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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not really sure how to frame this question. Perhaps some background will help. My dh is REALLY smart. His family places a lot of VALUE on being smart. His brother is all about who goes to the BEST ivy league school and who makes the MOST MONEY. That's not me at all, and dh is not into the competitive thing with schools or money and we have not chosen high-earning careers. However, dh really pushes for dd to have friendships w/the brightest kids. On one level I think that's fine and even good as she has a lot in common with these hard-to-find peers. Dh is also really great about not bragging about or advertising dd's accomplishments and ALWAYS holds his tongue when friends or colleagues are bragging about what their kid can do (I mention this to show he's not about showing he or our dd·s are BETTER than anyone else), BUT... I know how isolated he was as a child being so bright (my family had different anti-social issues) and not able to get along with his age-mates (he thought everything they did was STUPID and later they picked on him). I want our girls to be able to get along with all kinds of people.<br><br>
The one superficial thing she has going for her is I try to dress her non-dorky (not that there's anything wrong w/dorky, but I''m trying to head off any future problems with being bullied or ostricized) and she is not unattractive in any way. She's very social, but not the most outgoing. She likes to learn by watching. Lately she has shown enough comfort in new situations to go participate with other children dancing at a children's concert and participating in organized activities at birthday parties.<br><br>
I plan to encourage a range of interests that are not solely cerebral. She likes gymnastics, soccer, singing (o.k., maybe that's a little nerdy, I'm not sure), nature and art in addition to reading and science and make-believe.<br><br>
Anyway, if you've BTDT or have ideas, please share your thoughts and experiences.
 

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Well, I think the best way to do that is to raise your child to be comfortable with themselves. If they're comfortable with themselves, they don't have to judge their self-worth based on others.<br><br>
Also, kids mostly learn from observing others. So, watch how you treat and talk about people with different abilities. It's pretty easy to stay away from overt criticism (well she's just not very bright), but it's harder to curb the more subtle kinds of talk (she's "just" a bus driver).<br><br>
We talk a lot at our house about how people have different talents and different gifts. We talk about differences in all sorts of areas -- skin color, religion, food preferences, what we like to play, when we get up/go to bed. Dd came up with a really insightful comment the other day "Daddy likes to do two or three things at once, and you only like to do one." The child is amazingly insightful!<br><br>
We praise effort, not smartness. Effort the child can do something about. Smartness not so much. This is a great article that I've shared with a lot of my family. <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/" target="_blank">http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/</a><br><br>
It's also a bit easier for us since ds has had some definite delays in motor development. He goes to OT 1x a week, and so we can talk about just like it was hard for him to learn to zip his coat or pump on the swing, it's hard for other kids to learn to do some stuff in school.<br><br>
I suspect that your husband's pushing your dd toward 'smart' kids is based on his own difficult history. Instead of that, I'd look for kids with a mutual interest.<br><br>
All it takes to survive being nerdy is one good friend. My brother was majorly nerdy in school. He also had learning disabilities, so he didn't have the comfort of being smart and nerdy. He was just nerdy. (I recognize now that his issues were probably mostly sensory related - he was uncoordinated, he twitched/fidgeted, picked his nose, he was very easily distracted, very disorganized). And yet, he did OK in school, survived with a decent sense of self in tact because he had a strong family and he always had one good friend in school. Today he's a successful mid-level manager, has got a great wife, a beautiful (and smart) son, and a good social network.<br><br>
So my goal isn't to prevent my son from being nerdy. I know he is. And I love him for it. My goal is to help him have a strong sense of self and to learn to make friends so that he has a social buffer. After that it's up to him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, Lynn, for your helpful response. I actually read that article when it came out. Yeah, I guess I should clarify, I'm not against nerdy, but I want to help my dc be as well-adjusted socially as possible. I'm definitely not pushing for prom queen or anything like that. I'm just trying to figure out how I can help them see all people as interesting and worthy. I have a friend from Argentina who thinks it's so weird that Americans place so much value on intelligence. I respect emmensely how he can get along with everyone. In the meantime, dh really needs to be around really smart people. He gets very annoyed with "people who don't make any sense." His phrase is actually "people are idiots." Now, he's a great guy, and he doesn't say that around the girls, but you make a great point about how to make a concerted effort not to put people down. I hope I haven't oversimplified him. He does get along great at work with people who have a good work ethic regardless of their intelligence; he does have trouble (IMHO, not his) w/those who don't. So I guess addressing that is the first step. And I definitely think pursuing friends based on interests is key.<br><br>
It's hard at dd's age (almost four), to figure out which "friendships" to help her maintain. She likes everyone, and I don't want to have too much influence on who she chooses to hang out with. Dh looks ahead and sees, "well that relationship won't go anywhere." Part of me thinks he right, but I don't feel comfortable not helping her maintain these relationships, even though we can't see any compatability. KWIM?<br><br>
I apologize if I lack tact in asking this question, but it is a serious concern of mine, and I don't want to pidgeon hole our girls.<br><br>
Thank you for your thoughts!<br><br>
(We do have friends of different races and friends with various physical disabilities/challenges, so she's comfortable w/that.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BTW, we don't use the terms "smart" or "intelligent" or "gifted" with the girls. We are actually UP and don't use any praise at all, so I don't think dd is a candidate for that "I have to be good at everything on the first try" trap. She is really good at sticking things out for a long time w/o us pushing her to do so. She works a lot on her own.
