Do all parents think their children are bright?

(158 Posts)
TooHotToFuss Fri 14-Jun-13 23:14:01

I think it seems to be too generally applied... AIBU? That really. We were discussing the low expectations news in our staffroom today, and agreed this word is almost so overused it can be meaningless.

Do you ever hear it or use it?

gail734 Sat 15-Jun-13 00:05:12

I'm a teacher. One mum recently told me at parents' night that she was afraid I was mistaking her 13 yr old son's "exceptional maturity" for cheek! She was very polite and matter-of-fact about it. I was shock at an apparently sensible woman describing her gobby and academically average son as "exceptional" when talking to his teacher! This is rare, though.

WilsonFrickett Sat 15-Jun-13 00:05:56

Jesus schooldidi. A lot of parents are amazed how good their kids are at things because, guess what? They're amazed how good their kids are at things. They're not comparing, they're appreciating. I frequently described DS starting to read as miraculous - because it was. It was a true miracle for me to see my boy start to decode letters and numbers. He's good at it.

lougle Sat 15-Jun-13 00:14:46

I must have looked like a real loon last night at DD3's new parent evening.

I said to her key worker:

"I'm a bit worried that DD3 might irritate you because she's been at a setting where she gets a lot of individual attention and might take a few weeks to adjust to being part of a bigger group.

Oh...and by the way, she has an older sister who goes to special school, so she may tell you about her sister having a hard brain.

Oh...and she's really fussy about seams so she might whinge when it's PE time for a while.

But she's lovely so...thanks...nice to meet you."

Perhaps I should have been more effusive about her blush

schooldidi Sat 15-Jun-13 00:16:38

Wilson, I'm not saying that they can't be amazed by their kids, just that those parents are using the word 'bright' to describe a child who really isn't. This isn't young children I'm talking about either, it's pupils at the top end of Secondary school where I have been telling their parents for 3 or 4 years how much they are struggling with Maths, and still their parents are amazed at how good they are at it.

Sarahplane Sat 15-Jun-13 00:20:52

I have a dd who's seven. I think she's quite bright, her nursery did too, her teachers at school do as well and my dad who's a retired teacher also thinks so but he's her granddad so may just be biased.

my ds is nearly two and I have to keep reminding myself not to compare the two of them. My ds and my nephew are similar ages and neither of them is talking yet whereas my dd was talking in full sentences and arguing at this age. Both ds and dn are more physical than verbal but I don't think either are thick, I think they're both normal whereas I think dd is bright.

Sarahplane Sat 15-Jun-13 00:24:35

my ds is spectacularly good at some things though such as climbing up stuff and throwing himself off things. oh and being cute.

LowLevelWhinging Sat 15-Jun-13 00:29:50

'bright' has so many meanings doesn't it?

just like 'intelligence' does in adults.

I'm good at writing essays in a certain subject, but I can't build a house, or park well or catch a ball consistently.

Same with all our kids, some are good at spelling or whatever, some are good at relationships, or spatial awareness or caring for people or...

it's all good!

thebody Sat 15-Jun-13 00:30:03

Who gives a shiny shite??

Are they healthy and happy. If yes then that's your lottery jackpot win.

Be grateful.

BridgetBidet Sat 15-Jun-13 00:39:52

Is it just me or is it a bit sit and high handed for teachers to be discussing their pupils and their families like this?

bobthebear Sat 15-Jun-13 00:59:13

My DS is amazing at maths. His teacher/head teacher tell me how amazing he is at maths. I fully expect him to reach secondary school and realise he's decidedly average but his teacher tells me I'm naive and don't know how ahead he actually is. I have nobody to compare him to so believe the teachers when they say he's very g&t at maths.

DD on the other hand, I've been told she's g&t but I just see her as a gobby, over confident 6 year old and fully expect her peers to catch up with her next year

bobthebear Sat 15-Jun-13 01:01:26

Oh and I'm hoping to avoid sports day because I know DS will be last in every race he competes in! Telling people that your child is good at maths/literacy/science doesnt' go down well with those whose children constantly win at sports day. But it's ok to brag about sports day....

