Hiding or downplaying abilities

Rebekah - posted on 01/21/2009 ( 90 moms have responded )

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I've seen this touched on a bit in other posts and threads, but I wanted to bring it up specifically as it's own topic.

I'm sure many others have experienced comments from friends or even strangers when their child has done something extraordinary (I guess that's why they call it "remarkable!") Sometimes this creates an awkward situation for me, particularly when we are at a playgroup with age-mates and it becomes the topic of discussion.

I'm curious if others have found ways of responding to or deflecting these types of comments as parents and also the experiences of those with older children who are more self-conscious of their differences.

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Kaye - posted on 01/23/2009

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My daughter is now 11 and in the 7th grade. I found her a school that streams according to ability and there are a few others who are also on the leading edge so it makes it a little bit easier and I have been able to leave her in a grade level that is close to her age peers. She's only about 1.5 years younger than her classmates.

Her 3rd grade teacher has the best quote. "All children are gifted, some just open their packages a little earlier than others." It kind of takes the sting out of it for other parents. I mostly try to not follow up some other parents comments on their child's achievements with any of my kid's, but I also feel it is important to be honest about my child and where she is at. Particularly at this age, I want her to understand that I am proud of her and want to celebrate her achievements just like any other parent. Since we (her parents) were also gifted children, we have perhaps worked harder to make sure her experience was as unlike our own as possible.

Candy - posted on 01/28/2009

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Quoting Rebekah:



I think some of it is part of the culture of what I call "competitive parenting" (tennis mums included) with parents pushing their children to achieve at earlier ages. I never wanted to be part of that, but, best intentions aside, I have a child who wants and needs all the things I was going to wait on (school, music, language lessons) and who other parents use as a barometer for their own children's success. I have had multiple people pump me for information about what I "did" with him and have dealt with negative and accusatory attitudes. I guess some of my bad experiences have made me go on the defense, which isn't really where I'd like to be.


Yes, exactly... I loathe the sort of parenting which fills a child's life with 'education' to the point where they have no childhood and no time to just sit and imagine or create, simply as a way for the parent to achieve through the child.  But we must be able to read our own child's personality, needs and reactions; if the child needs these extensions then they will jump at them when they're offered and enjoy them, rather than whine and act up.  I have taught piano to little children who whined all lesson, played exactly the same mistakes for weeks on end and clearly hated every moment of it.  And also to kids of the same age who gobbled up everything I could throw at them with joy and gratitude.  The difference is obvious.



The only answer to other parents using your kid as a barometer is inner strength of purpose and belief in what you're doing.  What's right for your child isn't necessarily right for anyone else's, and sometimes we might need to remind other parents (gently!) of this fact.  The best sportsmen are those who compete against themselves, not against others, and the same applies to musicians and academics. 



Some parents will never be kind about your child- they are too insecure. Give them a chance, talk through the above ideas, and if they don't get it-  pity them (and their poor kids) and avoid them.  What you 'did' with your child was to look at parenting as a voyage of discovery, where your job was to find out who your child was, and then fulfil his/her needs as best you could.  Be proud of that, not defensive!  Tell those other nosey parents, if you MUST talk to them, that the moment your child shows signs of not enjoying the extension activities, out they go, but for now it's fulfilling a need your child has.  Does their child need the same thing?  The more you turn the conversation to their child rather than your own, the better you'll survive forced contact with these idiots.

Candy - posted on 01/25/2009

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Hi Rebekah- as a mum whose baby said 'hello' at the age of 7 weeks (yes, WEEKS) and hasn't stopped talking yet haha (he's 23 and onto his PhD in History), I do feel for you!!! When the other 5-yr-old schoolkids were playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he was trying to discuss the wheel configuration of a locomotive.  (My brother was also the type to explain to my mother exactly how a steam engine works, at the age of 4 and in a very public place... ooh boy.) So I am with you on this.



I found that the best thing to do about passing comments was to smile delightedly and agree that my child was precocious, maybe adding jokingly that he was really lucky with his gene pool, and then (if there was a problem of comparison with their own child) turn the conversation onto their own child and if possible pay their child a compliment too. 



It often IS possible, when you think about it... our gifted ones often have difficulties socialising with their own age group, for example, so it is often easy to, say,  compliment mum on how well their child integrates with others and say you wished yours could do that. This is a way of actively incorporating Kaye's great quote into your life; I teach preschool these days after years of teaching teenagers, and it really is true that they are ALL good at something- maybe at being kind to other children, or at trying new foods cheerfully, or at keeping their surroundings tidy. 



Those mums commenting on your amazing kid are anxious to talk about their own child... their fears... their hopes.  Your child has failings aplenty, I'm sure, so rather than downplaying your kid's abilities, acknowledge them- and then be honest about his shortcomings and share them with the others. 



