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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)

janey68 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:33:42

LRD - maybe it sounds harsh, but I think it's pretty terrible for a parent to be posting like that about their 14 year old child, who is achieving well at school and simply has different career aspirations to their mother! Even if they try hard not to show it to the child, if their belief is that the child is somehow 'wasting' their potential then it no doubt filters through to the child.

Your child is not an extension of you: they are a person in their own right. I think trying to push your child away from, or into, a particular career is unfair, disrespectful and at worst really damaging

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 19-Nov-12 22:35:02

But she's posting in here - not saying it to the child. And she's aware it sounds bad. I reckon we all have gut reactions we're a bit ashamed of or know aren't ideal.

I do agree with you, just not how you said it and what you assumed about the OP.

MrsBradleyJames Mon 19-Nov-12 22:35:47

YABU. What you see as a 'lack of ambition' is you imposing your values on your son's life. 'Ambition' to you = a highly regarded profession which is seen as using the brain and which is high status in society and gives material possessions. 'Ambition' to others is to find what truly suits and excites you and to stretch yourself within that.
I think it's awful to judge what he is currently interested in as a 'lack of ambition'. Look outside the heirarchy that society is imposing on you and really look at your own precious child and his ability and what will make him fulfilled in life; and don't assume that a brilliant mind can't be used in a myraid of different ways that don't conform to the norms.
Supporting him is what he will always be grateful for, simple as that.

3b1g Mon 19-Nov-12 22:35:51

If she wanted to go into academia, would you be sad about the wasted artistic potential? Some people are lucky enough to be good at more than one thing, and in that case they should probably follow the one that makes them most fulfilled. Being able is good as it gives you choice, but those choices should be options, which by definition includes the option to choose not to do them. Sorry I haven't explained that better.

Teabagtights Mon 19-Nov-12 22:36:42

Your child is 14. My son at 18 had no idea what he was going to do. My goal was for him to get a maths degree and decide from there. My 19 year old has no idea what he will do either after university. Some mention of being a lecturer but no firm plans. He will change his mind in a few years. Let him be. Plenty of time yet.

Smokerings Mon 19-Nov-12 22:37:22

SpicyPear, that's what bothering me I think. If it comes to the crunch would I be one of those parents encouraging the child into the route that I thought was more apt for them? I really hope that I am big enough and clever enough to see the pitfalls of that strategy.
FWIW, I think my title is misleading - should be something more along the lines of "to be cross at myself that I am saddened that DC may be wasting academic potential". But I think many of you wise posters are answering that question for me anyway. Thank you for not flaming me.
Salary isn't an issue - I'm aware that academic achievement doesn't necessarily compute to high earnings. smile

LessMissAbs Mon 19-Nov-12 22:37:56

14 is a bit early to make up his mind and stick to it.

That said, graphic design can be a very lucrative field. Things have changed, and some of the traditional subjects, such as Law, are no longer so well paid. I know a young graphic designer who makes a small fortune and is doing better than many others his age. In that he has bought a house and supports a non-working wife at only 29.

Although do encourage your DC to explore all options (as I'm sure you will). For some reason DH didn't, and despite having 5 As at Scottish higher, went to the local college at 17 and did a non-university degree. It has affected his career prospects.

notanotter Mon 19-Nov-12 22:39:43

if he's top of his year in a top grammar he'll change his mind!

Dominodonkey Mon 19-Nov-12 22:40:20

It's strange, I was talking to my mum about this sort of thing yesterday. A cousin of hers was obsessed with her son being a doctor, wouldn't let him go out, said it was the only way.
He committed suicide at 18 from the pressure of living up to those expectations.

There is nothing wrong with being a Graphic Designer at all. I would consider it a job for someone with a high level of intelligence.

Softlysoftly Mon 19-Nov-12 22:42:33

My graphic designers charge me a fortune, and use their brilliant minds for interpreting my brief and gaining inspiration from art, architecture, science, literature, popular culture and innumerable other sources.

In short research their ambitions (which are likely to change) and don't make snap wildly incorrect judgements.

ginhag Mon 19-Nov-12 22:42:33

He could end up being a successful art/creative director of a company. Perhaps his own company like my DP who was pressured by his father to study economics

Smokerings Mon 19-Nov-12 22:45:27

I find the accusations of pushy really offensive tbh. These are my innermost thoughts and I am mooting them on here and here alone.
I am not lushing the child into a career of my choosing. I am disappointed that potentially, the child will not be stretching the talent that is inherent in them.
"Ambition' to you = a highly regarded profession which is seen as using the brain and which is high status in society and gives material possessions." NO. Ambition to me is about wanting to stretch and improve oneself, and I know that this is not incompatible with stretching and improving skills that don't perhaps come as naturally as otehr skills do.

ginhag Mon 19-Nov-12 22:47:05

I also have an (incredibly academically gifted) brother who was v depressed for a long, long time despite a first, phd, impressive job etc etc.

