Why does it matter (especially negatively) to other parents? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just pondering while I should be sleeping... why do people seem to think it's important or offensive that my kids are gifted?

I've had two parents now comment on my children in the last few weeks to other parents. I don't brag about the kids; I try not to. But nonetheless, a parent told me today that she heard DS could talk as well as walk in a kind of bristly tone. Uh, yeah, he can. I've translated a couple things during a playdate and the other playdate mom apparently told everybody. And DD loves the fact that his first word was her name so she tells people as well.

Then a different mom at a different time wanted to know if I thought the writing center at Pre-K was too hard or academic? Not really, I said. DD can read and write the kinds of things they do in that center; so it's just for fun really IMO. Now that mom has said to a couple of other parents "well, DD can already read and write so I don't want my son to be behind." If she felt that center was too academic, then me feeling it wasn't is a simple disagreement... (not to mention, they don't push writing really. Some kids just scribble lines for words. DD does 50-50 or so, because "scribbling is faster. And it can say whatever I say it does.") Sigh.

Anyway, thinking over some of these things tonight, I started wondering why it really matters to anyone else. I mean, it matters to me, because I want to meet my kids needs, but I would want to do that no matter where they were mentally. And it matters to educational systems and teachers for the same reasons, ideally. But it's not like it's going to make someone else's kid *behind* in Pre-K that mine can read or write. It's not like it's going to make someone else's toddler *behind* at walking. It's not like my kids are hereby destined to do well (in school or in life), or to get great jobs, or whatever. It's not like I did some mysterious thing to get them ahead of other kids. It's not like it's a failing if their kids aren't gifted or can't read yet or didn't talk early.

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:46 AM
 
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Your guess is as good as mine. I've only run into a handful of folks whom aren't mortally offended by daughter. I cringe when people start discussing milestones, because quite honestly, when they expect me to share... I feel like I have to lie, to avoid the backlash or overall nastiness.

It's a little easier now, because she's VERY tall for her age, so a lot of people assume she's up to 4 years older than she is. So if she's reading something to me, or discussing something, they assume it's an age appropriate thing.

I've never understood how what my child is doing, negatively reflects their parenting skills.

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:27 AM
 
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It has a lot to do with misconceptions about giftedness and what it entails. Regardless of how much or how little you talk about your children, people will often notice that they are different-- the more divergent your child from average, the more true this is. Everything that a child does "right," especially in the early years, is seen as a reflection of something the parents have done. Everything a child does "wrong" is an indictment. Thanks to places like the Center for Brighter Babies, to empires like Baby Einstein, people think that a gifted child is just a few flashcards away. Even as they're horrified, they're often jealous that they don't have the kind of time and energy to devote to their children's educations that you apparently do. "If I was showing flashcards to my daughter instead of blowing raspberries into her belly, maybe she'd be reading now, too." Little do they realize that there are parents who've spent thousands of dollars to teach their children these things and who've failed spectacularly, producing children who start kindergarten already believing that school is a chore to be tolerated and who can't read despite the huge outlay of resources to that end.

Some children are particularly offensive-- non-white children, low-income children, extremely energetic children, children who are obviously asynchronous (who still act like three year olds and throw tantrums, despite the fact that they can read Harry Potter on their own). These kids drive people nuts by their very existance, because they challenge misconceptions about giftedness by their mere presence. If so-called 'giftedness' is merely the result of a devoted SAHM spending a boatload of money on flashcards and books and specially designed toys and schools, then a little boy living in a trailer park with his grandmother because his father's in jail and his mother can't stay sober long enough to make it to court can't be gifted. It's got to be something else, hasn't it? After all, REALLY gifted people come from gifted parents, and everyone knows that gifted adults are rich, white, and well-behaved.

Why do other people care? In real life, they usually care because they think they're doing something wrong-- your child's intellectual ability is an indictment of their parenting. Occasionally, someone will care because they're fascinated/curious; Usually these people have encountered a gifted child in the recent past, and they're hoping that you know more about it than they do and can offer some insight or comeraderie. Oftentimes people care out of that misplaced egalitarianism that says that not only is separate unequal but inequality is intrinsically wrong; These are the ones who will say things like, "Just let her be a kid," and "You shouldn't push him so much." On very rare occasions, you'll meet someone who cares because they genuinely care about everyone. These are the folks who come to your defense as they would that of any 'underdog,' because they feel like everyone should have someone defending them. In my experience, very often they were children very similar to the ones they're defending.

