Has SM (including MN) made us think that dcs should be exceptionally talented(10 Posts)
Ok, haven't posted in AIBU for a while so I'll take my chance.
I'm just pondering this morning really. I think Social Media, and perhaps especially Mumsnet has given me a warped idea that most dcs will be exceptionally talented at something.
Everyday I see posts on SM about outstanding musically achievement, sporting prowess, very very high academic grades, standout drama achievements etc.
I have 2 dcs, Y8 and Y6. While they are both bright and achieve high grades, they're not outstanding. My Y8 dd is learning the guitar - slowly but surely. This is the first time she ever tried anything musical. Ds is learning keyboards but only for fun, nothing formal. Dd plays Netball but her team always looses by a mile. Ds has only just taken up Rugby in Y6. I'm clueless. I don't even know what to bring etc and feel somewhat separate to the other Rugby mum's who've been doing it for years.
Dd is loving Drama within school and has been involved in 2 schools productions so far, but is limited to her roles as she can't sing.
Both my dcs are quite good artists but when dd got to Secondary school she realised there are others much better at it so now feels a bit meh.
Ds is doing lots of singing and drama for a regional Scout production in Feb but it's not high Art, just fun!
Don't get me wrong, I love my dcs beyond measure. They're hard working, kind and very witty to be around. I'm very proud of them. I guess I just sometimes wonder about what I would 'boast' about on SM?
I think I'm extra sensitive because I had MIL around this weekend who constantly asks me what the dcs 'achievements' are and their hobbies. She talks constantly about her other grand-daughter who spends all her weekends doing Cheerleading competitions and how flexible she is (not my dd's cup of tea at all). I suspect she's having a sly dig about dd. Dd is rather tall and womanly for her age and stands out in that way!
I know logically I'm not in a minority of parents of have well-rounded but not 'stand-out' exceptional children - but sometimes it feels like I am.
Now, I'm annoyed with myself for getting sucked into the idea that everyone has a highly gifted child. I know it's not true really. I need to step away from SM I think!
When you only post the best bits of what your child is up to, any child will sound like a prodigy
My ds can dress and undress himself easily at 22 months. Sounds good right? But when I add the reality that he only undresses himself because he likes to be naked and wee on the floor and can only dress himself with help. Suddenly sounds a lot more average. SM is selective highlights.
Your DCs sound lovely and normal, OP!
I think social media has made people very competitive generally, and DCs' achievements are only a part of that. I seem to know a lot of people who (genuinely) do a range of things to what I consider a near-professional standard - things like photography, cake decorating, sewing their own or DCs' clothes, sporting things, etc. I don't think that would have been normal 25+ years ago.
I guess you could argue that social media has pressured people to raise their aspirations and become 'the best they can be' blabla, but it all seems very exhausting, even before you throw in heightened expectations around houses, cars, etc.
Unhealthy, both at an individual and at a societal level, imo.
One of my dc does Cheerleading
I think it may help you to understand that you don’t have to be good at cheerleading to take part in the competitions, there’s some really crap teams out there BUT cheerleaders are incredibly passionate about what they do.
Your MIL probably just sees a big contrast between the dgc who is really passionate about her sport/hobby and your dc
Apart from that I don’t notice high achievement boasts on MN but there again I don’t take much notice, as long as my kids are happy and doing well I don’t give a shit what anyone else is achieving
Yes, I think there is an element of that.
Dd was always very keen on drama, but never seemed to do that outstandingly shiny thing. Also unable to sing. Always being told (by other mothers) how talented the other children were. She has however got into drama school, where she is having a great time and working VERY hard. From what she is saying, the years of not being feted as the great talent of the school/youth theatre were probably better preparation anyway. And probably would have been better preparation whatever career path she had gone down.
As a university lecturer, I see too many students collapse after the first assignment, because they have never before lived through the experience of not being outstanding.
Dd has a cousin who has always been the outstandingly talented, highly performing, wonderfully well behaved child.
What she has come to realise in later life is that he is actually a thoroughly nice person, whose friendship she can enjoy completely regardless of the dynamic set up for them by adults when they were still very little. And that is a very valuable lesson for later life.
I think the clue is in the fact that you haven't been doing the various extra curriculars up until now. Most people can become very good at something if they get enough practice! Me personally, I value downtime and unscheduled fun for my kids, so although I believe that they'd do really well at various things, I only book them in for a select few, and the rest of the time we're either doing something nice indoors, or outdoors getting fresh air and exercise, and also letting them spend time with their friends. I think musical instruments are one of those things that needs lots of regular practice, but some stuff they can learn through more relaxed activity. I know people constantly putting their kids swimming grades on SM, and the one time my kids of various ages were assessed - they're actually at the same level for their age. My kids have only ever been taken swimming for fun, and taught by myself and my husband. The eldest started classes to work on technique but no I haven't spent hours and hours and hundreds of pounds on getting them to the same level as those other kids. We can't go back in time, but I had such an amazing 80s childhood, and the only way I can manage to give my kids a similar experience, is to let them be kids and spend unstructured time with their friends, let them be bored, and let them have some independence. I know it's easy to feel inadequate when you look at other people's perfect lives with their perfect kids and bla bla bla - but you wouldn't have your kids any other way, that's why you've done it in the way that you have. My children's school is very competitive, and just having one of the kids round to play is a scheduling ordeal, some kids of 5-6 are doing a club every day of the week! I wouldn't want that for mine, so have to accept that I also won't have various certificates to put on instagram. I love my well rounded kids!
Ahh. Glad I posted. I'm beginning to feel more normal already
Its sort of inevitable - most of the time, most kids are unremarkable so don't get remarked on.
It sounds like your DC are happy and have lots of opportunities, regardless of being the best or whatever.
I'll always remember my friend at secondary school - we had to fill in some kind of CV or skills sheet, mentionning also extracurriculum activites and skills we'd picked up doing them. She was really because everyone else had lots of activites they'd done at various times and she had nothing because her parents never gave her the chance to do them.
I do think doing activites outside of school broadens your horizons and gives you lots of skills and opportunities to meet other children. You don't have to win awards or be exceptionally talented. Just participate and have fun.
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