He lays hedges now. He's broke, but he's HAPPY.

SpicyPear Mon 19-Nov-12 22:48:35

Smokerings I think the fact that you are conscious of this and on here posting suggests that you won't end up as one of those parents smile But I do think it's important to try to deal with your feelings because even if you say nothing, in my experience, your DC will still know and, depending on their personality, it may influence their decisions.

daphnebubbles Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:30

My sister studied graphic design (against my parent's wishes) and went into publishing. She has an amazing career, earns a fortune and LOVES her job. The point is that even at 10 she was passionate about a career in design and worked really hard to achieve in that field. I have always envied her single-minded determination. If your son is anything like her, he'll have a long and enjoyable career.

ginhag Mon 19-Nov-12 22:51:31

I wasn't calling you pushy btw. Just trying to give a different perspective. I think we all worry about our kids, in soooo many different ways (I'm currently trapped under poorly ds2 smile)

whathasthecatdonenow Mon 19-Nov-12 22:53:10

Be very careful about what you say/how you act. I see many Year 11s and sixth-formers putting themselves under ridiculous amounts of stress to live up to parental expectations. Some of whom have had complete breakdowns. One 17 year old sat and sobbed throughout a double lesson as her mum had gone onto her UCAS application and changed the courses she had applied to.

I would also echo what others have said about the fact that plans at 14 not being set in stone. I was going to be a barrister and a politician at 14. I'm a teacher now.

thebody Mon 19-Nov-12 22:55:04

There are times when we all feel a bit disappointed in our children.

This isn't one of them op.. He's actually probably just pushing your buttons and winding you up as let's face it I her he knows exactly how you feel. Kids always do.

If I were you I would be very enthusiastic and supportive and next week he will probably want to be a vet/doctor/rocket scientist

And if he doesn't then so bloody what.

Lancelottie Mon 19-Nov-12 22:55:13

One of mine is predicted stellar grades in triple science and double maths.

He is bloody-mindedly insisting that the only career he's remotely interested in is acting.

All you can do is provide advice and opportunities, OP. (Oh, and toast. And cheese. And Lynx, if it's a boy.)

janey68 Mon 19-Nov-12 22:57:28

Why are you assuming that intellectual ability and ambition can only be met through work? Work is a big chunk of life and it's essential to try to find a career path which brings happiness. I do a job I really enjoy. Yes, it uses some of my skills and intellectual abilities but their are other aspects of my ability which I fulfil through reading, and various hobbies, involvement in local politics. It just seems so narrow to think your child must fulfil all their aspirations through their job.

And apologies if I have misjudged you op, but I do find that generally its parents (and I hate to say it but specially mothers) who haven't achieved their own ambitions who tend to transfer like This onto their kids. And also generally, I think parents who are genuinely intelligently broad minded are better able to accept that their children are independent beings.

WilsonFrickett Mon 19-Nov-12 22:57:49

I remember reading something about '10 years of Labour' and it said one of the main achievements of the last 15 years was that creative careers are now seen, rightly, as actual careers. Not just something that the thick kids do because they can't get in to do a law degree. Actual, fulfilling, stretching, lucrative careers. It cheered me immensely. Op, I do believe you when you say you're not saying any of this to your DS but I think your angst is based on outdated stereotypes tbh.

NewRowSees Mon 19-Nov-12 23:15:16

I know some extremely well-off (as in six figures) creative directors who would find your anxiety bemusing. Maybe you could educate yourself on your DC's chosen path rather than relying on your preconceptions?

whois Mon 19-Nov-12 23:20:39

YAB a bit U

He's 14. Things change.

blanksquit Mon 19-Nov-12 23:51:17

Couldn't you kind of enlighten him a bit on architecture or engineering?

Sort of similarly creative with a bit more scope.

It's hard to find well paid work in graphic design. My dh is one. He wishes he'd done architecture.

I don't think it's transferring aspirations. I think it's giving guidance so that your dc don't have to struggle to make ends meet.

janey68 Tue 20-Nov-12 07:03:46

'I think it's guidance so that your dc doesn't have to struggle to make ends meet'

- I couldn't disagree more. There are many people in intellectually challenging careers who earn comparatively very little (university lecturer anyone??) and conversely it's quite possible to end up making a lot of money without academic prowess. Many professions are not particularly well paid and when you factor in the loans the student will need to take out and the years of poverty while training it's even worse. And anyway, the world of work is different nowadays, people don't walk into jobs easily or remain in the same career lifelong

This isn't about money. This is about the op believing graphic design is not a 'good enough' career for her child, and no doubt there's some snobbery about the whole top set grammar school thing- I expect she's worried other children in the class will end up in careers she values more

That's what I find offensive about thinking this way . Focus on your own child and their fulfilment. It's not a competition with everyone else

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