Being gifted has a down side too.  My son really didn't have any true friends till he was sent to a highly selective school at age 7... your circle of mums might be the friends you've grown up with, but maybe it might be good for your child AND you if you looked for some other gifted kids for him to play with? Hopefully their mums could also give you more support! 



 

Kylie - posted on 01/23/2009

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I have really enjoyed reading this thread and have also found that having a "gifted" child, while not acknowledging that publicly still resulted in the loss of friends when we started having children and the milestones became comparable and then again when she started school.



Once my daughter started "academically" standing out it became an issue with certain friends. On receiving her report card at the end of last year which was almost straight A's in every subject (hard to do at her school as they only give a max of 6 per subject per grade - only 2 per grade at the half yearly), I was unable to share with anyone but my family and even that caused problems between my sister (who is studying to be a teacher and the mother of 4) and myself.



It is a shame that we are unable to share and my daughter is at such an extremely parent competitive school that I strongly encourage her not to discuss her achievements with friends as I am paranoid about it being repeated to parents (pathetic!!!).



It would be wonderful if we were able to share our children's achievements with family and friends without the fear of judgement, competition and/or envy. I truly share in my friends families moments of joy and proudly share their achievements with one and all.



I have 3 wonderful friends + 2 non competitive sisters who I am able to openly "boast" too and that is a fabulous thing!

[deleted account]

Let me tell you what happened to me with this first: I am on a local Parenting forum where there were about 15 of us that live close to each other all pregnant and due at about the same time. So after all our babies were born we all shared all the milestones together, and even did picnics and playdates as the babies grew. I have even formed really great friendships with many of the moms.



And then Aiden's intellectual milestones started getting faster and faster. Suddenly the other moms were talking about their kids saying a new word (like the 4th word ever) and here Aiden was learning and saying up to 5 or 8 new words every day.



some of the moms have been awesome and actively encouraged me to share my son's abilities with them. Others have been politely incredulous and disbelieving.



It led me to stop saying anything about his achievements as I didn't want to upset other moms who have every right to be excited about their child learning to do stuff without me seemingly overshadowing those achievements all the time.



One mom who was not around at the time of all our pregnancies, whose child is 4 months younger than mine even admitted to me that after meeting us for the first time rushed home to tell her husband that something is wrong with her son. Aiden, who was about 19 months at the time sat there sharing his smarties with one of the kids older sisters (4 years old) and saying all the colours and counting them out as he did so. This woman was worried as her son was only saying a few words here and there and rather unclearly when he did speak.



I have learnt two lots of things:



From the few supportive friends I have I have learnt that I have every bit the right to be proud of my child's learning and achievements. Even if he has this increased ability to learn, it's still a big thing when he can count to 20, or when he knows his alphabet etc. I have learnt that I have the same right as other moms to be proud and to share this with others, that I have the right not to apologise for my son's abilities - as this would make me seem embarrased about him.



On the other hand, I have also learnt that there are some people who will not / do not want to see this type of thing, telling me that he will "even out", that I am pushing him, that he should be allowed to be a child, and that I am over reacting as an overbearing, overly-proud first time mom and that every child if given the opportunity to be at home with mom would perform the same. So from these I have learnt to keep quiet unless specifically asked. And then I answer the question - without additional info, unless prompted.



I have learnt to never respond to a brag moment or cozy mom-to-mom sharing moment with my own stories, rather focusing on the other child and allowing that mom the space to share her stories without interruption. It's a hard thing to learn as I think when they hand you your baby they also infuse a desire in you to share with the world how "clever" your darling is.



But it has enabled me to feel better about myself, and have fewer upsetting moments. And those friends that are really excited about his progress will sometimes ask me what he is up to, and I am grateful to them for that!



my standard comments are:

"Every child develops at their own pace."

"Every mom has the same right to be as proud of her child's achievements"

"WOW - that IS amazing!"

And one that works the best in every situation - a smile and a quiet "Thank you for the compliment"

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Deborah - posted on 03/02/2009

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Julie: It is mom's like that one that gives us all a bad name. The advanced and talking early comment might be a give away but asking if he is the cutest baby you've ever seen? Are you kidding me? That is appalling to say the least. I'm afraid I would have said something.

As for the competitive milestone game ... been there and afraid I am still in the middle of it. [Sigh] My friend that has a daughter that is 2 months younger then mine is by nature very competitive. So it got to the point that I don't say anything about Katelyn and milestones. I just learned to stay away from it.

