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Helping the "baby" grow up


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I got DS2's exam report today and had a chance to speak with his teacher breifly. With both agree his lack of maturity is holding him back in many things, ballet being one of them. He's 10 yo and has the body of a six year old. He is the last born child in our family. When nearly everyone meets him they comment "He's soooo cuuuute" He eats it up. His teacher and I both feel he's not maturing because he wants to hang on to that attention. She has instructed the older dancer girls to not fuss over and baby him. Honestly I'm still trying to break myself of babying him.


He's not making progress in ballet. Part of me thinks it's because he's not maturing they way he should and the other part says he needs to be challanged more in class and needs to be in a class with DKs his age rather than his size.


I know that one area of a child's life will plateau while another aspect progresses. He is making progress academically.


I know DS1 was pretty stagnant for a while in ballet then the hormones hit and he completely changed even in ballet. Is this plateau just a natural way for me to have a calm before the teenage storm? Do I need to do anything? If so what? I'll surf the web and find out about how to help the baby of the family.


I know boys will stagnate in ballet and need a challange. Is this what's going on?


You know I'm not so worried about whether he progresses in ballet or not but I'm thinking ballet class can be a barometer of how he's maturing generally.

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I think that your DS1 set an indicator as to how things will go for DS2.


Has the family doctor or pediatrician noted any unusual developmental problems? If not, not to worry. I remember a wonderful boy dancer in Miami who was 13, but one of those TINY 13s, and he was very concerned that he wasn't developing as fast as some of his contemporaries. I just brushed his front hair back and away from his forehead, and there was the "ominous M line". One of the earliest secondary sexual characteristics to show in boys is the beginning of the receding hairline! It will very likely stop for a long time, then, if male pattern baldness sets in, it will start again likely sometime in his 40s. And if not, not.

All I said was, "OK, you're fine, you're in early adolescence. Everything's peachy." He went on to a very distinguished career as a dancer and ballet master.

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Yes, agree with Mel here. Have a doc check him out, but also remember that boys mature at a totally different rate than girls. He'll be fine. :thumbsup:

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Could it be difficult for him to mature in an activity that is his older siblings are so successful in? If he takes ballet seriously and actually applies himself what happens if he isn't as good as his brother and sister? It may be easier to just laugh it all off and remain the "cute" one of the family.


Are you certain that ballet is the activity that he enjoys best? Ten years old is often the age where kids get serious about their pursuits, and it may be easier for him to get serious about an activity that's about him and only him.


Of course, I could be way off here. I say this just because these are the types of dynamics I see in my own family. I don't plan to have my youngest son audition for the academy this summer for this very reason. He's a kid with potential for dance, but I honestly don't see him taking class seriously with his big brother around always showing him up. We're encouraging him in martial arts right now, and he's pursuing that sport with a lot more dedication than he was showing in dance.

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We only have two kids, but the "baby" is our boy. Though tall, he was always very much younger acting and looking than his sister or cousins at a comparable age, and very into being our "baby", sitting on laps, being helped to do things and being a homebody. I have friends who asked "are you ever going to stop carrying that child around?" Well, that baby is now 15, over six feet tall, looks 18 and carries a 21 hour college load while still in high school AND playing varsity soccer. He still likes the babying, and looks back extremely fondly on the days of being toted around and treated like a four year old. Sometimes, they just need a little more time to get to the maturity point. I wouldn't worry a bit about his being babied by you or the older dancers. Think of it this way - he's learning to be a kind, cooperative and friendly person, and who amongst us wouldn't want our sons to be thought of that way, no matter their age? He'll grow, he'll mature, and you'll miss those "baby" days. That said, maturity moved along at a faster clip for my son when he began spending more class/sports time with students several years older than he was. Peer pressure, you know!

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Maybe he just needs some time. Being the baby isnt the worst thing (coming from the baby of the family) but he may just need time to mature. I have an 8.5 year old who is very immature- he is more emotionally 6- and I believe he will grow into himself in time.


You seem to have such confidence in the school your children are attending. I think you are in a good place for him.

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Hi Vicarious,


I think you already have a lot of great advice here. I would just suggest that maybe you see if there is some other activity he takes more interest in. Maybe you have already, I don't know. But sometimes, like Slhogan said, there is just a lot of pressure when you already have an older sibling who excels at the activity you are also pursuing.


The other thing that I will echo is that some kids are just slower to mature, and with boys, I am not sure it is so typical for them to be serious about ballet at a young age. My DS dances with some boys now who are 13-15 and it seems they are just starting to focus more on dance this year, but they are still not anywhere near as focused as the girls the same age. Maybe this is just DS' group, not sure. But that has been our experience so far.