 

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We have found for our DD, 5.5 yrs old, that the longest-term friendships happen with kids who's parents are also our friends. I understand that eventually, that won't work, but if the mom and I get along and share certain philosophies, then the kids will usually enjoy each other.<br><br>
It sounds like your DH is somewhat, um, judgemental (that's not a criticism--I can be the queen of judgemental, myself) and you may be less so. That may be more an aspect of your personalities than philosophies, but I should think it would be a good idea to discuss it between the two of you before your DD gets much older.
 

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I would guess that keeping her spirit intact, keeping her out of same-age environments, and avoiding putting all her activities along with kids who are in the prep class if there are things she'd like to do that would expose her to a wider view of the world.
 

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Well, most friendships that are formed at age 4-5 aren't a long term thing!<br><br>
If you help her build friendships based on mutual interest (and that includes parents that <i>you</i> like to hang out with), she's likely to gravitate toward kids who are compatible.<br><br>
I would focus with her (and your dh!) on seeing the "other" gifts that people have. Yes, we've got intellectual gifts, but I don't have the ability to repair my car; I'm not great at organizing social events; I don't have the patience to teach 1st grade. So, when I see people who are good at those things, I comment to my kids. We talk about how it's good that different people have different gifts so everything can get done.<br><br>
Would your husband read on child development? I'm thinking reading something on friendship (Best Friends, Worst Enemies or Playground Politics) in children might help him relax a bit about who your 3 year old's friends are!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>expecting-joy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10689774"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know how isolated he was as a child being so bright ... and not able to get along with his age-mates (he thought everything they did was STUPID and later they picked on him). I want our girls to be able to get along with all kinds of people.</div>
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Do you think your husband started out by saying to himself, "The other kids are stupid!" or that he tried to engage them and was unable to do so? In most cases, it's the latter... and the "Everything you say/do is stupid" modality of thought comes in later, as defense. The alternative is usually, "There's something horribly wrong with me," and in my experience most gifted children go back and forth between the two.<br><br>
I'm curious, though-- when you say "get along with all kinds of people," what exactly do you mean? As an adult, I self-select my friends and end up with certain kinds of people as a result. I'm capable of dealing with most people on a purely functional level; I can ask for directions, make purchases, etc... but I'm not spending any significant amount of time with these people, nor do I feel compelled to do so.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I plan to encourage a range of interests that are not solely cerebral. She likes gymnastics, soccer, singing (o.k., maybe that's a little nerdy, I'm not sure), nature and art in addition to reading and science and make-believe.</td>
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Encouraging a variety of activities is a fine thing; In my opinion, all children should be so encouraged, gifted or not. And yeah, it will probably be easier to relate to kids who aren't as gifted as she is if the playing field is more level, so to speak... but it may not translate beyond the context of, say, gymnastics or art. If that's what you're going for, I don't know how successful you're likely to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all your thoughful responses. Eilonwy, I really think you understand the situation well. Your interprestation of my dh's behavior just sounds right. And, of course, my friends tend to be more like me, too.<br><br>
So, do you think I should just take a wait and see approach, arrange playdates with moms I like and just let things take their course? I guess I was just looking to see if there was anything *I* could do to ease her future social life.
