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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

Kids being influenced at such a young age by their peers

Posted by on Jan. 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM
  • 11 Replies

My son is 8 years old and is taking swimming lessons through his school every week. He wears his bathing suit under his school clothes per the instruction of the teacher to save time on changing and give the kids more time in the water. 

I pack him a change of underwear (as he likes to wear underwear under his bathing suit for 'comfort') so the pair he wears get wet and he needs to change afterward into a dry pair. All of the boys change in front of each other and although they are not inspecting each others undergarments, my son is very modest and afraid that the boys will get a sneak peak of his 'Spider Man' or 'Hercules' underpants or whatever comic strip character happens to be printed on his 'tighty whities' that day. 

Let me preface this with the fact that my son really does love his character underpants and it's always a fun trip to the store when it's time to buy new ones.

Since the swimming lessons have started, he has come to me very concerned about the boys possibly seeing his underpants. He said that he doesn't want to be embarrassed. I asked if someone had made fun of him and he denied but said that he knows the other boys wear the 'real big boy underpants' with no pictures on them because they had a conversation about them one day at school and how the ones with pictures were for little babies.

I recall that day because he came home after school very bothered and talked to me about it. Being embarrassed because he was wearing them, he didn't chime into that conversation, just listened. My response was if he liked something he shouldn't change because his friends don't like it. He thought I was right but said he was afraid of the embarrassment. I told him it was ultimately his decision if he wanted to change to the 'real big boy underpants' but i wanted him to understand the importance of being his own person and not the person he thinks his friends want him to be. 

My husband even spoke to him about it and gave him the same talk and being silly said if Spider Man underpants were made in HIS size he would still be wearing them! Although my son thought that was pretty funny, I don't think it changed his feelings much. 

Things have been pretty quiet since then (about a month ago) but I occasionally ask him if he is still thinking about changing to the 'real big boy underpants' and his response is always, "maybe, I'm still thinking about it". 

Then he came to me last week and asked me to show him how to wrap his towel around his waste and change discretely so the other boys wouldn't see his character underpants. I was so saddened when he asked me that but not knowing what else to do, I granted his request and helped him. 

During the 'lesson' we had a repeat conversation about 'conforming'. It didn't seem to help change his feelings about the situation. And then the next day or so he decided he wanted me to go buy 'the real big boy underpants'. So I went and bought him some plain 'tighty whities'. And when he was cleaning out his underwear drawer of all his old underpants, he actually looked sad to get rid of them. I told him he didn't have to get rid of them but he insisted. 

It may not sound like a big deal to some moms but to me I feel like my son lost a part of himself that day. The part that says he is his own person. The part that says he is still a kid. This to me says that he can possibly be easily influenced and persuaded. My son has good morals, judgement and character so I shouldn't be worried, or should I? 

Is this just part of growing up? Is this part of being a parent...realizing your child is not your baby anymore? Does this happen to all little boys? And if so, at what age? 

I'm looking for some guidance, some comfort. Hopefully you have some stories to share or good advice I can grab onto...


by on Jan. 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM
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Replies (1-10):
corrinacs
by on Jan. 10, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Hey 

You konw what?  Target does sell character undies for adults, have your DH get some.  Sounds silly, I know.  But, you could have DH wear those and it could be like a "cool kid underwear club".  We have somethign similar but iwth robes (not for this reason).  We all have robes and on Friday nights we get into pjs, our robes and watch a movie, play games, etc LOL.  Maybe you guys could have a party liek that, but the guys wear spidermans :).

But, you are doing somethign rihgt.  Telling him that he shoudln't change his views on anything just because his friends do......it starts with something simple like this.....then its going to turn into more important things later.....like "oh, you are a baby if you haven't smoked./.....or had sex......"  You get the point.  You are doing a fantastic job instilling that on him now :).  I'd keep going with that as long as you possibly can.

It is a part of growing up.....but ist how he REACTS that's going to make all the difference.

If someone does pick on him about them, he can say "well, they make them in my bigkid size.....and me and my daddy wear them....its our good luck".  

