Helping My 7 Year Old Fit In

Updated on August 11, 2014
C.P. asks from Wolcott, CT
19 answers

Problem I'm having is with helping my 7 yr old son fit it with other boys his age. I feel like I am the only parent trying to keep my 7 yr old son at an age appropriate level. For example...We just got home from a birthday party where the other 7 boys (all 6 or 7). We're obsessed with Teenage Mutant Turtles. Their parents (who verified this) have all taken them to see the movie...which is PG-13!! My poor son was so out of the loop. Plus, the other boys were rude, disrespectful and mean-- while my son just sort of played by himself--while acting the movie out. By no means is my kid perfect but the behavior of the other boys just wouldn't be tolerated at our house. And today was not the first time stuff like this happened.

I left today so upset--feeling like a terrible parent because my kid doesn't fit it due to choices I am making...but they are choices I strongly believe in. He has many years of swearing and violent movies ;) --why would I encourage it now?!

Anyone have similar experiences/feelings?

What can I do? I don't want my son to have no friends but I dont want him to be doing things that is more suited for older boys.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

I know it's hard, but is it really that bad to not fit in with a group you don't actually identify with and don't share values with? He needs friends who are actually friends, not just other kids who are the same age. I don't know what to suggest, but maybe following his lead about who he actually likes to hang out with or play with. Don't try to force him to fit in, try to find who he fits with.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have had similar experiences.. with girls that are dressed like teenagers at age 7...watching the teenage shows and knowing about Justin bieber and other teenage idols .. my daughter at 7 was into pretend and playing with dolls..

I do not see why folks want kids to grow up so fast .. I want them to be kids as long as possible..

I would rather not have them fit in.. if that meant they were acting like teens at age 7.

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answers from Washington DC on

you can't really help him fit in because you so clearly dislike the boys and families in his peer group. if all the boys get to do things of which you disapprove, and all are rude, disrespectful and mean, and all the parents are lax and careless, there's no common ground. and your judgment of them is surely as clear to them as it is to us.
so your only choice is to find a group of people with whom you DO fit in. check out church groups or meet-ups or sports or hobby clubs.
if there are no groups anywhere who meet your standards, then that in itself is something for you to think hard about.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I was not allowed to watch Happy Days, or Three's Company, etc. when I was a kid. I felt very left out when all the kids at my lunch table talked about these shows as well as many other shows growing up. I remember hating the feeling and actually feeling stupid because I didn't know what my classmates were talking about.

Since I never wanted my children to feel like this, I let them watch what they want and read whatever they want. If it is inappropriate then I do it with them. Many shows and books have led to great conversations about my beliefs, moral compass and our family's values. I prefer my kids get their education from me rather than their friends.

I do acknowledge that both my girls have "old souls" and seem to be more mature than many of their peers in many ways.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't think a 7 year old boy will be 'rude, disrespectful and mean' from seeing a movie. If these boys are really that way, there are bigger problems at home than what movies their parents allow them to see. I was pretty liberal in what I allowed my kids to see, and they were not rude and mean at age 7.

I guarantee you there are other 7 year old boys who are not rude and mean, and other parents who feel as you do. Try to direct your son toward them.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

The 7 year old boys that I know play like this and always have. Back in the day it was Army men. (Vietnam was going on).Toy guns,

Cowboys and Indians (Gunsmoke, High Chaparral and the Big Valley)
Characters were shot and killed all of the time on those shows, but we knew it was just TV.

I recall when our daughter was 3 and there was something crazy on an animated show, I asked her "is this real? This thing on the TV?"
She looked at me with a pitiful face and said, "No Mom, this is just a cartoon on TV" Ha!

You can protect your son, you can search for a group or proper children and families, but you will not always be with him , so he needs to learn tools on how to play, how to fit in and how to exclude himself if he does not like what is going on around him.

You are the one that needs to guide him with this, not just shield him.