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Old 09-30-2008, 06:08 AM
 
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I also have a theory that parenting competitiveness is a result of what we learned in school. Today I need to learn to read, whether I'm interested or ready or not. Today I need to learn to do long division, whether I'm interested or ready or not. Today I need to read and understand Shakespeare, etc. We're fulled ingrained that milestones are to be handed down as assignments at someone else's arbitrary decision. And if we don't finish our assignments on time, we'll have to stay in at recess until we get it done.

And, for some of us, raising children is the first thing we do without assignments and due dates and authority figures telling us what to do. This, of course, is terrifying. We're not taught to think, and are severely corrected as children for trusting ourselves and not the reigning authority. "Because I said so!" Not having a textbook to tell us how *exactly* to raise our children creates insecurity and stress.

And so, when your children have the audacity to turn in their assignments early, it is a direct condemnation of my parenting.

So, in following my theory, this snarkiness from other parents indicates true fear instilled systematically by our culture. The only correct response is to compliment their children or their parenting, IMO.


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Old 09-30-2008, 06:12 AM
 
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EVERY parent wants to believe their child is in some way "gifted" and above average. When your child does something their's can't, in their own mind they doubt either their child's gifted status or their own parenting. It's jealousy and/or insecurity.

I think society as a whole does kids and parents an injustice by focusing on early development as the only indicator of special skills...but that's just my 2 cents!

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Old 09-30-2008, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I get the direct questions like "Can your kid do blah? Oh, interesting" for general comparison. I do that with food for DS. DS has a playmate (actually younger sibling of DDs friend) who eats way more solids than he does. That little girl is 2 weeks older but was eating bites off of tortillas, rice cakes, etc. over the summer. It gave me the idea that maybe we should try rice cake too. DS loved it, but he took giant bites and gagged. I don't take it as a reflection on my parenting or my kid's worth, just "okay, no whole rice cakes for you DS!"

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Old 09-30-2008, 11:04 AM
 
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My suggestion is a thinking about it a bit from other parents perspective. We are all under a lot of pressure that kids may "be behind" when they start school and especially for people who had school trouble themselves that can be really stressful. When people have negative reactions it most likely is about that kind of anxiety.

In your first example - I'd suggest ignoring "tone". It is easily misinterpreted and it isn't really fair to blame people for tone.

In your second example, I'd keep the information about reading to yourself. Obviously when a parent asked this question they are doing so because they've got a worry and telling them not only does your child not struggle with that but by gum they've mastered stuff they aren't even covering - unintentional as that may be yes, I think it is kind of insensitive and obnoxious. I've got a child with motor skills delays and if I said to another parent that they were struggling with running in soccer, I would consider the parent kind of a jerk if they responded "really, yeah, well my kid doesn't have trouble with the running, but they've been competing in marathons for a couple of years now."

In that writing situation I likely would have said "yeah, I don't really see the point in focusing on writing at this age because they are just all over the place developmentally on that" or "hmmm....I'm not that familiar with that part of the curriculum what has been your experience?" or " junior hasn't complained about it yet that's really frustrating have you spoken with the teacher about it".
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Obviously when a parent asked this question they are doing so because they've got a worry and telling them not only does your child not struggle with that but by gum they've mastered stuff they aren't even covering - unintentional as that may be yes, I think it is kind of insensitive and obnoxious. I've got a child with motor skills delays and if I said to another parent that they were struggling with running in soccer, I would consider the parent kind of a jerk if they responded "really, yeah, well my kid doesn't have trouble with the running, but they've been competing in marathons for a couple of years now."
Really? I mean, if I said "Do you think there's too much running in the soccer class?" and the other parent said "no, but my kid's been competing in marathons for a couple of years now," that would just tell me that we're not looking at the same kind of kid, so that parent is the wrong one to ask about that. If I want to know if it's too much running for a typical kid or a kid with motor skills delays, then I need to ask another parent with a similar kid. Not a marathon runner. The marathon runner's parent keeping that fact "secret" to protect my feelings doesn't help me at all.

