I need help teaching my dh the difference b/w giftedness and age-appropriate behavior - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-10-2006, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, that's probably a crappy title, but I was trying to put it all in there.

Ds is extremely verbal and gets concepts quickly. That being said...he's still 28 mos and hasn't matured emotionally at the same rate, obviously, as he has in some intellectual capacities.

What do I say to dh to get him to SEE and UNDERSTAND that, and respond in an appropriate way? Dh treats ds as if he's 5 or 6 rather than 2. He expects compliance the first time he requests it thinks he can reason with ds (sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't), etc. I could go on and on but you all get the gist.

To make it worse, dh is far more mainstream than I am, and is inclined toward punitive responses when ds pushes his buttons. He won't read a book about this, so please don't give me book suggestions! I will just read them and get more upset about all the great things I can't implement. Is there a gentle phrase I can use to make him understand? Is there a bulleted list somewhere that I can post all over the house?

Please help! This situation is so frustrating. I know dh's response is rooted mostly in insecurity about his own intellect (he is above average but not gifted) and I think, in the back of his mind, there is a little demon whispering that ds is smart and willfully trying to disobey/frustrate him.
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#2 of 5 Old 08-10-2006, 08:59 AM
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Hello - we were in the same boat with our dd about a year and a 1/2 ago. Really what we had to keep telling our self over and over again is she's 2! I would make sure I was VERY up to date on age appropriate things and when dh got upset I could easily and quickly remind him of what's appropriate in a gentle nonconfrontational way.

Also I used my dh misbehavior to help the situation. For example, dh doesn't like to "talk" about why he doesn't something wrong. Yet he'll expect our dd to give a reasonable explination as to why she hit her sister. He wants to treat her like an adult because she's so verbal and rational. Then I gently remind him how much trouble "we" (HIM REALLY) have expressing ourselves as adults to each other, how can we expect a child to do that.
Another is when he's trying to rationalize something with her and she's doesn't get it and does the same thing again. He gets mad because she's quick to get concepts but not be controled by him. Again I remind him of our continuous work on "our" relationship and how can we expect a child to not be working that same way.

If your dh get's defensive, as mine does, often times I"ll have to use my flaws as a reminder to him! Keep reminding him that if we need reminding and work on behaviors then a 2 yr old needs that much more!!

Good luck! My dd is now 4 and it's really very tough but wonderful!
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#3 of 5 Old 08-10-2006, 10:02 AM
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The woes of the verbally precocious child. Our youngest was speaking sentences at 18 months and we found ourselves struggling at times to adjust our expectations. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember that just because they are speaking clearly and communicating so well that there still don't have the full comprehension. When DH or I caught ourselves in a struggle with her over our own expectations and her verbal abilities we would start to ask her complete nonsesne questions: "Do I have a cow on my head?", "Does sissy have a pig on her head?". At 18 months she would get big smile and say "Yes!" and it would crack us up and bring us back down to reality. I'm not sure if it would work with an older child as our DD now would laugh and say "No".
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#4 of 5 Old 08-10-2006, 11:07 AM
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This is a minor problem for me and for Mike, and a huge one with his parents. FIL especially seems to think that BeanBean should always behave as though he was 6 or 7 years old, and is deeply offended when he acts like a 3.5 year old (which he actually is!). Once he told BeanBean to "Stop that crying, you're acting like a baby!" Mike said, "Dad, he *is* a baby, I don't ever want to hear you say that to him again." In fact, FIL keeps us in perspective-- we tend to go the opposite direction because we have FIL saying things like "Well, Bean's a few years older than he is."

Does your husband ever go on playdates? Is he willing to read child development information? If you can show your husband that your little fella's behavior is well within the range of typical for a child his age, despite his verbal facility, you might have an easier time of it. I know that I didn't have very realistic expectations for BeanBean, and that it's compounded by the fact that he is actually emotionally mature for his age (his behavior is, for the most part, on par with a typical 5 year old; he wouldn't stand out in a kindergarten class). When he cracked his head open at the pool about six months ago, he told me, "I don't know why I did that." I was shocked, because I know for a fact that Mike didn't know why he did any number of stupid things until he was damn near 30 years old. It was then that I realized that I had in fact been expecting explanations from BeanBean because he so frequently offerred them, but it was a very unrealistic expectation to have. Three year old boys don't generally know why they do anything-- thirty year old boys don't often know.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#5 of 5 Old 08-10-2006, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Good point Eilonwy. I've been thinking about asking dh to volunteer with me in the church nursery (2-5 yo's). Ds is one of the most mature kids in there, and I think it would help dh to see how differently ds handles situations than other kids who are older than him. Ds offers explanation for his behavior quite often, too, and I think you're right that it has caused me to expect him to understand and know situations and even read body language (ds is pretty intuitive) far too often.

Thanks ladies! I knew I could count on you
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