Monday, May 28, 2012

Do Taller Kids Face Higher Expectations?

My husband is 6'3".  If you were to ask him, he'd lie and say he's 6'4" because at one time (in his 20's) he really was that tall and he's having trouble accepting that as we age, we tend to shrink.  Mother nature is a cruel, cruel mistress!

I am 5'5".  Not exactly amazonian but well beyond the 5'3" national average height for women.  What this means of course, is that we have some very tall children.

My youngest daughter, who is five years old and in Kindergarten, is as tall as many of her first and second grade counter parts!  I probably have a year tops before my ten year old is looking down at me and my son? Forget about it!  He's been above the 95th percentile since he popped out of me with his giant head.  According to his doctor, he is on part to be taller than my husband! By the time he's 18 he will most likely be using my head as an arm rest.

I love their height but it does come with it's disadvantages.  Because they look older than what they are, people often have high expectations for them.  When we got to the playground and my 10 year old wants to play on the playscape with her stuffed animals, mothers will tell me that I "shouldn't let my teenager on the equipment. And I think she took someone's stuffed animal."  We also get looks of suspicion when we buy her a child ticket at the movies.  Likewise, if we are out in public and our 5 year old is over-tired and getting fussy we get looks that say, "your kid is way too old to be behaving like that!

It doesn't really matter to me what people think but I do worry that the expectations placed on them are unfairly high.  It's hard enough to be a kids these days without adding on extra presumptions. It also worries me that as my girls get older, they will draw unwelcome attention from boys that are much older.

The best thing I can do in this situation is to boost their self confidence.  There are many pros to being tall.  As Julia Child said, "Being tall is an advantage, especially in business. People will always remember you. And if you're in a crowd, you'll always have some clean air to breathe."  Here are a few more:

1.  Advantages playing sports
2.  Always having the best view in a crowd.
3.  Statistically, taller people have higher IQs.
4.  (For when they are older) Girls tend to like taller guys and guys tend to like girls with long legs.
5.  They will never have to ask anyone to reach something for them.

It's all about teaching our kids to be comfortable in their own skin regardless of their height.  There are advantages and disadvantages on either side.  The most important thing is to appreciate what you have and make the best out of it.

Do you have tall children? Do you feel that they have higher expectations placed on them because of it?


  1. My children are above average height for their age, and people will usually assume they're about a year older than they are (currently 8, 6 and 3). They're also fairly intelligent children too, which adds to the illusion of maturity.

    I personally take the view that each child is unique and will develop at a different pace, even between the siblings. I apply the same to other children I meet. I've also known both children and adults with learning disabilities, and seen how hurtful the judgements of strangers can be.

    Good on you for appreciating your children's strengths, and encouraging them to be themselves.

  2. My 8yr old daughter has always been tall. She towers over most boys in her class and all the girls usually. There have been situations where people assume she is older than she is---and yes I think those higher expectations come into play. It was harder when she was younger. I'm curious to see if she levels out in her growth and is average height or if she will be a tall woman too. My husband and I are not tall--but she has grandfathers on both sides who are.


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