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Stopping yourself

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have a hard time not bragging about DS when someone asks about his abilities. I guess it's not even really bragging, really... but I provide more info than needed and I need to remind myself to hold back a bit.

The other day, DS (3) was counting. I think he was somewhere in the 20's, not a big deal for him. Another mom with a son his age said "Did he just say 26? (or whatever it was...) That's really good for three!" And I say, "Oh, ya he likes numbers... he's been doing that for a long time." Other mom, "Really?" Me, "Yes, he started counting at 16 months or so, really understanding quantity too. " Other mom, "My DS can only count to 13." This is where I realize I've gone too far. I tell her that her ds is doing really well and that my ds is just kind of obsessed. I mean, counting to 13 is totally normal for a young three year old, probably even doing well. I wish I could just shut it off. But I want to be able to say good things about ds. Probably especially since he also has some special needs and people tend to think he isn't smart. But I don't want to make other moms feel bad about their own perfectly wonderful kids.

Anyway, this was more of a vent than anything. Thought some here may understand.
post #2 of 21
I feel like I've been on both sides of the fence because my kids were well below average in their preschool years. And during this time I was the mother who would listen to others boast about how early their kids did everything. But I didn't feel bad. In fact, at this time I was very well liked, I think because the mothers didn't feel any threat from my kids.

But all that's changed dramatically since my kids have entered school and have had some kind of brain growth spurt, somehow rising to the very top. The other mothers are much more distant and I know it isn't even related to anything I've said because I don't brag. I can't relate when they talk about how it takes their child so long to do the homework because it takes my kid 5 minutes and he doesn't need my help. My kindergardener was teaching another girl third grade math. Maybe they hear things from their kids, I don't know. My son takes out all the books he's read in the past week and it's a tall stack. People notice this stuff and they aren't as friendly. Sad to say. Point is, it doesn't matter that much what you do or don't say.
post #3 of 21
I think you probably felt worse about bragging than the mother felt upon hearing it. When I first hear things like what you said, my first gut reaction is, "Wait... is this kid more amazing than my kid?" but then I correct my impressions. After all, there is nothing another mom can say that could make me forget that my children are the most important people in the world to me. For the most part, I like to hear parents thrilled about their children's accomplishments. This may partly be because I tend to run into many subpar parents (smoking, spanking, kids are dirty, etc.) in a lot of the parks around here. Occasionally, I will peg someone as a really lousy parent and then the person will talk about how her 2 year old already knows his ABCs and numbers and then it's kind of a relief to hear things like that. Even in an obviously upper class area where there's less smoking, dirt, and spanking going on, it's nice to hear a parent's genuine enthusiasm over his/her child. Enthusiasm is key. If you brag in a smug/blase tone, that is more annoying than if you sound truly excited about your child.
post #4 of 21
OP, just practise saying "Oh ya, he likes numbers!" and move on. Sure, some people will get huffy if a child is very different from their child, but most won't. But many people could take volunteering what age he started counting as bragging, and that will put them off.
post #5 of 21
Just love your child and be gracious to others--which it sounds like you are doing. I love to complement/recognize talents of other kids and it doesn't bother me if the other parent reveals too much .

It is nice to be able to share appreciation for others, you know? And I agree with the previous poster, style matters--whether you are sincere or bragging.

Its funny as my kids get older, they want to share what they worked really hard at doing, not what comes easily to them. So what they are interested in sharing with neighbors, etc. isn't always the most "wow" thing, but they are proud because they worked hard at mastering something.

And stlmomof2, you kid will always be the most amazing child to you, yk? Because you are the mama
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
I do wish where I'd left it was "He really likes numbers." I am probably more sensitive than the other mom was. Or at least I hope so. I will work on it. She didn't seem put off, maybe slightly concerned about her own DS, but not annoyed with me or anything, at least not on the surface.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by stlmomof2 View Post
This may partly be because I tend to run into many subpar parents (smoking, spanking, kids are dirty, etc.) in a lot of the parks around here.
I guess you can count me amongst the subpar parents, then. I don't smoke, and I'd never dream of spanking, but DD is allowed to get as dirty as she wants (and she often wants to get very dirty indeed).
post #8 of 21
You mention your ds having special needs. Are his special needs obvious upon meeting him (physical disability, etc.)? If not, people may not even know that he has special needs. If his special needs are something like being on the autism spectrum, I can understand how you might worry that others are taking his counting, for instance, as a sign of some sorty of savant characteristic and feel defensive.

