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to be saddened that DC is wasting academic potential?

(157 Posts)
Smokerings Mon 19-Nov-12 22:16:47

I feel a bit if a cow really but I am really dissappointed in my DC's aspirations.
Just gone 14, academically exceptional. Top of the year in a grammar.
Has decided to aim for a career in graphic design.
I know that being happy and job satisfaction is the most important thing we could hope for our offspring. And I know that graphic design is a highly regarded career, but I'm saddened at the lack of desire to use a brilliant mind.
It will possibly all change over the next few years, but I'm agonizing over this potential waste. And hating myself for being bothered by the lack of ambition.

(namechanging regular as I'm a bit ashamed of my thought process, tbh)
(please please don't think I'm being disrepectful regarding Graphic Design, it's just not as academic as this child could achieve)

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 20-Nov-12 18:58:25

But I'm not criticising you. I get where you are coming from.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 20-Nov-12 18:53:37

I fulfilled my academic potential and it did not make me happy. It led me into a career that was totally unsuitable.

What made me happy was knowing myself better and pursuing something that fitted who I am (morally, philosophically), what I enjoy doing and what I am good at.

You say you know it is about happiness but I don't think you really do know that unless you've been deeply unhappy about pursuing a course of action that was wrong for you.

I want my children to be enquiring and passionate. I want them to have space to find something they love, to jump through enough hoops (ie achieve well enough in subjects they don't love, but need) to get them there, but beyond that to find a way to do a job that they love.

cory Tue 20-Nov-12 18:33:32

And absolutely agree that you can't do direct matches between school subjects and careers. Being very good at maths at GCSE level doesn't necessarily translate into doing a successful degree or career based on mathematics. Then again, he may well find a way of using his mathematical talent for his career as a graphic designer. Or vice versa.

cory Tue 20-Nov-12 18:28:40

Going back to the music analogy, unless your child really passionately loved music, would you really want him to be forced to spend hour after hour practising, sacrificing his studies and social life, and then have to spend his working life in a very hard competitive job where everybody except himself was passionate about what they were doing?

My own db did prepare for the career as a violinist, so I have an idea of the work it entails. (He didn't make the grade in the end as he was found to have a slight stiffness in his fingers- not apparent to anybody non-professional, but enough to scupper his career plans.) I think he found it worth it because he really loved what he was doing, but there is no way a sensible person would put themselves through that, however gifted they were, just out of a sense of duty to their talent. Noone is gifted enough to get a musical career without a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

Supposing he was a gifted athlete, would you expect him to put himself through what athletes have to go through if he didn't really care about winning? Just because he had been given that talent?

My ds does seem to have a lot of natural talent for acting: his timing is brilliant and the way he delivers a line (particularly when trying to talk his way out of trouble) is just very, very funny. So yes, if he doesn't do anything about his acting it will be a talent wasted. But there is no way I want him to face such hard work and insecurity unless his heart is in it. If it was, then I'd support him all the way.

Even an ordinary BSc or BA can be very painful if you don't happen to enjoy it. Noone is so gifted that their essays just write themselves.

kerala Tue 20-Nov-12 18:18:55

Re glut of lawyers they will get weeded out when it comes to finding a training contract. Basically if you havent got a 2:1 from a good University forget it and even then its a struggle.

Still not a bad degree to do know lots of people that did a law degree but didnt become a lawyer you can go into lots of things planning etc.

SoupDragon Tue 20-Nov-12 18:15:44

Could you be more patronising/condescending?

Mrsjay Tue 20-Nov-12 17:38:43

Swap the above for Maths and Design.
Is that so hard to comprehend?

ID rather my child was a designer than a mathamatician tbh what can an adult do with maths work in a bank be in Finance a Teacher a Lecturer Trying to think what else, TBH I know you are upset but you seem such a snob about it you cant help how you feel but do try and turn it into a positive your child might not be a great mathamatician but your child could go into graphic design and have a fantastic career,

Mrsjay Tue 20-Nov-12 17:34:16

DDs friend went to do LAW cos she was clever ( her grannies words) she dropped out this year I do think teenagers need to focus on what they want to do achieve not what parents expect them to do

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Tue 20-Nov-12 17:21:09

This thread is about my angst that I am saddened that despite being mathematically (predominantly) exceptional, the child is veering towards a career (atm, I'm fully aware that this may, and most likely, will change) in which they display the least capacity and flair for.

