When Discrimination Strikes: The Curse Of Being Tall

Oh my darling, sometimes it’s hard to be tall. I know that. You’re only 2 and yet everybody expects so much of you. It’s not their fault. They think you’re older; 3… maybe even 4.

Toddler Group

Today, I felt my heart breaking a little as I saw you trying to fit in our new toddler group.

I saw the mum who glared at you as you collided with her little girl. I heard her moaning to her friend about “that child” who was charging around without looking where she was going. But that’s what 2 year olds do. It’s because you’re tall. They think you’re old enough to know better.

I know it was an accident. 2 year olds can’t predict when and where moving objects will cross their path – they just focus on their destination and run. And more than that, you struggle to stop yourself once you have momentum on your side, and your reaction times are still slow.

You’re only young, after all.

Don’t worry my precious darling. You’ll get there. I am not worried.

The leaders asked you questions that no 2 year old would be able to answer. They wanted to know where you live and when your birthday was. I would never expect you to answer that. It’s knowledge beyond your years.

It’s okay. They were only trying to be friendly. It’s just that, because you’re tall, they thought you were older. They assumed you’d be able to answer. I’m sure they thought they were helping you to settle in. But I saw the panic in your eyes. You didn’t know how to respond. You cowered behind me to hide from their gaze.

You’re doing just fine. You’re a bright, inquisitive little girl. Those people expect too much of you. They’re not doing it on purpose. You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

tall child head and shoulders

The Reputation

And yet, at the same time, I’m struggling with it. I don’t blame you at all, but we seem to getting ourselves a reputation.

I know you’re not rough – you’re a kind-hearted, happy little girl, who is brilliant at taking turns and sharing. But, like every 2 year old, you have lapses of self-discipline every so often. Sometimes the desire to go on the slide becomes too strong and you run to the front of the queue. That’s normal. But because you’re so much bigger than the other children, you accidentally knock them over with your enthusiasm.

Of course I always step in and gently lead you back to your place in the line… but I can hear the other parents chuntering. I know that they wouldn’t be as judgemental if you were smaller. They’d probably smile and maybe even shoot me a reassuring nod.

But as it is, we’re frowned on. They watch us like a hawk, thinking you’re going to lash out at their precious baby. I know you would never do that – you have such a gentle, loving nature. Don’t worry, my darling. They don’t know any better. They are judging you on your height, and, as we keep saying, you’re tall.

It’s hard for you.

All you need is a calm reminder about what is expected. You’re not an aggressive child at all. A quick word and you will hand back the toy you took, or return to your place in the queue. You never defy me or tantrum when I ask you to share. But these people don’t see that.

They only see the “big kid” who’s throwing her weight around; the 4 year old who pinches toys off the babies and always wants her turn first.

It’s because you’re tall….

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  1. 1
    Nicole - Tales from Mamaville

    I can relate… my son has always been taller than his age, and looked like a 3-year-old at 2. Which led to answering a lot of questions, like ‘Why isn’t he in school yet?’ and looks that suggested ‘He’s too big for this slide’. Of course he doesn’t know or care, but I do (or at least did)! Oh, and buying pants are such a bother too – loose from the waist or short, take your pick!!!

  2. 4

    Aww poor baby girl, it is not her fault she is tall. Other parents shouldn’t be so quick to judge, there is such a thing as tall children you know! We always have the opposite problem, Leo is a little dot and when he starts chatting away in full on sentences and stuff people are always so shocked! He is 3 and a half and still fits into age 18months trousers he is so small. People just need to learn children come in all shapes and sizes and it is never really ok to judge a child or make mum feel uncomfortable, I hope you settle into the toddler group soon and people realise your daughter is behaving exactly like any other 2 year old would, she’s just tall that’s all. xx #BlogCrush

  3. 6

    That is so heartbreaking for both of you. I love this post. Only you can guide her and help her deal with these issues, and as she gets older she will be able to comprehend what you’re telling her. But she’s only two. Have you tried to make the other mom’s know what her age is? It might help them understand too. Thinking of you both. Well done mom! You’re doing great. #BlogCrush

    • 7
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you for the encouragement! I do try to explain that she’s only young, but I feel like a broken record sometimes. And I don’t want to seem like I just make excuses for her behaviour all the time. But I do think that people expect far more of her than they should. Thank you for joining #blogcrush

  4. 8

    aww bless, it does get better. We are a family of tall people ( my eldest kids tower above me!) My little girl was an august baby and really tall for her age, so she looked so much older and everyone expected to behave older just like your little girl. She’s in Secondary school now and not only have some of the other children caught up in height, you can’t really tell the difference in maturity much any more. It is really sad though. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to remind teachers that they expect too much from my youngest in the class children (all three of them are summer babies!)