Julie - posted on 03/02/2009

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Thanks for this thread!  I wish it was around years ago!  My daughter, who is now 14, was speaking in complete sentences at 11 months, reading letters at 18 months...  I often received remarks like "Did that baby just say that?"  I met a couple of other moms when Ellen was about 18 months old, but found that the interactions constantly involved the other mom's comparison of their children to Ellen.  It was very uncomfortable and I felt myself trying to distance myself from them.  One of the mothers even went so far as to make a comment that she was hoping my daughter would be a good influence on her daughter!  And here I thought we were just hanging out together, making friends!  It started to get weird when she started asking to "borrow Ellen" for a couple of hours to play with her daughter.  Ah, no.  



More recently, though, I have a friend who's oldest child is the age of my youngest (now 9, not gifted) daughter. I remember when we would have play dates when they were babies and she would constantly make remarks about her son like "Don't you think... [he's advanced, the cutest baby you've ever seen, he is talking early]"  Who ASKS other moms stuff like that!?!?  I felt like saying, "Actually, no, I do not think...," but of course I wouldn't.  It's hard to find other mothers to talk to who do not feel like they have to be competitive about every little milestone.  Finding a balance between being proud and being modest can be a challenge, but I've learned to let the kids just speak for themselves.  Any observant being will notice the miracles that they are!

Julie - posted on 03/02/2009

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Thanks for this thread!  I wish it was around years ago!  My daughter, who is now 14, was speaking in complete sentences at 11 months, reading letters at 18 months...  I often received remarks like "Did that baby just say that?"  I met a couple of other moms when Ellen was about 18 months old, but found that the interactions constantly involved the other mom's comparison of their children to Ellen.  It was very uncomfortable and I felt myself trying to distance myself from them.  One of the mothers even went so far as to make a comment that she was hoping my daughter would be a good influence on her daughter!  And here I thought we were just hanging out together, making friends!  It started to get weird when she started asking to "borrow Ellen" for a couple of hours to play with her daughter.  Ah, no.  



More recently, though, I have a friend who's oldest child is the age of my youngest (now 9, not gifted) daughter. I remember when we would have play dates when they were babies and she would constantly make remarks about her son like "Don't you think... [he's advanced, the cutest baby you've ever seen, he is talking early]"  Who ASKS other moms stuff like that!?!?  I felt like saying, "Actually, no, I do not think...," but of course I wouldn't.  It's hard to find other mothers to talk to who do not feel like they have to be competitive about every little milestone.  Finding a balance between being proud and being modest can be a challenge, but I've learned to let the kids just speak for themselves.  Any observant being will notice the miracles that they are!

Missy - posted on 03/02/2009

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TOTALLY true. lol - my mom was there too - and vouched for her saying it another time. I still think I wrote it in at two or three months instead of the actual time. I waited until she was saying mama as well.

Deborah - posted on 03/02/2009

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ROFL ... Missy, what can I say. Been there done that. We should start a thread for a 12 step program for our GT denial. First Step: admitting it. I was the same way and I had my mother there as a witness to the hi but my argument was clearly she is just stretching her vocal cords not even considering that she shouldn't even be able to express that sound at 2 weeks.

Standing on the podium: My name is Deborah Chetwood and I lived in GT Denial!

Deborah - posted on 03/02/2009

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From what I have read... girls are more likely to dumb down their abilities so I am not shocked that you have come to realize you yourself might still be doing it. But for the praise ... we are always big on praising her compassion especially since she has two big dogs she interacts with. She has always been very empathetic to those around her and when she does we always praise her. But as far as academics go, time will tell how I handle that one. I have said numerous times that as long as she is happy I won't push but if her happiness part of compromising her abilities for the purpose of fitting in then I might have a problem. But is in the future.

Missy - posted on 03/02/2009

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This is all incredibly interesting...I have to confess, my daughter said "hi" at about five weeks old and I was afraid to put it in her baby book because I didn't believe it had really happened.

Rebekah - posted on 03/02/2009

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Hey, Deborah, I decided to revive this thread as your mention of Ms K "dumbing" down herself to talk with other kids made me start thinking about something.

I credit my parents for fostering my self-confidence in academics and for all my other insecurities I have never felt inadequate intelligence-wise, which I think is especially important for our girls. Now, I can't think of a time that I EVER acted dumb (other than to get out of trouble) or tried to hide my intelligence, but, for whatever reason, I think many people, even some of my closer friends, would be surprised to find out that I'm "gifted." I don't know if it's just a lack of condescension or whether I intuitively/subconsciously act differently. I don't think that I do, but I guess I'm not impartial. Most people assume (and comment frequently) that my son gets his gifts from his father (who, I should say, is no dummy) but to me it's obvious that his gifts, particularly in language, come from me. But, people also say that he must get his blue eyes from his father, so who knows what's going on there!

