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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)

joanbyers Mon 19-Nov-12 22:19:32

How is he 'aiming' for this career at 14? Surely he will take much the same GCSEs whichever way he goes.

squeakytoy Mon 19-Nov-12 22:20:03

YABU. but I do think you know that anyway..

The most important thing is having a happy healthy child, who has the opportunity to do what THEY want to do, not what you would rather they did.

Helltotheno Mon 19-Nov-12 22:21:00

YABU. That's she's aiming at anything at the age of 14 is pretty exceptional imo. Don't drown her under the weight of your expectations.

Helltotheno Mon 19-Nov-12 22:22:02

That she, sorry (or he!)

janey68 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:23:31

I am assuming you haven't achieved a career which fulfils you? Because if you had, you would understand the importance of career satisfaction and overall happiness, and you would be glad that your dc knows what s/he aspires to and is aiming towards it.

I also assume you aren't intellectually exceptional yourself, otherwise you would also be able to get your head around the idea that one can use a brilliant mind in all kinds of ways unconnected to one's paid job. Although having said that, brilliant creativity and acumen could take someone a long way in graphic design anyway

Maybe I've got you wrong, but you remind me of the worst kind of interfering mother I've had the misfortune to come across occasionally: living out your own aspirations vicariously through your children. Find a fulfilling career yourself - and guess what? - you really won't fret half so much about your child's life.

Dawndonna Mon 19-Nov-12 22:25:24

DS was going to be a doctor. He's been saying this since he was six years old. He came home from sixth form three weeks ago and informed us that as he couldn't give up his books he's doing lit.
Fine by me.
Point is, they do change.

Hassled Mon 19-Nov-12 22:26:15

Firstly - DC is 14. At 14 I was going to be top international journalist - I was going to be the person you saw reporting from war-torn Lebanon (Kate Adie, in fact). I changed; my aspirations changed, life got in the way, things moved on. The fact he/she wants to be a graphic designer now doesn't mean they will become one.

Secondly - there's a clear distinction between truly academic and just very bright. Some people love to learn, and they always will - others see learning as a means to an end. It's not knowledge for knowledge's sake, if you see what I mean. I think the truly academic are a pretty rare breed, tbh. So while I don't doubt your child is very bright, that doesn't necessarily mean they have what it takes for a doctorate and a glittering specialist academic career - that takes a very specific sort of mindset.

Just wait and see, be supportive, hope they stay happy. It's all you can do.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 19-Nov-12 22:26:35

Crikey, janey, d'you want to give the poor woman other kick while she's down there?

I agree she's jumping the gun given her child's only 14, but that seems unnecessarily harsh.

OP: does he even really know what graphic design entails, do you think? He'll still need to do normal GCSEs so might change his mind, and it's a long time before he has to make decisions that'd really affect his future.

ReallyTired Mon 19-Nov-12 22:26:41

Being a sucessful graphics designer is extremely competitive. It could be argued that it requires a brilliant mind to be a graphics designer.

Are you worried about lack of salary? Lack of work? Stablity of employment?

If its the money aspect then be possible and show him the salary that a graphics designer gets on the web.

Prehaps you could get him interested in related careers like web design or computer programming.

What do you want him to do an ideal world?

Sarahbeanieslawyer Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:29

God I'd be over the moon if either of my children wanted to and were able to become graphic designers. Try and stop angsting, it could be so much worse and he/she will probably change his/her mind 54 times before it actually happens anyhow.

BOFingSanta Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:51

I think you need a lot of intelligence, creativity and understanding to be a graphic designer. It certainly isn't incompatible with the sort of quick mind that academic aptitude demonstrates. OP, I do think you are being unreasonable- it's an exciting career that would be very rewarding for a bright young person.

SpicyPear Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:57

YABU. I really struggled to get my work life established due to being heavily pushed in the wrong direction by parents and teachers obsessed with academic potential. Just because he could do something super academic, doesn't mean that is what will best suit him. Support his choices. He may end up doing what you hope, he may not, but you need to bury your disappointment as deep as you can so he can work it out for himself.

Cahooots Mon 19-Nov-12 22:28:56

YABU (very) but you already knew that. smile

My DS is at uni studying medicine and knows quite a few students who are there because that is what their parents wanted them to do and because it is the type of thing you are meant to do if you are clever. It seems incredibly sad to me. If your DS finds something he really wants to do then you should be delighted.

