Culture / Parenting / Thinking / March 6, 2012

The Risks of "Redshirting"

My Response to a recent 60 Minutes feature on the practice of “redshirting” kindergartners.

On Sunday night 60 Minutes did a feature on “redshirting,” the practice of holding children back from starting kindergarten with the intention of giving them an advantage by gaining an extra year (see video below). This is distinctly different from holding a child back due to legitimate behavioral, social, or learning development concerns. The parents interviewed cited the additional social development a child gained that would carry forward even to middle school and high school. They mentioned the potential behavioral development and even the physical advantages their children would have in sports. There are statistics to support the idea that there are real advantages to this practice. In his bestseller, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell even discusses how the month a child is born can create an advantage in certain arenas.

Something about this practice strikes me as discordant with the heart of the gospel. I do not mean to cast aspersions on those parents who do it, but rather to bring to the surface some questionable and possibly unnoticed undercurrents of redshirting.

Read the full article HERE.


Mar 06, 2012

Be careful to not project the values of the mom in the video on to all parents who hold their kids back. Sometimes it’s the most loving thing a parent can do. I appreciate your thoughts, but the article seems a bit broad-brush.

    Mar 06, 2012


    The article was, admittedly, broad brush. The point was mainly to point to the tendencies we have to make self (or child) serving decisions rather than biblically based ones. I mentioned in the first paragraph that redshirting differs from the many valid reasons to keep a child back a year.

    Even some of the comments at reveal the very problems I was seeking to point out. There was much more that could have been said to nuance some of this, but there sadly wasn’t room to do so.

Mar 06, 2012

Thanks. I have significant appreciation for your insight and the issues you raised in the article.

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