It’s a Girl! Bringing up Girls from Birth to Preschool in this Day and Age

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But parental influences, good or bad, surely still count more than the accident of a birth date. If she is like her mother and father, she will love books, be hopeless at sport, and not so much cry over spilt milk as write long articles about it four years after she dropped the cup.

What’s the Hardest Stage of Parenting? | Psychology Today

Good luck Lila, and happy birthday. The girl who started school a year later did far better in her exams. Dee, St Helens, UK. My daughter was born on 8 September - deliberately conceived to be born in the first week of September. Her actual due date was 1 September - a date my teaching colleagues yes, I was a teacher at the time found hilarious. On the evening of 31 August a group of friends and I sat and counted the minutes to midnight, determined to see my baby past the date we all feared. She then had the audacity to keep us all waiting another eight days. I've now remarried and my husband has twins from a previous marriage.

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Born 10 weeks prematurely, and with all the issues that prematurity can bring, they had the misfortune to be born on, yes - you've guessed it - 31 August. That they have been disadvantaged by their birth date is without question. Another year in primary, another year of maturity before GCSEs would have made all the difference to them. It's not easy growing up being the worst, the least able for no other reason than the fate of your birthday.

Cath Pickles, Southwold, UK. It is my daughters 9th birthday today - 31 August, she was born at I feel she has really suffered at school. She was a month premature and I tried to keep her back a year but the authorities refused.

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Having an older daughter born in November, I can see the difference it has made. She is also very small for her age and I feel the current system is very unfair. Kate Robinson, Northampton, England.

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My son was born on 30 August, but the cut off date for schools in N Ireland is 30 June. So ironically here "summer babies" are the oldest in their class and probably do have that developmental "edge" in the early years of schooling.

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Gillian, Belfast. This story annoys me. I was the youngest child in every school I attended and never felt inferior or disadvantaged, never needed any help, and spent most of my time feeling frustrated by the speed of teaching because they had to spend extra time helping the older kids understand what was going on.

Being older always seemed to a disadvantage to me as that extra 12 months at home meant their fragile little minds must have been corrupted by watching more Bagpuss or Rainbow. Phil Bailey, Poole, Dorset. When I started school I suffered from the separation from my mum more than most children, and it took me a while to get my head around reading.

But by the time we left primary school, I was top of my class and stayed there until the end of secondary school so I really don't think people should worry too much about it. The younger children will catch up. CC, UK. Our daughter was born two weeks early, on 27 August. It was clear when she started school that she didn't have the stamina and attention span that the older children had in her class.

Until around 10 or 11 she was always playing catch-up and her achievements were average. But she has just got four As in her A-levels, so it hasn't damaged her long term. I would say she is probably more reserved than many, though she claims that's because she's the oldest. She believes that birth order has more impact than actual birth date, and that kids with older siblings learn from their siblings and are more confident and socially adept.

John, Huntingdon. I wonder what some of the comment writers would like to have done about the system - would they like all August babies to be moved into the year below? All this would do is put the July babies at the same disadvantage. There has to be a cut off somewhere, and if a child happens to be born just inside one school year, then they will just be statistically disadvantaged.

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Tough luck - there will always be a youngest person in the year, nothing will change that. James, Bradford, England. Here in Canada it's very different. The cut off is 31 December so it's "December Boys" who are renowned for struggling - but it's very common to keep them back a year and either start a year later or repeat kindergarten.

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In recent years it's become unusual to repeat any grade, but back in the day, repeating it was common. Now other strategies are used which are less demoralizing for children. But I always regretted repeating a class I had come top of, and consequently losing a full year of my life. Mel Morris, Burlington, Ontario. I was born on 4 September, so was one of the oldest children in my class at primary school. In secondary school, though, I started a year early, as my parents and the teachers thought I was bright enough to cope with the work and felt it unfair to keep me back for the sake of four days.

I was never good at sport, even in primary school, but I certainly didn't suffer academically. It's not just the birth date, it's the inherent ability of the child. Elaine, Sheffield, UK. I was born on 31 August and as a result, I got extra attention from teachers at school. I was always told how intelligent I was considering that I was a year younger than some of my classmates, which actually spurred me on to do well. Victoria Graham, Kenilworth, UK. Our baby was due on 27 August and we wanted him to be born BEFORE 1 September to help avoid that extra year of childcare; not only for financial reasons but for the awkwardness of it we live miles from both sets of grandparents so it's not easy.

As it happened he came on 9 September and we realised we weren't that bothered because he is the most amazing thing to ever happen to us. Phil Beasley, Newcastle. I was 10 days late as a child resulting in me being a September baby instead of an August child. I was treated with extra privileges at school for being the oldest in the class and enjoyed a lot of responsibility. As a result I was always a "leader" and have been assigned management roles quickly in various jobs. Kathy, Manchester, England. I was born on 30 August and although I was always younger than my mates - I never felt the disadvantage, I'm just as confidence and have always kept up I got 10 GCSEs, an IT qualification and a degree - all before I was Age does not mean anything - you don't realise the age gap until your older and all your mates are turning 18 and going down the pub and you can't.

Sam Cairns, High Wycombe, Bucks. I was a June baby and did well at school. However, I was in "proper" kindergarten from the age of 3 so that may have had something to do with it. I was a bright child and had that reinforced by my teachers and parents; perhaps it's more about self-belief. Pamela Brooke, London, UK. I was born on 5 September, was moved ahead in primary school until Year 3 as I found school easy, then had to do Year 3 again to get back in my age band.

Effectively, by being born five days late for the cut-off, I lost a whole year of my adult life as I could have gone through the education system and university a year earlier I just wished my Mum had pushed a bit sooner. Steve Earl, Swindon, UK. We used to live in Germany, where parents had the option of holding back their children by a year before starting school - parents of boys born in the summer often did this. The advantage of being an older child is often far higher than completing studies a year earlier, but having struggled all the way, and perhaps failing to get into a good university as a result.

Edward, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Being born on 28 August I understand parts of this, and yes at times I struggled to keep up with classmates. But I was blessed with a fast mind and am now doing a degree part-time with a well-paid job. The nurture factor of my upbringing has benefitted me, so not all babies born at the end of August are lost causes by all means.