 

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One thing that has helped us is to talk about the concept of a community as family... Some family members are old, some are fast, some are smart, some are babies, but they're all part of the same family--and all have dignity simply because they are human beings.<br><br>
Now would it make sense to hold up your grandma and a baby and compare them and then judge one in relation to the other? The baby may have more innate intelligence, but grandma is wiser.<br><br>
It has been really, really difficult to find kids who my son really gets along with... so we've had this discussion *a lot.* He is just really intense and usually ends up talking to the parents at the playground, not the other children. But that is fine--we've talked a lot about friendships with people who are not like us being, often time, the best friendships around.<br><br>
HTH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I like that idea. Right now she still seems to not be too aware of differences. She just gets confused when children her age cannot do things she can.<br><br>
I'm still torn between the benefits of NOT pointing out differences and embracing them. I think the longer she thinks she's like everyone else, the better. But we'll see. This is new territory for me. Right now she's in a Montessori pre-school and only ever asks to have the five and six-year-olds over for playdates. But I still invite the others, especially since their mothers seem more interested.<br><br>
It's just hard not having the answers. Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts. I'm always open to more.
 

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I'd start talking about other kinds of differences first - Jenny's family loves cats, Joe's family loves music, Josh loves to cook, Tim has a big family. I would talk about obvious observable differences (family size, pets, etc.) and talk about different interests. The main point is emphasizing there are lots of differences and that's cool. At some point there is a pretty natural transition from talking about interests to talking about abilities.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>expecting-joy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10746845"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Right now she still seems to not be too aware of differences. She just gets confused when children her age cannot do things she can.<br><br>
I'm still torn between the benefits of NOT pointing out differences and embracing them. I think the longer she thinks she's like everyone else, the better.</div>
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That confusion is, in fact, awareness that she's different. In my opinion, it's better to address it sooner than later. By the time I was your daughter's age, I thought that there was something seriously wrong with me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>expecting-joy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10746845"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I like that idea. Right now she still seems to not be too aware of differences. She just gets confused when children her age cannot do things she can.<br><br>
I'm still torn between the benefits of NOT pointing out differences and embracing them. <b>I think the longer she thinks she's like everyone else, the better.</b> But we'll see. This is new territory for me. Right now she's in a Montessori pre-school and only ever asks to have the five and six-year-olds over for playdates. But I still invite the others, especially since their mothers seem more interested.<br><br>
It's just hard not having the answers. Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts. I'm always open to more.</div>
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Bold mine. She is different from everyone else, <i>and</i> the same. Humans share a need for human connection; food; etc etc. Some people really like potatoes at dinner, while others like rice. Some people are really good at being a friend, or shooting a basketball, or making muffins, or whatever. We share our humanity, and we're each unique from each other in a whole variety of ways.<br><br>
Like carmel23, we also regularly have expansive conversations about being part of a community, and inter-dependence. IME experience with my two kids, and the way I was raised as a child, when you discuss the context in which kids live regularly and in an inclusive way, at some point the kids come to accept and embrace the differences of others, and the uniqueness of themselves.<br><br>
Gifted kids know they're different, and as Eilonwy points out, they may very well ascribe negative interpretations to themselves. DD went through a really hard time in k-2 dealing with her differences. In September of grade 2 I have a distinct recollection of discussing bell curves, and we "bell curved" all kinds of things that were different about people. In grade 3, she's really come into her own and is comfortable being who she is. She seems to have found a way to share her crazy knowledge and expansive ideas, and that's accepted by her peers as they know her. She also watches Hannah Montana and can sing all of the songs from High School Musical. Her social needs are high, so I encourage her to explore those interests of her friends that she also enjoys, but I also appreciate the fact that she's made a commitment to actually read the full encyclopedia set at the library <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">.<br><br>
Whenever this comes up now - "I feel weird/different" - I just reference a variety pack of candies - it's much more interesting when there's all kinds of different stuff mixed together (this is silly, I know, but it's our short hand).
