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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My nearly three year old daughter and I are close friends with another mommy/daughter pair. Our girls are in preschool together, we live in the same town, and we frequently do family things together on the weekends. I value our friendship and would love if our girls remained close through their school years. In this small town, they will continue to know eachother once they enter public school.<br><br>
The two girls are very different from eachother. And, unfortunately, when they are together, other people generally perceive my daughter to be the "smart" one and the "well behaved" one. How do I know this? People don't think twice about complimenting my daughter to me-- in front of these close friends! My mom, who watches dd while I'm at work during the week, mentioned an incident from Friday afternoon, during which she and a few other moms were hanging out with the kids at preschool pick-up. My mom was talking to my close friend while our girls played together. Enter third mom who walked over, said a few words (complaints, basically) about her own son and then turned to my mom and said, "You know, the other day I was volunteering in the class and I've always known T is verbal, she's the second child, etc. but I was really blown away once I heard her start talking. She has such mature ideas and expresses herself in such a grown up way. I was so surprised." My mom just said an understated, "Thanks." But when she told me about it, she said she felt very uncomfortable in front of my friend and her daughter, especially because one minute later they walked away without saying much.<br><br>
Today, at a birthday party, the same thing happened again, only this time I as there to observe it. And this time, after another parent (who is a child pychologist) remarked on my daughter's behavior, the general way that she "carries herself" and the fact that she's noticed how "incredibly bright" my daughter is, my friend said, "I used to be jealous until A [her daughter] caught up." Okay, have no idea why she said that unless she is still jealous. our daughters are not at the same ability level in most areas. And I do not care one bit, but apparently my friend does. I have no idea how to handle this developing situation! I do not want my friend to be jealous, and I would just as soon have other moms stop commenting on my daughter, especially around my friend. How would you handle this situation, because I could use some help!
 

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Maybe she is no longer jealous, and maybe her daughter has caught up. If you don't care at all about the differences you perceive, why not take her perception at face value and work from there?
 

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People are not saying A is less anything when they compliment your daughter. They are not comparing them to each other are they? I would ignore it. Some kids are verbal earlier, so what?<br><br>
Doreen
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thismama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7264487"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe she is no longer jealous, and maybe her daughter has caught up. If you don't care at all about the differences you perceive, why not take her perception at face value and work from there?</div>
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See, the problem is that my friend <i>knows</i> her daughter and mine are not at the same level right now. I don't think she can believe her daughter has "caught up," and I know that from other recent conversations we have had. For example, one very recent time at her house, my daughter was writing letters and spelling short words. She remarked, "Oh, if only I could get A to be interested in letters!" I reassured her that children who are 2.5 years old don't need to know the letters for any reason and reminded her that I didn't "get" my daughter to be interested in letters. At other times in recent weeks, she has commented on my daughter's reasoning, her interest in science concepts, her long attention span, and her large motor coordination. She's even said, "Well, I guess A is not going to be the athlete after all, and T is!" If my friend does think that her daughter has "caught up," I wonder what information she is using to make this judgment, since everything else she says suggests she is amazed by my child.<br><br>
Now, I am not the type of person who compares children out loud; nor do I usually remark on other people's children's abilities. I am happy to say things like, "I love how nicely they play together!" or, "It's so great that they're sharing their toys willingly," but I have never been the type to say, "Oh, A is so great at..." But I am starting to feel like I need to point out her daughter's positive qualities because she's always doing it about mine. I'm kind of worried both girls will develop a complex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>taz925</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7264531"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">People are not saying A is less anything when they compliment your daughter. They are not comparing them to each other are they?<br>
Doreen</div>
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You're absolutely right, they aren't comparing the two. In responding to thismama, I came to realize that this problem is actually compounded by my friend, because <i>she</i> often comnpares her daughter and mine. I feel like it just further reinforces some issue she already must have when she hears the remarks of others. And I didn't realize this at all until now! It's still a problem, but one of a slightly different nature than I had thought!!
 