Not to mention, when she asked I didn't know she had a problem with it or her kid couldn't read and write (they're from our old preschool, and most of the kids in DDs group could read and write at least a handful of words).

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Old 09-30-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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People can be so mean.

I'd browsed this forum a bit and I was telling DH about some of the neat things your kids were doing and we both think it's cool. Unless you're monopolizing the conversation or saying stuff like "oh, yeah, my kid did that 4 years ago" instead of being happy for them that their kid's doing stuff, playing the "who's ahead" game is just sooo stupid. Especially between kids who wouldn't even running the same race if it were a race.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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Not to mention, when she asked I didn't know she had a problem with it or her kid couldn't read and write (they're from our old preschool, and most of the kids in DDs group could read and write at least a handful of words).
See, that's the thing. Kids are all over the map at this age. I think it's important to assume that there's a possibility that a parent may be experiencing stress and worry about their child's development, and to avoid doing anything that might add to that worry or trigger defensiveness.

I had a situation early on, when my elder dd was about 4. A friend of mine was over with her ds, age about 8 at the time, and he was looking at one of my dd's books on the floor near where we were sitting. I noticed him looking at it and said something like "cool book, eh?" I might have followed it up with "Erin loves reading that book" or "that was one of Erin's favourites when she first learned to read" or any number of casual comments. But before I had to say anything else, the mom said "Yes, we're thrilled that P. is starting to get interested in letters." It was suddenly clear to me that P., although he seemed very bright and capable, was not yet reading. I gulped back all the other stuff I was going to say and smiled and nodded as calmly and supportively as I could.

It was a long time before I let anything slip in front of my friend that indicated that my daughter had been reading fluently for a while already. Although she seemed really calm and okay about her son's delayed reading, she told me years later that she was a seething pot of anxiety inside during that time. It all turned out fine for her kid. He became a very capable, very passionate reader within a year of that episode I remember. But to me it was a reminder that I needed to be extremely careful about things that to me seemed no big deal. Other parents, even the ones who seem very 'together', with happy thriving kids, can have hidden turmoil over their kid's learning and development. We can never know what issues they're dealing with, what fears and anxieties they're coping with.

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Old 10-01-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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The anxiety thing can be hard to cope with. I remember when my daughter was 9 months old, and she still wouldn't lie down on her tummy. She could barely role from front to back, let alone from back to front. Many of the babies in my mothers group had been crawling for a couple of months. I thought that she was seriously delayed, and I didn't know why. (It didn't help that she had a typical overexcitable temperament and cried a lot in the 0-12 month timeframe.) Then, the next week, she pulled up on the couch and started cruising. (It should have been my first clue that her development was going to be particularly asynchronous.)

My son is a late talker, too. We've gone back and forth with various professionals about whether he needed speech therapy or not. Now, I'm a slightly better judge of my children and where they are, developmentally, but I've spent plenty an anxious moment Googling "developmental milestones."

For me, my anxiety was never particularly worsened by seeing the "achievements" of other babies. But I can certainly see how that might be the case. So I'm sympathetic to people who are reacting to my children with a knee-jerk "Is my darling BEHIND!?!"

However, there is a certain element that simply believes that children develop at pre-ordained rates, and that if my children seem to be developing counter to those rates, then I'm either lying, or something sinister must be occurring. (Yes, I'm looking at YOU, Ms. Kindergarten Teacher.) The notion that all children's development is exactly the same, and that the idea of differing needs is just hogwash is incredibly irksome to me. I think this is why homeschooling has so far proven to be such a good fit for us.
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:03 AM
 
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Really? I mean, if I said "Do you think there's too much running in the soccer class?" and the other parent said "no, but my kid's been competing in marathons for a couple of years now," that would just tell me that we're not looking at the same kind of kid, so that parent is the wrong one to ask about that. If I want to know if it's too much running for a typical kid or a kid with motor skills delays, then I need to ask another parent with a similar kid. Not a marathon runner. The marathon runner's parent keeping that fact "secret" to protect my feelings doesn't help me at all.
I have found myself saying, "I'm probably the wrong person to ask about that" in such situations, rather than going into detail. I agree that keeping it a secret wouldn't help, but a lot of people (not all, but a lot) are cool with it when you say, "My child is a different variety of kiddo," or "My daughter's development is somewhat asynchronous" by way of follow-up to "I'm probably the wrong person to ask." It actually applies to any situation in which you've got a kid who varies significantly from average.

