Children Being Retained in First Grade

Updated on July 17, 2011
T.D. asks from Forney, TX
21 answers

My child is having to repeat first grade. I have struggled with this all summer. He is not ready for 2nd grade, but I worry about him being retained because of his age and his size. I don't want it to cause him problems now or in the future. I was wondering if any of your children have had to repeat a grade in school and if you could share your experiences with it. I guess I will take the good and bad. In my heart I really think repeating is what is best for him, it is just a hard decision to make.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Tampa on

From preschool, I could tell there was some issues with my son's learning. I know all kids are different and learn at different paces. And once he was 5 and in kindergarten, I saw it more. I worked hard with him and the school, meetings and testings. I knew he was behind muturity wise also. It broke my heart completely when I was told right before the last days of school he was going to be retained in kindergarten. I cried for a week, I was depressed. I felt I let him down in some way, but it turned out to be the best thing for him. It was a WORLD of difference. We were all extremely happy with his improvement and was reassured over and over again, that was the best decision made for him.
I know if I had PUSHED him ahead to 1st grade, it would have been a very hard struggle - for both of us. I know he will need more help as he goes on, but atleast we started young enough and know what we should do, and let him catch up. I wanted to get a better grasp on his learning before he himself realized the struggle and got depressed from it and then had emotional issues on top of it. He was happy and it didn't bother him to be retained. He's a great little boy - goes with the flow...
I know a child that should have been retained like my son, but wasn't... and struggled just as hard in 1st grade. Although he may be passed to 2nd, at SOME point, I guarantee you, he will repeat a grade.
If you know he's not ready for 2nd grade, if all the signs are there - spoken to the teachers, school couselors and all agree.. it will be okay....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am a second grade teacher and I had two children in my class last year that had been held back a year in kindergarten. It took me a long time to get their self esteem back up. The children really never get over being told that they are not good enough to move on. Even though you don't use those words, that is what they understand. They sometimes never catch up. I stayed after school with a few of my students and helped in small groups to make sure everyone was up to speed. You will need a very understanding and helping teacher, but I think you should try to let him continue. Starting kindergarten a year later is one thing, but once they start with their peers, then they should try to continue with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I understand what you are going through. My oldest grandson was held back due to absenses. he was late more than he was on time, we didn't know he was late every day until he was removed from the home by the state for other reasons. By then it was too late. he has mentally suffered every school year. he is 12 now and hates being a full 6 - 8 inches taller than his classmates and having different interests. He is just more mature than the other kids and it is frustrating to him to be around "Babies" all day. He picks up on the work much sooner since he finally caught up to his age level and he really needs to be moved up now and it is impossible. He was very behind due to not being there when certain subjects were being taught and he was lost most of the time due to nearly being blind and needing glasses.

I look back and wish we had had any idea so we could have saved him from this torment. I say if it is possible get a tutor and get your child whatever help he needs so he can stay with his age group.

There is no doubt in my mind that when S is a junior and is18 yrs. old he will drop out of school. Kids are supposed to be 17 and 18 as seniors in high school, not 18 turning 19.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Mom, I teach young children and I was curious, is this a decision you have come to on the recommendation of his teachers or a Mom and Dad decision? Is he immature, or not able to handle the school work? Is he young for his grade, when is his b-day? If he is young for his grade being a little behind maturity wise often happens with boys at this age. Please tell me you have had him in tutored this summer in hopes that b4 school starts, there is a chance he can catch up? If not, and there is time I would start today and decide right b4 school starts abut retaining or not, get the tutors opinion too Mom. I would hate to see this decision be detrimental to him. If the decision is made to keep him bk, I'd call his school and talk to a guidance counselor or the principal to see what he/she recommends you say and do to help him feel better about this.
Good luck to him in whatever you do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I can relate. My daughter is also going to repeat first grade and even though she is considered to have a late birthday I had a tough time signing the retention letter. In my heart she is not mature enough or academically prepared to start 2nd grade. I as a child repeated the 5th grade and I remember feeling embarassed yet I think it was the best choice. I have now an advanced degree and it doesn't really matter now. I feel better that my daughter is younger and not having feelings of embarassment. My daughter tried her best so repeating is not a punishment. I told her to just keep working hard a nd that she will make new friends. The main thing is that she continues to make progress and her school will monitor every 6 weeks. Basically I wasling told its better for her to be at top of the class than struggling at the bottom. Good luck and as for size kids come in all sizes some Kindergarteners are tall so he may not be the biggest in his class.



answers from Dallas on

I got held back in first grade and I'm not sure I ever got over it. I was actually put in first grade too young the first time though - that was the problem, so it did make sense to put me in with the right age group, however the damage had already been done. I am now having to hold my own child back and have her repeat PreK because the teachers say she isn't ready for Kindergarten and its killing me, but I don't want to put her in a situation she's not socially ready for yet. That was my problem - I was put in a grade I wasn't socially ready for yet, so they repeated me. Unfortunately by that time I had lost all self confidence. It is kind of sad looking back on it. I honestly didn't regain my confidence until college. I hope holding my daughter back at PreK helps - I don't want her to go through what I did.