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My child, who knows if she is 'gifted' or not, but she has tended to do things earlier than some of her friends. When mamas comment about whatever xyz thing it is, I just say, yeah she is really into xyz right now. Coz, that's true. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> I also comment with interest on the cool things their kiddos do, whether it is something my daughter did months ago or has yet to do, just with a tone of genuine appreciation for who the children are and how they are growing and changing.<br><br>
If someone were to say they were jealous of my child, I might try to work that out with them, talk about what it's about, empathize with their feelings.<br><br>
If someone says they are NOT jealous of my child, well just take it at face value, IMO. We both know jealousy is silly whether or not the child is more 'advanced' from an objective point of view. So, if they are not jealous, that's good.<br><br>
And really, what else can you do? You can't well say, "Now I know you are secretly jealous of my child." It comes off as a bit smug, kwim?<br><br>
If she is really jealous, well that is for her to work out and I doubt you are going to be the one to help her. I would just acknowledge that it's cool without making a big too-doo, when she comments on things your daughter can do. And also comment positively on things her daughter can do or is learning, or on positive qualities you see in her. And stay away from initiating or encouraging comparisons, or communicating to her overtly or covertly that you think your daughter is 'more advanced' or that you believe your friend is jealous.<br><br>
That's what I would do.
 

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I say, just be glad the shoe is not on the other foot. As uncomfortable as it is to be seen as better and have others jealous, it is a lot worse to have insecurities about inadequate achievement.<br><br>
My sister and I were both gifted. She had a harder time dealing with the way other people reacted to it, so she deliberately dumbed herself down. She pretended to be "normal" -- hiding her talents and not developing them. She was afraid that if she didn't do this, she would not have any friends.<br><br>
I didn't sweat it when people were jealous. Yeah, a lot of people didn't want to be friends with me, but I always had SOME good friends.<br><br>
Just remember, if someone else has a reason to be jealous of you, then you have a reason to be proud. Don't forget to be proud. You have no reason to be ashamed.
 

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IME, there are some people that will find things to be jealous of, no matter what you do or don't do. Because I hate to walk on egg shells, I either bring something up that might be bothering me, or I just assume that the other person will bring it up if it becomes an big issue for them.<br><br>
My only experience lately (and I realize this is not ANYTHING close to being your situation) is that my dd decided to be potty trained in Nov. My good friend has a dd that is 2 days older than my dd and we get together a lot. When my friend found out that my dd was potty trained, she was like "OMG, I'd better get on that with K. right away!" To which I immediately responded in my normal sarcastic/funny tone. "Oh YEAH! It's all a BIG competition and now I'm one up on you!" And she laughed (thank goodness!) and it completely diffused the situation.<br><br>
It sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with this mom. I'd wait until it happens again and see if there is a diplomatic way to address it. Not to dumb your dd down or give false praise to her dd, but in a way that's comfortable to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LauraLoo</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7267073"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My good friend has a dd that is 2 days older than my dd and we get together a lot. When my friend found out that my dd was potty trained, she was like "OMG, I'd better get on that with K. right away!" To which I immediately responded in my normal sarcastic/funny tone. "Oh YEAH! It's all a BIG competition and now I'm one up on you!" And she laughed (thank goodness!) and it completely diffused the situation.</div>
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Good approach! I may try the sarcasm (which would be completely consistent with my personality, anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ) when the next situation arises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lady Lilya</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7266713"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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My sister and I were both gifted. She had a harder time dealing with the way other people reacted to it, so she deliberately dumbed herself down. She pretended to be "normal" -- hiding her talents and not developing them. She was afraid that if she didn't do this, she would not have any friends.</div>
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My sister did this same, exact thing! I would hate for my children to feel they had to act differently from what felt natural just to fit in. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>teachma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7269853"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My sister did this same, exact thing! I would hate for my children to feel they had to act differently from what felt natural just to fit in. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"></div>
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Yeah. And I would also worry about the feelings of the other child, and her mama. I also look for ways I am contributing to the dynamic, like am I subtly acting smug or overly proud of my child. I think this is really easy to do when our children are behaving in ways that is socially deemed good or special.<br><br>
IME even children who are very 'advanced' are behind at something, or not as good at something. I think it's important to notice and accept the full child, kwim? And also to notice and accept the fullness of the other child, including areas in which they may be 'better' than my child, or more advanced. You may not think those areas exist, but I bet they do. They always do. I notice when I do this, for real, not just to be seen as doing it, this type of dynamic really shifts among myself and my friends.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">See, the problem is that my friend knows her daughter and mine are not at the same level right now. I don't think she can believe her daughter has "caught up," and I know that from other recent conversations we have had.</td>
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Perhaps she was just being nice in those conversations?<br><br>
I have been in situations somewhat similar when ds was very little. At those ages, his gifts were an explosive unpredictable jumble of amazing moments that people were, typically, never around to witness. I remember he had one little friend, who was speaking and writing and quite advanced in the typical area's by 3, and ds was very much a baby in some ways by comparison.<br><br>
People tend to have a social recognition of certain gifts, such as early talking, early articulation, early letter and number skills, such that complimenting those gifts is natural, almost akin to having good manners.<br><br>
Your friend may be downplaying her dd in an effort to be polite or complimentary--that is a really, really common behavior that many women in particular will do.<br><br>
If she feels her dd has caught up, perhaps her comment to that effect was the truer reflection of her feelings. I would not dismiss that or assume otherwise. I would try to acknowledge the underlying observation.<br><br>
I suppose my response would be to notice what her dd DOES do which is exceptional, and invite/encourage her mom to open up with you. She may be afraid you won't recognize what she see's in her child, so she says nothing, rather than risk rejection?<br><br>
Best of luck to you with your friend!
 

