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"Let me tell you how smart my daughter is."

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I've had similar situations, but this one happened last night and was more direct than usual.

DC had a dance performance. While we were waiting backstage, I was talking to another mom. We have nothing in common, so of course, we were talking about the kids. I asked if her daughter is going to K or 1st grade in the fall. She said, "oh, kindergarten, but she's so advanced they've already told me they're moving her to first grade. I mean, she can already do addition."

First of all, I seriously doubt that any school near us told her that. Gifted advocates are in a major fight with school districts here about differentiation, and I certainly don't think they said they'd skip her daughter just from meeting her at the registration. Second of all, addition isn't *that* advanced for a 5YO, right? DS has been adding since age 3 or so; 3YO DD can add.

What do you say in these situations? In particular, I'm wondering how I respond about my own child, rather than telling her I think she's full of it. I had the urge to say, "yeah, DS can do all of the basic functions. We've been working on word problems and linear equations." Then I realize I'd sound like a real a## if I said that. So, do you engage these conversations, especially when your child is far above what the other parent is saying?
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Gifted advocates are in a major fight with school districts here about differentiation, and I certainly don't think they said they'd skip her daughter just from meeting her at the registration.
If the above is true, why not say something like, "That's amazing. I've heard that the school districts here usually refuse to differentiate, even when it's really necessary. How did you convince them?" I mean, it's possible that she's telling the truth, and even if she isn't it's a good policy to act as though you believe her. And the upside of talking about it in this way is that you can demonstrate that you know about gifted education without having to say a single thing about your own children, if you don't want to. (And I wouldn't say a word about my kid to someone I felt was lying/bragging about her own.)
post #3 of 33
Don't engage. No, a 5-year-old adding is not a big deal. No, she probably won't get the skip because, at least in our area, kindie is all about adding and subtracting small numbers. By first grade they are working with bigger numbers, early multiplication, word problems, ect. That said, it's possible mom is downplaying her DD's abilities. Certainly most of us do so when talking to others. Of course, you don't say things like "she's so advanced," when you are about to downplay something lol.

It can be frustrating as the parent of a high-achieving gifted child because there is SO much you can't share about your child. When someone opens that door, you want to chime in but can't without sounding like a jerk trying to overshadow everyone else. In the early years, I made a lot of mistakes blabbing to mothers thinking they shared our situation based on what they said only to end up totally offending them because what they might have meant by "starting to read" was COMPLETELY different from what I consider "starting to read."

I learned to just say earnestly "that's really wonderful for her" or "you must be so proud" and leave it at that. I don't share unless I really know the family and they have similar kids preferably with different strengths.
post #4 of 33
I´ve been in similar situations before. Mostly with friends, though, and at least from what you described from her tone my friends brought up the issue more in context and many times to ask my advice or just share experiences with me (um... more because my occupation is a give-away that I´m probably gifted). The first time it happened I was pretty surprised but just rolled with it (as in let them tell me what they thought was their child was doing that was advanced and then talked about gifted education in general).

If something is relevant to the conversation I don´t hide DD´s abilities intentionally but I also don´t bring them up either, you know what I mean? So if someone asked me directly when DD started talking or something, I´d give them an honest answer but it´s not like I´d interject it spontaneously into the conversation.

FWIW, it might not be a bad idea to ask her about the grade skip. If what she says is true you might end up getting some valuable information out of the deal.

As far as I know, I don´t *think* addition and subtraction are particularly advanced from K? I have a particular memory of one of the first days of K when we were discussing subtraction and the teacher asked if it was possible to subtract 3-5 (she told the class it wasn`t) and I was particularly upset because I already knew about negative numbers. So at least at my school we were doing addition/subtraction from pretty early on. Maybe she meant her daughter could do it with very large numbers?
post #5 of 33
If I were there, I would have said "That's great! Good for you guys!"

If I was skeptical about the grade skip, I would ask about how they managed to get the school district to agree to it.