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Old 10-01-2008, 04:53 AM
 
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It is probably helpful to others, if this thread gives a decent view of how many respond to giftedness irl, that I am an extreme introvert with no tendency to offer information unless directly asked. My dc are all very tall and look physically mature for their ages, so this issue isn't a common difficulty for us. The most I'm asked, usually, is my dc's respective ages, my response to which usually evokes surprise that they are so young.

Otherwise, they are all very verbal and are usually quicker to answer any questions than I am, so most people direct their questions and comments toward them. We're not involved in any spectator activities, so when we're with others, we're usually close enough for this to be the norm for us (that, and my dc love to meet people, so if they've run off and they see someone approach me, they're beside me in a flash with shining eyes, eager to talk).

I am also baffled at offense to giftedness. We do know two people that are offended by our dc's abilities, and are very vocal about it. We don't ever talk *about* our dc with them; they take offense in the moment to what they observe our dc doing in the moment. I think that's entirely bizarre.

When ds1 was 16 months old, we went to a play centre and there was a grandmother with her grandson, drilling him on counting. She had laid out cards with pictures and the idea was to place the correct number of plastic replicas of actual things onto the appropriate picture. The gm was coaching the boy to tell gm what this number is, then telling him when he refused to respond, then asking him what goes on the little sand hill, then praising him for choosing the plastic ants and then telling him to put the ants on the picture of the sand hill, then count, one, two, three, etc.... The room was filled with toys. And books, and next door was a big gym with ride-on toys. The boy kept asking to go play. His gm insisted that he 'finish' the 'game.'

My 16 month old son was playing, chose a book that I read to him, telling me what was in the pictures in the book, talking to me about his play, read the word 'bus' on the wall with no image to inform him, and then wandered over to look at the 'game.' After a few minutes, the gm asked him if he would like to 'play' too. He stared at her (he stared at everybody with his eyebrows furrowed ), and she said to her grandson, 'well I guess he doesn't know how to count' and stood up, reached onto a shelf and pulled down a toy for my son (he'd been choosing on his own until then) and proceeded to explain to him that the hammer was to hit the ball into the hole, like this .

It occurred to me that I could tell her that my son, although being the same height and speaking as clearly as her 3 yr old gs, was only 16 months old, but I decided to say nothing and to continue doing what I was there to do; facilitate my son's exploration, support him and share with him whatever I may have to offer regarding his interests. It was a play centre after all.

I honestly did feel annoyed, because I have a personal difficulty with being continuously underestimated, but that's my issue. My son enjoyed the hammer, although he found ways to use it in his characteristic need for realism, even in play (although he discarded it after a while because it was ineffective, being that it was plastic and didn't drive any of the wooden plugs any deeper into the shelving than they were already).

Sooooo, my point in telling this is that there are so many presumptions that go with whatever a child is able to do that without open dialogue, someone is likely going to be offended. Or we expect that if you're really gifted then *you* should just suck it up. I am offended by being underestimated in spite of evidence of my competence. I am offended by people who tell me that I should hold back or that I should hold my dc back, let them be kids, not push them, not be so technical, give them simple answers, teach them to use words like 'doggy' and 'birdy' because 'that's what aaaalllll kids do,' etc....

So what if *I'm* the offended one? Is there a discussion somewhere about how gifties should be treated with more respect and less criticism- more smiling and nodding and less divulging of one's inabilities so as to not offend the one with many abilities?

I do find it somewhat frustrating when other gifties try so hard to be invisible as such and attempt to do the same for/to their dc (not saying anyone here- I know some irl). I find a lack of authenticity offensive.

In any case, I think this issue probably resolves at least in some ways as gifted children age. I think many/most gifties 'out' themselves in time. As often as it's possible, I stand by as my dc speak for themselves. I honestly wouldn't be likely to say anything when they're infants anyway. I do have a quiet amusement when I see others discover things about them without me ever having said anything, though.