To cap off my ramblings, I wanted to say that as long as she does well on her work and tests once she gets into school, I wouldn't worry about how she acts around others. If she is compromising her sense of self to please others, there is a problem. She is probably just highly intuitive. Make sure to praise her compassion as well as her efforts in academics. :)

Kathleen - posted on 02/04/2009

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Hi all, I too am new and have enjoyed reading everyone's posts.



I find I downplay my daughter a lot (she has just turned 3) as I have always found this a good technique for myself (grew up in a really tall poppy syndrome environment). It is really not good that I do it, and I have been slowly choosing to be silent rather than negative. People can see how she is and love her for it, so there really isn't any need for me to say much.



When other parent's get competitive, it doesnt really bother me as I see the kids as individuals and some people are more proud by nature than others. It is all human nature at the end of the day and I think if you can understand that, it can really help see things for what they are (sort of third person viewpoint). I really like the attitude Tracey takes with things:-)



By the way, everyone's stories are truly amazing to hear! Really enjoy reading them

Corbell - posted on 02/04/2009

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Quoting Samantha:



Boys get their IQ from their moms (and yes there is some controversy on this, you know, from the dads :-O, but there is VERY STRONG evidence of this) so chances are, that's your problem too. :)





I couldn't pass up commenting on this as I've also heard the same thing, i.e. boys get their brains from their moms...  I just can't help but smile each time I hear about some older man that leaves his established marriage to run away with some young pretty (often not terribly bright) girl -- I get a chuckle out of thinking how he'll now need to support his new 'idiot' children.



 



Sorry if this is inappropriate but that's what the comment made me think of, i.e. silly old guys that don't realize they'll get stuck supporting both the ditsy new girlfriend but also get saddled with their new ditsy kids for life.



 



I have some real thoughts about this string and will post them later...

User - posted on 02/04/2009

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Thanks Deborah and Rebekah! I'm just so relieved and excited about finding this message board. I talked my husband's ear off about all the information I've learned so far and cannot wait to receive my copy of "Losing Our Minds" so I can further educate myself on "What do I do next?" We are currently in the process of applying for preschools and found one that uses the Reggio Emilio teaching style which seems to be a good format with our parenting style. We put in our application and will be accepted on a lottery system (please say a prayer for us). Since I haven't had Yahney-Marie tested for giftedness yet (I read somewhere in my research that I should wait until she is at least 5 or 6), I almost felt reluctant to share that w/her prospective teachers, but decided that I should at least ask about how they work with children that are functioning at a higher or lower level than others. I found her answer satisfactory and feel comfortable that this preschool will be a good match.



All of your posts on here do have me concerned about what's to come, but I feel much more secure and confident knowing that there is a network of moms that I can go to who have been there and for that I am truly grateful...



Looking forward to posting more about Yahney-Marie's abilitites (not sure which thread to use) and learning more about your children.

Rebekah - posted on 02/03/2009

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Welcome Claudine!
Had to your note really spoke to me. When I was younger I had that quote framed on my wall. It speaks to my self-censoring and my tendency to cripple myself with my own perfectionism. I have gotten a bit better and grown into my own, but I can always use the reminder. Maybe I'll have to see if I can find it and put it back up next to my desk.

Deborah - posted on 02/03/2009

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Claudine,



Welcome to the board and we look forward to reading your posts. By the way ... Love Akeela and the Bee. It definitely is an inspirational movie. Please don't hesitate to create a thread of your own. You will find a lot of caring like minded individuals here.

User - posted on 02/03/2009

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Hello Everyone!

I'm new to this group and am a mom of a 3 year old whom I also suspect is gifted (I'll elaborate more in another post when I have more time). I've shared some of the same ackward experiences when wanting to share Yahney-Marie's accomplishments w/o making others feel 1) like I'm boasting or bragging or 2) inadequate about their child's ability in comparison. I truly believe all children develop at their own pace and every parent can find something extraordinary about their child. I don't feel it is fair to my daughter or me to have to downplay my joy for others to feel more secure.



After reading your posts, I want to share a quote from the movie Akeela and the Bee that resonates with me...



"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. "



I've learned so much in the few posts that I've read here and look forward to being part of this community.



Be encouraged,

Claudine

Rena - posted on 02/02/2009

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Deborah, Rebekah, I guess this is not going to go away & we have to deal with it. I, for one have decided not to talk about my daughter's abilities to people(who happen to be family)who wont even appreciate her for those & morever get competitive about it.She is what she is & I'll be happy as long as she's realising her potential to the fullest. Hope I can live upto the lofty goal! And not fret or fume everythime people behave this way :))

Rebekah - posted on 02/02/2009

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Maybe there is hope?
The situation I've been dreading most seems to be going okay. My SIL (husband's little sister) has a 6.5 yo and it has now become apparent to everyone in the family that Henry is capable of doing many things his older cousin cannot yet. My SIL is usually kind of competitive about everything and can be unpleasant if you do not agree with her on things, so we tend to tiptoe around her anyway. However, last time I saw her she was asking what we were thinking we'd do about his schooling since she knows he's already beyond K curriculum and can't start here for 2 more years. We had a really good discussion about it. Of course, my MIL was in the room and I got the sense of silenced fuming coming from her direction, but, one battle at a time, I guess.