 

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My dd seems to have a natural way of meeting people at their level.<br><br>
Since she was 2 she knew how to play with her cousin who has autism. She somehow understood that he didn't talk and play the way she did...so she was happy to run around the room screeching with him just to watch how it made him giggle <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
She just turned 7, and she still has it.<br>
She isn't put off at all by kids who aren't at her level. We had a classmate at her birthday party last weekend who has some issues. At one point, this girl got upset and started throwing things in my dd's bedroom and then ran and hid in the bathtub. One of the other girls came to get me...and it turned out that my dd was already in the bathroom with this girl, sitting in the bathtub, helping her talk through her frustrations.<br><br>
Her teacher told me that she's the one she can count on to help the other kids. She can pair dd up with a child in her class who doesn't understand something, even when it's a language barrier issue (we live in a very, very, multi-cultural issue) and she will help them understand it.<br><br>
At the same time...she can also match wits with my father and have a pretty intense discussion about the presidential candidates or tonight it was actually about antibiotics, lol.<br><br>
That being said...she is not so accepting of herself. She gets caught up in wanting to be the typical barbie doll toting 7 year old when her interests are just so different from other girls her age. She sometimes struggles with wondering if she can be friends with her friends even though they like certain things and she likes others. Thus far, it hasn't been an issue and she has had great friendships and no social heartbreak to speak of.<br><br>
We also don't talk about labels like "gifted." We also try to play up how everyone is different and how that's a wonderful thing.<br>
She has started to ask questions about the GT center and so far I have gotten away with explaining that some kids just think differently and are better taught one way while other kids are better taught in a different way.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>supercrunch</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10761326"><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 dd seems to have a natural way of meeting people at their level.<br><br>
Since she was 2 she knew how to play with her cousin who has autism. She somehow understood that he didn't talk and play the way she did...so she was happy to run around the room screeching with him just to watch how it made him giggle <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
She just turned 7, and she still has it.<br>
She isn't put off at all by kids who aren't at her level. We had a classmate at her birthday party last weekend who has some issues. At one point, this girl got upset and started throwing things in my dd's bedroom and then ran and hid in the bathtub. One of the other girls came to get me...and it turned out that my dd was already in the bathroom with this girl, sitting in the bathtub, helping her talk through her frustrations.<br><br>
Her teacher told me that she's the one she can count on to help the other kids. She can pair dd up with a child in her class who doesn't understand something, even when it's a language barrier issue (we live in a very, very, multi-cultural issue) and she will help them understand it.<br><br>
At the same time...she can also match wits with my father and have a pretty intense discussion about the presidential candidates or tonight it was actually about antibiotics, lol.<br><br>
That being said...she is not so accepting of herself. She gets caught up in wanting to be the typical barbie doll toting 7 year old when her interests are just so different from other girls her age. She sometimes struggles with wondering if she can be friends with her friends even though they like certain things and she likes others. Thus far, it hasn't been an issue and she has had great friendships and no social heartbreak to speak of.<br><br>
We also don't talk about labels like "gifted." We also try to play up how everyone is different and how that's a wonderful thing.<br>
She has started to ask questions about the GT center and so far I have gotten away with explaining that some kids just think differently and are better taught one way while other kids are better taught in a different way.</div>
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Your daughter sounds like a remarkable little girl.<br><br>
Do you think that, as she gets a bit older, you may explain to her, or discuss with her, that she is gifted (and so she doesn't reject herself?)?<br><br>
I've seen some really interesting books on g-girls and the how pressures are different for them. Out here, Santa Clara University has a Sally ride festival, [ <a href="http://sallyridefestivals.com" target="_blank">http://sallyridefestivals.com</a> ] something like that might be a good place.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>expecting-joy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10746845"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm still torn between the benefits of NOT pointing out differences and embracing them. I think the longer she thinks she's like everyone else, the better.</div>
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Just a quick note that most diversity curricula suggest actively talking about differences -- if we act like differences don't exist (when kids can clearly see them), then it makes the differences taboo. If we acknowledge them and talk about them, then they're just an interesting fact.<br><br>
Our preschool actively does this. They have kids mix paint to represent their skin color. They have kids do self portraits. They have kids talk bout what they like to do, and what their personalities are like.<br><br>
