My Son Is 5 Going on 15

Updated on February 01, 2008
C.C. asks from Drexel Hill, PA
11 answers

I am wondering if anyone out there has the same problem as me. My 5yo son really thinks he is older than he is. He has always been more mature and a little different from the other kids. He is into skateboarding and is really talented but he talks to us like a teen would talk. I mean he uses good vocabulary to tell us how he feels but his attitude is horrible. I did not think we would have to deal with the teen angst and attitude for at least another 7-8 years. I also think that he spends so much time worrying about what is cool (in a teenager way), that he alienates himself from the other kids. He is into skating and rock music and has never been into kiddie things so he thinks the other kids in the class are "Geeks". I worry that if I can't figure out a way to help him be a kid again then I will have a real outsider on my hands.

The funny thing is he will watch pbs kids all morning and love it (Caillou anyone??) but make me promise not to tell anyone his "baby secret".

I try not to worry too much and hope he will grow out of it but I also want to be proactive. Anyone have any experience and advice???

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answers from Harrisburg on

Let me start off by saying that i have a 7 yo girl who went through a similar problem - i personally think that 5-6 (depending on when they go to k-garden) is a HORRIBLE age - we spend so much time telling them that they are "big kids" and they are going to "big kids school" - but then again they aren't quite "big enough" to do a lot of the things that the other kids are doing at school. It was a dotted line - and i personally think that its made even worse if there is a younger sibling in the household/family. My daughter is 7 and we still somewhat deal with that now - i really think that the ages of 5-8/9 are bad - b/c its like an "in between age" for kids - and parents alike - they aren't toddlers yet but they aren't yet preteens either -

i suggest trying to get him involved with activities that healthy for kids of all ages - but that he can only do because he is "big" now - like soccer; baseball; football; karate; swimming; maybe update his room - if you can; allow him special "big guy" privledges adn make big deals out of them (stay up late one night; drink a soda; order own meal at restaraunt etc) Attitude is horrible with my daughter too - but when she starts she gets a warning and then she goes to her room - end of story - and she doesn't come out until she is quiet and respect for several minutes and then when she comes out we talk about it - we still deal with it - but we don't put up with it - make sense?

good luck - email me if you wanna talk:

S. w

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I have a 3 1/2 year old who sometimes crosses the line with his attitude. He is usually very easy going and happy but every so often he gets moody or defiant or mean. We've been using time outs in his room and started allowing him to choose when it is over as long as his temper and attitude have calmed. I've even put myself in timeout if I've needed to cool down or clear my head to show him that feelings are normal but you have to find appropriate ways to deal with them. I also try to watch how I react to things and if I don't handle it well, I talk to my son about it. Of course at his age he doesn't understand it all, but we persist.

As far as worrying about things being cool...are there any older friends or family members who are into "uncool" things who might be able to help sway his thinking? If he sees that older kids are interested in arts or reading or sports or board games maybe he will change his mind. Offer pros and cons of uncool activities to help him see different points of view. Maybe taking him to one-time classes could also get him interested in different things. For example, Michael's has craft classes on weekends for kids. You can pick and choose which ones to go to. I think a lot of times it is as simple as stopping by a craft table and decorating an ornament or making something out of oragami. Another exmple, our library had a Star Wars party this past fall with games, crafts and activities for the kids. One last thought...have you tried limiting his exposure to skating and rock music? Maybe impose a daily time limit or use those activities as rewards?? Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Wow, i read this, and felt like it was a page out of my life! I, too, have a six year old whom i think is way to mature for his age. He's super athletic and surfs and skates, and is very 'into' everything he wears. He wouldn't be caught dead wearing Thomas the Train shoes, or sweat pants! If we don't monitor what he's watching on t.v., we find he likes to watch Josh and Drake and Hannah Montana. Not that these shows aren't for kids; i just assumed he'd be more interested in Jimmy Neutron, than shows that are geared towards 'tweens', and have a lot of flirtation going on.