There are too many great kids and families to expect to assume that they do not live up to your standard.

Our daughter was friends with some kids, that there was no way before children I would have ever considered I would be daily friends with these people. Granola moms, Hard core Conservative mom, that does not drink, did not understand the Catholic faith and thinks the best moms stay home and care for their husbands and children.

But here I am with some of my very best friends, because our daughter played with their kids and I learned to love and respect these moms.

And sure there were some kids that were just plain mean or completely in lala land, But our daughter learned how to handle those situations. Not always gracefully.. But she learned that some people are just not a good match for her. And she is not a great match for others either.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

PG 13 means kids under 13 shouldn't see the movie alone. That doesn't mean it's not for younger kids. It's rated that so parents will know there may be some stuff their kids won't get and might ask questions about.

I don't think you need to shield your child so much. Understanding that there are things you do NOT want them to be exposed to and things that you should do with them so they can ask you what's going on.

The more you shield him the more he's going to be behind.

My sister did this to her daughter. She would tape movies and cut out parts she felt were bad for her daughter.

It was so obvious her daughter didn't fit in because of it. Everyone was seeing movies other than Disney Princess movies and my niece had no concept of those movies. She didn't know what the kids were playing or talking about for years. When she moved out of her mom's house and into her dad's house she was allowed to be a normal kid and she started having friends and fitting in. She's a well adjusted successful business manager and a great mom who does let her kids do things that are right.

Protecting kids too much isn't really going to benefit them in the long run. Not sayin' they should go out and play in the street, saying that understanding the difference between what PG and R is and other social cues like that is beneficial.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't change your morals/values for anyone else. Times have changed so much compared to when I was a kid. My son Austin is 7 as well and used to have 3 or 4 boys he played with in the neighborhood. Now it's down to one! One of the boys swears at his parents so my son did not want to play with him anymore. Additionally, another one was a compulsive liar which annoyed my boy terribly. We have now ventured out and made new friends through summer camps, Indian Guides, library groups, etc. Now my son is the loud aggressive one.......... we are much happier though! Email if you'd like a playdate with us! : )

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Why on earth would you want him to fit in with this group of boys?

You need to toughen up a bit and stand by your convictions as a parent. Did I want my girls to fit in with the kids who got i phones at 8? What about the girls wearing 1/2 shirts and booty shorts to the mall at ten? Then there's the kids who were smokin' pot and drinking in middle school. Nope didn't want them to "fit in" with that group either.

They made their own friends and figured out where they wanted to be socially based in part on our values and how they were raised. Have a little confidence in your son's ability to make the right friends and then expose him to lots of different types of people. Talk to him about what you both experience and then let him make his own decisions about who he wants to spend time with.

Stop feeling sorry for him based on how you are raising him. You're making decisions for him that you believe are best for his long term development and then feeling guilty because he isn't acting like a brat among the other brats. Do you know how crazy that sounds?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You'd be better off getting a new peer group for your son rather than lowering your standards to those of this particular group.
Have him join an after school activity or two so he can make friends outside of school and meet a wider variety of people.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Not all parents are going to share your values. If you only want your son to be around other boys who follow all the same rules/guidelines as you do that's going to be VERY hard on him. Not saying you should allow your child to watch movies you find inappropriate but you need to realize that you can only parent YOUR child, no one else's.
My son naturally gravitated towards boys that were like him, less physical and aggressive, more thoughtful and kind, funny, etc. But even some (okay, most) of those boys were allowed to watch and read material slightly above their age.
Let your son be himself and find boys he likes and is comfortable playing with.
I mean does he actually WANT to play with rude, mean and disrespectful boys? If not then why is he going to their parties in the first place? He can say no. And if he likes these boys maybe they have some good qualities you are not seeing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

You have made this about your own discomfort and fear rather than your son. You are afraid of being a bad mom and therefore filtering his experiences through that lens.