I've had numerous conversations with dd about this (she seems to notice/care, ds doesn't really). "Well, A's skin is dark because her parents' skin is dark. Everyone's skin has something called melanin in it. A's skin has more of that than yours does. A and T are different because A has dark skin, and T has lighter skin. But they both have dark brown hair, and they both wear glasses. But A likes to play in the home area and I really likes to swing on the monkey bars..."<br><br>
Dd brings that home. The other night at dinner she was saying "I like mayonnaise with my hamburger, and Momma likes mayonnaise on her hamburger. But, Daddy and T don't. So, that's my preference and Momma's preference, but not yours."<br><br>
If you're going to celebrate diversity, you first have to let it in the room!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>carmel23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10761705"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Your daughter sounds like a remarkable little girl.</div>
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awwwwww thanks <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br>
I think I am forseeing a career somewere in the crisis intervention field <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>carmel23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10761705"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
Do you think that, as she gets a bit older, you may explain to her, or discuss with her, that she is gifted (and so she doesn't reject herself?)?<br></div>
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I am sure I will have to. I am hoping it's a natural process, and I am guessing it will likely come up next year when the school system does the testing and referrals for the GT center.<br><br>
It's such a tricky thing,<br>
explaining to them that their abilities set them apart in some ways.<br><br>
I want her to grow to understand and accept herself, but I don't want her to feel different or weird or superior.<br><br>
You would think that with a degree in psychology I'd be better at this than I am <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
The SallyRide festivals look amazing. I haven't heard of them before. We're just an hour and a half or so from Towson, so I may look into that one.<br>
Thanks!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>supercrunch</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10763495"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You would think that with a degree in psychology I'd be better at this than I am <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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Heh. I wouldn't. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pigpokey</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10705794"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would guess that keeping her spirit intact, keeping her out of same-age environments, and avoiding putting all her activities along with kids who are in the prep class if there are things she'd like to do that would expose her to a wider view of the world.</div>
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As a former kid in the described position myself, I was actually going to argue that keeping up with same-age environments that are mixed-ability (mixed-everything!) is one way to teach being comfortable with a variety of people.<br><br>
I grew up gifted in the 70s in a small town, in a small school, in a very average-midwestern region. No G&T program in the school, nearest gifted school nearly an hour away.<br><br>
Today I consider myself a geek - but I'm a geek who gets along pretty well with people from all kinds of backgrounds. As a kid, my playmates were the neighbor kids (there were about 11 kids with my age range (my age plus/minus five years) on our block) and the kids I went to school with. So of my best friends were not the "brightest and best," but that didn't mean they weren't capable of playing with me....<br><br>
I do know my parents didn't puff my head about giftedness. I have vague memories of conversations where they explained that the other kids couldn't read yet because most kids can't, but that they would learn now. And conversations about how different people are good at different things. The kids that couldn't read yet might be extra good at climbing the monkey bars, or drawing, or sewing, or bike riding, or storytelling.....<br><br>
I think I was probably a lot like Supercrunch's DD at that age - mom tells me I became adept at "code switching" very early - talking to the kids I was with at the level they were at. I went off to preschool speaking like Dad spoke to me - complete, complex-compound sentences - and when the other kids looked at me in confusion, I pretty quickly scaled things back. I remember watching kids to see how they did certain things and responding accordingly. It sounds a little "Anthropologist on Mars," but it wasn't quite that bad! I still remember coming home from a birthday party at age 12 and realizing I needed to start listening to Casey Casem and the top 40 on Saturday mornings so I'd be able to talk the talk. That didn't stop me from loving the Stones and Paul Simon like my parents did....<br><br>
I think many more kids are more able to do that kind of thing (code switch) than we give them credit for, or raise them to do. We worry about getting them friends "like them" so that we don't have to have the conversations about differences, or we have the conversations about differences and emphasize differences as pluses or minuses rather than differences. Some of it is, I think, the current tendency to overmanage kid things rather than let kids be kids - the need to schedule activities and events and "broadening classes" rather than just letting kids exist within the world. I agree they need guidance and discussions of difference, but to support finding their way in the world rather than as a substitute for experience and actual living and playing.
 
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