HopAndStop Sat 15-Jun-13 01:06:34

I think all children are bright in different areas and not so much in others. everyone has some strengths so it can apply to most /all children in some aspect, so rightly overused.
(eg one might have good logic, one might have a good memory, one might read/write well, one might be very creative, but all are bright at their own strength)

Bogeyface Sat 15-Jun-13 01:54:30

I had an odd experience today funnily enough.

I have 1 DC with SEN, one who is average, one who is officially G&T, one who is extremely bright and I suspect may also be G&T, another who is average and another who it is too early to tell.

The mother of a classmate of the extremely bright one got talking to me in the playground today, never spoken to her before but have seen her around for the last 2 or 3 years.

She said "are you X's mum?" "Yes" "She is the top of the class for reading isnt she, along with Y (her dd)" "ermm, well I know she is doing very well with her reading, but I dont know where she is in the class". That is true, I really didnt know until today! She said that her DD had told her that they both had the same reading score and were the best in their year. Then she smiled, said "See you again" and went and got her DD.

Why?! grin

ariane5 Sat 15-Jun-13 02:21:11

Dd1 is very very bright, as is dd2. Both were advanced with speech at a very young age and are really very clever.

Ds1 is very different. Had speech delay and problems with many sounds. He is average at most subjects but really enjoys maths and art. He knows he is not the best but it doesn't put him off he just enjoys those subjects whereas dd1 HAS to be the best at everything or she simply won't bother.

Ds2 seems very similar to ds1.I think the majority of people like to think their dcs are bright. Personally having both very bright and 'average' dcs I couldn't care less which they are. If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly all 4 were average I wouldn't care, as long as they are happy its not a big issue.

It is a bit of a competition in the playground sometimes though and I try to avoid conversations about test results/levels/which reading books dcs have etc as a lot of parents seem obsessed with having the cleverest child.

McNewPants2013 Sat 15-Jun-13 03:06:58

I love my son, but I know he is not a bright child. I am proud that no matter how much he struggles at school he try's his best.

missingmumxox Sat 15-Jun-13 04:35:23

I know one of mine is above average, because his year 3 teacher wrote a report which quite frankly I thought had gone out with the ark.
X is an intelligent child who lets himself down with his lack of application... I am upset that an exceptional brain could go to waste unless he applies himself,
I askedy friend who has 2 children who have been in his class, and 1 now in grammar she was shocked! She said he is normally bland In his reports.
my children reflect me and my Dh exactly , we have the dyslexic try hard and try harder one, and the brain box can not be bothered one! Both bright. Dyslexic boy I get lots of comments on his knowledge, that's my boy smile lazy boy smile love him too
I am the dyslexic try hard parent, Dh is the brain box, lazy fucker, earns in a day what I earn in week! Fucker! Life is not fair !

MusicalEndorphins Sat 15-Jun-13 04:49:40

I don't know any personally who are biased as to whether their child is above average, average or below average in intelligence. But a teacher friend once told me she hated working at one particular school as all the parents wanted their children in gifted programs, and were aggressive and demanding in attempting to have them tested.
Fact is, there is testing to show what an IQ is.
Fact is, a high IQ just isn't enough for success. You need to be motivated to do well and not have any underlying issues. You can success with "just" an average IQ, or even a lower IQ, if you work hard.
Just saying...smile

MusicalEndorphins Sat 15-Jun-13 04:51:33

*Succeed, not success.

Jaynebxl Sat 15-Jun-13 04:55:34

As a teacher and a parent I've come across so many parents who really believe their children are extremely bright when often they just have no idea. I think this is down to what someone else mentioned further up the thread... We see our own DC learn things, master new skills etc and it feels like lots of miracles. We don't see other children to the same degree so we don't have all the data to make a fair comparison. I remember when I taught foundation stage one mum came to see me at the end of the school year to discuss her child skipping the next school year and jumping straight into year 2 because she was so exceptionally bright. She was bright but not exceptionally so, and what her mum couldn't see was the handful of other children who were just as bright, if not more so, and she really believed her DD was streets ahead.

On the other hand my DC are of course truly streets ahead of all their peers grin

Pitmountainpony Sat 15-Jun-13 04:59:55

Funny I was in the park and this very bright child started chatting to me. He was precocious in his manner but coming out with things you do not expect a 7 year old to say....like telling me he was excavating and that since the sand was a natural element it would absorb the water he was pouring on. His mother watched on saying nothing and seemed quite normal. Anyway I found it exhausting just being a stranger in his orbit and I did reflect on we do have a bit of a negative reaction to overly confident, highly intelligent people full stop.....so I could rationally see he was a great kid with a good brain on him but I also felt a bit annoyed by him rattling on and kind of invading my mental space as I tried to relax at the sand pit. I felt sad I felt that way because I am pretty tolerant as a person and I just thought that if kids are too far away from the norm, there is a kind of natural de selection that their peers do........we admire a bit bright but beyond bright is strangely not always that fun to interact with, because these kids or people are on a different level so maybe it is hard to relate or connect.
Anyway I just reflected that the most endearing kids are often not the brightest but the witty or kind or humble ones. As a teacher I saw these kids were universally loved by most but the brightest, unless they were quietly bright, we're rarely the most popular. I actually think being likable is in some ways a character ingredient of a successful life more than brightness beyond a certain point.

MrsMook Sat 15-Jun-13 06:05:03

It is amazing watching your children learn and develop new skills. DS2 is 9wks, and I love watching him realise that there's more to the world than milk, wet bums and hugs. Watching him stare at the curtains etc with a look of concentration on his face is amazing (especially when it's not followed up by squelchy sounds)

DS1 is 2.6 and I'd like to think he's bright, but I don't really know. His major milestones are average- some things he's at the late end, but he's the type that does something when he realises the gain- why walk when you can crawl like lightning and cruise and climb at the other end, why use a sentence when pointing, and a couple of syllables will make the point. He internalises a lot and practices in his head rather than publicly. I find wobbly 1yr olds learning to walk fascinating as we missed that stage- DS suddenly went from a couple of steps to 16, then was off, and steadier on his feet than friends with 6 months of practice.

The things that are his strengths are subtle and hard to compare to get an idea. We walked home from nursery and at each junction I asked him "which way?" He stopped and looked at each junction before pointing in the correct direction. He's not done that walk in over two weeks and I often go on scenic routes home. It impressed me anyway! His internal GPS system seems to be set on the local chip shop!

It is healthy to think your child is bright as that generally leads to pride (and good self esteem and positive expectations. Deluding yourself inaccurately into thinking you have a prodigy is less so- I have met those in my teaching career

HollyBerryBush Sat 15-Jun-13 06:23:56

Define 'bright'

In a primary setting I would use the term 'bright' for 99.9% of children as in "bright as a button" - curious, willing to learn, open minded, full of joie d'vivre (sp), zest for life, raw enthusiasm.

I think the bigger question that parents and educators should be asking is: why is that switch getting flicked off in late primary/entering secondary school? Something has gone dreadfully wrong with the way we learn?

The one size fits all model of schooling is so at odds with the 'every child matters' mantra. DS1 hated school, loathed it, was an absolute nightmare in the class room - academia was never going to be his path in life - he should have been allowed to apprenticeship at 14 before 'the system' sucked the last bit of life out of him, demoralised him and ground him down.

Layl77 Sat 15-Jun-13 06:32:36

Of course everyone thinks their kids are the cutest cleverest most talented things, that's lovely!
It's subjective though, like "I was brought up on sugar and bread and I'm 'fine'..."

VixZenFenchell Sat 15-Jun-13 06:38:27

I don't th

VixZenFenchell Sat 15-Jun-13 06:39:00

I don't think my boys are bright. I know they are smile

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