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The next time someone commented on my child, after they left I'd probably turn to my friend and say something like "Man I hate when people do that! Can't they see that between us, we have 2 absolutely amazing children? It makes me uncomfortable when this happens" and see where it goes. Either she really isn't bothered by it and she'll tell you it's not a big deal, or it may open up discussion if this is an issue with her.<br><br>
K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thismama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7269951"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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IME even children who are very 'advanced' are behind at something, or not as good at something. I think it's important to notice and accept the full child, kwim? And also to notice and accept the fullness of the other child, including areas in which they may be 'better' than my child, or more advanced. You may not think those areas exist, but I bet they do. They always do. I notice when I do this, for real, not just to be seen as doing it, this type of dynamic really shifts among myself and my friends.</div>
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Here's the hard thing in this circumstance: my daughter really does "seem" to have it all. I hate to say it. I am an extremely superstitious individual, too, and I feel that whenever something seems "perfect" for the time, something really bad is going to happen. But there is just nothing I can think of which other children would be better at, or have more of...except for many of your children who are profoundly gifted, where mine are not. I don't ddownplay her strengths, but I am very, very conscious not to draw attention to them. I do not have her show off, but I will, for example, ask her to sign her name on a friendd's birthday card because she can. I won't refrain from that simply because another friend with a two or three year old might get jealous, but I ddon't do it to provoke a reacion from others, either.<br><br>
My friend happens to also know my 6 year old son quite well. He is quite a different child from my daughter. She (my friend) hears me talk about his negative traits a lot. She is someone to whom I vent when I need to. Ds is also gifted but suffers from anxiety/ocd/sensory issues. So, in public situations, nothing about him seems perfect! She knows I am open about my children's areas of difficulty; there just aren't any with dd right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TabbyK</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7270077"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The next time someone commented on my child, after they left I'd probably turn to my friend and say something like "Man I hate when people do that! Can't they see that between us, we have 2 absolutely amazing children? It makes me uncomfortable when this happens" and see where it goes. Either she really isn't bothered by it and she'll tell you it's not a big deal, or it may open up discussion if this is an issue with her.<br><br>
K.</div>
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That is a great idea!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>teachma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7271267"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Here's the hard thing in this circumstance: my daughter really does "seem" to have it all. I hate to say it.</div>
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Okay. And *this* perception is IMO exactly where you are contributing to the dynamic. I would really challenge and question myself on this, if I were you. It's a very all or nothing view, and doesn't acknowledge the value of other children, or the fullness of your daughter. It could put a lot of pressure on her, IMO.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>teachma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7271267"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Here's the hard thing in this circumstance: my daughter really does "seem" to have it all. I hate to say it. I am an extremely superstitious individual, too, and I feel that whenever something seems "perfect" for the time, something really bad is going to happen. But there is just nothing I can think of which other children would be better at, or have more of...except for many of your children who are profoundly gifted, where mine are not. I don't ddownplay her strengths, but I am very, very conscious not to draw attention to them. I do not have her show off, but I will, for example, ask her to sign her name on a friendd's birthday card because she can. I won't refrain from that simply because another friend with a two or three year old might get jealous, but I ddon't do it to provoke a reacion from others, either.</div>
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I think you hit the nail on the head when you use the word "seem". No child is better than other children at everything, but it may seem to other parents, and apparently even to you, that your daughter is.<br><br>
I think all you can change is your reaction to others in this situation and one of the first things I would try to do is change the attitude that your daughter is better than every other child around except for profoundly gifted children, of which there are not that many.<br><br>
Children have an unlimited number of traits, of which others are better or worse or frankly just different. It's not all about physical and mental intelligences.<br><br>
Additionally, I think you would be doing your daugher a favor if you acknowledge the ways in which other children are, say, better or just different than her in various ways. Because even if you think that your beliefs aren't being perceived by her, they are and they are probably being internalized by her, which won't help her in the long run in life...<br><br>
Just my $02...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thismama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7271295"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Okay. And *this* perception is IMO exactly where you are contributing to the dynamic. I would really challenge and question myself on this, if I were you. It's a very all or nothing view, and doesn't acknowledge the value of other children, or the fullness of your daughter. It could put a lot of pressure on her, IMO.</div>
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I knew this would be the remark. What you need to know is this: In real life, I say NOTHING <i>about</i> my daughter. Never do I say, "Guess what T. did?" Never do I express pride in her, in real life, in front of anyone except my own mom. Now, with my son as a toddler, I was different. I used to feel like I need to "talk up" his accomplishments and his good points sometimes, because otherwise no one would look past his behavior to see anything positive about him. He neede me to be his advocate, his interface with the rest of the world. Dd is who she is. And often on her own (because I am rarely with her during the week, as I work full time outside the home) she draws a lot of positive attention. If anything, I often worry that my own daughter may not know how much I really do value her because I rarely express it. But others express it all the time. Here I am posting on a message board, trying to be honest about who my daughter is. Flaws? I am sure I could come up with some if I had to. But honestly, it would be a stretch. It would be coming up with negatives just to do so.<br><br>
If you knew me in real life, or if you knew how I interacted with my children and others, you'd get me a lot better. People always say I am 'objective' about my kids. When I've had to fill out paperwork about them for camp and school, my mom has said, "Can't you sound like their loving mother, not their teacher?" I tend to see them more from the 'outside,' maybe because I was a teacher for many years before motherhood (still am) and this is how I am accustomed to relating to children.
 