We all have this vicious voice in our heads that is constantly beating us up and pointing out our flaws. The trick is to realize that you are a bad mom and a good mom. There is no way around it. As much as we just want to be the good person it just doesn't work that way. We are both and everything in between. We are human beings.

Once you let go of the fear of being a bad mom you can relax and just deal with the things that show up. When you do "bad mom" things then you just own it and decide how to make different choices next time.

Your son needs support in being exactly who he is and not worrying about having friends or not. The friends will come as he becomes more accepting and settled in his own likes and dislikes, his own self-image, and his own values.

My daughter had very few friends over the years but those she did have were really good matches for her. We worked a lot on her accepting herself as the quirky, fun, quiet, different, artistic, imaginative, amazing person she is. The more okay she got with herself the more her circle of friends expanded.

You do not need to be involved in making friends for your son. You need to be involved in supporting your son in finding himself and fully loving himself. The very best way to do that is in finding yourself and fully loving and accepting yourself (including the things we don't like that we tend to turn into our shadow self. Debbie Ford has some really good books about this.) Our children learn from modeling. The more you worry and beat yourself up about being a bad mom the more you are teaching him about beating himself up and seeing himself as bad.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Why would you want your son to 'fit in' with kids who you feel such judgment toward?

Let your son just be who he is. Be on the lookout for other kids with whom he shares an interest. My kid is surrounded by sporty kids who love soccer, skateboarding and have a more 'macho' aggressive demeanor with each other. I just let him be himself-- and make my playdates/accept invitations accordingly. Just because someone invites you to something doesn't mean you have to say yes.

And you never know what our kids will do on their own to solve their problem. Mine uses humor and silliness to connect, he's a sweet kid, loves Legos (can you find a very common interest like Legos?) -- and we had the PERFECT buddy move in across the street, all of a sudden. I couldn't have ever arranged this wonderful friendship on my own. Now he's got a friend who is also fascinated by dead bugs, likes to build, is more interested in constructivist play rather than aggressive play~ a good match.

As for the rougher kids my son likes-- you know, we just meet up at the park. If my son likes some of the aspects of that sort of play, it's okay. He's a kid, he is who he is and I just don't have it in the house where I know (from experience) that something might get broken. :) You might consider those friends for just one-on-one playtimes. Also consider which sort of popular shows/movies ARE relatively okay for your kid. We really don't care for violence, but let our son watch Ninjago because he enjoys it, he likes the story arcs (we watch it with him) and we can use it to talk about real life. He loved the Lego Movie too, which was right up his alley and other kids have seen. Again, small connections.

We don't want our kids to change to fit in, and we can't change other people's kids, AND we can provide small ways to let our child's "light shine", even in the mayhem of the other kids. I love my son and I know that those moments when he chooses to do his own thing instead of going along with the pack are making him his own person-- he's staying true to what he wants to do instead of going along with the pack. There IS value in that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would try to find a parenting group whose outlook is closely aligned with your own. You can look at or your place or worship, to start.

You'll be more likely to find kids who are exposed to similar environments and media if you have a simpatico relationship with the parents.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

My kid was never into the standard super heroes that all the other boys were crazy about (like Batman, Superman, etc). He does love other things like Pokemon, Minecraft, and Angry Birds, and can always find other kids with similar interests. Boys in this age group tend to like the same types of things, some like certain things more than others.
As for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- it's been around for decades, and have recently come back into pop culture. It is the latest big thing with that age group. My seven year old loves the newest TMNT cartoons that are currently coming on Nick- I find those to be more age appropriate, even comical, and there's definitely no swearing on those. I'm not condoning the new movie- my first impression is that it seems a little more mature than my son is ready for, honestly. We'll have to wait a little while on that one until I've had a chance to see it first or get reviews from mom friends whose opinions I trust. Then I'll make my informed decision. :)
Kids have to have some exposure to things to know what their interests are, and I try to be flexible with that. Too much censorship can be a bad thing, just as too little can. It's a fine line to walk. I just try to keep an open mind and draw the line when it gets out of my comfort zone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

You stick to your guns mom! I completely disagree with Gamma. G! Disney is not raising our children (thank you, God!). The movie industry and the toy industry is not raising our children. To think your child can't be normal or can't fit without seeing the Disney movies, etc. is ludicrous and frightening. You raise your children instilling in them the values you want them to have, you don't raise them the way "everyone else is doing it."