One more situation. It is nearly impossible to not end up caught in an awkward spot as regards milestones. A close friend has seen my dc doing things very early, and I didn't lie when my 3 month old knocked the phone out of my hand when he was waving bye to daddy while saying 'bye bye da da' very clearly, and when I didn't react to her telling me that her 20 mo. old son opened the door after his nap so she has to check on him, she was perturbed that I was not stunned at how early he was opening doors. I honestly had no idea that was early, and I didn't pick up on a cue; I thought she was just going to check on him, which made perfect sense to me. I didn't even recognise it as being a 'milestone;' I just though that children open doors when they can reach the handle, or when it occurs to them to use an object to elevate them! Three of my boys all opened doors between 11 and 16 months. I had noooo idea, and I inadvertently offended my friend by not recognising this.

It took some reflection to find a way to stop the competitive sorts of comments she started making after that. I realised she needed recognition, so now I make sure to encourage her by talking about her dc and how wonderful they are. They truly are, so it's not a stretch or a burden to acknowledge that, but because she asked without my knowing what was coming (because I didn't know about the door-opening milestone and she questioned me before divulging her info) when my dc did, I am now stuck with a friendship that used to be a safe place for discussion about my dc but now requires that I don't say much of anything at all, so I come here.

Gifted forum mamas, you are my only safe place to share. Does anyone else think *that's* offensive?

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 10-01-2008, 05:02 AM
 
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I don't think it's offensive... but I've got self-esteem issues that I hope NOT to pass on to my children. They're already doing better in that department than I was at their ages. Seventeen more years to go...

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Old 10-01-2008, 09:41 AM
 
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I can tell you why I personally think it is offensive.
Also, My 14 year old son is gifted, well they(the school) say so. He learned to read books, on his own, when he was 3. He was hitting over 100 yard balls in golf when he was 2. I don't tell people this stuff. Why? Because I feel as if it is snobbery, and I also feel that most children have something they excel in over the top, in some way or another.
Ex: my son could read at 3, but couldt tie his shoes until he was about 7 years old.

Your son or daughter might be reciting the alphabet at 6 months, but wont walk until they are about 15 months.

Every kid develops things differently, and at own paces. You can be gifted, in just one area. But most people dont think about this. So when you start gobbing off about oh my darling can read, write and spell, hes only 2!! They dont think about the time their 2 year old walked on a balance beam by himself or did something amazing that most 2 year olds cant do. They just think"shut up, stop bragging already!"

My 4 year old didnt talk until he was almost 3. He walked at 15 months. But he rode a tricylce at 16 months, pedals and all. Most kids I know cant do that at that age. He was riding a 2 wheeled bike with no training wheels at 2 years old. He is really tall for his age. He was opening programs from the start menu of a pc at 2 1/2 and sending emails and typing at 3. He cant write any letters though.Who cares? I might say something about the computer thing to someone jokingly..like..my son can programme a pc faster than I can or something, but I dont go on about it. Its nice to be proud of your kids accomplishments, but I dont think people (outside of family probably) want to hear it.

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Old 10-01-2008, 10:49 AM
 
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So you should sit there like a lump when everyone else is sharing about their precious babies? Are you recommending lying? Recommending only emphasizing what they're behind in? That sounds like a horrible thing to do in front of your children.

(Okay, there are cultures where that's the done thing, but in those cultures your dh would also be telling the neighbors how lousy you are at cooking even if you were superb in order to keep from putting your family forward too much.)

Are you seriously suggesting that parents with different-than-average children shouldn't be allowed to share about their children?
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:55 AM
 
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This thread is making me realize that in addition to meeting the (above and beyond) needs of our gifted children we also need to meet the needs of every other parent we meet. No wonder we're exhausted!

It would be wonderful if everyone realized that no child is less just because there is another child who needs more.

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Old 10-01-2008, 11:55 AM
 
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This thread is making me realize that in addition to meeting the (above and beyond) needs of our gifted children we also need to meet the needs of every other parent we meet. No wonder we're exhausted!
I don't think we need to meet the needs of other parents. We just need to respect their perspectives and not put our own needs in front of them. It really doesn't seem that onerous to me. Then again I'm not one of those people who feels that bragging about kids' accomplishments is natural and desired and a right a parent should be entitled to. I honestly don't run into other parents doing a lot of bragging and it's never been something I've craved for myself. I don't doubt there are subcultures where parents do brag, but I don't see it as a natural right of parenthood.

