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Do you admit if your kid (or yourself) is not clever?

(52 Posts)
Peppaswine Sun 19-Nov-17 11:55:38

Everybody describes their kids as bright and clever. I never heard a parent say well, my little Timmy is not very smart
I know that nobody is born dumb and with the right parental guidance they can achieve lots of things. But I am also aware that there are individual differences between kids when it comes to aptitude, talent and cleverness or the lack of it. If you realise that your kid is not that smart would you be willing to admit that they are better off not going to uni or college but training to be a brick layer or shop assistant instead? (No offence to brick layers or shop assistants!)
I think previous generations were somehow more honest about their talents or shortcomings, whereas nowadays we hammer it into children's heads that they can be whatever they want to be and to reach for the stars. Alas, it can lead to disappointments.
What's your take on it?

DrWibley Sun 19-Nov-17 12:02:34

(No offence to brick layers or shop assistants!)

Good brickie makes as much as many uni grads. We're encouraging our children to look into vocational courses. You need good maths and problem solving, no one wants a brickie who can't count or fix a problem on the hoof.

My husband had two degrees and ended up in a shop.

I reckon you should just encourage them to be happy. If they're happy studying and learning encourage it, if they're happy building and being active encourage it.

I think we'd avoid a lot of the disappointment if we guided our children towards happiness rather than what we usually see as success.

BrioAmio Sun 19-Nov-17 12:07:56

Working hard is far more important than being clever. I don’t think my child is clever but as long as he grows up to be kind and hard working I’ll be happy.

Aridane Sun 19-Nov-17 12:07:57

My SIL is, let’t Say, ‘realistic’ about DN’s averageness

EvilDoctorBallerinaRoastDuck Sun 19-Nov-17 12:09:04

I probably wouldn't mention it.

BitchQueen90 Sun 19-Nov-17 12:10:23

I am not unintelligent but I will admit that I don't have much ambition. I never wanted a career where I had to work extra unpaid, where I had to take work home with me. I want to turn up, do my job and then go home and forget about it. I'll never be rich or have a high flying career and I'm happy with that.

DB22 Sun 19-Nov-17 12:12:53

I'm not sure how you can say no offence to brokers and shop assistants after basically saying that's whay you do if you arent clever. But that aside, one DC is average and the other just below. I live in a 11 plus area in SW London where every child is apparently a genius. I personally think it's all nonsense. Most people find their place in the world and even if you are clever that doesn't mean much. Success requires some decent social, skills, some ability but not necessarily academic and luck.

DB22 Sun 19-Nov-17 12:13:26

I meant brickies not broker's.

WhirlwindHugs Sun 19-Nov-17 12:22:30

I don't think people were that realistic in the past, social inequality was just as much an issue. I think it was a lot more common that people assumed their kids would do better in a vocational career and something more academic wasn't for them. But I don't think that judgement was necessarily related to how naturally bright that kid was, I think it was more about class.

Also, a lot of people's perceptions about whether a kid is bright or not is based on how the child speaks, if they pick up reading quickly, if they have a good memory. Things that mean they get the hang of the primary curriculum quickly.

These things certainly help a child get a good start, but finding these things a bit tougher doesn't actually mean a child is less intelligent. One in ten kids is dyslexic, dyslexia does not make you stupid or incapable of a high flying job, in most cases it's just a relentless slog to help them master the basics and create coping mechanisms without losing confidence at which point life gets a million times easier.

Not accusing anyone in this thread, but I am really wary of people in educational authority who have the 'be realistic' attitude because often I think it's an excuse to write kids off at a very young age.

TeenTimesTwo Sun 19-Nov-17 12:24:38

Neither of my DDs find school easy, DD1 achieved good results for her, did a BTEC in college and is now doing an apprenticeship. DD2 finds school more of a struggle, and I will be pleased if she gets 5 GCSE grades 9-4 incl English & Maths.

scrivette Sun 19-Nov-17 12:25:39

DS1 is pretty much at the bottom of his class and I don’t mind if people know. However he is incredibly articulate and practical and a job using his hands, such as an electrician or bricklayer or builder would probably suit him perfectly.

However, he is only in Year 2 so may change!

ReinettePompadour Sun 19-Nov-17 12:27:06

I have 1 that's thick as 2 short planks but really really lovely. blush

Anatidae Sun 19-Nov-17 12:31:35

Remember that grit and hard work, and an ability to learn from mistakes are really important for success.

A kid who is decidedly average academically can do well for themselves if they have stickability and can learn from failure.

As for earning potential - a good trade can earn you quite a bit, if you’re competent and reliable. Money wise it’s certainly a better option than a middling degree from crapchester Poly and a vague desire to work in the media.

x2boys Sun 19-Nov-17 12:32:04

Well ds2 has complex learning disabilities so yes hes not clever but ds1 isnt particularly Clever either hes in yr six and on the bottom table whatever that is but he's a lovely lad I'm incredibly proud of him. So many people are written off in school and go on to achieve later in life and people talk shit anyway a facebook friend wrote that her daughter was in all the top sets she goes to the same primary school as ds1 they don't have setshmm

Kaykee Sun 19-Nov-17 12:32:35

Define clever or smart?
Every child is good at something, never met one who isn’t.