I'd try to focus more on bringing up how much he is a "normal" or "typical" three year old boy if you are feeling like others are judging him as abnormal or unintelligent as a result of his special needs. The "he really likes numbers" comment seems perfect, like you note. Maybe you can have a store house of comments in your mind to follow that up with that focus on his typical three year old interests then. "He loves toy trucks and has lots of them so he learned to count all of those trucks!" or something like that.
post #9 of 21
My ds1 is labeled "profoundly gifted" based on his IQ test and school-administered tests. He was NOT an early talker, in fact, he has had some speech difficulties that we still deal with from time to time. In his preschool, parents really valued early talking and sentence formation, and he just wasn't there. He obviously picked up things at a rapid pace but struggled to speak. Looking back, I can see that there were times when I probably focused on things he did better than his peer group because I felt he was viewed with sympathy, because of his language deficits.

I've also really, really struggled with the labeling of children in general, and I think there are probably as many negatives to labeling a child "gifted" as there are positives. Since my children have started school, I have focused much more on their accomplishments, the things they have had to work at in order to achieve. Simply being intelligent really isn't meaningful to me if someone does nothing with that intelligence (or with anything else). I find that focusing on what they are working on is much more meaningful, and when I talk with other parents about what our kids are doing, I want to talk about how dd wants to learn how to crochet -- not that she is reads five grade levels above her peers. I want people to know that my son is hoping to make the diving team next year and is working really hard at it -- not that he has bypassed the next three years of math curriculum because he has an innate ability to comprehend and manipulate numbers.

I can see how OP would have a hard time finding restraint, because it IS exciting when someone asks about our children and they ARE doing amazing things. I have just come to really feel that praising children for things over which they have no control is not really meaningful, and I worry about the longterm consequences of it. So I've made a concerted effort, and have asked others in our lives to as well, to focus on creativity, hard work, acts of kindness, rather than just "X is so smart!" or "Q is so pretty!" And I know, too, that when, say, I'm talking with grandma, or certain other close friends, I can brag a little -- but not with acquaintances.

I'm also sure my current restraint is based on my own experiences of being labeled when I was a child and spending far too much time trying to prove to the world that I was a more comprehensive person than that label.
post #10 of 21
It seems like most on this thread are advising that parents of the gifted not mention the giftedness (early passing of milestones/test scores/etc.) in order to not appear like they are bragging. And that makes sense and I think this works well with some stranger you are never going to see again at the park. But this can also be problematic, especially with acquaintances you see on a regular basis. For one, I think women are especially intuitive and they can pick up when somebody else is withholding information or trying not to say certain things. What if they can already figure out that your kids are smart and find it odd that you never mention it? What if they think your not mentioning it because you think their children are average or below average? I've thought about all of these things and I think for right now, if the subject comes up, it is best to be honest and forthright and say my children are doing well in school. If people think that is bragging then it really is their problem.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
You mention your ds having special needs. Are his special needs obvious upon meeting him (physical disability, etc.)? If not, people may not even know that he has special needs. If his special needs are something like being on the autism spectrum, I can understand how you might worry that others are taking his counting, for instance, as a sign of some sorty of savant characteristic and feel defensive.

I'd try to focus more on bringing up how much he is a "normal" or "typical" three year old boy if you are feeling like others are judging him as abnormal or unintelligent as a result of his special needs. The "he really likes numbers" comment seems perfect, like you note. Maybe you can have a store house of comments in your mind to follow that up with that focus on his typical three year old interests then. "He loves toy trucks and has lots of them so he learned to count all of those trucks!" or something like that.
This is a big part of it and I know I am slightly denfinsive over him... maybe more than slightly. He has spd, some motor skills issues and is overall pretty quirky. So no one really expects the kid who's been spinning into circles, crashing into people and licking stuff to be bright, kwim? I want people to know there's more to him than meets the eye and that while his special needs may be what you notice first, he does some wonderful, amazing things too. I don't think I realize that I am doing it in the moment.

