Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
I think it's important to recognize that almost everyone does this to some degree.... at least everyone you could probably claim to like. Kind people want others to feel comfortable and there are times where it's inappropriate and unimportant to be "the best." When you talk to your DD, acknowledge this. Assure her that we all do this whether it's a friend with a new skill you already mastered but they are excited to show off or some helpful person on the street giving you advice on something you already know. Then talk to her about the difference between making others comfortable and hurting herself.
My eldest had unusually strong fine motors and was very advanced at writing and drawing. In preschool, she often used her left hand (she's a righty) because she didn't like how her classmates got sad when they compared their work to hers. It didn't hurt her. In fact, she sort of liked the challenge. She started kindergarten with a bang... 2 to 5 grade levels ahead all around. Her peers flipped out and she tried to go into hiding but it made her miserable. In that case, she was hurting herself and she had to stop. That was the end of the dumbing down. She is still a kind person. She recognizes that she can be very intense. She will back off when paired with someone she can see is insecure and not as skilled but she focuses more on bringing them up than pulling herself down now. At 15, I'm quite proud of how she handles it all. My DS hasn't had this issue as he has some built in weaknesses. It's not a big deal to be the best reader in class if you are also the slowest boy at recess lol. DD was just good at everything when she was young (and that does change as they start to focus their energies on high interest areas and stop developing other skills... for example, as strong an artist as DD was at 5, at 15, she's average and kids who kept focus on developing art skills have greatly surpassed her.)
So, continue to talk to her. Help her recognize the differences between "trying to fit in" and "putting other people at ease." Since she's unhappy right now, sounds like she's trying to fit in. Help her brainstorm ways she can boost her peers without pulling herself down.
I have two 7 year olds and we constantly talk about that different people are good at different things and that is OK. They both have some special needs, so it really rings true to them. They know what they are strong in and we encourage them to be proud of what they are good at. They also know their limitations and work hard to improve.
We also stress--- keep learning. It is not the grade that is important. If you get 100 % on the pretest, cool- but what do you learn now (this is why they get challenge spelling words since they were acing the pretests. We explained the reasoning why the different words as they needed to learn...they already knew what others are learning. So learn something different in order to KEEP learning).....learning is the important part!
PreK was probably the MOST awkward time since both my DDs were reading fluently and other kids were not - they knew it, other kids knew it, and parents commented. They helped pass out papers and such, but I did not allow them to be singled out to read to peers in a formal arrangement. Since it was a playbased PreK-- it worked out well. They also got to work on different reading projects for preliteracy activities, it was dont in a non-dramatic way by their very fantastic teacher.
We also celebrate differences so we have had a few things here and there of 'blending in', but for the most part they enjoy being themselves! They are both fairly quirky, but friendly kiddos!