I'm not certain where you are from, or what your husband is like, but we're from a small beach community, where it's almost the norm. My husband STILL skates and surfs, so I"m assuming that is why my son is drawn to that. And, when I drop my son off at school; they are almost clones of one another. All of the boys are wearing Quicksilver and TOny Hawk, while all of the girls are sporting Roxy and their Uggs. I don't necessarily think it's just your son, but it's more of the society that we live in.

I'm certain that you and your husband are doing an outstanding job raising him, and he will outgrow this phase. I, agree, it's sad to think, that when we were that age, we played kickball, wore goofy clothes that didn't match, and watched Sesame Street. Just remind him that being five is supposed to be fun, and he has the rest of his life to be a grown up, and those "geeky" friends will turn out to be some of his best friends, in the long run.

It's hard to believe that our babies are facing what we did, when we were 12-13 years of age. Just keep a watchful eye on him, and who he gravitates towards. If I were you, I would make certain that he doesn't 'hang out' with the older kids, which my son always wants to do....doesn't happen! They tend to use the young ones to do all of their dirty work, if you know what I mean.

I don't know if I offered much help, but please don't think that you are alone, and trust me, there will be days that he wants to just cuddle up in bed with you, and have him read 'Goodnight Moon' to him!

Good Luck! K.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Funny I should read this. I was just talking to my mom about my daughter who acts like she's an adult. She just turned 5 in december and I swear she's like an adult. I sometimes find myself talking to her like she's an adult. Her vocabulary is unbelievable. Her thinking metality is not that of a 5 year old. Sometimes I worry that she's missing out on all the kid stuff. I mean, kids NEED to be a kid - don't they? I've been told that some kids are just more mature than others but I think this is more than just being "more mature". I don't have any answers for you but I'll be sure to read the responses that you get from other moms!!



answers from York on

My daughter went through a similar thing. We noticied it got worse whenever she played with one friend in particular. This "friend" has a much older sister and her influnces were passed down,,,, and then picked up by our daughter. It got so bad that we now limit the amout of time she is able to spend with this friend. Since we have done this it has improved, however it flares up when ever she sees her even breifly. If you son is picking it up at school or daycare or preschool, you obivously can't limit the time he spends there. But I think you should listen to you son. When he says something that sounds grown up, ask him...."Where did you learn that from?" You might be really surprised at the answer. I would investigate any people he is around when he is skating as well. As far as his attitude. I just tell My daughter she is not allowed to give me that attitude. That I simply am not going to put up with it. Sometime she continues to push and then she will get a privilage taken away. I am always firm and I refuse to back down. This has pretty much taken care of the situation. Be firm. It sounds like you have great listening skills, use them.....And don't forget to just remind him every now and then that he is 5.... NOT 15, and that is how you expect him to behave. Good luck. I know it can be frustrating.



answers from Philadelphia on

I think around 5 yrs old is when they really start to exert their independence so in that sense I think it's normal. My son also was mature for his age..he is into sports more than anything...literally knows every player and every team for every sport at the age of 8 yrs old. But he always told me he didn't want to watch baby cartoons but if they were on he would watch them. He also told me he didn't want to take baths anymore just showers b/c baths were for babies. He never went as far as saying the other kids were geeks though.

I can tell you that I found out that it was his father influencing him in this way...he wanted him to grow up and be a big boy. It wasn't horrible but I wanted my son to stay a child for as long as possible and my husband and I still debate on this all the time. He wants him to grow up as fast as possible and views me as holding him back. I just give my son as much time as possible to be a kid by offering opportunities to do so. I will turn on a cartoon that I like to watch and he'll come and watch it with me...or I'll pull out the legos or playdoh and get him involved in that to show him that being a kid isn't so bad.

I think more than likely someone or something is influencing your child to grow up too fast so the only solution is to find out why and show him that it's not so bad to be a kid. I hope it all works out for you.



answers from Scranton on

Is your son spending time with other kids (e.g. friends, neighbors, siblings, relatives) who have similar behaviors? Or has he seen this type of behavior in the media (it is so hard these days to prevent exposure to this)? Most kids do not come up with these attitudes or behaviors on their own - they are learned. I am sure that at the heart of it all you have a wonderful little boy - perhaps he does not realize that these attitudes and behaviors are not acceptable. I would urge you to identify the source, and really speak with him about why we don't do certain things (e.g. name calling is hurtful) and why it is important to be respectful of others. It is much easier to intervene at age 5 than at age 8 or 10 or 12 when things have gotten out of control! It's great that he still likes PBS kids! Good luck!

