How can I feel respected by my son, who does not find me smart?

Joann - posted on 10/24/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I have just tried for the umpteenth time to address some grade concerns with my 17yr old son. Every time I try to do this he reacts horribly. Finally this time it came out. He gently and kindly tried to tell me that the real reason he does not like to discuss academic issues with me is because I am not, well, very smart. He even hugged me and said I'm sorry mom, ILU. Well it hurt to hear that, especially because it is true. I am talented at certain things, (art, piano), but I am not smart. I hated school because I was bullied throughout. For that reason, I often skipped school so I wouldn't face the bullies. I never benefitted from school because I dreaded it so. By the time college came around I was very turned off and never went. I'm pushing 50 now and going back today is not an option. We are not rich, but not poor. We cannot afford school for me, but also cannot get financial aid because we are kind of in the middle financially. Besides I work full time, and at 50 I do not feel like going to night school. I sure feel like a major looser here - I have not been able to stop crying for hours. He didn't mean to, but my son's comment hurt something fierce. Perhaps he is academically challenged because of my bad genes? I helped with a lot during their school years, but at about 5th grade or so, they were way ahead of my brains, academically. I feel like such a looser right now. Any similar experiences, moms?

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Joann - posted on 10/25/2012

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Thank you. Wise words indeed. I know deep down inside my boy realizes that his ol' mom has some smarts. As far as college, it's something I've actually been wanting to do for myself for quite some time, just have to figure out where to get the funding. I truly want to do this for me, but also to set a good example for him, and to have both my kids and hubby proud of me. Thank you all for your supportive responses. I just joined this site, and really like it!

Rebekah - posted on 10/25/2012

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You don't have to be an expert on the subject material he's studying, you just have to be yourself, which is a concerned, loving mom!! You can talk about grades and schoolwork and study habits without delving into the material. I think its completely reasonable to hold him accountable for his school performance and it should be ok to have those conversations. I don't know if you are actually trying to help him figure out his homework or just trying to find out what's going on with his grades, but I hope he can at least talk to you about his experience with school and what he needs. If you can't coach him through some of the content, so be it...but maybe there's other ways you can help him....quizzing him from his notes before a test, offering to host a study group at your house before a big exam, helping him find a tutor if he needs one... I don't know. There are other ways to be supportive, though.



And I can't help but think, a lot of (most??) teenagers can't fully appreciate the smarts of their parents, which ever kind of smart it is! Not until later in life and they have more perspective. Hang in there.



And don't feel like you have to even consider going to college to prove anything to anyone. Just be the best you that you are.

Joann - posted on 10/25/2012

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Yes, I am starting to feel better. Many people have been reminding me that there are different types of "smart". Thank you for replying - and so what if we needed Google? At least we tried to help with the homework, right? Have a nice night!

Becky - posted on 10/25/2012

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Ouch :( Sometimes hearing certain things, really stings. You sound like a very intelligent, well rounded person. There are so many different kinds of "smart", ie book smart, music smart, sport smart, etc. As for helping kids with their homework, you did better than me. When mine started to hit 3rd grade and they were doing geometry and algebra type problems, Google became my best friend.

Dove - posted on 10/24/2012

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It sounds like your son very much respects you and definitely loves you. You aren't a loser at all.

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