I don't share information about my kids. If I get a direct question, I answer it, but I don't share information about my kids. If it comes up, it comes up, but I try to avoid it.
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
If the above is true, why not say something like, "That's amazing. I've heard that the school districts here usually refuse to differentiate, even when it's really necessary. How did you convince them?" I mean, it's possible that she's telling the truth, and even if she isn't it's a good policy to act as though you believe her. And the upside of talking about it in this way is that you can demonstrate that you know about gifted education without having to say a single thing about your own children, if you don't want to. (And I wouldn't say a word about my kid to someone I felt was lying/bragging about her own.)
I like this approach. At best, you can pump this person for meaningful information and be able to ask some of the questions IRL that you would usually feel safe asking online only. At worst, she'll just reveal her cluelessness and you can have a good laugh and an eye roll after.
And I do agree that it is good policy to just take people's word about their own children if there is no compelling reason to do otherwise. I'd want others to do it for me. So in these instances, I give people the benefit of doubt.
A neighbour believes her elementary aged daughter to be gifted (not tested or identified or anything, as there is no process for this in elementary here), and though it would not have occurred to me to think so, who am to say she isn't? I like the mom, I like the daughter, she is very kind to our little one and certainly bright and active, so I just take the mom at her word and enjoy having the kind of conversation about gifted kids and schools IRL I am not able to have with others in this neighbourhood.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Second of all, addition isn't *that* advanced for a 5YO, right? DS has been adding since age 3 or so; 3YO DD can add.
Just saw this in new posts- ds1 could add/subtract/and multiply by 2 (and understand the concepts) before he started K, and he's not gifted. I just like math, and talked to him about it and played math games with him.
post #8 of 33
Parents brag about kids all the time for all different reasons. A five year old who can add, that's great! Really. I'm not out to compare my children to other kids and I'm definitely not about trying to one-up someone who is proud of a child's achievement. My child's accomplishments are irrelevant; I'd give a sincere congratulations and would not do anything to dampen the parent's ego, quite frankly. LOTS of parents have so much of their own ego tied up in their child's accomplishments, but don't recognize it... no reason to engage someone to prove you know more, and imo no reason to pop someone's bubble.
post #9 of 33
I just wanted to add that the judgment you are expressing in this post is one of the reasons it makes it so difficult for parents to express their feelings about their children. If you didn't want to know, why did you ask?

I've probably been that other parent--where I mistake another parent's question as sincere interest in our situation. How unfortunate to then have her answer and the questioner assumes she is lying/bragging (and maybe she is reading your post here now!).

I've read so many posts on this board where parents are expressing their fear of answering questions like this sincerely. How should she have answered the question?

She probably understood the question as, "Your child seems like a rising first grader, is this true?" And so she felt compelled to talk about why her child wasn't a first grader, but should be.

And why does her sharing her child's accomplishments (when you asked) make you feel like you need to respond by one-upping her? If you didn't want to hear her answer--then don't ask.

I think the suggestions about asking how the grade skip was accomplished is excellent, per LittleBattleAxe's suggestions. And also, the UA on this board is that we are here to support and share information--not debate giftedness, etc. I would hope that that same grace would be extended into real-life as well.
post #10 of 33
ack, let her tell you how smart her kid is. what does it really matter if your kid is more advanced? and why is she "full of it"? you mean you think she is lying about the grade advancement?

my son doesn't seem advanced to me and he tested as gifted, pretty high in visual-spatial areas in particular. but I love to talk about the cool things he's into and what he's figured out. I don't think of it as bragging. plus with a fall birthday it is actually up in the air which grade he's "supposed" to be in (depending on public or private, on school district). again I don't personally think of this as bragging if I might happen to say, "he'd be in grade 1 at so-and-so school".
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post
If I were there, I would have said "That's great! Good for you guys!"

If I was skeptical about the grade skip, I would ask about how they managed to get the school district to agree to it.

I don't share information about my kids. If I get a direct question, I answer it, but I don't share information about my kids. If it comes up, it comes up, but I try to avoid it.