The thing the other day really wasn't so much about that, though. I feel bad that I may have been even kind of dismissive of his abilities.... kind of like when a woman's outfit is complimented and she says "This old thing?" Because ds counted to fifty before two and I just wasn't thinking of it being a big deal. Or more honestly, it was probably a combination of both things.

Either way, trying to bring it back to typical three year old behaviors is probably a wise thing to do. Thanks
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
I guess you can count me amongst the subpar parents, then. I don't smoke, and I'd never dream of spanking, but DD is allowed to get as dirty as she wants (and she often wants to get very dirty indeed).
HA! Me, too with the grubby kids. With the baby sometimes I'm so out of it from lack of sleep and 4 kids--we'll be somewhere and one of my kids will have a messy face and their hair won't be brushed/combed.

Life is too short to waste it judging everyone around you. Or the MT quote: If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
post #13 of 21
Connieculkins, it's a fine line, sometimes. I don't really mind that parents are proud of their children for things, and I don't necessarily see it as bragging when parents talk about the great stuff their children are doing. I just am not into comparing kids. So if someone wants to talk about how their child is great and this or that, I'm happy to hear about it -- I think kids are in general pretty amazing little people and I love to hear about them. If a parent is concerned that my child isn't as smart as/as smart as/smarter than their child, I see that as a problem that has nothing whatsoever to do with me... "that's a YOU problem," as they say. (not you, personally, of course) I'm also super-aware that all kids have different strengths... and I'm happy to celebrate with other moms when their children do things that my children may never even dream of doing.

As for someone thinking I'm withholding information, I do think if someone really wants to know something, that person will ask. It wouldn't occur to me to think that someone refrains from bragging about their child because their child is better than mine and she didn't want to make me uncomfortable. Or because she pitied my child. That just wouldn't be on my radar. The most I've ever had a parent say insofar as actually asking me about my children's giftedness would be a parent who was trying to find some resources for her super-bright child who was reading at 6th grade level in 1st grade but didn't meet the qualifications for the GT program.

On a similar note, my ds1's best friend is very unlike him in many ways. They've been buddies since kinder. His friend really struggles academically but is really outgoing and friendly, whereas ds1 is fairly introverted and prefers to keep his own company. It simply would not cross my mind that the other child's mother thought more or less of my son based on his intelligence level -- just I would never think less of her son because he struggles with some school work.

So -- just hearing parents talk about their children with a sense of pride doesn't bother me at all What DOES bug me is parents who attribute Every. Single. Thing to some source of giftedness. You know ... Oh, Susie ate with a spoon at 5 months, she's so gifted. Or, Susie started talking in sentences before two, she's very gifted. S learned to tie her shoes, learn her colors, play Rachmoninoff because she's gifted. (Well, that last would impress me.) Children develop differently, and being advanced early on does not necessarily mean much ... I know a lot of children who got an early start on reading but were on a more or less level playing field by second grade. Their parents were convinced the children were gifted when in fact they were just early readers.

