Things I’ve observed about having a TALL child

Things I've Observed About Having a Tall Child

A Teen Driver.

The oldest is about to venture out on his own.

Driving without me or his father in the seat next to him.

This is happening Sunday, to be exact.

If you’ve been following along with me for a while you may remember that he lived through and fully recovered from a traumatic brain injury (epidural hematoma) at 12.

And that he recently turned 16.

In Virginia, you must be 16 and 3 months to move on from a learner’s permit.

A boy and his car

Car Shopping.

Searching for a vehicle for him has been an ordeal that has been going on for months.  He is 6’5″ when barefoot.  If you have never seen a tall person driving a car.  Let me tell you what this means.  Typically, the seat is placed as far back into the recesses of the vehicle that its rails allow.  Then the steering wheel is raised to its highest position.  If you have a telescopic wheel, that may end up being pulled out for their arms be in a comfortable position since the body is so far back.  We have searched and searched with the main problem being that his knee hits the steering column when pressing the brake.  I have long legs and have driven (not owned) cars where this happens.  It requires you laying your knee to the side when depressing the brake, not the safest situation.  So any car where this happened to him was a “no go” in my book.

Learner's Permit

We thought we would end up with a mid-size SUV or truck for him.  My husband recently traded in his vehicle for a Mustang.  We knew our son was able to fit into my husband’s car and we ended finding a used one (update: he grew some more and his head touched the roof, another “no go” in my book, so the vehicle was traded for another. FYI- a Dodge Charger has one of the most spacious hip, leg and headroom areas in a sedan).


Observations about tall people.

The ordeal made me think about the other things that go along with being tall.


At a size 15 update: at age 18, it’s now a size 16) shoe, ordering them online is our only option.  Thank goodness we live in a day and age where that is possible.  Certain shoes that he may like only make some styles up to a 13 or 14 and a certain athletic shoe that runs small does not fit in a 15.

Shirts and Pants.

His inseam is 36″.  There is one department store that sometimes carries Levi’s in this length.  His preference for American Eagle must be ordered.  Luckily, there is a store in the mall for returns because we learned which cuts worked through trial and error. A lot of teen brand T-shirts are a hit or miss on if they are long enough for his torso.  Big and Tall sections don’t help, it seems to mean tall and round. So we hunt for an athletic fit.


And lastly, socks.  Yes, those one size fits most.  Well, he’s stuck with packs of black or white Under Armour with an occasional Nike Elite when I’m feeling financially generous (2 pairs cost more than the 6 pack of the other) and forget about the trendy ones.



Another observation with a tall child is the fact they will always be asked if they play basketball.



Where does it come from?

And my last one is personal.

We are always asked where he gets his height.

Lots of times from complete strangers.

This one bugs only me.  The go-to answer usually is “oh, there’s some throughout the family”. Based on my limited findings, in the U.S., the average height for a male is around 5’10” (my husband fits the bill) and the average height for a female is 5’4″ (oh wait, I’m 5’8″-not supermodel height, but quite a bit taller than the average).

I realize that this question shouldn’t bother me.

But it does.

And here’s why.

As a tween and young teen, I towered over everyone.  I have distinct memories of being able to see over a sea of heads in school hallways.  I remember standing next to my mother (who is right under the average height) and asking why I looked like the  “Jolly Green Giant” next to her.  And why were my shoulders so broad and my feet so big.  My jeans were never long enough and by the time I was in my late teens I switched to men’s jeans to get the inseam I wanted (glad they’ve remedied this).  My mom was great at positively affirming my features, but they still bothered me.

Sports cars, men’s jeans, and teen angst!

When we found the paperwork on my Scottish great-great-grandmother and it said she was 5’6″ in the 1920s (at age 64), I realized I must take after her.  I have learned to be content with those things that bothered me when I was younger.

Self Esteem.

Some of those features I’ve come to admire.  And that comes from the fact that my kids have long legs, broad shoulders, and big hands and feet because I do.  So while I smile and uncomfortably say “oh, there’s some throughout the family”, inside I am thinking “well, at least SOME of it came from me”.  I am learning sometimes what I thought was a curse is actually a blessing.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

Let your light shine!


21 thoughts on “Things I’ve observed about having a TALL child

  1. Yes! So the basketball comment! Or netball! We have tall children and they have always been asked if they are older than they actually are. This has been difficult when they are in the younger stages when people assume this and expect more of them.Our daughter is starting to catch up with me and it’s kind of a strange feeling to think our littlies will end up towering above me. My husband in 6 “3 and I am 5 “6. I remember the feeling of being too tall when I was young, of wanting to be petite like my friends. I too have made a point of encouraging our kids in their tallness and like your family we celebrate it. Thanks for sharing about your lovely family, I always enjoy reading your stories and encouragements 🙂

    1. We definitely had the situations of people expecting more than the age is capable of. Both my boys have passed me and my daughter checks herself on the measuring wall every day 😂. I’m glad they love being tall!!