As someone who is dyslexic, went to summer schools to help me, was told I was never going to achieve what I wanted to do (be a nurse) and got so much negativity and bullying, I hate posts like this. Why would I admit my child isn’t clever it’s such a negative thought.

I have 4 Boys all into different things and have different talents and interests. I encourage what they are good at and what they enjoy and help with things they struggle with but it’s all about what you can do and can achieve.

PhyllisWig Sun 19-Nov-17 12:32:51

I have one ‘top table’ academic child and one who is ‘the top end of average’ per her teacher. Tbh I expected both to be academic as all my family were.

My less academic child is thriving. She is social, holds her own at school and is proving to have a strong streak of creativity that frankly comes from nothing to do with me.

She is encouraged in the same way as her sister both in terms of school work and other things but if I’m totally frank that took a bit of mental adjustment from me just because I had an unfair expectation based upon my own preconceptions.

My kids are still primary aged though so I’m very aware things can and do change. But I now honestly don’t care as long as dd1 finds her niche, whatever that niche is.

MomToWedThorFriday Sun 19-Nov-17 12:36:18

DS1 isn’t academically gifted. He’s not completely incapable but he’s not ‘clever.’ He’s bright enough, musically talented, very funny, pretty good at maths & science.
DS2 and DD are very, very bright and the difference between them and DS1 is already quite obvious.

museumum Sun 19-Nov-17 12:41:28

If my ds turned out to be better suited to brick laying than university I still wouldn’t call him “not clever”. I’d call him practical and good with his hands and not really into book learning.
Not because I’d be ashamed but honestly because there’s different types of clever. I couldn’t build a brick wall!

Anatidae Sun 19-Nov-17 12:42:13

Also just straight academic ability isn’t the be all and end all. Kids usually have something they have a knack for. It’s really important to encourage effort rather than praise for just academic results. Most kids can do well for themselves if they’re nurtured and supported.

Mac12345 Sun 19-Nov-17 12:54:09

I see it as more a case of affirming what they are good at. I wouldn't say they weren't smart but instead say they were really creative, or good at managing people. I'm very much of the mindset that if you say they can't do something they won't try. If you instead say what they can do they'll feel more secure and happy in themselves. I was only ever an average student but my sister is clever. I had a teacher tell me I'd never be a physiotherapist so I didn't even bother trying. As a result I didn't try with a levels and didn't bother going to uni. In reality I am really good in people based jobs, I'm more than able to study at uni and if I'd really tried I could have been a physiotherapist.

Ironically I'm now considering being a teacher!

HeadDreamer Sun 19-Nov-17 12:57:34

I think my DC1is pretty dumb but then I have no comparison. I’m not a teacher so I don’t know what she is like compared to others.

CuppaSarah Sun 19-Nov-17 12:58:49

All children are intelligent and talented. There are many types of intelligence and skills. I've worked with children of all abilities. I was very impressed with one non verbal young ladies ability to sneak up on people, it takes a certain kind of intelligence to know when and how to sneak up on people so effectively.

Basically you have to realistic in your expectations, but I've never met a child I'd consider average. Children are amazing balls of potential, we just need to look at the way we assess them and their skills.

Yes, yes, very twee, but it's what I truly think.

youarenotkiddingme Sun 19-Nov-17 13:49:10

I'm realistic. My ds is actually highly intelligent and for 3 out of 4 CAT standards is in top 10%.

However .... he has LD. Has social communication problems, severe problems with executive function and really can't spell still at 13. So academically he's making slower than expected progress.

It's not about being 'clever' as such. It's about the things you can do - which academically struggling students rarely get the chance to demonstrate through school years.

Ds can code programmes on a computer better than his teacher though - and that came from her!

lolaflores Sun 19-Nov-17 13:57:36

My daughter struggled in primary school and one teacher told me "she must be a great comfort to you". I was a single parent and he was an arsehole. She went onto uni, got a degree and is now in a job she enjoys.
I knew she would never set the world on fire, but she has a great work ethic, kind, compassionate and someone her friends rely on.
DD2 is creative, artistic, really funny but simply can;t be arsed at school as she is not that interested in the academic stuff, just the drawing.
I am wary of the competitive parents who have birthed genius and I don't get into the stuff about schools and what have you cos I reckon the outcome depends on the fit between child and school which is all I hope for for DD2.
My middle of the road kids will do for me and I never, ever give the impression otherwise.

IJoinedJustToPostThis Sun 19-Nov-17 14:00:16

I think few things hamper a child's progress like adults with low expectations of them.

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