I get that you're not being pushy, you're not anti-creative, you'll conceal any disappointment etc.

But you still haven't understood that you might just be completely and totally wrong about this. Whatever it is you think your DC should be doing with that maths ability, you should consider the possibility, not only that they don't want to do it, but that they might not be very good at it. For all sorts of reasons which have nothing at all to do with their academic giftedness.

This matchy matchy of good subjects at school with career sectors is incredibly naive. Very, very few people actually choose their careers like that.

higgle Tue 20-Nov-12 16:02:46

DS2 is just 18 and in his final year at school, he is a good allrounder and at or near the top in all his subjects, straight A* at GCSE and quite a sensible chap too. However his career aspirations have chaged remarkably over the last few years. Before GCSE's it was all Chemistry, after GCSE's it was Classics at Oxford that became his ambition. He does Latin, English, Geography and Art for A level and is now aspiring to a degree in Fashion Marketing, and has just put in his university applications. I just want him to do whateverhe enjoys and will make him happy. In every field there are some people who are high flyers and he will just have to work hard and develop his talents to ensure he is one of them.

DS1 is one of the few graduates in his year to go straight into a "proper" job and the aspiring lawyers and accountants have had a bit of a struggle to find placements this time round.

CailinDana Tue 20-Nov-12 14:59:38

Achillea I disagree. I definitely was gifted - I found schoolwork an absolute doddle. Of course, it's a completely useless thing to be good at because you eventually leave school and have to operate in the real world. My parents weren't the least bit pushy, in fact they showed no interest in me at all. I wrote a book when I was 7, something most parents would have been blown away at I would have thought. They might at least have kept the book and made some fuss over it. My mother sort of laughed at it and I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up in the bin. I don't have the stomach to ask about it, it would upset me too much.

nochipsthanks Tue 20-Nov-12 14:55:27

we should start a new bad mood thread cause I am in a right mood too. (Just found out that my boss is talking to HR about staffing cuts.... only 7 in my department and i am the only part timer...)

[wonders if the showjumping window is closed... conveniently forgets that i no longer ride...]

Ihatemakingpackedlunches Tue 20-Nov-12 14:53:31

...& even those who did get on to a foundation course did not necessarily make it onto the degree course of their choice... sorry sounding negative here and perhaps nowadays its easier.

FrankincenseWippery Tue 20-Nov-12 14:52:36

X-posts. No, I didn't really. Thank you for recognising it.

FrankincenseWippery Tue 20-Nov-12 14:51:40

Bullshit Achillea. Where did I say we talked about their future career? I didn't. They said what they wanted to do then moved on to play outside, inside, wherever. I will always support my children in whatever they want to do, like I said if I was a pushy parent, I think it highly unlikely that I would have suggested that they take a step back from school this year when their father died.

My older children are 19, 18 and 16 - adults/almost adults. If I can't have a fucking conversation with them at these ages about what they would like to do, I'd think there was something seriously wrong with me. My youngest is 3 and is happiest playing in mud.

Still, we can't all be fucking perfect and full of self righteousness can we now. Fucking hell. You sound so terribly aggressive. Never mind.

Ihatemakingpackedlunches Tue 20-Nov-12 14:51:33

Just because he wants to be a graphic designer NOW does not mean it will or even can happen. The most likely route would be to do a foundation year in art & design post A levels which covers all aspects of art & design. On my foundation course a good 20 yrs ago I distinctly remember a friend who was set on studying graphic design who ended up doing a fine art at degree - and one that was set on fine art that went on to be a very successful graphic designer. Your ds is expressing interest in a design career - & yes many posters are correct that it can be very satisfying & lucrative, it is also extremely competitive to get onto decent courses that lead to the decent jobs.
In a couple of years you will know whether he is good enough to get onto a foundation course anyway - if design & technology is his weakest subject he honestly may not be "arty" enough - in "the old days" you had to be very very good or brilliant at art to get onto a foundation course - whether it is the same now I am not sure...

achillea Tue 20-Nov-12 14:48:36

Sorry Frankincense, I'm in a very bad mood! I shouldn't be on this thread, it has touched a nerve. You didn't deserve that really. smile

achillea Tue 20-Nov-12 14:44:32

Frankincense your evaluation of yourself as being a pushy/not pushy parent is fully of hypocrisy.

