his age. You will be amazed at the difference!

This doesn't mean that you have to run around like a crazy family....just let him choose something that sounds fun. & if he seems disinterested, then choose for him...but get him out of the house, away from little brother, away from you & Dad! Time to cut the cord, Mom.

You have a 2 yr old. Is there higher stress, or less structure than normal in the house?

My thoughts (I have an almost 7 & almost 3). My son is also VERY intelligent & "spazzes" from time to time. He tries, especially now that his sister is hitting the cute phase, to act like he's 2. He sees her getting attention & tries it out himself. Problem is, its not that long ago that that phase was his.
When the daily routine is interruppted for a longer period of time (Summer for one), then he seems to "digress" more. With his intelligence, comes a strong need for routine & when he lacks the routine, he becomes spazzy, babyish and sometimes downright annoying (because he no longer acts his age).
Try establishing a daily routine (that includes 1 on 1 age appropriate time ex. Reading before Bed). Stick to your Routine a few weeks & see if he starts getting back to his age. Before bed 1 on 1 seems to work best, because as life gets hectic, it gives a daily time to feed their need for attention & calm down before bed. Make sure to Praise him for things he's good at and remind him, if needed of his age.

Hope this helps...

Unless he's disruptive with his behavior, give life a chance to calm down, before seeking too much treatment. Unless you want a kid on drugs, or in therapy for being a kid.

My suggestion is to enroll him in a sport, swimming, Tae Kwan Do, softball, basketball, etc. He needs to be playing with kids his own age. He plays with his little sibling which requires him to play like a baby. He needs to do activities with kids his own age, and not just at school.
My oldest dau. wasn't exposed to day care, she went to a private sitter where my dau. was the only child. As a result, she was withdrawn, and really didn't know how to interact with others. I continued at the private sitter, but enrolled her in a church preschool 3 days a wk. I was soon seeing improvements.
As a classroom teacher I see this often. I'm glad that you had him tested to rule out learning issues. Recess is so short at school that children aren't given enuf time to really let loose.
Are there kids his age in your neighborhood? Look into play groups, check your local library, get him out with kids his age.
You are burning the candle at both ends, school and work. I did this too, and unfort. your family usually suffers. What does your spouse do with him when they are together? Or does your spouse spend all of his time with the baby? You need to look at several issues here, but they are fixable with a little patience.
Good luck!

Your feelings do matter. You know in your gut things are not right. If your son is not upset try a few play dates with both boys and girls from school.
As for the LD issues I was told at 5 my son was fine. At 9 we had major problems with reading. Socially he has always been behind. I do not know your son and it maybe nothing. I just do not want you to be blindsided like we were.

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