Usually they meet my kid and quickly realize how silly they sounded about 10 minutes ago.
post #12 of 33
OP - You might want to take a little time figuring out what button this mom pushed to make you feel the way that you did. It's going to happen again because someone is bound to talk about how Tommy is the star of his basketball team, and how Suzy has a special talent in art......you get the drift.

My first reaction to these types of comments, and I've heard plenty, is that this parent is very proud. And I think it's great that they are proud of their child. I'm also always a little surprised that people put so much out there. I don't boast publicly about my dc's special talents and gifts but many people do. Bottom line for me is whatever their child can do does not detract from who my children are and what they are capable of.
post #13 of 33
Could it be that it irritated you because you're in the middle of a fight with the school system and made it clear that the woman was deliberately lying to you?

It's a double layer of frustration. Both the frustration of being reminded of the struggle to get differentiation in the local school system and the anger at being lied to.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Could it be that it irritated you because you're in the middle of a fight with the school system and made it clear that the woman was deliberately lying to you?

It's a double layer of frustration. Both the frustration of being reminded of the struggle to get differentiation in the local school system and the anger at being lied to.
But "Heinlein's Razor" is needed here:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Why assume she is lying? Maybe someone said to her, "Oh your daughter is so smart she could go straight to first grade" and this parent took this literally and thought that they were really going to move her daughter to first grade. Who knows.

I guess OP what I am trying to say is that sometimes people just say stuff without really thinking, or they are mistaken. I don't go around telling everyone what my kids are doing, but I have on occasion responded frankly to a question and I would not understand why that person would then say I was lying or bragging. If you ask someone a question, you can't control what they will say.

Sorry this touched on a raw nerve, VisionaryMom, and I hope my other post wasn't too much--I guess I was really shocked by the comparisons. My kids are really very different from most other kids I meet (partially because of giftedness, but also because they are just quirky ) that I don't even go near comparing them. It doesn't do any good, yk?
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
I just wanted to add that the judgment you are expressing in this post is one of the reasons it makes it so difficult for parents to express their feelings about their children. If you didn't want to know, why did you ask?
I was making conversation because we had to wait backstage 45 minutes together. I asked if her daughter was going to K or 1st grade and which school. That's it.

I do happen to know that the school they're considering does not grade-skip K because we've looked and asked these questions for my son. Besides, this mom also told me that she was "very upset" with our dance instructor because she "flat-out refused" to skip her DD to the next dance level. I've seen the daughter dance, and she's average for the class - definitely not good enough to move to another class, even if dance weren't entirely age-based. So, I am making comparisons on her comments about education to her comments about dance and using her daughter's ability to add as a high-point (since one would presumably state the highest-level skill someone can do).
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
But "Heinlein's Razor" is needed here:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Why assume she is lying? Maybe someone said to her, "Oh your daughter is so smart she could go straight to first grade" and this parent took this literally and thought that they were really going to move her daughter to first grade. Who knows.

I guess OP what I am trying to say is that sometimes people just say stuff without really thinking, or they are mistaken. I don't go around telling everyone what my kids are doing, but I have on occasion responded frankly to a question and I would not understand why that person would then say I was lying or bragging. If you ask someone a question, you can't control what they will say.

Sorry this touched on a raw nerve, VisionaryMom, and I hope my other post wasn't too much--I guess I was really shocked by the comparisons. My kids are really very different from most other kids I meet (partially because of giftedness, but also because they are just quirky ) that I don't even go near comparing them. It doesn't do any good, yk?
My point wasn't to compare. I don't want to do the parental competition I see here, and I suppose my question was how *not* to or whether I'm wrong not to comment back. My IQ is in the 150s, and I have limited social skills. I've struggled with social interaction my entire life. I just.don't.get.it. Intelligence is a tough area for me, and I admit it. I don't always know how to respond to comments about others' intelligence, particularly when it doesn't add up (no pun intended) to my experiences. Both DH and I come from families of people with well above average intelligence.