Alex S.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have the same situation that began when he was also 5 and just turned 7. It is a bit worse now as he will watch PBS with his baby sister but prefers Cartoon Network and the Teen Nick Shows. Zoey 101 with Jamie Lynn Spears who just announced her preganancy is a problem for us now as I did not expect to have to talk about that subject so soon. How I handle it is to remind him his job is to be a kid. I just monitor his language and watch the shows with him. He is into sports so that is his outlet and he goes to Catholics school so he is exposed to strict rules. When he gets a little too big for his britches with his talk, I remind him that I am not his friend and that certain talk and behaviors are not acceptable. I ask him if he'd talk that way to his teacher? I try to be the cool mom and do things with him and his friends so I can see who he hangs with. I remind him that the "nerds" which includes his cousin of the same age and his first best friend and good family friend are not nerds but are intelleigent human beings with hearts. I told him it's ok to be different and to respect what they like. Even though he has different interest they should try to learn about each other's habits. It has worked. While we don't see the friend that often and the friend now likes Ninja Turtles something my son was into when he was 3 & 4, he gave his friend his old toys and the friends thought that was cool and my son educated his friend all he knew about Turles, etc. They also share a passon for sports so they play sports or I have them draw. My son does the tony hawk thing and the the the Turtles. With his cousin, I remind my son that he is family and that is scared no matter what happens in life. His friends will some day go off to do other things and his cousin will always be there. My son has taken an interest in his cousin;s computer stuff. It helped that Tony Hawk has computer games.
There are also a lot of books on this subject that you can read to him or have him read as well as the teen shows on Nick that do dela with this stuff. Thats why I let him watch it. They are mature shows but always have correct endings and are not violent.



answers from Scranton on

He just wants to be older, and more mature, that is normal for his age. Don't worry so much. Enjoy him for who he is.


answers from Williamsport on

It is very cool that your child tends to be mature. Since a "too cool for school"/bad attitude isn't healthy even for the older kids who sport it naturally, just be sure to do your best to expose him to positive and inspirational role models who are older as well as his skate and rock idols. My husband has been the singer of a well known metal band for the last 15 years in LA, and I'm a painter from NYC-we have both lived extremely crazy lives. Now with the kids we make sure to listen to all types of music including classical, opera etc and we watch old movies with good values and smart vocabularies and TV shows like Little House on the Prairie etc. That way when they visit dad on the road, the rock environment is only a very small part of their reality. Even though dad is a tattooed screamer on stage, they know that in real life he is a gentle polite person, and that it isn't cool to be mean, and that you should only befriend nice people. We calmly acknowledge and explain bad things like drugs etc that they see so they won't be scared to tell us they saw it, but we make it a point to show that we really admire people of substance and you don't have to be "bad" to be cool. It will only be harder as they get older, so we're trying now to put the positive heros into their comic book collections etc. while they're young. In the future I want to keep them busy so they don't have idol time to hang out with mean skate kids or get too into the dark angry side of rock to the exclusion of all else etc. Supposedly peers are the strongest influence in a child's life in many ways-so be on the look out for bad friends!!!!! The fact that you see this behavior and acknowledge it already shows that you are in his life strongly and I'm sure you will do a great job! Good luck! I'm glad he still likes pbs kids in the morning!



answers from Philadelphia on

What struck me first, finishing reading your note, is that you are married to your best friend... does your son have a best friend? When my girls were that age (and still, at 12 and 16) they craved what my eldest called a "true friend," while her classmates were all busy doing parallel play. If he is at a different in him maturity, then it may be difficult for him to find a compatible "best friend" in his daycare / school.

Is there any way you can take him to spend time with other boys his age who share his passion for skateboarding? We found that once we found other kids who shared our girls interests and passions, they became much happier kids!

And remember, age isn't everything. We can have different friends of different ages for different things.

Hope this helps!
C. K.

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