The other good thing is that it truly doesn't bother the little boy, which is much more important to me anyway. The two of them like to play together, which is great and it was so cute last time they came into the room with a picture they had made for Grandma together and he said, "Look, I wrote all these numbers and Henry helped me with the math!"

Deborah - posted on 02/01/2009

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Lori and Rena ... I think Lori has the term for it: 'One Uppers' and Rena has almost the same stories I have but with her family. (Which is so sad when your family competes. It is one thing when they don't really believe you or think you must be over thinking things but when they are one upping you it is bad.)

So my friend's daughter has been delayed in gross motor skills; fine motor skills; speech; and socia.l Back before my daughter was 1 year old Katelyn was climbing/crawling up the stairs. My child was also using a spoon on her own since she was 6 mths old. My friend's child is 2 months younger than mine. So I really wouldn't say all that much and through conversation it would come out. Sometimes she would ask when should they be doing such and such... and I would say I think at this time but katelyn already does that. So a few weeks later she informs me that her child is doing it too. (going up the stairs/using the spoon) ..A few months go by and I either see for myself she is not or she talks about how she still won't. So she forgets what she lied to me about ... holding my tongue when I figure that out. So then the critical time comes when she should be holding a spoon and climbing a stair and I get oh sure she can no problem. Then push a little further and get that she clearly can climb because she crawled up 4 stairs but has to have a fear of height. And I see for myself that she holds a spoon but hardly ever gets the food in her mouth. She was 18 mths old at that point. She did not start to climb stairs until she was 22 to 23 months old and lives in a two story house. And still at 27 months not the best with a spoon and would rather like to grab with her hands and shove into her mouth. But my friend tried to lie and make that she was a head of my kid doing it a few weeks earlier but then later find out she ends up being behind on the tasks.

Those were just a few examples but her trying to One Up or at least Keep Up happens all the time. My daughter learns colors, shapes, ABCs etc. Her daughter has to learn all the above which I think she knows but with her speech issues I can not really confirm that. But while my child naturally asked about the above things her child was 'hot housed' with flash cards to get her to know her colors and shapes. And of course the time it took my daughter to put it together was nothing put her daughter was put through a program. Start with colors than shapes than numbers .... while katelyn learned what ever she asked about and learned all of it on top of each other. Then Katelyn started figuring out more advanced concepts like reading before she turned 2 and adding and subtracting. When that information came out my friend got completely quiet and ignored it and/or changed the subject. It got to the point that she no longer could pretend to compete and really doesn't want to discuss anything and especially that now you can really see the major differences in their ability to socialize and behave in public. So she can't really One Up me now but when her daughter does do something I have to hear about it like it is the most amazing thing and for her child sure but when my kid did it a year earlier it is really hard for me to bite my tongue ... but I do because it isn't a competition.

Rena - posted on 01/31/2009

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and we do want the best for our kids & that is something we should not loose sight of despite everthing else!

Lori - posted on 01/31/2009

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Well, I just think it is hard for parents to hear when there are other children who might be better at something than their child is. Even though my daughter is brilliant at many things, she's not perfect. I think too many parents expect that their children are super and special and unique and are VERY disappointed to find out their children are really just average. There is nothing wrong with being average, but we all want the best opportunities for our kids. I am still trying to keep a level head with my daughter's natural advanced talents. I don't want to be "that mom" that seems braggadocio about her kid. (I'm not saying that anyone on this thread is, don't get me wrong). But it is something VERY exciting to think that my child will be able to do great things in her life and wind up better off then my husband and I and every generation of family before us. That's why I joined this group.

Rena - posted on 01/31/2009

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U're right on with that term! That's esactly what I would call them! If I tell them My daughter is reading, then soon after their son can too, if they see my daughter reading those I can read books, then they claim that is all that their son does too & if I say my daughter is doing end of 1st grade reading, then soon after I hear reports that their son is reading on 1st grade level too.And there is no evidence of any such thing! Is this just co-incidence, am I making too much of this, I really wonder sometimes. I go with my feelings/hunches sometimes & they r often right on the spot. But I do wonder...?!

Lori - posted on 01/31/2009

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That's such a shame that they just can't be happy for you and your child. Some people get so jealous or fear that they are incompetent parents that they have to overcompensate for it by being competitive child rearers - one uppers I call them.