When I compare DC to my nephews, he seems completely normal. Around other kids, it's not that way. We had him tested when he was a young 4 because there were emotional/behavioral concerns we had that turned out to be related to giftedness and not so much behavior. He tested at that point with the average 8YO. We don't have personal relationships IRL with other parents who understand our issues with DS. DD, who the psych said from his informal eval is probably more advanced than DS in language, is different. She enjoys and understands people. DS has a harder time with people (much like me). The best we've gotten from any school here is that they will pay for a specialized computer math program for him to do while his classmates have math. I'd love a parent to discuss the issue with, but I don't think a 5YO who can add is at the same point.

So...I don't think the mom was lying about her daughter's abilities. I'm sure she can add. It's the idea that she would say, "they thought she was so smart when we signed up that they're going to skip her to 1st grade." In all honesty, who among us on this board would believe that? School registration is a gauntlet of official documentation and basic skills info, and a grade-skip isn't going to be decided in that environment.

The mom is 23. I also have very young parents and have worked in a volunteer capacity with young parents. I know there's a tendency to "prove" to the world that your child is not all of the things social myths say they are, and I feel certain that's part of what this mom is doing. I completely understand that; I'm sympathetic to the desire to prove to everyone that you are a capable and loving parent by showing how well your child is doing. I just think in this case it's an overstatement - understandable, but still the basis of my question.

My only question here is what the appropriate response is. I'm not going to confront her on the grade-skipping, but should I say what DS is doing? Perhaps if her daughter is gifted the kids may enjoy spending more time together. (We've been having a hard time with DS making friends with people his age.) OTOH, maybe I sound like I want to get into a competition about whose child knows more, and I don't. If I don't say something, am I harming DS by passively hiding what he knows or who he is? Over the long term, does that mean he reads what I'm saying as not being happy with him? My question here is about me and my response and not about the other mom.
post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Could it be that it irritated you because you're in the middle of a fight with the school system and made it clear that the woman was deliberately lying to you?

It's a double layer of frustration. Both the frustration of being reminded of the struggle to get differentiation in the local school system and the anger at being lied to.
I don't think I responded in any bad way to her. I just said, "that's great for you guys." Really, backstage at a dance performance is about making sure no child goes running on stage too early. The parents are bored, and the talk is very chit-chatty. I can't do chit-chat, but she'd asked me several questions. Since my son's class is kids who were 4-5 last fall, the only question I could think of was about her dd's grade.

I am socially inept. I know that. It's caused me significant grief my entire life. I really didn't mean to come across as being mean, but apparently I do. That's why I'd rather stay curled up with a book at home. I understand books.
post #18 of 33
I think you are sounding more judgemental the more you write. She is young? So that proves...what? I was 21 when I had my son, 23 when I had my first daughter and 26 when I had my second daughter. I can guarantee you I never felt any urge to 'prove' anything to anyone. I have one child with special needs and learning disabilities, one who is highly gifted and one who seems about average. Age of the parent has nothing to do with it. You do not know for sure that this mother is not telling the truth. Maybe the school is planning to skip her daughter based on her birthday (maybe she just missed the cutoff), maybe she is very educationally advanced, maybe a dozen different reasons. Honestly this post just seems like it was written to give you a chance to prove something, not her.
post #19 of 33
VisionaryMom, telling her, "that's great for you guys" was perfect. No need to engage, and your reply was gracious and certainly not out of place within the social context. Your reply was NOT socially inept, it was perfectly acceptable. I would just make a mental note that in the future, when it happens again (and it will), the parent is simply proud of the child.

It helps me tremendously when I try to attribute the best possible motivation to what people say, when I have nothing else to go on. Does that make sense?
post #20 of 33
I normally just say something like "That's great." I might inquire about the school district grade-skipping if I was genuinely interested, but I'd be low-key about that too. If she's full of hot air, it should be obvious quickly.
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