Smokerings Mon 19-Nov-12 22:29:29

Yes, I know I'm being U.
However, I have never expressed these views aloud.
I will support my DC in whatever avenue they choose, as I know how important contentment is.
But, I feel saddened that the academic brain will/may not be used fully.
And I'm churned up about that opinion.
And janey 68, you are wrong in your assumptions.
I realise that I have missed a sentence in my OP. This DC does not achive as brilliantly in D&T as in "academic" subjects, which further compounds the issue.

Helltotheno Mon 19-Nov-12 22:30:22

They do indeed... and sometimes they go off the beaten track so much that you wish their career choice was the height of your worries (I know this from experience).

So the best thing to do is just chill OP.

zombiesheep Mon 19-Nov-12 22:30:44

Wow at 14 I wanted to be either an architect, an interior designer, a hairdresser, a hair stylist, a make up artist, a care worker or a midwife.

I'm now doing an honours degree in Animal Science.

You sound pushy and too obsessed with your childrens future.

zombiesheep Mon 19-Nov-12 22:32:18

I completely agree with janey68 - she is spot on.

Minshu Mon 19-Nov-12 22:32:22

I had a glittering academic career, straight As (before A*s were invented), first class honours, PhD. Now I'm doing a job in a totally unrelated discipline where the most fulfilling parts of the role require no academic qualifications whatsover.

Not sure why you are worrying about what a 14 year old is saying right now - it's not like they're refusing to go to school, or being otherwise anti-social, is it?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 19-Nov-12 22:32:43

Maybe because s/he doesn't achieve so well in this subject, that's the appeal - that it's a challenge?

I reckon if someone is academic (as opposed, as someone else points out, to being bright in a different way), they'll probably get back to it.

What impact is this 'decision' s/he feels has been made, actually having on life right now? Because D&T at GCSE seems like the only thing I can think of you'd do at this stage, in order to go for that career.

lindsell Mon 19-Nov-12 22:32:47

Yanbu to feel disappointed but IMO it's important, as I'm sure you know, that you don't show that to your ds and that you support him in what he wants to do. That's not to say that you can't encourage him to explore what it is about graphic design that he likes the sound of and then encourage him to also consider other similar options - eg if he's also mathematically minded then engineering may be a good fit?

Perhaps also help him to organise some work experience in the field, my dsis went through sudden passions for things based on a book she'd read or film she'd seen and soon changed her mind when she actually experienced the reality.

All that of course is so you can help him find the career that he will enjoy and do well in. If it ends up being one that doesn't necessarily make use of all his talents but he's happy then you can also be happy and proud that you helped him make the best choice for him.

I know my dm is disappointed that I didn't make a career in the sciences (as that's her background and she feels that is a more important field) but equally she's proud that I have got a good career in my chosen (when I was 12!) profession.

Ime it's natural that we want the best for our dc and for them to make the most of their potential as well as for them to be happy.

avivabeaver Mon 19-Nov-12 22:32:50

every year i run a course at our local FE college

it is basically for bright kids who have been asked to leave AS courses because they have done no work.

most of them have failed because its the only way to get out doing what their parents want them to do- usually law/science/other worthy occupation. Luckily many of them use this as a way of getting to do what they want to do- whether it be english/film/graphic design or working.

let him do what he wants if it is going to point to a career. Just because he can do academic stuff doesnt mean he has to now.

minifingers Mon 19-Nov-12 22:33:21

As someone who has decided to cease all support for and involvement in my 13 year old's education, I'm inclined to say YANBU.

Read my thread here: and realise how bloody lucky you are to have a DC who wants to do something with their life, and is prepared to work to achieve it.


Ponyofdoom Mon 19-Nov-12 22:33:31

I think YABU and it's really odd that you wouldn't want your child to do something they enjoy. I don't get it.

zombiesheep Mon 19-Nov-12 22:33:38

I realise that I have missed a sentence in my OP. This DC does not achive as brilliantly in D&T as in "academic" subjects, which further compounds the issue.

I got a D in AS Biology and am now doing animal science. Seriously stop being so worried.

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