Rena - posted on 01/31/2009

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Lori, Deborah with u guys its co-worker & friend, with me its my family - my husband's side! They r just so competitive! It gets hard to breathe sometimes when we get together with them. I just stopped talking about it! I used to want to share this stuff earlier with them too, like I do with my family, coz I was so proud of my daughter but I just dont want to do it now coz of their behaviour!

Lori - posted on 01/31/2009

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No worries, Deborah. I understood what you were trying to say. I have a way of being able to translate combobulated writing. Good night!

Deborah - posted on 01/31/2009

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Wow rereading my post I should clarify and is a sign that I probably need to go to bed now! But same boat because mine is so advanced and her' daughter is delayed.

And by your last post you are kind of doing the same thing. At one point when I found 'highly gifted' and started researching it I got this power of AH huh ... I'm not 'making things up' or over exaggerating since I have proof for what I am seeing. This is the only time I had an open conversation with her but have since then come down off the high... sad but true that I was on a high but I realized what I was doing and now back to not saying much at all.

Lori - posted on 01/31/2009

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Deborah...The more I think of it, the more I realize that I only bring things up about Arianna with this co-worker when SHE brings things up about her son or asks me questions. At least then that way, I don't feel like I'm just bragging since SHE started the dialogue. Make sense? Again, having a friend like that is different then a co-worker, though we are really close "work friends".

Deborah - posted on 01/31/2009

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Lori ... I am in the exact same boat (delayed in speech development and social abilities) with my daughter and one of my closest friends (wish it was a co-worker) but this friend has always been very competitive so it is a very tight rope I walk. I really find that I can't talk to her openly about Katelyn. I keep most of the crazy things she does to myself. I just don't want the drama of it all.

I really don't know the answer to how to handle her and at this point don't really know how I could qualify our relationship as that since I can't share for fear of her thinking I am trying to compete.

Lori - posted on 01/31/2009

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I work with a woman whose son was born 2 weeks after my daughter. They are both now 3. He is delayed in speech development and social skills while my daughter has been steadily 1 year ahead of the milestones, if not more since the pediatrician's office just stops asking those questions at a certain point. So I have been hesitant to talk about her at work in front of this particular co-worker, which is hard to do! I have slowly been talking more about my daughter in front of her at work and so far it's been mostly comfortable.



Whenever people comment on her ability, I typically just say a thank you and resist the temptation to brag any further. I just listen and agree.

Candy - posted on 01/31/2009

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Hahaha... I have just written an 'introduction' to my family in that thread, so go read what my little darling was like!  You will love him.  'Little monster' is very mild... :D

Deborah - posted on 01/31/2009

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ROFL ... there we go, Candy has volunteered to help us out. I'm afraid you will have your hands full with some of us. And it might be an interesting scene ... hit of the conflict ... 'hold on I am getting my Agony Aunt instructions.' So instead of Dear Abby we will Have Dear Candy... In fact we should open a thread with the subject Dear Candy. How cool would that be?

And as for the totally perfect scenario...does calling my child a little monster count? LOL I do believe in balance and is why I just don't give in to meltdowns. We don't have many with the kiddo. I can count how many we have had but when we do I just don't give in. So when she does do something I don't like she is aware and I think that evens some of it out.

Candy - posted on 01/31/2009

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Quoting Deborah:

LOL... I so love you Candy! Can we bottle you and stick you in our pocket to pull out during the conflicts?

And I just want to clarify that my Bad Bad conflict was in reference to Nicol Colleen post:

I'm bad! I always respond noting something they can't do well. Hanging my head in shame...


I am Agony Aunt to rather a lot of people- LOTS of practice!  So feel free to 'facebook friend' me if I'm useful... and I'll send you your script by mobile phone...



Actually I don't think it's bad to say that your child isn't totally perfect, even in front of him, as long as you  make sure he/she hears the praise and pride from you as well.  It's a good way of maintaining perspective ourselves when so much of what our kids do just blows us away. I have a very arrogant child with an inflated sense of his own infallibility because I didn't do the moderating ENOUGH (mea culpa, but I'll lay half the blame on the genes of his father who is way worse!).

Tracey - posted on 01/30/2009

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great advice Candy...whats needed is a Spirit of Co-Creation



1. Gracefully decline fools



2.  Always make it easy for those with a Genuine Spirit to co-create with you  "a New Way " of "being together".  Gifted, not gifted, we all need each other.  . .

[deleted account]

hahaha - you are all funnee :D



and Ikeep nodding my head - glad I am not the only one feeling like this

Deborah - posted on 01/29/2009

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LOL... I so love you Candy! Can we bottle you and stick you in our pocket to pull out during the conflicts?

