CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a segment on the increasing popularity of “redshirting”, or holding kids back from entering kindergarten by one year. The reason that most parents cite (at least on the CBS segment) for doing this is to insure that their child has an advantage over other students as he/she gets older in school.
The idea, of course, is to make sure that their student has every opportunity to “outshine” the other students. For boys in particular, one year of maturity can make a big difference in physical stature and cognitive maturity.
As a mother of a son, I get this. What parent doesn’t want his/her son to succeed? But here’s the rub: a child’s success isn’t the real incentive of redshirting parents. What really lies beneath their decision is a fierce need to compete. Parents want their child to beat out his peers in the classroom and on the athletic field so that they, the parents, can feel like more successful parents. No matter how you slice it, redshirting isn’t about what’s best for the child; rather, it’s about helping kids become high performers and thus make their parents look really good.