When I was that age, I was always "different" like this.  People would pick on me for it.....I finally just started pointing it out but acting very confident in it.  Sure, my clothes were wild colored and not in fashion.....but I was comfy in them.  If ppl asked why I was so "different" I'd say "i saw this at the store and thought how different and cool it looked, I liked it :)".  After a while, people started following my fashion "statements" LOL.

Good luck mama!  You will be able to deal with this.  If he likes his spidermans....well dangonit, he can wear his spidermans :).


steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I didn't even know that they made character underwear in a size that big.  My boys stopped wearing them around 4 or 5 years old.  Now they prefer boxer briefs in any color except white.

I don't think that I would be too concerned about your son decideing to not wear character underwear any longer.  I'm sure that he is just growing up like every kid does.

BTW - I realized that my boys weren't babies any more when they were about 2 years old.  I haven't referred to them as babies in a long time, so you may want to think twice about referring to him as a baby in his presence.

Jinx-Troublex3
by Platinum Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:56 PM
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I don't see it as any big deal, though you are right to encourage him to do what he likes. By school age, he's definitely NOT a baby.

Lil boys want to be seen as "big kids". I don't think this is about him, "following the crowd" as much as it is abouthim gaining some independence and making his own decision.

I would suggest, if he likes his charachter undies, to wear them on weekends or non~gym days. He doesn't have to give them up entirely.
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aetrom
by Gold Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM
As soon as they are in school peer pressure becomes an issue sadly...
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coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM
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I would get a pair of plain white for swim days and let him wear what he likes the other days.

I agree that he should wear what he likes but at that age, it's so important to just fit in. They're not mature enough (in general) to be OK with standing out, being different or being themselves.
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coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM
To clarify...it's the kids who feel it's important to fit in...not the parents or society (we know better).

Quoting coolmommy2x:

I would get a pair of plain white for swim days and let him wear what he likes the other days.



I agree that he should wear what he likes but at that age, it's so important to just fit in. They're not mature enough (in general) to be OK with standing out, being different or being themselves.
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saltlifemama
by on Jan. 10, 2013 at 6:01 PM

If it bothers him then I think he needs to decide how to solve it. Maybe wear big boy underware on swim days and his charector ones on off days. Encouraging him to keep wearing them even if he is uncomfortable will only hurt him in the long run.

We all know kids are hit with peerpressure. It parts of life and I think we need to understand that not all of its bad. Also it doesn't have to change the child unless the child lets it or wants it too. We are parents can guild them through it but in the end they will be the ones making the choices. Sometimes we have to just let it all play out.

frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Jan. 10, 2013 at 7:45 PM

I agree with others. Have some "plain"ones for him to choose on swim days if that is what he wants to do and character ones for any other time.  Buy both and just let him decide.  DD has transitioned into the flowery type panties for girls rather than character ones on her own and she is 6.   I donated unused boys underwear to our school and they were plain white with Joe boxer around waist band like what men have.

sarah.bender.99
by on Jan. 11, 2013 at 11:46 PM

BUMP!

mjande4
by Platinum Member on Jan. 12, 2013 at 8:26 AM

This.  My boys have been wearing boxer briefs since about age 4 or 5.  The character underwear only was worn when they were toddlers.  Your son is NOT a baby, in fact, far from it.  While I agree that you should feel comfortable with your own choices, as a parent it's also my job to steer them towards good choices.  In my house "tighty whities" would not be a choice.  Has your son slept over with a friend(s) yet?  This subject is going to come up then too if he hasn't.  Good luck!

Quoting steelcrazy:

I didn't even know that they made character underwear in a size that big.  My boys stopped wearing them around 4 or 5 years old.  Now they prefer boxer briefs in any color except white.

I don't think that I would be too concerned about your son decideing to not wear character underwear any longer.  I'm sure that he is just growing up like every kid does.

BTW - I realized that my boys weren't babies any more when they were about 2 years old.  I haven't referred to them as babies in a long time, so you may want to think twice about referring to him as a baby in his presence.


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