answers from Tyler on

You have received some very thoughtful responses already, but here in our experience. We wanted to retain my youngest dgtr in 1st grade, she was so far behind in reading and spelling and frankly her 1st grade teacher was a giant flake. We held a meeting with the school principal, a reading recovery specialist and the teacher and were informed that in TX, no diagnostic tests and education intervention will occur until the student is in 2nd grade. It was the Reading Recovery specialist who literally pulled us aside after the meeting and begged us to reconsider and allow our dgtr to promote to 2nd grade for the testing and intervention. We chose to promote and sure enough, she tested for dyslexia. Since then, she completed the entire dyslexia program and reading and writing on grade level (entering 6th grade).

My situation is different than yours, boys do mature slower and there are some very good points about it being a positive for boys to have a little extra size on them as they grow through school. Whatever you decide, your son will react to the classroom however you prepare him, so prepare him with confidence and excitement and he will (or should) reciprocate those emotions.

Good Luck!



answers from Dallas on

The problem I had was when my son was 17 yr old in Louisiana he was considered an adult and he walked to go live with is dad and never finished High School. His life has been hell ever since. They held me back in 3rd grade and mom had me read and got a work book every day I had to work on it and when I got back to school in about a week they put me back up. As a day care provider I see a whole lot of problems. I have a child just turned three who could start school now but because of b-days she has to wait another year. Then I have a child turning 4 this week who never wants to pay attention and learn. Not sure if he will be ready next year when he is just barely 5. Should be another way to group them into school. I was younger and if put in with younger kids too easy and put in with older kids way to hard. Good Luck and God Bless my advice is to work at home with him as much as you can. I was a poor reader and that made a big difference. By the time I went to College a few years ago I became a speed reader and it took reading every night 15 min that soon became 20-40-1 hr then would read a book in a couple of days. I think the key is finding the books that we enjoy reading. G. W



answers from Detroit on

T., I also struggled with that big decision 2 summers ago. I started paying $60 a n hour for a Dr to tutor and help me with my decision. Well, she gave me lots of info regrading retention and let's just say, we stopped going to her. Long story short after talking to lotssssss of people. The choice was mine. My daughter is now going to 3rd grade and has repeated 1st. I am sooooooo happy with my decision. I beat myself up for atleast 6 months about it. I can tell you that she is doing a lot better, she is 8 going to the 3rd. It's funny there's alot of kids that's has the same bday and they are the same age. Now she did tell a couple of people, my mommy held me back, so we did have to deal with that. That' shard for me to explain to her because I don't want her to be embrassed but gee's don't tell the whole
Also read my post, people had lots of interesting things to say to me as well.
My daughter repeated 1st at a new school (which helped) we moved



answers from Houston on

I don't have a child in school yet. But, I went to school with a boy who was held back in elementary school...he was at the top of his class when he graduated from high school. Because he was so young when he was held back, none of us realyl thought anything of it. Granted, he was taller than most for a few years but everyone catches up--even in a class of same age students there is a wide range of ages and bodies.

You seem to feel yourself like this is the right thing. Accept the choice and make it as positive as possible.



answers from Boston on

how old is your son? the age range for kids is quite large because of cut off dates, people keeping their kids out of kindergarten an extra year because they aren't ready yet, etc. I think its best to keep kids back in either kindergarten or first grade for many reasons one being its easier on the child now then it will be if say this happens in middle school. I really wouldn't worry about it its probably harder on you then it is on your son. My oldest is almost 9 and going into third grade because of his december birthday and our school has a cut off date of 9/1 he is tall anyways but put him next some kids that are just turning 8 now and he looks like a giant but he doesn't care he likes being bigger then everyone else. My sister has a late august bday and made the cut off but they paid big time for this she struggled for years until my mom paid out of pocket for a tutor for the summer to play catch up with her something I never want to have to do.



answers from Dallas on

I have a friend that held back her twins and never has regretted it. She did not hold back her older son and has always wished that she did. - Also for boys, it is a good thing to sometimes be bigger for sports. And sometimes they mature more slowly. -- My son is changing schools this year and it seems like he is so small compared to many of the other boys....and then we figured out that many of the others were held they are really a whole year older....which is huge when puberty starts.



answers from Dallas on

I had my son repeat the first grade (it was up to me to decide) a few years ago (he's in 8th now) and it was the best thing we did for him. At first he missed his friends but he made new ones. He was struggling to keep up and repeating helped him mature. His birthday is at the end of July so instead of being the youngest he is the oldest. I felt bad about holding him back but I'm glad we did. Good luck.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Is there any way you could homeschool him? That way there is no stigma of grade level, and you can teach him at his pace. He will probably surprise you with what he can do with one-on-one tutoring! He may be way advanced in some subjects, but a bit slower in others. No worries! You just teach him where he's at! It's great for the family as everyone is so much closer in relationship to each other (happens when you spend so much time together!). Anyway, I wanted to throw that thought out there.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with both Janey and Gamma. Please think about Janey's questions and maybe that will help you decide. I'm also going on the assumption that your son doesn't have any learning disabilities since you didn't mention that.
My nephew was held back and repeated kindergarten because the teacher felt he was immature and socially behind but not academically behind. His parents (my brother) went along with the teacher without question. Big mistake. He's now 15 (16 in Sept) and they've struggled with him since because he gets so bored. He's more mature than the kids in his class and he catches onto everything more quickly than the rest. The school he's in doesn't have very many AP classes (small town) but he takes all that are available in order to challenge him. They tried switching schools but being a grade behind didn't keep his interest at the other school either.