  2. So much this.
    And I am short, so I have no idea what being tall feels like, but I’m certain it’s nice to reach things. My Sassy is my giantesse. She was born tiny, but around 6 months, she basically starting growing madly to make up for it. So many people thought I should take the baby things away when she was only a toddler. Clothes shopping was maddening for about 6 years. From size 8-12 (not quite two years!) she wore dresses and leggins because she grew too fast to keep her in pants. She’s slowed down some now, and now she worries that she won’t grow more. She’s 13 and people assume she’s an adult, which is often icky.
    My son (23) is 6’3, but that’s not uncommon, and bless him, he’s feet are only 12.

    When asked where they get it, I inform people that height relies on multi-factorial inheritance and that usually shuts them up.

    Wishing you safe travels for your son. 🙂

    1. I’ll have to remember that description! I’m sure people were shocked when he was in a diaper at 2 and looked 5. His feet didn’t fit on the stamp pad they put on the decorative birth certificate so I figured we were in for large feet!
      The 14 y/o ‘s pants keep getting shorter, but I’m lucky that it’s fashionable right now!
      The 12 y/o is hoping she got the tall gene, but that remains to be seen 🙂

  3. I always liked being a little taller than average at 5/8″. My sister, who is 5’4″, has a husband and three sons who are all between 6’4 and 6’7′. All her family photos make her look like a hobbit. So glad your son recovered from his trauma!

  4. My folks were tall – Dad 6’2″, Mom 5’8″. I’m the shortie of the siblings at 5’6″: brothers are 6’8″ (no, he never played basketball! computer genius who grows orchids); 6’5″ (did the pole vault back in the day of bamboo poles, now takes folks on self discovery treks); and 6’3″ (a banker and fisherman, dad & grampa); a sister my height (accountant, skier, mom & nana); and a sister 5’11” (cyclist, painter, mom & nana). Maybe you and your kids get this one: You were made tall so others have someone to look up to. I admire your willingness to be seen.

    1. That is such a nice thought behind being tall. 🙂 Your family sounds lovely! Our boys much prefer adventure to organized sports and our daughter is a soccer player who loves to surf when we head back to the beach.

  5. Though I only grew to 6′, it happened early in my childhood. I had a growth spurt that amazed people apparently. I recall my Mum having to explain as best possible where my height might be coming from (both she and my father were a few inches shorter than me). I like that you are able to see some of you in your son. He’ll appreciate that more when he is older with a family hopefully. This was a great read. 😀

    1. Thanks! It’s a strange day when you become shorter than your children. The 14 and 16 year old have both passed me. The 12 year old measures daily against the wall, waiting for her turn 🙂

  6. OH MY GOSH CAN I RELATE! I’m nearly 5’7″ tall and people said I was tall while I was growing up. I never felt tall, but my Mother is only 5’4″ so I did feel tall standing next too her as a teenager and now.
    My son is 6’3″. People always comment on it, and wonder how I gave birth to him. He’s built like a Y broad shoulders and chest, with a long torso, and long legs…think Johnny Bravo. 🙂 Hello, he wasn’t that big at birth! Only 7 pounds, 7 ounces! 🙂

    My uncle, and great uncles on my Mother’s side were tall, and my son definitely takes after the Russell side of the family.
    My daughter on the other hand is only 5’3″. She’s got He-Man’s family genes for body build and type.
    So, I have both sides of sizing issues to deal with. Big Baby Boy’s shoe size is only 13-14 so finding shoes isn’t as hard as it could be, but finding jeans, and slacks that fit his strong thighs has always been an issue. It means buying pants that are way too big in the waist, and hips then have them tailored. Sigh.
    Baby Girl is busty so finding tops is super frustrating. We have to buy tops that are way too big to fit the girls then have the waist taken in. Forget button up blouses! Thankfully there are tons of petite sizes and styles out for jeans, skirts, and slacks these days.

    I feel your pain. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this boat.

    1. My oldest was 9 lbs 11 oz at birth. They didn’t want the others to get that big! We have the similar issues with his thighs. He has certain cuts that fit the way he likes. I’m always happy when it’s shorts season. My 14 year old son has bypassed both me and my husband. My 12 year old measures herself almost daily hoping to shoot past the 5’2″ that she’s currently at. If her feet are any indicators she’ll shoot up! 😄

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