I told my children it's not nice to call people names or be cruel to others, so we don't watch movies or t.v. shows with lots of name-calling or with cruelty for the purpose of entertainment (like Tom and Jerry from my day). So, my kids have not watched most of the Disney movies (some for violence). And guess what, my 8 yr. old daughter is seen as a leader in her class. She shouldn't be, because she is the only adopted kid, the only Asian, the only girl not allowed to play with Barbies, and the only one who can play very few non-educational iPad games, almost never watches t.v. and has seen very few movies. BUT none-the-less, everyone wants to be her friend, she gets invited to all the birthday parties, she's the only girl the boys allow to play soccer at recess, and kids always come to her to solve problems/arguments. WHY?? BECAUSE SHE KNOWS WHO SHE IS. SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE AND HER FAMILY BELIEVES IN. WE ARE CONSTANT IN OUR BELIEFS AND OUR VALUES. We have taught her how to firmly and confidently explain her reason for her value/choice while respecting others and then how to redirect the conversation.

So, you stick to your choices, and teach your son how to do the same with confidence.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Yeah.... back when TMNT was first popular, and also on cartoons, we didn't watch that..... it didn't matter that they were "heroes" and helping people, they used more violent means to do that......

My son was 3-5 at the time..... he was happy watching Barney, so I went with that.....

We also didn't watch Power Rangers.....

I didn't feel the need to have my kids watch the violent type of cartoons/movies at that age.

Stick to your beliefs, and maybe encourage a different group of friends?



answers from San Francisco on

My son has a very sweet disposition and doesn't like to hang out with boys who are more aggressive....they don't get each other and they don't need to. When he's with other similar boys with the same temperament, they may watch something he has no interest in (Lego’s movie) and he'll just do something else, no biggie.

Don't give it too much thought because you make him wrong for being who he naturally is….and you begin second guessing yourself. He will manage, and it’s best he manage it on his own terms.

He's strong because YOU SAY SO! So let it be.



answers from Santa Fe on

My son just started watching the kid movies this year at age 10. He was just too sensitive to watch them before now. I remember there were some little boys in his preschool who had just seen the dark spiderman movie...which is so violent! I was amazed that a parent of a 4/5 year old would let them watch this. He just didn't want to play with the boys who were more "rough" than him for a long time. Actually, he still doesn't to some extent. I never pushed it. He enjoyed playing mostly with girls for many years and still has girl friends over some times. I suggest doing one on one playdates. Boys in groups tend to get too crazy and rough sometimes. Also, we have never had problems finding other boys who are also more sensitive to get together with. Instead of trying to get your son to fit it, I think you should not worry about this. I am going through similar feelings right now with the violent video games. I will not let my son play them, but he was very upset by this because all his friends play Halo 3 and Black Ops, etc. I stuck to my guns and we had some long conversations about it. He understands that I will not back down on this. It makes me sad that these 9/10 year old boys are spending so much time killing on realistic video games...rated M for mature. They are nice kids...and they have nice parents...but it still makes me sad. By the way, I had a moment where I was very proud of my son last school year. One of the more "rough" boys was bullying a girl on the bus. My son stood up to him and told him to stop and sat with her. He got picked on a bit too but just glared at the other boy. At home he cried and told me about it. We talked for a long time about it and then talked about reasons why that boy might be being so mean...what might be wrong in his life. Then I was doubly proud when my son later befriended the boy and we found out that yes, he was having a very hard time of things at home.

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