Retaining Child in Second Grade.

Updated on August 22, 2010
J.S. asks from Tampa, FL
19 answers

My son is 7 years old, very young for second grade (born in August 16). He also has ADD. For many reasons the school, my husband and I decided that it will be better for him to stay another year in second grade, but he doesn't want to stay another year.
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE HIM HAPPY ABOUT STAYING ANOTHER YEAR IN SECOND GRADE?? (By the way, he doesn't want to move to another school).

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answers from Miami on

I don´t know what to do to make him happy but for a while try NAET therapy for the ADD....visit
Also Brain works therapy



answers from Melbourne on

You aren't going to make anyone happy about failing a grade. That is how he will see it, he failed 2nd grade. As for the comment that someone said it's easier for them to fail an early grade, I do not agree. I failed 1st grade and it made me feel awful. Kids see it as, wow school's so easy then, how could you fail. How do you think you would have felt if you had to repeat second grade? If it's needed fine, but he's not going to be happy, no matter what kind of spin you put on it.

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answers from Columbus on

He may be right.

Especially since your son has a disability, this applies to you. Go to scroll down the left side of the page and click on "retention." Read about holding kids back and why it is not a good educational strategy for children with disablities. The data is very clear. It is easier and cheaper for the school to do this than it is to address his educational needs. Please read about this first. If he has any issues with reading whatsoever, you owe it to him to learn about the ineffective nature of this educational strategy.

As an educational advocate for children with disablities, I see what happens to kids who have this happen to them, and it is a chance I would never take. A good many of the parents I help have held thier child back and are fighting to get services for thier child that are well over due becuase services are provided based on grade, not age. Unfortunately, if reading is an issue, the window of opportunity closes for learning to read without great difficulty between the ages of 8 and 9. He is already 7. If second grade did not work the first time, it will not work the second time either, and kids with disablitlies need new strategies to learn, not a second helping of what did not work the first time.

Voice of expereince here, but don't just take my word for it, do some reading on the concequences. The school has a vested interest in taking the cheapest, easiest route. You should never know less about what your son needs than they do, and depending on them to tell you everything you need to know is a mistake.



3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I've never had this happen but it's really not up to your 7 year old if he stays in second grade or not. For reasons the school has given to you, they feel your son would benefit greatly by repeating the year. Sometimes my children don't want to go to school just because they don't feel like going. Oh well, is how I feel. I'm the parent and the one in charge. And so are you. It's better to repeat second grade than a grade higher than 4th where other children can be mean with their teasing. Your son is young. He'll get through this and over it. He doesn't have a choice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

How about home schooling? I had a similar situation and my son was delighted to stay home with me and home school. We joined a home schooling group in our community and he did lots of activities with this group of home schooled kids. There were field trips to museums, ice skating, sleep overs. He had his weekly private piano lessons and daily piano practice. We got books from his school and we had a lot of fun together doing science, writing and math. I spoke to the principal and got the support of the school. He went back to rejoin his classmates in third grade (something he'd lose if you held him back) with a new level of confidence and maturity. Because he knew his multiplication tables (we counted out beans "three groups of... equals.. " and so on), they decided he was advanced in math and this designation followed him through high school and college. He was recomended for a Saturday program for kids at Carnegie Mellon University in robotics and is currently finishing up his last year in engineering! :)
Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Do they offer 2nd and 3rd combo classes? We have those here and it works out well for kids who aren't ready to step up a grade, but still can be introduced to the things involved with the 3rd grade as well. Technically, they're doing the second grade over, but in a mix with other third graders. Is there a different second grade class that might that might have a different curriculum model that he might follow better?
I would talk to the school about these types of options.
My friends retained their son in the 4th grade because he had just struggled and struggled and they had a combo class so it wasn't really obvious to anyone if he was in fourth or fifth grade. That extra year took so much pressure off him and he bounced forward like a champ.
He knew he was struggling and he was worried about things getting even harder so they found a compromise.
The upside was that he did very well, he knew the routine, his self confidence returned, along with his self esteem. As he improved he became involved with music class, school plays, sports and science projects. He was a whole different kid when all that pressure was taken off of him. They could have let him just continue to struggle which made him feel bad about himself. Retaining him was the best decision for him.

