When we had kids, my parenting came under attack. When we decided to homeschool, the attacks really increased. I wanted them to see all the neat things about my kids, but instead it seems like they only focused on the negative.
It took many years to resolve the situation. One of the things that we eventually had to do was to limit our contact with them in a certain way. We made that decision together, my husband and myself, and we implemented it with as much calmness and kindness as we could.
I also had to do some work. I had to realize that I couldn't be dependent on them liking me. I would tell myself over and over again that life is long. I'm gonna know these people for a long time. And I figured that eventually they would see me for who I am. I'm not perfect, but I'm a basically kind, decent person. I'm a good wife to their son, and a good mother to their grandchildren. I had to really let go and trust that the truth would out eventually.
I'm sure you know this at some level, but it would be a great mistake to deliver your child up to their judgment by identifying him as gifted in front of them. They'll find a way to refute what you say, and will probably even put him down in the process. Right now, they believe what they believe. Their beliefs are probably pretty impervious to input from you.
On the bright side, I do think that these situations generally tend to improve with time. If you can find a way to stay in relationship with them without sacrificing yourself too badly, over time, they will see how bright your son is. You won't have to convince them that he is gifted when he's winning academic competitions, or becomes a spelling bee champ! Over time, unless they're truly awful people, they won't be able to help seeing the value of your husband's career, and how admirable it is that he managed to recover from addiction.
This was not the issue I expected.
I wanted my son not to be identified as gifted, because I saw it as something affected me negatively. Being told I was smart or good at things was an obstacle for me trying more difficult things. I also expected to master certain kinds of knowledge or skills right away, and I think that still hurts my development as a person in adulthood. I do brag about him a lot and I think that's also a problem.
But this is not your issue. Your issue is that you have people in your life who are making you worry that you won't be a good mom, or that you and your husband won't be good parents.
This is a job for friendships. You need to pick new family--other parents who want to hear all the fun cute things your son is doing, who will see how great you are at this. You are the perfect people to help this little guy realize his potential. Mental illness that you treat and addiction that you overcome are helpful pieces of your history that can make you better at parenting than the average couple of parents.
I'm not saying you should dump these relatives. I just think you can find more support for your joy in your child elsewhere, gifted label on or off.
Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
But, anyway, thank you. I will remind myself that time will help and also that I need to focus on other relationships. We are starting to make more friends and I am thankful for my family even though they are far away.
Use the filters on FB--some of your old friends from the alternative school will like hearing stories about you as a mom. (That has been my experience of my not-alternative public school classmates!) I definitely hear you about the asynchronous learning and the stressing out! I think that's why there's a forum here, because of the stressing out part. There's not a crying need for a forum to get advice about how fun and cool your kids are--there's a need for a forum to get advice about what to do when educational options don't fit, or when you need to enrich in a curricular area that wasn't part of your own strengths and interests growing up. (And also for when people don't believe your stories about your kids, but mine isn't one like that. I don't think.)
Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
It was no way for a mature person to react or even think, but you are being honest and so am I. What would I have done if his test had come back normal? I would have discarded the fantasy and moved forward with parenting the joy of my life. What am I doing now? Parenting the joy of my life. Do I love him more and think more of him because of his intellect? Absolutely not. Nothing has really changed- no one thinks any more or less of me because of my smart kid. We still have to teach him adaptive ways to handle life, and I'm not a perfect parent, but I'm pretty good most days. Being gifted will be a part of your child's identity, but it shouldn't be a part of yours beyond meeting their needs. Your husband's family sounds awful (not sugar coating it)- possibly they will be more welcoming, but they're not going to be less awful because of your son's abilities. And if some day he has difficulties, will they give him the same bad treatment?
mama if you are in the doghouse - like you are - your son is not going to rescue you from it. instead he will put you more in the doghouse. any attempts by you will look like you are trying to redeem yourselves. there is no need for that. you have done what it takes to make sure both of you are working on your individual clean up. if they cant appreciate that then i dont know what to say. look now she is showing off to compete with the others. i dont believe her. i dont think she is lying but just embellishing the truth.
you just mind your life and go on with your own life. dont let his family get under your skin. if they cant see how bright your boy is - its their loss not yours or your child's. dont waste your energy trying to live up to their heights. it might be an unattainable one for you. instead you focus on what it takes to move on.
absolutely time heals - if not full healing but maybe lightning up a little bit.
stop bragging. because that's how it will come off. dont offer unless you are asked directly.
Meemee, I'm confused about how I'm in the doghouse. Do you mean because of my diagnosis? I married my husband after we had both been doing really well for a couple years and we've flourished since. I don't know what I could redeem. I haven't spent enough time with my husband's family to offend them and we have not been a burden in any way, rather we are the only help to my husband's parents who are in poor health. Are you saying that they might have misconceptions about me because of my mental health? Or are you speaking of my husband's past? He did not live anywhere near his family while he was addicted and never brought it to his family. They didn't know he had a problem because his brother was so needy and still is. My husband has had to recover on his own and they know about his issues but it was sort of after the fact. Perhaps he is in the doghouse because he used to have a problem. I guess if that is the case, then it is what it is. I never thought to see it that way. Regardless, I am still ashamed of myself and hope to get over it.
I think what meemee meant is that for whatever reason your dh's family doesn't seem to demonstrate much caring and understanding in your direction. You feel ostracized, and undeservedly so. They don't include you; they don't seem to value you the way they do some of the family. That's the doghouse thing. Rather than trying to win their approval and prove that you're just as good as they are, just take the high road: quietly be yourself, be better than whatever petty values they attach to "social success."
Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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