And I just want to clarify that my Bad Bad conflict was in reference to Nicol Colleen post:

I'm bad! I always respond noting something they can't do well. Hanging my head in shame...

And not to your post...

Candy - posted on 01/29/2009

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Quoting Deborah:

Bad bad bad ... LOL. I sometimes with I could do that! (Evil grin) but I really think it is important to take the high road even when provoked.  ...  would love to do that but I try not to but who knows one day I might be posting just how BAD I was. LOL

Thanks for the honesty.


Deborah, Deborah, Deborah- you are not the one who is being 'bad' if you respond like this!  The person who is grilling you is being bad, insensitive, intrusive and rude.  You are actually allowed to speak strongly sometimes and express your opinion, as long as you are diplomatic and try to make 'I' statements rather than 'you' statements- and avoid the word SHOULD like the plague. 



If you say something like 'I've always thought it's important to look at my child as an individual rather than just going by what everyone else is doing at this age, and he/she seems to need this extra activity, even though it's above the age expectation.  It keeps him/her happy.  What are the things that your child enjoys?' - then what is there to object to?  It's not bad or wrong to explain your motivation to someone who gets nosey about things, and you don't have to feel guilty for doing so.



To, me, that IS taking the high road, because we are being honest about what we're doing and we're expressing an opinion which is in the interests of ALL children's welfare- even if it conflicts with the actions or opinions of the particular person we're talking to.  There is nothing 'good' about letting these people upset you and provoke you- you don't deserve it, and they do deserve a firm response.  It is discriminatory to pick on you or your child because they have different needs- as much so as if they were picking on you because of your race or disability. 



Redefine 'bad' , my dear!

[deleted account]

not pathetic Kylie - it's a defense and coping mechanism that I think we have all found ourselves doing at some stage... (or similar!)



:)

Kylie - posted on 01/28/2009

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Great post Candy, my problem is it has taken me a while to work out the parents I should avoid. I am usually so open and honest that when asked a question would just answer without thinking, now I realise some parents were just pumping to find out where she was at academically. It has gotten to the stage at her school where after she received her report card last year, I barely set foot within school grounds so that no one could ask me how many A's she received (pathetic I know).

Kylie - posted on 01/28/2009

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Great post Candy, my problem is it has taken me a while to work out the parents I should avoid. I am usually so open and honest that when asked a question would just answer without thinking, now I realise some parents were just pumping to find out where she was at academically. It has gotten to the stage at her school where after she received her report card last year, I barely set foot within school grounds so that no one could ask me how many A's she received (pathetic I know).

Kylie - posted on 01/28/2009

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Great post Candy, my problem is it has taken me a while to work out the parents I should avoid. I am usually so open and honest that when asked a question would just answer without thinking, now I realise some parents were just pumping to find out where she was at academically. It has gotten to the stage at her school where after she received her report card last year, I barely set foot within school grounds so that no one could ask me how many A's she received (pathetic I know).

Deborah - posted on 01/28/2009

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Bad bad bad ... LOL. I sometimes with I could do that! (Evil grin) but I really think it is important to take the high road even when provoked. And trust me I have been provoked. I would defend my child's ability absolutely but never turn it on them. THEN I would leave the situation be it phone or face to face and call my husband to rant and rave. Poor guy has heard a lot of ranting and raving to the point he despises the one friend that is always doing it. So yea ... would love to do that but I try not to but who knows one day I might be posting just how BAD I was. LOL

Thanks for the honesty.

Kylie - posted on 01/28/2009

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I just wanted to comment on Rebekah's statement of being pumped about what you did to make your son so smart, I also have been pumped about this particularly in English subjects. Even to the point where at the meet the teacher interview for my daughter at the start of Year 2, when her teacher asked me to "walk her through" the methods I used to teach her to read - flattering but a little unnerving. Mind you she was a fabulous teacher, very experienced yet always willing to learn more and someone who managed to instill an enormous amount of confidence in my daughter.



My children taught themselves to read but I have then assisted them once they started the process and used what I see as a very logical system but one which differs slightly from the school and happily share this when asked by parents.



My children are not the academic type so we do not do really do any academic activities outside of school unless they instigate them but I am sure parents do not believe this and I am now at the stage that I will no longer defend myself or them for being naturally academically smart. Does anyone else find this need to convince people that you are not drilling lessons into your child at every spare moment?



Also just wanted to say, I'm really enjoying these posts, and find Tracey's posts really funny and wise.

Deborah - posted on 01/28/2009

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first ...To Tracey,Shayla, and Rena: welcome to the board and so glad you shared on this thread.

And Rena, I so get your frustration and it happens all the time with my child. I hate the competitive parent issues I come across. I have to admit that since my child is only 2 and I haven't put her out there I don't get it as much as you probably do but when it is your close friends that were pregnant with you and have a baby 2 mths younger than you ... oh the petty competitiveness arises and the disbelief as if surely you are forcing them to do things... I could go into details but not really worth it.