Also, where I live, the whole GT thing is very much a symbol of prestige. Parents petition the school system relentlessly to have their children tested and retested to get into the program. I know parents who feel as if they have failed when their children (who ARE really bright and happy children) don't test into the program. I don't advertise that my ds1 is in the program, but if someone asks, then I'll talk about it. I also don't advertise that my dd could be in the program because she tested in, but doesn't want to be in it, not in our school culture where so many parents feel there children are entitled to a spot in the program. It's insane.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBattleAxe View Post
The most I've ever had a parent say insofar as actually asking me about my children's giftedness would be a parent who was trying to find some resources for her super-bright child who was reading at 6th grade level in 1st grade but didn't meet the qualifications for the GT program.
Sorry of the OT comment, but a child like this belongs in a gifted program. If kids like this can't qualify then the school system has to reinstate tracking because keeping these kinds of sub-gifted kids in mainstream classes is pure craziness.
post #15 of 21
The GT program isn't based solely on verbal ability/reading ability; but I think you're right. She SHOULD have some accommodations for her, at the very least. Thankfully she's had a terrific group of teachers thus far who have been able to challenge her and work with her on her level, even if the she doesn't qualify for the program.
post #16 of 21
Every mother earns a little bit of a "bragging right" when it comes to their kids. Every child does things that make us proud. I don't think we should be embarrassed or worried about bragging too much (though obviously some mothers do it! I think those that are conscious won't overdo it).
It sounds like you said just enough before you changed the subject, which is a great balance.

I read something a while back online (an article called "Profoundly gifted guilt") - it talks about many things we worry about as parents of advanced or gifted kids (doesn't have to be in the "profound" category either) and one thing was feeling like we don't have the right to talk about our child's accomplishments. It was a good read.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
OP, just practise saying "Oh ya, he likes numbers!" and move on. Sure, some people will get huffy if a child is very different from their child, but most won't. But many people could take volunteering what age he started counting as bragging, and that will put them off.
I have learned to do this with dd. She could identify all the capital ABCs at 19 or months and was learning the lower case ones. A neighbor even commented, oh does she watch a lot of t.v., I just said no, she doesn't like t.v. as if that is how she learned them. (Now she does like t.v. though)

On another note, the current CRAZY thing that is going on now is everywhere we go strangers are saying she is cute, pretty, a cute baby, etc. and she is going to be 3 next month and fully understands what these people are saying. I don't know what to say, except "thanks". A couple times, she has just said, "I am not a baby" or told me later that she did not like those ladies (b/c they were carrying on so much that it made her uncomfortable) I told her not to talk to people who make her feel like that. Maybe I should tell, them, "yes, and smart too!" It just ticks me off that people will say that instead of talking to her b/c she can carry on conversations.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephenie View Post
...licking stuff
I'm sorry for the total sidetrack, but the licking just grabbed my attention. Is it some sensory processing stuff to be concerned about? I suddently recall DS1's OT saying how one of her clients will start licking things when he's overstimulated. I'm asking because my ds2 goes through periods of licking himself. Recently when I was doing an elimination diet with him, he again started licking his arms a lot until other mums on the allergy forum told me to switch some food again.

Again, sorry for the irrelevance, but the OT's remark / allergy forum's feedback just suddenly click together when I read that. DS2 is very senstiive to smells and textures but I kinda forgot about the sensory aspects while tracking the food allergies.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
deminc- Sensory stuff can be a big deal, or not as much, depending on how much it affects the kiddo. An eval with an OT may not be a bad thing if you're concerned. A lot of sensory kiddos have allergies as well- ds does.
post #20 of 21
I too love hearing parents speak with enthusiasm about their kids' abilities and interests. When it comes from a genuine place of joy, then I think that is normal... well, justified mama bragging. Okay- not exactly bragging but whatever it is. I try to remember to listen and respond to THEIR kid and not always talk about what my kids are doing (when I do its NOT one-upsmanship, but in the spirit of commiseration, understanding, etc). Then again, my kids are not PG or anything, and DS as least always has been clearly a challenge... in obvious ways (rambunctious, rowdy ways). And, lol, he tested pretty high but doesn't seem all that advanced anyway... not an early reader or anything like that. His BF (who moved away ) has always been obviously very advanced, but its certainly never bothered me. Actually, I love that kid and I am proud of his accomplishments too!

OP- don't worry too much. And don't do that awful thing where you mull things over in your mind later and think about how you could have done something differently. Your friend has probably long forgotten this interaction by now.

And I took the "kids are dirty" comment to mean that bad parents are the types who THINK kids are dirty. I think dirty kids look like happy kids! (my kids are frequently quite dirty by the end of the day!)
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