Originally Posted by deeporgarten
If we are different and this particular difference makes me because I really don't understand the gratuitous commentary on potential precocity, or it irritates me more than "average" because I grew up surrounded by adults who were way too interested in my own so-called genius, my high IQ, and my potential, then you can assume I am coming from a different perspective.
Uggh How many times I heard about how early I read, what atypical topics I studied or advanced things I was doing, what my score was on this or that I cannot even begin to count, and I assure you it was NOT a healthy emphasis. (Nobody was obsessed--it was simply a fairly frequent topic) If you are a parent with a precocious child do be careful how you talk about it and how much you "get into it" or even push for more of it once you see that the potential is there. And a parent excited by their child's intelligence can get pushy without even intending to. And lose sight of whole child development for the sake of "mental" or "abilities" development. When I hear (or read here) a lot of comments about stuff like this, to me it suggests imbalance. That doesn't have to be the case, but it IS the reason it starts to rub me the wrong way after a while.
Anyway, back to where I was going ...
I was in much the same position as a child as you describe as far as being precocious and out of the norm, but in a complete opposite spot in other regards. I apparently had an IQ test done when I was a teen and hospitalized for an eating disorder, but no one ever told me the results at that time. It was only when my older dd was identified as gifted at age 7 that I looked back in retrospect and realized what was "wrong" with me as a child. In the past year, I have joined Mensa, met a few people with whom I can truly relate and am less isolated emotionally than I was growing up. I knew that there was something different about me, but my self esteem was so rock-bottom low that I simply thought that I was defective in some way and never would have suspected that I was more intelligent, more capable or more of anything (other than more unhappy). There was no focus on my "ability" or whatever you want to call it. I vividly recall, in my early 20s speaking with my aunt and her telling me that it was like my parents "didn't have a daughter" b/c I was just ignored in comparison to my brother who was the star of the family.
Obviously these are two extremes that we experienced here.
I certainly don't want to ignore my dd's abilities and I want her to have the confidence to know that she truly can succeed if she works hard; that she is special and not just weird. I don't want her growing up making up stories in her mind to explain why the other kids don't understand her b/c she doesn't know why she is different. I have been somewhat open with her about what it is that makes her different, but I also want to find that balance. I am not aiming to raise a child with a superiority complex any more than I am aiming to raise a child who is spending her teen years starving herself and slicing her arms with razor blades like I did.
I wonder where you feel that balance lies? If you have a child who is happy to coast and never work and can do the expected work for a child his/her age with no effort, do you just leave it at that? I worry b/c I never learned any study habits and sank like a rock my freshman year at Berkeley b/c I didn't know how to be accountable. I was lazy b/c I was used to life being easy and never having to work to do my best. I want my girls to be challenged only b/c I want them to learn how to put in an effort and a good effort at that.
Do you tell your child why s/he is different? My older dd has known that she was different for as long as she has been around other kids. It's not b/c I have told her so. She came home from kindergarten upset regularly b/c the other kids didn't want to spend the whole recess picking up trash and writing petitions to the principal to get a trashcan on the playground (this is one example of many).
It has only been in the past 6-8 months that we've at all discussed why b/c I want her to understand herself and her gifts. I don't want her to make up reasons on her own. I convinced myself that I was an alien from a planet named Tibit who was stuck inhabiting a human body until I was either 7, 13 or 21 and that my true family would come and rescue me on one of those bds. It can just feel like you are an oddball when the other kids aren't interested in what you are, when your inner life and thoughts are more mature, and other kids look at you like an alien.
I'm being very sincere here. I really want to do right by my daughter. I want her to grow up whole and intact emotionally. How would you approach stretching a child who can obviously do more as well as helping her understand who she is without turning her into an egomaniac?