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Old 10-01-2008, 12:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
I was just pondering while I should be sleeping... why do people seem to think it's important or offensive that my kids are gifted?

I've had two parents now comment on my children in the last few weeks to other parents. I don't brag about the kids; I try not to. But nonetheless, a parent told me today that she heard DS could talk as well as walk in a kind of bristly tone. Uh, yeah, he can. I've translated a couple things during a playdate and the other playdate mom apparently told everybody. And DD loves the fact that his first word was her name so she tells people as well.
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Originally Posted by Transitions View Post
I can tell you why I personally think it is offensive.
Also, My 14 year old son is gifted, well they(the school) say so. He learned to read books, on his own, when he was 3. He was hitting over 100 yard balls in golf when he was 2. I don't tell people this stuff. Why? Because I feel as if it is snobbery, and I also feel that most children have something they excel in over the top, in some way or another.
(Bolding mine.)

Okay, but we're not talking necessarily about anyone "telling people" that their kiddos are gifted. Many of us have children who are very obviously different from very early ages. It's not likely to come up in daily conversation that your 14 year old learned to read when he was three, but when you're out in public with a 10 or 11 month old child who's *talking* what can you do? With my son I didn't even have the option of pretending that he couldn't talk-- perfect strangers understood him when he was just a tiny slip of a thing.

Is it snobbery to "allow" a small child to talk in public, or to read books, or to stare at maps and then respond appropriately when someone asks him about them? I don't see how it's any more snobbish than asking your potty-learned two year old if she needs to use the toilet when you're out in public, or playing, "What sound does the animal make?" while you're waiting in line.

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Every kid develops things differently, and at own paces. You can be gifted, in just one area. But most people dont think about this. So when you start gobbing off about oh my darling can read, write and spell, hes only 2!! They dont think about the time their 2 year old walked on a balance beam by himself or did something amazing that most 2 year olds cant do. They just think"shut up, stop bragging already!"
Again, I at least am not talking about "gobbing off." : But I have to ask-- is it *only* okay to talk about a child being gifted if they have hugely asynchronous development? Am I allowed to say that Bean can read on a late fourth grade level as long as I follow it with, "But his handwriting is more appropriate to a young four year old?" What about kids who don't really have huge discrepencies between their abilities, who have fairly balanced profiles that way? I've got a kid who's most likely profoundly gifted as well as physically advanced, to a degree that has been absolutely noticeable and astounding in public at times-- am I not allowed to talk about her at all, then, because there's nothing "wrong" with her?

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Its nice to be proud of your kids accomplishments, but I dont think people (outside of family probably) want to hear it.
Does this apply to all children, or just gifted ones? If you don't want to hear anything about what *any* children are doing, then your path is clear-- just avoid other parents at all times. But don't come into a support only forum and expect everyone to say, "Ah, thanks, I'm glad I've got one more reason not to talk about my kids in public." : A lot of us really don't have a choice, because it boils down to acknowledging that the child is exceptional or not acknowledging them in public at all.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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I don't think we need to meet the needs of other parents. We just need to respect their perspectives and not put our own needs in front of them. It really doesn't seem that onerous to me. Then again I'm not one of those people who feels that bragging about kids' accomplishments is natural and desired and a right a parent should be entitled to. I honestly don't run into other parents doing a lot of bragging and it's never been something I've craved for myself. I don't doubt there are subcultures where parents do brag, but I don't see it as a natural right of parenthood.

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As an introvert the whole "every child is different, everybody is wonderful, just because my kid is doing XYZ and yours isn't yet doesn't mean anything" dance is EXHAUSTING! I am not a bragger, I am actually not much of a talker but when asked about my child I do try to be truthful and that usually leads to the whole "every child is different..." conversation. I know I am not alone in feeling this way.

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Old 10-01-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
A lot of us really don't have a choice, because it boils down to acknowledging that the child is exceptional or not acknowledging them in public at all.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I don't think we need to meet the needs of other parents. We just need to respect their perspectives and not put our own needs in front of them. It really doesn't seem that onerous to me. Then again I'm not one of those people who feels that bragging about kids' accomplishments is natural and desired and a right a parent should be entitled to. I honestly don't run into other parents doing a lot of bragging and it's never been something I've craved for myself. I don't doubt there are subcultures where parents do brag, but I don't see it as a natural right of parenthood.