There are pros and cons, but your son being in the best place is the main focus in my opinion. See if your shcool offers combo clases.

I wish you the best.



answers from Naples on

Just talk to him and be positive. He will be fine once school starts next year. He will make friends and see that he might be one of the smartest kids in the class because he already learned some of the concepts. If the teacher suggests retention she gave it a ton of thought and thinks it is the best thing for your child. I think you made a great decision and just keep your talk positive with him. He will have a wonderful year next year.



answers from Jacksonville on

I'm so sorry that you have to struggle with a decision such as this. My son has ADHD - definitely the hpyeractive in there. You didn't mention if your son has hyperactive tendencies OR if he is struggling academically. My son sometimes wouldn't do his work because he was distracted or just didn't feel like it because he was bored. You know your child. What is the reason, if this is so, that his academic grades are faultering?

I'm a former educator of 15 years and knew all the book smarts about ADHD, at least as much as educators were taught. However, having a child with ADHD and reading a book about ADHD are two different worlds. It is important for you to remember this because YOU actually become the expert on ADD/ADHD because YOU are the one who deals with your son 24/7. Now I can say that learning is an ongoing process.

My son was born in January so he is one of the oldest in his class. Academically he is right on course, even without doing some of the work. He just has a hard time concentrating and is very impulsive. I'm reading a book written by a boy who has ADHD and wrote the book of his life when he was 17 to help others understand the ADHD brain - ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table by Blake E. S. Taylor. Excellent book! One of the quotes is "A person with ADHD does not think about cause and effect, does not connect the dots between thought, action, and consequence. You shoot pebbles because you want to see them fly, and you don't think about the objects in their path." This describes my son to a T.

For many reasons, and because I work from home and can do this, I started my son at Connections Academy virtual school - now called FL Virtual School Full-Time. It's been a great choice and it is public school from home - real teachers that grade tests/assignments and that are there to answer questions. I have seen my son blossom into a young man at 7 and soar in his academic abilities. If you cannot keep your son home for whatever reason, you do have rights as a parent of a child with ADD. If your son has been formerly diagnosed then he is entitled to have a 504 Plan. This is not an easy process and your school may be reluctant to applying it. ADD/ADHD is not a disability you can see so it's harder. YOU will have to do all the work and make sure the plan is enforced because the school won't do it. YOU have to be your son's advocate because NO ONE else will. At times you will feel overwhelmed and inadequate but you MUST stick to your guns. I say all this as a former educator and a mom who has just gone through a system of combat all for my son's cause. Please note, not all schools are so hard to deal with but in most cases you will run in to adversity. It's easier to label your kid as a bad kid that is too lazy or whatever to do the work and one who causes disruption to the classroom than to follow through with the 504 Plan. Plus, like I said before, this is not a disability you can see - like someone in a wheelchair or with a cane.

No one person replying to your post can fully understand what you're going through unless they have parented a child with ADD/ADHD. It's just not possible. I've been in both places and I speak from experience. People can empathize with you but they will NOT understand unless they are that parent. If you have trouble getting the school to listen, there are doctors that will write letters to the school for your son stating what is necessary for a successful school experience.

Oh, and I have to say this before I close . . . no one should say what you should have done because the decisions you made in the past were the best decisions at the time. We can all look back and say I woulda, shoulda coulda but that's placing blame and going backwards. Just move forward and continue to do the best thing for the moment regardless of what people say or think.