  5. 9
    pam lorimer

    This rang so many bells with me, having a very tall boy. So much judgement and expectation and its not gair constantly defending or explanining. It will get easier i send you lots of love #blogcrush

  6. 10
    Angela Watling

    The poor thing. I can relate to this. My daughter has just turned 2 and she’s very tall for her age. She’s shot above her peer group over the last few months. She’s also a heavy child – she’s slim as anything but she’s strong. Like your daughter, she builds up momentum and sometimes can’t stop herself. I’m not surprised she’s tall – her dad and I are both 6″ 1 ^ 6″ resp. But I remember what it was like to be a head above everyone else and I hate that she’s getting that judgment before she’s even old enough to know what judgement is!

    You’re right that all we can do is continue to support them for the age that they actually are. (And perhaps get them some “I am 2!” badges?!). I just wish other parents wouldn’t be so quick to assume bad behaviour! #BlogCrush

  7. 11
    kristin mccarthy

    I birth little pigeons buuuut my bf had a son who was twice my daughters size and she has always dealt with this matter. I remember her being frustrated and people treating her child like he was five and not barely three!

  8. 12
    Peachy and her Mommy

    As a child I was tall for my age. Now I’m relatively average. Peachy is, at only 15 months, right on track to be tall too. It might be difficult now but there will come a time, very soon, when your little one will like the fact that people think she’s older. #BlogCrush

  9. 15
    Lisa Pomerantz

    My littles are tall, and I always joke, that by Tuesday, they will be taller than me. The truth is I am the runt of the litter, in many ways. 🙂 I always wanted to be tall, but that is because I am short. I am sure it is vice versa… #blogcrush Lucy! From your short friend, Lisa

  10. 16

    Oh I completely sympathise. It’s so so hard though. My son was given a really tough time by a teacher when he was in year 4 – he was the tallest boy in the class and big as well so looked a lot older. He was repeatedly being reprimanded so much more than the other children to the stage where he was sobbing every day that he came home. When I questioned the teacher she said she knew she was being harder on him because she considered him so much older than the rest of the class – it was awful and she was apologetic but my heart just went out to my son – just like yours with your daughter people are so quick to blame the big ones when really 9 times out of 10 they are the gentle giants as such. #DreamTeam

  11. 18
    Yvadney @ Mums That Slay

    Yeah, that must be so hard and has certainly made me think when i’m in similar situations, not that I’m a judgy mum, but as a mum of too average bordering on small children, this has never crossed my mind. Yvadney x #DreamTeam

    • 19
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you for taking my point on board. To be honest, it’s something I’d never really considered before (I was always really small for my age – my kids take after their dad height-wise), but it is tough for tall kids

  12. 20

    I can imagine this is so tough, a friend’s little girl and several of my nieces have the same issue. Its as though they need to walk round with an “I am 4” birthday badge just to remind people. My daughter was prem, so was much smaller for a long time. She gets quite annoyed by anyone trying to baby her now as she is fiercely independent. #brilliantblogposts

  13. 22
    Alison (MadHouseMum)

    This happened to my friend’s little boy. It was a nightmare for her – always being judged, because he was so tall! The funny thing is, as a teenager he was average height, if on the smaller side. People are so quick to judge. Stay strong! Alison x #ablogginggoodtime

  14. 24
    Nichole Goodland

    Wow. I never thought someone else could write exactly how I have been feeling and how people see and treat my 2 year old little girl. She is 2 but she wears 4/5 year old clothes. When going to preschool she is one of the tallest there and yet she is the youngest. It has been so difficult and I don’t know how many times I have to say to people, “but she is only 2”, and “her daddy is 6’7” to try and get them to understand. People judge before knowing the facts.

    Thanking for sharing this. 🙂


  15. 29
    Nico @ yumsome

    All three of mine were tall for their age – just as I was – so I completely empathise.

    I still remember people expecting so much more of me because they thought I was older, and my kids got the same too. “Oh, stop crying, you’re a big boy now” – when my sons were mere toddlers. (And even if they were big boys, why should they not be allowed to cry?!)

    As adults, people think that because we’re ‘big and strong’, we can take anything, and just don’t stop to think that we are subject the to same feelings as shorter people. Somehow it’s more acceptable to get upset if you’re petite!