Miranda
For the most part I agree with this. I have run into one or two milestone obsessed braggy groups of parents and I was uncomfortable and quickly moved on. I can see if this type of group was a person's whole social circle that it might seem like this way of talking about children is universal - but really it isn't.

Back to the original poster, I felt like the comment about the child reading for a long time was extraneous, unnecessary information that easily could be seen as obnoxious or insensitive. It is quite possible to have a philosophical discussion about the appropriateness of academics in preschool without talking about your child's reading level. My position on the appropriateness of academics in preschool would be the same if I had a kid "fast" or "slow".
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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I think it is very possible to have one of the kids who gets noticed AND to still be sensitive to the range of child development in the early years and to the anxiety of other parents. Some kids will be noticed and obviously you don't silence them in public or make them feel ashamed. At the same time, I don't think it is necessary to offer extra information (i.e. reading level, age they learned to read, etc.) If conversations start to go along those lines I'd suggest changing the subject because people are just being nosy.

It has been my experience if you let people discover for themselves and you remain modest and don't treat this as anything unusual that requires you to give details you will in time receive more support from other people.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Really? I mean, if I said "Do you think there's too much running in the soccer class?" and the other parent said "no, but my kid's been competing in marathons for a couple of years now," that would just tell me that we're not looking at the same kind of kid, so that parent is the wrong one to ask about that. If I want to know if it's too much running for a typical kid or a kid with motor skills delays, then I need to ask another parent with a similar kid. Not a marathon runner. The marathon runner's parent keeping that fact "secret" to protect my feelings doesn't help me at all.
To me this isn't really a giftedness question as much as a general one of etiquette and social skills. If a friend says to you "this is such a hard time in this economy - my husband hasn't had a raise in three years and health care costs are killing us". Is your response "oh not us, I just got a giant bonus at work and we are trying to decide if we should buy the Lexus or the BMW." I would hope most of us would have the social idea how to respond to our friend's comments without feeling the need to gas on about how we are doing so much better.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EviesMom View Post
Then a different mom at a different time wanted to know if I thought the writing center at Pre-K was too hard or academic? Not really, I said. DD can read and write the kinds of things they do in that center; so it's just for fun really IMO. Now that mom has said to a couple of other parents "well, DD can already read and write so I don't want my son to be behind." If she felt that center was too academic, then me feeling it wasn't is a simple disagreement... (not to mention, they don't push writing really. Some kids just scribble lines for words. DD does 50-50 or so, because "scribbling is faster. And it can say whatever I say it does.") Sigh.

Anyway, thinking over some of these things tonight, I started wondering why it really matters to anyone else. I mean, it matters to me, because I want to meet my kids needs, but I would want to do that no matter where they were mentally. And it matters to educational systems and teachers for the same reasons, ideally. But it's not like it's going to make someone else's kid *behind* in Pre-K that mine can read or write. It's not like it's going to make someone else's toddler *behind* at walking. It's not like my kids are hereby destined to do well (in school or in life), or to get great jobs, or whatever. It's not like I did some mysterious thing to get them ahead of other kids. It's not like it's a failing if their kids aren't gifted or can't read yet or didn't talk early.

The strategy I would have employed in the writing centre instance would have been to say "I don't know...DD seems to like it ok [shrug]." The other parent might drop it, or expand on what their issue is. I would then chat with them about their child. When someone is approaching another parent about the fit of curriculum/activity it's usually because they're concerned about their child - if your kid is a statistical outlier, what does telling that parent about your child do for them?

This is the crux of the issue in your second paragraph quoted above. Children are their parents' progeny (using this def: something that originates or results from something else; outcome) and legacy. That whole "I want my son to do better than his father" thing. Of course many parents want their children to excel/be exceptional. Of course, that means that they need to be "better" than the next kid. There's a fairly typical/expected order of skill acquisition, it's the rates that vary. When another child is clearly working at a different rate, that can be threatening.

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post

It occurred to me that I could tell her that my son, although being the same height and speaking as clearly as her 3 yr old gs, was only 16 months old, but I decided to say nothing and to continue doing what I was there to do; facilitate my son's exploration, support him and share with him whatever I may have to offer regarding his interests. It was a play centre after all.