Please feel free to message me if you have questions or just want to vent.




answers from New York on

I agree with Martha R if your son has additional disabilities. If it is only ADD then you can tell him several things. Next year you'll be one of the older boys in the class. Also since you are doing it again you be familiar with the curriculum and could help your classmates. Will he be with the same teacher? If so he could be designated teachers helper as he is familiar in how she does things. It is hard but I had to keep my son back in Kinder as he was young in age amd maturity. He loved being ahead of the class in knowing what was expected of him and helping his teacher whom he loved. This is our experience though.



answers from Sacramento on

I was enrolled in Kindergarten at 4 years old. I seemed fine and moved along well - until 3rd grade. By 3rd grade my age caught up w/ me and was held back another year and repeated the 3rd grade. I hated it at the time. My mom reasoned w/ me and explained that 4th grade would be too hard for me and it would be better to stay another year in 3rd grade where I would be more comfortable. I still resented the idea - but to this day will admit it was the right decision.

My sister has a little boy (6 years old) in the first grade. He is a bit autistic. They want to keep him back another year and it is the best thing for him. If the child isn't ready for the next level it is a kindness to hold them back rather than push them forward and watch as they struggle.

You can try explaining how things will be easier if he stays in the same grade and tell him that he will be with kids his own age and make some new friends. Maybe that will help?


answers from Miami on

Excuse me, but is he getting passing grades? If so, as I did with my son, allow his imput and then decide what is truly Best for HIM. If he is at grade level, allow him to move on, if not, take him out and calmly explain that due to no -fault of his own, he has to stay another year. Point out everything that is good about staying in 2nd grade an extra year! I allowed myself to follow my sons wishes; and he graduated at 17,; went and did military (Marines) service; and is now home and furthering his education and working part time too, all while out on his own! Close by us, his family, but he is doing great! I almost fell for what the teachers were saying back in first grade, because of his age; and I Know that would have made hm an angry student! I will keep you's in prayers! Good luck and God bless you both!!!
Kathy N.



answers from Tampa on

It's always harder to hold them back once they have started school. He should have been held back and not started until he was ready. Did the teacher suggest that he be held back? Most teachers will be honest and let you know if they think your child is not ready to go on. Talk to the teacher and go from there. If you do hold him back talk to him about all the new friends he will make. Why would he have to move to another school?
My niece allowed them to hold her daughter back in school and it is terrible. Now she is a lot bigger than the other kids in her class. If he is a big boy you need to consider this also. She is teased all the time and is having a lot harder time with school then she would have if she had not been held back. It's a lot to consider. Listen to your son and his feelings and do what you feel is best in your heart. Only you and your son know what is best for him.



answers from New York on

** If you read the literature on children with disabilities and retention, it's not pretty. You may want to consider requesting a special education review before finalizing your decision. Children with disabling conditions who are also retained are very likely to drop-out.**

Retention is very difficult for older children. They often feel like they have "failed" a grade, thus the need to repeat. Make sure that you have really thought this through- do you think he will do better the second time around?

If you are wedded to this decision, then make sure that he has a different teacher. When you talk with him, focus on his areas of success in second grade and that you are hoping that he will find more success in the fall. I would allow him to be upset, but keep focusing on the positives of having the opportunity to learn the information and meet new friends.



answers from Sarasota on

Since u r from Fl How about choice schools. My kids go to imagine schools which is awesome because they teach with more hands on. maybe he needs a different kind of teachind r smaller classroom seting. Check out choice schools in ur area!!



