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To find it quite amusing how some people try to make out their average child is a genius?

(220 Posts)
MiketheKnight Mon 26-Nov-12 08:40:59

I've known a couple of people like this over the years but at the moment I have one friend in particular who does this loads, and tries to make everyone else convinced he is too.

I met her at a baby group. There are 8 of us all with DCs the same age (3). I have two older children too. She in convinced her DS is more intelligent than the other children in the group. She often does a round-robin type text to us all saying a question or statement her son is meant to have said, usually involving a very complicated word such as preposterous. And if he asks a question when we are at the group, as many of the 3 year olds do, she starts asking us if we heard his question, and saying what a clever question it was, then she answers questions using a very lengthy reply during which time he has generally walked off to play and doesn't listen anyway. Latest thing is her asking on her Facebook status if anyone knows any private tutors that will tutor a 3 year old as he is apparently marvellously curious about maths and science. And I've never known such a fuss over finding a school for a child. She's talked about nothing else for months and apparently it's far more difficult for her than anyone else as they have to be very careful about where they send their child.

I'd say that he is probably quite average, and very similar to the rest of the children in the group, including my DS. His speech just seems normal for a 3 year old, he walked at the same time as the other children, potty trained at a similar time. I never hear any of these wonderful anecdotes of speech that she writes about in texts when we meet up, and his speech whenever I see him is just the same as the other childrens' speech. He talks well, as they all seem to in the group, but certainly not like a child prodigy.

I know we are all proud of her children and think they are geniuses but she really does cross the line between thinking it and making a bit of an idiot of herself.

blisterpack Mon 26-Nov-12 11:16:31

"But she and her dh are not particularly high achievers academically. So why on earth do they expect their ds to be some sort of genius. It's a huge pressure to put on a small child. "

This is what puzzles me. Without exception, everyone I know like this are not high achievers themselves, neither are the spouses. Maybe they want, desperately, their children to break the mould so read into things that aren't there?

Years ago I was giggling with my cousin about some of the silly things then baby DD1 was doing, when she gave me a sympathetic look and said "Don't worry, all children are different, some are just SSSSLLLLLOOOOOWWWW". Imagine telling that to a mother about her baby! Hers of course is a genius.
Fast forward ten years and I'm happy to report that DD is very academic and doing very well at school, hers is average while being tutored everyday

milkymocha Mon 26-Nov-12 11:32:54

Coralanne And where exactly do i send my application for a date with this wonderful man you speak of? grin

TerrorNotSoFrightened Mon 26-Nov-12 11:33:56

Oh bugger. I think I may have just come across like this today.
I posted a funny thing DD said yesterday on facebook and just realised it may have come across as boasting. Balls.

Must be more careful.

Hamishbear Mon 26-Nov-12 11:36:08

Nothing wrong with having high educational aspirations for your child I think. Why is it seemingly so frowned upon in the UK?

I've seen children, nurtured & probably, yes, pushed from an early age, go on to get scholarships etc for some well regarded schools etc.

Just make sure every time she tells you some such shite tale "Do write it down, so it can go on his CV"

She is being rediculous.

There is a woman at school like this - her DS is in the same year as my DS - she has already told her son that he will not be going to school with his friends as he is far cleverer and will obviously be going to grammer school!

Poor kid - has no social skills whatsoever and being wrenched from his friends who accept his lack of social skills will do him no end of harm.

I don't boast about DS's intellect - have no idea if he is brighter or not than his peers - say he is going to get by with his bloody oddles of charm that he seems to use on everybody he comes into contact with - well I hope that is the case as he seems to find learning his tables totally beyond him.

Lilymaid Mon 26-Nov-12 11:43:14

"Nothing wrong with having high educational aspirations for your child I think. Why is it seemingly so frowned upon in the UK?"
I don't think that is the point of this thread - it is about the unjustifed assumptions of some parents that their children are somehow exceptional and that other DCs are not.
I can now be naughty and gloat ... as time has passed and their DCs turned out to be rather unexceptional.

HeirExtensions Mon 26-Nov-12 11:53:38

I have a DD who is an Evil Genius. Not quite sure it's the same thing though grin

Hamish: no one has any problem with high educational aspirations. At least no one I know. This thread isn't about that. Not even close.

It's about unbelievably stupid boasting from deluded parents about the PFBs (or any child for that matter).

In any case, imagine being the poor kid that fails to live up to his/her parents' educational aspirations. There are very serious problems surrounding this in countries like Japan and Singapore where the societal/parental pressure to do well is often very extreme.

Aspirations really have to come from within; there's no point trying to force your child to be what you want them to be. You have to let them make their own choices (and mistakes). Yes, parents can encourage some activities and behaviours. But you can't force your child to want what you think they should. It may turn out that their own ideas were way better than yours anyway.

GossipWitch Mon 26-Nov-12 12:00:36

Yes, my son is a genius, he's ten and out wits me, is very quick with a come back, and can have amazing arguments over why he shouldn't be punished, or should be punished in a different way. Pretty average grades though if not a little under the norm to be fair but then he does argue whether his work is in the correct book with his teacher though hmm

GossipWitch Mon 26-Nov-12 12:01:49

Oh and he is also a pedant.

Netguru Mon 26-Nov-12 12:08:09

Lilymaid. Agree absolutely. My eldest was distinctly average at primary and challenging in his behaviour. One parent springs to mind who declared her children both to be G&T and regularly made crass statements about the need to educate them privately so they could achieve their full potential.

Roll on 12 years and my son has graduated from top Uni and got brilliant job. Her son left a mediocre Uni with a poor degree and is still looking. If I sound gloating, I am in a way although to be honest it is with a huge dollop of surprise.

My 13 year old dd is not that bright but works hard. My youngest son is exceptionally bright but just will not work at school. Who knows how things will turn out.