Nicol - posted on 01/28/2009

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I'm bad!  I always respond noting something they can't do well.  Hanging my head in shame...

Rena - posted on 01/28/2009

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I am glad about this thread so i can talk to someone about this! Because, except my sisters, I find I'm not ablet o talk to many people about my daughters achievements without comparisions coming up! I never realised for long how smart my daghter was coz i didnt have any family or friends who had kids around the same time. I thought it natural the way she was. I later realised how advanced she was when at 13 months of age she started saying her ABC's & lot of other things, when friends kids 3 yrs older than her were not even speaking all that much & not clearly at that! Even my husband would then say that it will even out & she will be same as other kids!(he does not say than now). Now she is 5.5, and with friends or family, it has become increasingly difficult to talk about her achievements but they do see/hear her. One thing that bothers me is that it is fostering an unhealthy compepetion with parents, be it family or friends, as to what their children can do too. If I tell them my daughter is doing end of first grade reading, I hear soon after that their child is reading too. It has happened many a time to pass of now. I dont want to give anyone a complex or insecurity about their children but I am proud of my daughter's achievements & feel like talking about them like any proud parent without generating any negative feelings in others. It kind of dulls my happiness when people start behaving like that. My daughter is a beautiful well-behaved loving child & very smart too & I feel I should be able to be proud of her & her achievements.

Tracey - posted on 01/28/2009

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and Danya will keep getting even more exceptionally smart !  Dont worry about it.  People just talk, they dont know what to say about her visual impairment or her intelligence.  But they like to contribute something,  people like to share, whether they are very good at it or not.  Just share back!   If they blunder, have the grace to know that they are also in an exceptional situation with exceptional company. Get them used to it!!  They'll soon know they are blessed to be around you both and will bring their game up to match..



take care

Shayla - posted on 01/28/2009

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I am knee deep into this right now, learning how to respond and what to say, especially to Moms of other gifted children.



Great topic, good read, some great advice and quotes in here. Thanks



 



Here is my situation, feel free to ask questions I am brand new to this group.



I don’t know if this is fortunate or unfortunate but Delayna, who is gifted, is also severely visually impaired...So People like to say, "oh well she is compensating for being blind that is why she speaks so well or enjoys books or has phenomenal test scores etc" They do not think Delayna could just be exceptionally smart. 



Sometimes, I feel the people commenting are downplaying  her ability by focusing on her disability.  That’s hard for me, but I know it makes it easier on people.  Like, easier for them to cope wiht what they feel is an inadequacy in their own child, I guess.  I think that is it.



Any thoughts?



 



*disclaimer I am not gifted, there will be spelling errors and grammar mistakes throughout my posts.



Tracey - posted on 01/28/2009

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Go girls!! 



you know, being smarter is way funner!!  and being smarter holds loads of compassiion for others because , well you just "know".  Other kids will copy and learn from yours . . .  just let them do it by themselves.  Other mums will know instinctively that their kids will benefit from being around your kids.  Let that process unfold, because your gifted kids have exactly that quality - a gift to share with the world . .



loads of love...

[deleted account]

Rebekah - you have hit the nail on the head! It's exactly like that for me. I deliberately did not put Aiden in playgroup etc as I wanted him to get to be a kid for as long as possible - I had visions of us playing together, going for outings and ice creams and just having fun together without the pressure of having to grow up too fast. heh. And we still get to do all of that and it IS awesome fun to be with him. But yep - he wants to learn, and he guides the things we do and learn. I scramble to "go with the flow" and have answers ready for him...

Rebekah - posted on 01/28/2009

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I just wanted to clarify that I am not suggesting making my child intentionally hide or be deceptive in any way about his abilities, although I do know that many children arrive on that method on their own when they reach the age of wanting to "fit in." I guess I was asking more about striking a balance between being entirely forthcoming and openly discussing it with other adults or keeping it on more of a need-to-know basis. I do find myself secretly hoping he won't do anything "weird" in certain situations.

I think some of it is part of the culture of what I call "competitive parenting" (tennis mums included) with parents pushing their children to achieve at earlier ages. I never wanted to be part of that, but, best intentions aside, I have a child who wants and needs all the things I was going to wait on (school, music, language lessons) and who other parents use as a barometer for their own children's success. I have had multiple people pump me for information about what I "did" with him and have dealt with negative and accusatory attitudes. I guess some of my bad experiences have made me go on the defense, which isn't really where I'd like to be. I guess I have to learn to work on my attitude (and social graces) and accept this as a small trade off for the loads of fun that we have on our own.

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