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I will echo Tuesday's advice. Maybe he really would prefer to try something else and behavior is a way of communicating his displeasure. Our youngest is only 8 and doesn't exactly excell at any physical endeavor. But we've continued to insist on sports twice a year (for all of our sons) because of the overall value they provide. We've encouraged, though not demanded, individual physical pursuits like karate, dance, swimming, etc. We made this decision when our first (physically gifted) son was about 5. The youngest doesn't join competitive teams, so we thought there would be no problem. It would all be for "fun." And yes, he even asked to sign up each season.


His behavior every single season, however, has been horrifying. Sometimes he tries, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he's respectful, sometimes he's embarrassingly rude, sometimes he's very successful, sometimes he can't catch the ball if you place it in his glove. He actually does have the basic skills and does fairly well when he so chooses. Most frustrating is that every single "injury" must be equated to a life-threatening event. (You know, when they bump their leg and have to crawl off the field because it's just so devastatingly painful and oh isn't this great because everyone is fawning over me and now I can't remember which leg I hurt so I can't limp convincingly but will they notice.) We kept waiting for him to grow up (to the level of his peers), mature, find something he liked, etc. Hasn't happened. We finally decided that maybe the "family" decision doesn't work for all of our boys. After this basketball season, the youngest has been told he doesn't have to play another sport ever again. He does have to honor this season's commitment, which is only three weeks from conluding (thank goodness.) We have finally reached a truce. His behavior has been significantly better during games and practices and he finally seems at peace. What we're seeing during practice is the type of behavior his school teachers see every day - very mature, very articulate, very composed.


The reality is that he would prefer to read history books (had a great conversation last night with him about the evolution of the Tudor family - facts I didn't even know) and just practice different sports with his brothers every once in a while. This is what he finally admited just a few weeks ago.


I don't know if this is your son's issue or not, just sharing a long and tedious battle that we've had, one where we really refused to see (for three years now) what he was so plainly trying to tell us. It would've been nice if he'd spelled it out for us verbally, which in retrospect was an awful lot to expcet of someone so young - and who has older brothers that excel physically. It's quite true that boys mature later than girls (at least our did) but it's also true that behavior can a child's form of communication - and the message isn't always very clear.

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Well, I don't think he's acting out. He really enjoys ballet. He doodles around the house and especially likes being in performances.


I do agree he needs a different or additonal activity. He enjoys acting and singing for the little he's done. I think he's more of a music theater kid. Next year he'll be able to be in drama and chorus at the middle school (grades 5-8). He'll be around a lot more older kids and will have quite a bit more peer pressure. The drama programs and music programs here are terrific so I think he'll do fine once he gets to that point.


He might also enjoy hip-hop more. I like the structure and discipline of the ballet school for him though. He easily fits the discription of ADHD but I think growth and maturity will temper that. I did do some reading about parenting the last born. It was very educational.


I guess at this point it's mostly a waiting game but I do need to change my behavior, encourage more young man behavior from him and let his ballet teacher do the same. I suppose it's as my Daddy used to say "This to shall pass." Thanks for you feed back. It's reinforced some of what I was already thinking and has given me more to think about.

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I have a few students who are very much "undersized" for their age and then I have some tall, well built girls who look older than their age. What I find is that they behave very much the way their size dictates their age to be and not what their age actually is. Part of this may be due to other peoples' attitude to them especially if, like your son, the small ones enjoy being babied. I have to admit that I am guilty of that too, even though I do know their real age - it seems that we tend to react to the image we see, even if our brain knows otherwise.


I wonder if perhaps your son is concerned at being small for his age and therefore tries to pretend that he is really younger than he is in order to cover that fact up. Have you had his growth potential checked?

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behave very much the way their size dictates

Right, I think this is happening.


He's had thorough testing done to see if there's something cause his slower growth but all seems fine. No bacterium or parasites, no absorption problems and so on. My mother-in-law assures me that my husband was very small like this. My husband and DS2 have very much the same personalities, mannerisms, verbiage and more. We have a mix of tall genes and short genes on both sides of the family. My husband's brothers are over 6 foot and my husband is 5'7". My DD and DS1 are both 5'6". DS1 is just barely 13 and still growing. He'll be over 6 foot. I think DS2 is going to be the tiny one like his dad.


I just remembered a post I made a year or so ago about DS1 being expected to have muscle development beyond his age which I thought was because he was so tall for 12. DD is doing things beyond her years because she looks older and can do them. (Hamorah, I wish you could see a video of her now. She's come a long way since "Prayer".)


My other DKs have been the "baby police" lately. Any time they catch me coddling DS2 they call me on it.

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Smallness has its advantages as well as disadvantages:


Smaller dancers appear to jump higher when dancing solo.

They turn like tops :D Tours are easier.

battery/beats are easier

They always fit into costumes


I think a little discipline in the studio will go a long way.


Vic, Don't let DS2 know you are correcting your actions. He might feel he is being singled out for whaterver reason.


Mr. Major Mel, what is the "M Line?" Is it a widows peak, an Eddie Munster hairline?

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