If my experience has taught me anything, you can't force a child to be anything it isn't. You can encourage, you can facilitate but at the end of the day they are individuals.

BornSour Mon 26-Nov-12 12:08:18

I have a friend like this who is convinced that her dd is a genius compared to her peers. She always gets the rage when she gets her estimated attainment, wondering how the school can get it so wrong when she's so advanced.

The thing is she's never been advanced. She's working at the level she should be, which is brilliant and she's a lovely little girl.

Its a shame, really, as instead of being happy with her dd and how she's doing, she's always disappointed and that must be hard on her dd.

Hamishbear Mon 26-Nov-12 12:10:01

Agree Arbitrary, can see both sides. Agree motivation has to be intrinsic but if parents are passionate, encouraging and believe children can do more than perhaps they know - academically as well as more broadly - the results can be surprising sometimes.

If parents think their children are just average and that's that (because that's what someone in authority says early on) not sure that's a good thing. There's nothing wrong with encouraging a child to strive academically. Children can live up or down to our expectations.

My mum phoned me the other day to tell me she'd found my report card from primary 5. Apparently, I was 'a mediocre student with no particular abilities'. grin

All my school report cards were very similar from my utterly crap primary school. In the end, I got the best higher results in my entire year, graduated top of my class at university and went on to a PhD/an academic career at a very good university.

MIL was told throughout DH's schooling that he was really very thick. He's now got a PhD and an academic career too. I know she adores telling people this, particularly when they are the same people who used to look at her with pity/make snarky comments about DH when he was growing up.

Dawndonna Mon 26-Nov-12 12:23:26

I have two in G&T. Ds2 got A* for gcses. As for his AS levels and is predicted A* for his A levels.
I wish he had some friends. I wish he could cross a road safely. I wish he were able to cope with getting on a bus.
Dd2 is predicted the same as her brother. I wish she had friends, didn't get bullied because of her looks and wheelchair use.
They are, as are my two other children, clever and funny and gorgeous. They have Asperger syndrome and no social skills.
It's not always wonderful being the parent of gifted children, as somebody further up thread said, it's hard work. It's also soul destroying when they'd like to have a friend and don't know how.

My SiL goes around telling people and texting friends to say her DS, who is three, is advanced and as intelligent as a 6 year old (whatever that means). This is based on nothing from professionals, just her and MiL's opinion because he gets bored easily and has a look of concentration. Perhaps it's because he has far too many toys, is actually confused and is turning into an only child cliche!

hellsbells76 Mon 26-Nov-12 12:28:34

There's a song in the Matilda musical about this very phenomenon ('Miracle'). It's hilarious.

blisterpack Mon 26-Nov-12 12:37:06

Having high aspirations for your children is great. But posting pics of "Well Done!" cards from the teacher (WTAF, it's the bright children who don't seem to get them in our school) on Facebook, putting status updates like "Guess who got the main part in the school play?" and responding with "Of course my child is more than capable of doing that" when someone asks for advice on children's activities is not doing your child any favours.

I find parental competitiveness over parts in nursery/school plays utterly hilarious. And they often have no relation to what the kids think is good/impressive.One of my friends asked about DS2 being Joseph in the nursery nativity (because her DS had gotten mixed up about roles). I happily explained that another boy was Joseph and that DS2 has chosen to be a donkey. He's absolutely delighted about being a donkey. When DS1 was younger, he was delighted to be a sheep in a nativity because he got to run around in circles on the stage. In his eyes, this was the best possible role to have.

I did get annoyed at one of DS1's schools where they seemed to allocated speaking parts according to how posh the kids' accents were. The school was in the Home Counties and some of the kids had very RP accents. Most of the kids sounded a bit north London. You'd never have known from the school assemblies/shows though. (DS1, of course, was never allowed to speak because he has a Glasgow accent shock). That sort of thing was just typical of the bloody awful school though. All fur coat and no knickers...

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Mon 26-Nov-12 12:48:53

What I find works for me with people like that is being reversely competitive. So I make it into a competition about who is the most laid back parent and make out that I'm above any of that academic stuff!

I make out that I don't have a clue what level my children are on in their maths lessons, or that no, they eat value chicken not organic chicken, or that I actually prefer them to have a lesser part in the Xmas play as then I don't have to make a costume. I then praise their child profusely 'Oh wow how amazing that little J can tie his shoelaces at 2 months old, you must be so very proud'

People like that are usually, I find, lacking in confidence and need the whole world to give them attention to give them a boost.

Oh, I can't be bothered with being reverse competitive either.

I'm quite happy with my kids the way they are. Foibles and all. I prefer to share the funny anecdotes with my friends (who do the same). Their antics are much more interesting.

Janeatthebarre Mon 26-Nov-12 12:52:14

My neighbour has three truly gifted children - highly highly intelligent, talented (and very good looking to boot) and she is one of the least competitive boastful mums I know. I think, as has been said on the 'creative' thread that people often say things that they wish were true but are actually complete fantasy.

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Mon 26-Nov-12 12:52:19

I was meaning the person the OP knows, Arbitrary :-)

jojane Mon 26-Nov-12 12:54:00

Dawndonna - I know exactly how you feel, ds1 is nearly 6 and very advanced acedemically, photographic memory, knows more than me about space and geography etc etc but he still wets himself, has no real friends and refuses to dress himself.
I sometimes wish he was more average all round instead of extremes.
I get embarrassed when people comment on his intelligence and always downplay it or comment that I wish he could stay dry as I don't want to come over as boasting.

Dd has just started school (she is 4 ) and when teacher said to her she was very clever (think she did well on her phonics or something) she replied yes I am but not as clever as my brother! Felt bad wen I heard that as wonder if we don't give her as much encouragement and praise as my ds1.

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