    Would I want to be shorter though? Not on your life – I love being tall… in fact, I revel in it! In high heels, I’m almost six and half feet… it’s rather nice to tower over most people!

    I truly hope your daughter loves her height, and learns to make it work for her!


    • 30
      Lucy At Home

      I think this is sadly very true – “Somehow it’s more acceptable to get upset if you’re petite”. It’s ridiculous when you think about it – everyone has feelings and emotions – height has nothing to do with it.

      But I’m so glad that you are happy in your skin and you’re rocking your tallness! *high five*

  16. 31
    An Imperfect Mum

    I can recognise a lot in this post because my eldest is also very tall. He also happens to have autism. Tall kid = higher social expectations. Taller kid with autism = recipe for disaster. I just wish people would stop judging by appearance especially when some disabilities are invisible. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  17. 33

    Unfortunately many people are judgemental based on assumptions. My son is autistic. Sometimes you do feel that you shouldn’t have to explain why he behaves in a certain way. You begin to feel that youare making excuses when really you shouldn’t have to.

  18. 35

    Ah, my friend’s daughter looks about 6, she’s 4. It is tough and people always expect her to be older and wiser than she is. It is tough. The thing is that her height and the way people expect her to be more mature has almost encouraged her to be more mature to live up to the expectations of society associated with her height. Don’t worry about your daughter. She’ll be great. Pen x. #brillblogposts

    • 36
      Lucy At Home

      This is a good point – I’m a strong believe that children (well everyone really) live up to the expectations that we have for them. Let’s hope the high expectations on my little 2 year old turn out for the best too 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  19. 37

    People can be so quick to judge and make assumptions. My daughter accidentally pushed a dolls pram into another child (who didn’t even bat an eye lid) at a indoor play centre the other week and even though i apologised the other child was taken to the other end of the room to play. My daughter was just excited because she had never been there before and misjudged the space.

    • 38
      Lucy At Home

      Urrrgh I hate it when people do that – kids are kids. If you pull them away at every sign of a bump or disagreement, they’ll never learn how to deal with conflict, or how to give someone else the benefit of the doubt

  20. 40
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Oh no, that sounds tough. I think everyone makes a split second judgement and height usually does come into it. As a toddler, my little one had heaps of hair and she too was anticipated to be older than she actually was. It’s such a difficult one and no one is really to blame. Good luck, and hurrah for being tall. Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam xx

  21. 42
    Honest Mum

    This makes me sad and reminds me of my Mum telling me that people would assume because I spoke early (first word at 6 months #chatterbox forever hey) that I was older and therefore expected emotional maturity. Loved this post x

    • 43
      Lucy At Home

      Yeah it’s a shame because children develop at different rates. I was a really late walker (19mths), but I was a real chatterbox. My cousin, who is just 1 day older than me, was running around at just 9mths, but couldn’t communicate very well until much later.

  22. 45
    Paula from Her Life Is Love

    Hi Lucy, I try not to height discriminate 🙂 My own daughter is tall for her age, too…and she’s only two, but most people think she is three. Haven’t had anyone guess 4, yet. Just keep showing her your reassuring love so that she’ll love her height, too. I think being tall is awesome!

  23. 47
    Susie at This Is Me Now

    Aww, my friend’s experienced this. Her daughter’s very tall and she often felt other people tutting or looking at her like she should be behaving better at a toddler group, but she was the same age, just tall for her age! Just stand and say it loudy so they all hear! Hope you’re ok xx #ablogginggoodtime

  24. 49
    Accepting the Liebster Award - Her Life is Love

    […] mothering two girls and I like the personal approach she takes with some of her posts, like in When Discrimination Strikes: The Curse of Being Tall and When Selfless Love Becomes Self Abuse.  Aside from writing posts that are honest and […]

  25. 51
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    And it has always been that way, it seems. Many years ago, my grandmother was getting on a streetcar with two of her grandchildren, both the exact same age, 3 and some months. One was my sister, who was one of the rare shorties in our family, and the other was our cousin who was very tall. Children under 5 could ride free, but the driver insisted by grandmother was lying, and a ridiculous “obvious” lie at that! People should know that same-age children can vary a great deal in height and size, just as adults do. But, no.

  26. 53

    It’s amazing how mindless we parents can be. We expect the world to unfold kindly in front of our own children, but let another kid bump into our kid or slightly disrupt their space, and it becomes critical. I feel for you. I feel like kids are way more accepting than we parents are.

    Navigating this space together is something we grown folk need to learn to do better. We’d be smart to take cues from the kids, who seem to manage things like this just fine. Love your approach to this!

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