I honestly did feel annoyed, because I have a personal difficulty with being continuously underestimated, but that's my issue. My son enjoyed the hammer, although he found ways to use it in his characteristic need for realism, even in play (although he discarded it after a while because it was ineffective, being that it was plastic and didn't drive any of the wooden plugs any deeper into the shelving than they were already).
Snipped this bit, at somewhat random.

Preggie, gently said: I think it's significant that you're consistently in the position of the parent of a child/children who are developing at a good clip. Your kids are consistently (if not always) "ahead." Those are the shoes you're in, at least in the examples cited and probably most of the time.

I think these other folks don't have that security, and may genuinely worry for their child's outcomes when they're not as frequently seeing demonstrations that their child's ahead.

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Old 10-01-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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sorry for posting here.
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Roar View Post
To me this isn't really a giftedness question as much as a general one of etiquette and social skills. If a friend says to you "this is such a hard time in this economy - my husband hasn't had a raise in three years and health care costs are killing us". Is your response "oh not us, I just got a giant bonus at work and we are trying to decide if we should buy the Lexus or the BMW." I would hope most of us would have the social idea how to respond to our friend's comments without feeling the need to gas on about how we are doing so much better.
Um, the example you just gave about finances is not a question. It's a complaint. I would say "Oh, that's terrible! Is there anything I can do to help?" If asked a question about finances with no explanation of their own situation first, like "How are you doing given the economic climate?" without any background on why or IF they're worried, I would say "Oh we're doing okay. DH got a big project recently, so that helps." If given the news that they're struggling and then asked how we're doing, I would say "We're doing okay for now, thanks. Is there anything we can do to help you guys out?"

If people aren't going to say what they actually mean instead of some kind of random code, they aren't going to get answers from me that they like. I get cranky about that kind of thing, maybe bc my mother is the queen of passive-aggressive invites (IE-We're only going to be in a relatives area for a weekend and only have one particular night free. Instead of saying "We'll be in town, and we'd love to take you to dinner on Saturday if you're free." she says things like "We're going to be in town... and we'd like to see you if it's convenient... when would you want to get together?... oh, well, I'll see if I can work that out" (Despite the fact that Saturday might be just darn fine with the relative if she'd only ASKED instead of danced around.)

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Old 10-01-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Roar View Post
I think it is very possible to have one of the kids who gets noticed AND to still be sensitive to the range of child development in the early years and to the anxiety of other parents. Some kids will be noticed and obviously you don't silence them in public or make them feel ashamed. At the same time, I don't think it is necessary to offer extra information (i.e. reading level, age they learned to read, etc.) If conversations start to go along those lines I'd suggest changing the subject because people are just being nosy.

It has been my experience if you let people discover for themselves and you remain modest and don't treat this as anything unusual that requires you to give details you will in time receive more support from other people.


DD attends a magnet school and there are a number of gifted kids there. One boy is PG and very well rounded (I know he's PG because it's obvious and I'm safe harbour for mom to discuss - she was shocked by the test results). Another boy is gifted in math/science and has some related accomplishments. The first boy's parents are very grounded, friendly and don't brag (they're not silent about their son, they're just laid back about it). The second boy's mother is very brash and insensitive to others' perspectives. When the kids were selected for additional gifted programming, most parents were quiet about it to avoid any social backlash among parents or their kid's peers. This parent went around bragging about it.

Which kid/parent combo do you think is struggling socially?

This example is extreme, but isn't so far off from the parent who says "DC was reading chapter books at 3" when asked about how they're liking kindergarten.

I marvel at my children every day, and admit to a desire to brag. Fortunately, our families are happy to hear the incremental details, and I have some good friends who are happy to share milestones both ways. But when I'm out and about in Momville, I try to be laid back and accepting of both my kids and other kids. Reciprocity.

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Old 10-01-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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I am offended that the term "gifted" is even used. Usually, in my experience, people who use it use it in a way that insinuates that any child not in a "gifted" class/program is stupid.
"Gifted" is a diagnosis. In the school context, it does not mean that other child are stupid. It means that a certain percentage of children are out of age/developmental norms and would benefit from differentiated curriculum.

Can you think of anywhere else where people are grouped exclusively by age between the hours of 9 and 3 and expected to all be the same?

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