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Well, all I can say is that I find myself in that position a fair bit where people think my daughter is more advanced than their kids. And, honestly, if I don't watch myself I can enjoy it, a little too much. There is a playgroup we go to where everyone is longterm partnered and have a lot of money and high status jobs, and I am single and poor, and it seems my kid does everything before their kids do, and they notice.<br><br>
I can't say I don't enjoy that, because I definitely do. But I try to keep myself in check, because really I feel like the attitude that one kid is 'better' or more 'advanced' than another is kind of pointless and probably actively counter-helpful to my own child and the children around her. Kwim? All it serves is my own ego.<br><br>
I notice with you, you see things in terms of abilities and flaws. I can do that too, I slip into it very easily, especially when other people are commenting on how great my daughter is. When I'm sitting in my famous author friend's expensive house and she and the lawyer and professor are all commenting on how much more advanced my daughter is than their children, it's really good for my ego and easy to get puffed up.<br><br>
But, it's not that great for friendships, kwim? So what I do is I acknowledge the ways in which my daughter is ahead as sort of quirks of hers, which they are. Yes, she is into spelling right now, it's weird, I say. Yeah, she is early at stuff, who knows what that means tho, I say. I notice how gentle and kind my friend's son is, I hurrah when he toilet trains and say oh well girls are earlier when she comments that my daughter toilet trained 6 months ago.<br><br>
That kind of thing. I take care of them, I help them feel comfortable and that their kids are appreciated, because that's what friendship is. And I remind myself that they may *very* well be taking care of me in complimenting me on how great and advanced my kiddo is, so that I can feel comfortable and appreciated across our differences. Yk?<br><br>
That's what I think you should do. As heartmama pointed out, your friend may well be complimenting you on your daughter to make you feel good, as an act of friendship. And if she is jealous, I think the sensitive thing to do is to reject the whole paradigm that your child is 'better' than hers, and communicate that rejection to her so she can internalize it also.
 

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I think I know what you are talking about TeachMa. I immediately thought of a preschooler I once knew. She really was a "have it all" kind of kid - beautiful, well mannered, bright, coordinated, imaginative, etc. Mom was low key about it, but the kid was noticed and a lot. I can see in an honest conversation her mom admitting what other folks have noticed - this girl was "blessed". That isn't to say she'll be further along at 18 or her life will all be perfect or that she'll never have zits...but that some kids seem to be blessed across the board and folks notice it.<br><br>
With your friend I'd keep low key and try to avoid the competitive conversations. If you are 100% never playing on that level or interacting with those conversations, you will know you are in the right and with sane folks it'll play out just fine.
 
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