Keep in mind: Once held back, that's pretty much it. There's no do over. My recommendation would be that if your son is behind academically, then please hire a tutor tomorrow and keep a tutor until he's caught up. If he's behind socially and is a bit immature, well, what 5 or 6 year old isn't when you really think about it? He will mature and catch up to the rest of his class much more quickly than if he's held back with even younger kids. And a tutor, and parents, can help him catch up if he's behind academically.



answers from Wichita Falls on

I taught 2nd grade for several years. In my first class, I discovered that the boy who was at the top of the class had been held back in first grade. His mom, a former teacher herself, told me that he was immature, and that many boys -especially those with summer birthdays - benefit from repeating a grade. I found her words to be true many times. Every child is different, but you said yourself that he is not ready for 2nd grade. In my opinion, it would be better to have him repeat at this young age than when he is older. If he is upset about it, you might consider switching schools, if that is a possibility. He's going to have to make new friends anyway - might as well do it where no other kids know that he's repeating a grade.



answers from Dallas on

Your child will be fine. Just present it to him as getting to be a leader. He can be very helpful to the other children. If you have a positive attitude about it, so will he. Anyone who says they never got over it was because of the way it was presented and handled by their parents. My parents did not hold my brother back and to this day (he's 54) they regret it and he regrets it. School would have been a lot better for him and he would not have struggled as much.



answers from Amarillo on

I haven't read the other posts. If your son is not getting it let him redo the grade again. At this age it doesn't matter who his friends are and his size - he needs to get the basics down. Remember he is building a house of education and if you don't get the foundation correct or the hosue falls.

My daughter was having trouble in second grade so we kept her back. I explained to her in a positive way that she did not do anything bad and she should not feel ashamed but she needed more time to understand what was going on. She got all the missing parts and continued her schooling and graduated high school. She has taken courses off and on and is a dispatcher at a trucking company making over $50,000 a year.

So don't take it personally as to whether you are or are not a good mom. You are trying to be a good mom and do the right thing.

Go with your gut feeling. Good luck and make he make all good marks. The other S.



answers from New York on

Don't worry. My neices, nephews and a family friend where all left back in thier early years. They all have thrived and flourished in their teen years. They are the most mature students in their classes which the teachers appreciate. He will be fine.

I will add, when the decision was made we also made the choice to change schools too. So they each did that grade over at a different school. I don't know if this will be the case with your little one but I know this really made a difference with the children in my life who went through this.



answers from Dallas on

The schools and I held both my boys back when they were in pre-k and 1st grade and I have never regretted it. My boys have always been socially challenged some so this helped them. Now that they are 13 and 15 Brandon is moving on to the 9th grade this year and is still doing awesome but struggling with math. I won't have to hold him back because the schools have awesome IEPS set up for him this year. Dalton hasn't really shown any signs that he is upset about the setback. He seems to get along with his peers and is doing fairly well and is moving along to the 7th grade this year. They both mention to kids that their moms held them back when they mention how big they are cus Brandon is 6ft now and in 8th grade that was an issue. I just told em that don't let the other kids be afraid just tell em that your their friendly giant and can protect them from bullies if needed in high school hehe. He seemed to like that idea and has made a lot of friends. So no worries holding them back is a good thing especially if they are not adademically ready for that next grade.



answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I can't really answer your specific question, but I do want to give you one piece of advice that I learned for myself this year (my son was in 1st grade this year).

This year, before they sent the first report card home, they sent out a notice saying, "If you want a parent/teacher conference, sign up for it." Well, all of the sheet work and homework that had been sent home showed my son was making all A's, so I did not set up a parent/teacher conference. When the report card came home, my son had an F in conduct. I about flipped out. I called the school and immediately scheduled a parent/teacher conference. I told her that I had not scheduled one before the report cards came out because his grades looked fine. I also told her that I expected some notice from her if his conduct was not good WELL BEFORE the report card came out. She and I reached some agreements and ideas to work with him on his conduct and he got A's in conduct for the rest of the year. But, the lesson I learned is that I have to make sure I am talking to the teacher all along the school year to find out how he is doing (more than just grades on paper) so that I can intervene if needed at some point. So, regardless of whether you decide to hold your son back and or move him forward, please realize that you need to be very proactive and interactive wiht your son's teacher throughout the school year. This way, you can gauge how he is doing and you can make sure he is being prepared and can advance next year.

Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions