Unable to tell anyone about your DC?

(34 Posts)
HattyJack Tue 13-Aug-13 11:34:35

I'm just wondering how you all cope with other people's reactions to your DC?

DD is gifted I think, although not to the extent of some of the DC mentioned here. All the usual things - talking early, walking early, asking questions to get more and more detail, never forgetting anything, able to use information thus gleaned to combine with other information previously obtained to ask more detailed questions, reading early and now reading for information - she's basically turned herself into the data-processing version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and every day is Saturday. I'm sure you're all familiar with the routine!

The thing is I feel I have to sort of hide it from everyone else, because their kids aren't like DD in that they tend not to know more than their parents in their many fields of interest, and they tend not to just sort of accidentally let you know that they've taught themselves to read, for example. Even my parents seem to not really get DD, and talk to her as though she were perhaps younger than her chronological age, whereas we talk to her at a level appropriate for her mental age, so she doesn't 'get' it when they talk to her. They will ask her the sort of questions you might ask a little kid to get them to talk like 'What colour is x?' and she will look totally flummoxed. I'm not sure if she's trying to work out if it's a trick question, or why they need to ask her something they must know, but it develops into a downward spiral because when she doesn't answer, or asks one of us to tell them, my parents then assume she doesn't know, so ask her an 'easier' question. I guess it doesn't help they don't see her as often as I'd like and she tends not to let on how much she knows unless she's totally relaxed. I've told them the things she says and does and the questions she asks, but it's like it doesn't sink in.

Obviously a lot of my friends have children too, but I don't tell them either because I don't want them to think I am being boastful. I've put videos on facebook of her running about the park that have had lots of likes, but when I put a video of her reading her first reading book that pre-school gave her it got almost completely ignored. I don't want to project too much, but it's as though people can relate to a pre-school kid running about and climbing on stuff, but when they see the same kid reading fluently they get uneasy.

I guess I am just upset (with myself or society or both, I'm not sure) that when she does things that make me burst with pride I feel I can't tell anyone. And I can't even tell you lot of strangers because with her specific areas of interest it'd possibly maker her identifiable. It makes me more sad that she seems to have picked up on it a bit, and since she started pre-school seems a lot more wary of expressing herself unless it's with one of us.

Anyway, that was a lot longer than I anticipated. Thanks for reading, those of you who still are smile

EmmaGoldmanSachs Wed 14-Aug-13 09:47:40

To be honest, I think you just have to not talk about it. Its British culture, really, isn't it:

child plays in England under 8 football team - parent "X is quite sporty, yes, but he's so behind with his reading, I really worry"

child writes published novel age 10 - parent "X does like her little projects, but she needs to get out more"

I would say the only acceptable response when people say 'your dd is so bright / articulate / knowledgable / etc' is 'oh, she does ok, how is your little Johnny, he is always so polite & charming when he comes to visit' or similar

There is a gifted kids forum, one of the moderators I think is on here, maybe she could point you towards it as its a good outlet for anonymous chat!

FriendlyLadybird Wed 14-Aug-13 10:58:11

I agree with Emma. It is simply Not Done to talk proudly of your children's achievements in any field. Feel free to moan about their behaviour but do not say anything that can be interpreted as boasting.

All your friends have probably got "gifted" children too but you'd never know because they're busy feeling they have to hide their achievements -- or they regard their achievements as normal. I mean, I know we're all amazed by our children, but in my family, for example, absolutely everyone for generations has been an early reader. It just seems to be the way we're made and therefore it's a baseline -- not even worth mentioning.

I keep on going on about this, but having a bright child is not a problem. Its not being socially acceptable to boast about your children is annoying, but more or less everyone is living with the same thing.

TheSecondComing Wed 14-Aug-13 23:47:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EmmaGoldmanSachs Thu 15-Aug-13 09:23:35

Totally fair point, TSC. I'd say being top 10% - fab; top 1% - PITA.

I wouldn't worry about the hanging out with the other 'exceptional' kids though - I did that throughout school and it was a good place to be & I got to know some great people smile (similarly maybe hanging out on the computer alone might be downtime that she needs?)

Au79 Thu 15-Aug-13 09:28:30

Why do we parents need to mention it, unless explicitly asked? It's their achievement not ours. Be proud of your own achievements, whatever they may be. A much better example for DCs .

EmmaGoldmanSachs Thu 15-Aug-13 10:10:13

I guess that the OPs issue is when parents are together chatting about what their dc are up to / how they are doing? Parents/children do comment IME about other dc in their class.

I don't have the parents issue as dd is older now so well past that stage. Also as dd has dyslexic/dyspraxic stuff going on which meant that she took a very long time to write at all she was never noticeably advanced in class, just very, very articulate & an early reader.

DD has said to me recently though 'X / Y / Z always say that I'm clever, & I don't know what to say' I have to admit to having fudged it with 'hard work is what matters anyway for everyone'.

HattyJack Thu 15-Aug-13 10:55:17

Thanks for all the replies.

I'm not looking to find a way in which I can be boastful as some of you seem to imply - it's just that in conversation it gets awkward - sometimes it feels like you have to choose between sounding boastful or aloof. For example just before the holidays I was chatting to a mum I know a bit at an indoor play area thing who was telling me how pleased she was that her school age (and therefore not present) child had been moved up to a level above his chronological age on the reading scheme. I didn't say that DD (18 months younger) has been put on the same scheme at pre-school and was five levels higher, but with a note that she could read to a higher level, because you can't, can you? Not without sounding like an arse. I just sort of said how good it was and that DD had started to be interested in reading. It feels like it's socially acceptable to say 'my child is above average' but not 'my child is, in some areas, a lot above average'

I accept what Emma says - that's it's probably true if your kid is very good at anything, although I can imagine it's more socially acceptable to say your child is the county cup holder for running rather than chess. Maybe that's just me.

Acinonyx Thu 15-Aug-13 13:17:09

Parents talk a lot about their kids and often share concerns they have. But having concerns related to a child being unusually able academically is not the kind of thing you can share - unless you have friends with similar kids. I do have friends with similar kids at other schools and that helps. Even if they don't have the same concerns I'm at least at ease talking about mine without them thinking I'm boasting.

I had a similar situation recently Hatty. A child in dd's class told another child their high reading level - the child's mother told me and and was anxious to know if this was normal. Well it's not - but dd is on an even higher level - so what do you say exactly confused

simpson Thu 15-Aug-13 17:49:04

I have a child that her school say is very gifted.

I now do not talk to anyone ever about her abilities etc (apart from family) as it back fired when she had just started nursery and I thought it was normal for a child to be able to read and write.

It always seems to be angst over reading levels (in DD's school also) and I get mothers proudly boasting that their DC has been moved up a level in reading and asking what level DD is on as they know she is bright. I play the disorganised mother as in "Oops, silly me, I have not checked her book bag yet" etc as I am not going to tell them she is free reading and has been for ages.

As TSC says, it can feel a bit lonely sometimes (LP so no H to talk it through with) as DD is a handful: wilful, defiant, tantruming, demanding, intense and her behaviour definately deteriorates at home if she is not kept ticking over at school. Going to leave her till she is 6 (Jan) and then assess what to do...

TheSecondComing Thu 15-Aug-13 21:16:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Thu 15-Aug-13 21:24:30

No-one wants to watch a video of someone else's DC reading. They just don't. It's worse than looking at holiday photos.

I never boast about my gifted one. I learnt very early that it's best to way underplay it and to counteract with ,oh but your DC is amazing at...

Much easier that way. Me and DH have some great conversations about DC though!

CogDat Thu 15-Aug-13 21:38:12

My friend's son is fantastically gifted in maths, expected to receive a scholarship to some posho school.
My friend posts on Facebook all the time when he wins prizes and gets 100% in everything. Best marks in the state etc. She is in the US these days.
I am happy for her, she is justifiably proud! Everyone says "Well done friend's DS!" or something similar, likes it. And yes I do mean her British friends! Why do you think your friends won't share your pride? Surely they'll be happy alongside you? Give them a chance!

CogDat Thu 15-Aug-13 21:42:41

(A video of someone else's child reading sounds a bit boring, I have to say.)

simpson Thu 15-Aug-13 22:04:10

If its a friends child I knew well I would be interested but human nature is bound to compare your child against theirs.

I would never put a video of DD reading on FB or mention academic stuff for either DC but that's because I keep it private apart from posting on MN wink

simpson Thu 15-Aug-13 22:05:23

I quite like looking at other people's holiday snaps <nosy> as long as they have people in them and not boring buildings/scenery etc.

TheSecondComing Thu 15-Aug-13 22:13:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

simpson Thu 15-Aug-13 22:41:09

I guess 5 is too young to tell if its normal. DD's school say they have never met a child like her but I suspect that's her drive to read/write rather than her ability.

I remember DD at 3 doing DS's spelling tests alongside him (he was 6 - yr2) and at first it was scribbles and then out of the blue she wrote "said" and "alfabet" and I did not help/show her or tell her she was right/wrong. Tbh I just wanted her to shut the fuck up be quiet whilst I concentrated on DS, so just gave her a pencil and paper.

TheSecondComing Thu 15-Aug-13 22:56:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mercibucket Thu 15-Aug-13 22:58:03

tsc, i know what you mean but perhaps it is personality not giftedness that causes the problems. all mine get high grades, but one is exactly as you describe, perfectionist, shy, hides ability, whilst the other, with exactly the same grades, is totally unfazed and a bit away with the fairies happy go lucky

i've never been particularly 'proud' of their achievements when toddlers/young children as it just seemed one of those things, mind you mine never read early or anything so maybe that is why! i was always proud they walked at 9 months for unexplainable reasons. afaik neither walking early nor reading early is anything very exciting or special apart from for the parents. if i saw a fb video i would probably assume it was reciting off by heart tbh.

op, i dont know, in the examples you give i see no need to talk about your child's abilities, if someone isn't asking you directly. if asked directly, i would just say they were doing well, unless speaking to someone whose child was at a similar level. its just a culturally acceptable way to deal with it in the uk.

simpson Thu 15-Aug-13 23:04:07

I would love DD to be taught the violin at school envy

Her HT is very firm about her not going into year groups above her age.

Not too bothered as long as they keep her ticking over really.

DD is not into numeracy so I guess that will be pushed, she also has OT at school 3 times a week (hypermobile).

Quite frankly anything to stop the hellish temper tantrums at home is good.

mercibucket Thu 15-Aug-13 23:04:21

lol i feel a need to point out mine are prob somewhere in the top 10 to 5 percent not the top 1, no child geniuses here, just your bog standard clever. how very british of me grin

TheSecondComing Thu 15-Aug-13 23:12:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mercibucket Thu 15-Aug-13 23:17:04

maybe, tsc, it runs in our family too and i see traits in ds1, the neurotic, perfectionist one.

TheSecondComing Thu 15-Aug-13 23:20:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now