answers from Miami on

It seems that he feels humiliated by the prospect of repeating a grade.
He has bonded with others in his grade; and this would be difficult to deal with emotionally.
You've got the summer for him to hunker down and study. Some playtime is important, too. Perhaps the school has a summer program or there is a teacher who will tutor.
Give him the chance to own up to third grade. Also, how does he learn? We are visual, auditory and written (I think that's the third one).
For instance, I am an artist. I see images in my head and then proceed to re-create on canvas. When I study, I read and then re-write on paper to reinforce what I have learned.
And, ps: we all have ADD. Go to your neighborhood health food store and ask for guidance there for herbal remedies. Next doctor visit ask for hormone and allergy tests.
Best wishes, S.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We made the difficult decision last year to move our son from French Immersion to English in grade 1. He struggled too much even with resource room help and a reading recovery program, we switched him in the month of April (schools here go to end of June), but it wasn't enough time for him to catch up to go onto grade 2 with his classmates. It was a tough decision as he wanted to go onto grade 2. The teachers all said don't let him decide, although the decision was left to us, we spoke to about 4 different teachers, 3 of them resource teachers who all recommended having him do grade 1 again. They said it will make the coming years so much easier with a better foundation. Stay strong in your decision to have your son stay in grade 2, it will be worth it for him. Our son has been reading at a grade 2 level for about a month now, school is so much easier for all of us.

Does your son play with the children who are currently in grade 1? If not, perhaps some playtime with them could be arranged, both during school time and summer vacation. Do any of the children live close to you to have playdates in the summer? What about summer activities that some of them might attend? If he had a friend or two that would be in his class, he might look forward to school. Just keep talking positive about it, be strong and he will come around.



answers from Washington DC on

Is summer school not an option? I think if a child needs to be retained, that doing it in a lower grade (K-2) is easier socially than in a higher grade.

Is there a way that you could participate in the decision, but from your child's eyes, its the school's decision and you can't do anything about it....
When trying to encourage to see the positives. He will be the older kid that the others will look up to. You get a different teacher. His learning style and the teacher's teaching style didn't work well, so we're going to try a different teacher.

My son is in 3rd grade. His best friend and a few classmates attend advanced- prep classes. Its not really advanced, but a test class to see if they need advanced classes. Any parent can request that their child be evaluated for this class. (does that make sense?) Grades wise he's right along with these boys, but 2 days a week these kids leave the regular class for an hour while he and others stay behind. They have work to do in this test class, and have to make up / do any work they miss in the regular class. Anyway, my son was sad because the kids had come back to regular class with some fun snack or priviledge or whatever it was. Why isn't HE in that class? He was really bummed. Why can't he be in the class too.

I told him that it was what I had decided.... What? ...
A paper had come home saying that if parents wanted to have their kids placed in this test class, they could come to an informational meeting, meet the teachers, etc.... We couldn't make the meeting, we were out of town, and the class is all about math and writing. They have extra assignments that they have to do. Since math is NOT his best subject, and he takes his time on assignments, and we were in an after school activity 3 days a week, I didn't sign him up because there wouldn't be time for the extra stuff, there's barely time for the regular stuff.....OHHH!!!

So its not that he COULDN'T have been in the class, it just wasn't the right class for him. He completely understood that. Last week an assignment came home that he didn't know anything about. I asked the teacher and she said that it was an extra project for the kids in the test class. 'Boy Mom, glad I'm not in THAT class!'...

My point is that as long as you and your husband are comfortable with the decision being made, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.




answers from Naples on

see if theres a way he can test out of the 2nd grade and move into the 3rd grade with his friends i am really against holding kids back in the previous grades since it makes them feel stupid and dumb and riduculed by other kids his age that move on to the higher grades or you might want to try home schooling or find some tutor that could help him with his homework.

forcing your add son to stay in the second grade another yr is not advvised now days since they lose interest in school and want to quit school before high school or never finish high school even though you may think 7 yrs old is too hard or too young for your add son since he is doesn't want to stay in second grade another yr let him try in the third grade classes he might surprise you.

good luck



answers from Orlando on

My son was failing 3rd grade after years of doing well in school. He was diagnosied with ADD and we tried diet, herbs, 3 different ADD medications with limited results. I discovered Learn to Learn Brain Development Center in Orlando, where a neuroscientist is working with kids on their brain skills! At the center, he was evaluated and was found to be very deficient with his ocular vision- not 20/20 but his eyes were not working together. I wish someone had mention the potential for ocular issues so please check it out- either thru or a special opthathmologist!! Bright Eyes is in Tampa.

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