Pushy parents forget that all children want to do when they are young is please their parents. In the end that is what drives them. Parents that are not pushy don't even talk about a child's future career, they allow them to live in the moment and be children while they still are children.

legalalien Tue 20-Nov-12 14:42:13

At that age I think the main thing is to make sure he doesn't close off his options in any significant way.

Fwiw my strengths at school were maths and physics, but my love was history. I signed up for a BA majoring in maths with a history component. And then in the first week of uni I started reading someone's first year law materials sitting in the sun on the university lawn. I was hooked! And changed my course. Still love law probably because i don't have an artistic or outdoorsy bone in my body, i do however take umbrage at the idea that law is not creative but if I had a penny for every miserable law firm trainee I had met who, having qualified, found they didn't actually like the job, I'd be rich.

Lefty there is already a big glut of lawyers out there. On the bright side, law does, if taught properly, give you some useful transferable skills.

Flatbread Tue 20-Nov-12 14:37:10

I think you should be hands-on regarding what your child does. If he is gifted, make sure he does all the math and science courses, so he is not closing options.

I think at that age they are too young to know the consequences of their choices. It is up to you, to guide them gently so that they make career choices that open opportunities for them.

FrankincenseWippery Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:49

nokids my DD2 wanted to become a lawyer because "I am good at arguing, I like arguing, so they may as well pay me for it". This was age 7, and is still one of her little reasons! Although she is actually reading geography, and will follow with a law conversion as she wants to broaden her knowledge in a subject she is passionate about.

FrankincenseWippery Tue 20-Nov-12 14:33:02

Achillea - I would say that my DD2 is incredibly gifted. I am, however, the least pushy parent one could meet. They all work at their own pace - it's not my future they're working for, it's theirs. Should they wish to piss it up a wall, of course I'd be disappointed, but having been pushed too hard myself, I was not and am not prepared to push my children.

I have instilled a degree of drive in my two older daughters and my son, and they use that drive and determination to achieve what suits them. When their father died, not long before their exams this summer, I said that if it was all a bit much, too soon, then to take a step back to reflect and defer everything for a year. Fuck that, they had so much will and determination and wiped the floor with their results.

I can't bear pushy parents, their children become robots ime, and can't wait to get the fuck away, often achieving fuck all almost to spite them. I know I did. But, I also know that I do t regret my decision to skip university one little bit.

nokidshere Tue 20-Nov-12 14:31:14

Just an aside, but I'm noticing that every other kid now wants to do "Law", no matter how mediocre their qualifications - and they seem to be finding places, even if it's at the University of JustFoundedLastWeek. There's going to be a huge glut of lawyers in a few years time.

My 11 year old wants to be a lawyer because he can then wear a suit everyday grin but then last week he was going to be a marine biologist and this week he is looking at other jobs where he might be able to wear a suit everyday lol

14 is way to young for most people to settle on a careeer path - stop woorrying and let him get on with it.

Miggsie Tue 20-Nov-12 14:27:07

Actually some kids just are gifted, my DD does really no work at all and is always top of the class. She does her homework in class. I have no idea what she is studying, I never bother to look at her homework and she doesn't mention it very often. She is still top, so she's doing something right.
She is also bloody good at sports.

On the main topic of the conversation: graphic designer as a job is very very badly paid.
DH does artwork as a hobby - for which he gets paid, and I'd recommend that route, most graphic designers get £15k a year as there is just so many of them.

EscapeInTheCity Tue 20-Nov-12 14:24:18

achillea some children ARE gifted though.... Even wo 'pushy' parents...

Of course, no child who is never given music lessons will become a 'gifted' musician by the age of 15yo.
But then it's not because a child has had music lessons from an early age that they will be gifted.

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