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I think my DH is being unreasonable about this other mums comments on DD?

(25 Posts)
squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 16:45:16

My dd is 7 and is a very bright little girl. She's never been hothoused, I wouldn't say she's gifted, she's just clever. She's not an original thinker (unlike her close friend who's as sharp as a tack and destined to be one of the country's great thinkers) but academically, squillyjunior can tick a host of boxes.

We haven't pushed her to be academic, but her nature seems to make her academically minded and we've encouraged it. We only wanted her to be socially adept (lots of friends and good social skills mean way more than paper qualifications in life) and she seems to be doing o.k. with that too.

So far so good!

Last week my friend started to complain that her dd (let's call her Belle) wasn't doing so well at school. Belle's not interested in the academic side of things and doesn't enjoy it.

I highlighted that Belle is very artistic, exceptional in fact, and that she isn't that far behind the rest of the class anyway. And ffs they're just 7, so it's a bit early to be throwing up hands and despairing.

At this point my friend said that it was alright for me as it was easy for squillyjunior. My friend helps in class, so despite the fact that I don't talk about dd's academic achievements, and sometimes try to play them down in fact, she knows she's clever. I told my friend she was right...it is easy for dd. But my DH is really cross with me about this.

He says, quite rightly, that dd does work hard at her studies. She gets up some mornings and writes her times tables in a notebook, for fun!! She also writes constantly and enjoys reading to herself.

He hates that people think she's naturally bright and wants them to recognise that she's a grafter.

I feel a bit whiney now for typing this up, but I'm genuinely baffled by how I deal with this situation. Is DH right to be pissed off? Am I right to play down squillyjunior's achievements and admit that it's easy for her? Or should I deal with it differently? And if so, how so?

Answers on a postcard please

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 20-Sep-08 16:47:50

I think it's all a storm in a tea-cup.

ethanchristopher Sat 20-Sep-08 16:48:29

if you had played up squilly junior's (great name btw) cleverness your friend would have been pissed off with you

yanbu but he isnt either

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 20-Sep-08 16:49:18

sorry that sounds a bit rude, I don;t mean it to. I just mean it doesn't matter.
She likes working so it is easier for her. I think it's easier for children who read well earlier as well (ds2 is like this).

I don't think it really matters at all though. Not worth worrying about.

Chequers Sat 20-Sep-08 16:50:17

Um, just a differnece of opinion? Nothing to worry about.

Congrats on your clever daughter though, I think it's ok just to post to say you're proud of her if that's how you feel.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 20-Sep-08 16:50:22

I think you're 'meant' to say to your dd "oh wow you worked so hard at that' (so praise the effort rather than the result). But I don't think it matters what you say to other mothers.

paros Sat 20-Sep-08 16:55:51

by the time the two girls are in the workforce in twenty years time they wont remember who was in their class at 7 . LOL I understand you not building your daughter up to other mother that is just good manners . But you DH is right she has motivation and probably does push herself to get good marks . But all well and good but she should be made aware the getting good grades is not all and she should not be hard on herself if she has an off day one day . So after I have waffelled on I think you are both right .

hecate Sat 20-Sep-08 16:57:00

change 'easy' to 'easier' and I think that's enough. "Yes, she finds it easier than some, but she still works very hard."

I don't think you should play down her achievements, they are still something to be proud of. I don't mean start bragging grin but she deserves her efforts to be recognised. she would feel bad if she felt dismissed. And thre's no need for you to make less of your child to try to make a friend feel better. A friend will not expect you to!

squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 16:58:02

Thanks for the comments. I think I worry a little too much about what other mums think, iykwim. Because I was quite solitary at school having friends now is quite important to me and I do downplay dd's achievements as I don't want to sound bigheaded. I don't want to alienate other parents.

I am proud of DD but I'd be just as proud of her if she wasn't academic. The things I'm most proud of her for is the fact that she volunteered to look after the new girl and asked her home to play...the fact that she encourages her friends when they're struggling to play games on the WII...the fact that she'll give you her last sweet if you ask her for it. Surely that's what's important in life????

StayFrosty Sat 20-Sep-08 17:00:35

If you had said 'well actually squilly jnr works really really hard' the other mum would have thought you were calling her Belle lazy. Sometimes you can't just tell it like it is, you have to manage other people's feelings. yanbu (but I know how your dh feels).

StayFrosty Sat 20-Sep-08 17:01:47

...your little girl sounds really nice btw. ou must be dead proud.

StayFrosty Sat 20-Sep-08 17:02:05

*you

Miyazaki Sat 20-Sep-08 17:02:07

hmm... i think it matters not one squot. Unless your dd maybe overheard you saying this? And was your dh there too? Or did you tell him about because you were peed off too?

early success really doesn't predict where your two girls are going to be in 11 years time. Some kids enjoy this stuff now, others later.

Miyazaki Sat 20-Sep-08 17:03:37

x posts - agree with StayFrosty on both points.

hughjarssss Sat 20-Sep-08 17:06:04

I think shes 7.

At 13 she might go complelty off the rails and achieve all ungraded results.

What I'm trying to say is that you are reading far too much into a 7 year olds abitiltes.

IMO

squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 17:07:23

Myiazaki, I was chatting to dh after...saying that my friend was upset about her dd already and trying to stress that it really isn't that big a deal. I mentioned that I'd said it was easy for DD and that's when he got annoyed with me.

I know that early success means little, cos I was a bright 6 year old who lost the will to achieve in secondary school cos I was bullied good and hard. Oh...and I'm a bit lazy too
Or maybe just scared to fail! Who knows?

Stayfrosty,mMy little girl is a sweetie most of the time, but she can be a ratbag at times too. Like most kids. But I do love her. That's what comes of having a PFB and no more!

squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 17:11:02

I don't really expect my daughter to excel academically forever. She just happens to be be doing so now hughjarssss. You are absolutely right with what you say. I've had the experience of watching 12 nieces and nephews grow up around me (it took a long time for me to get my dd) and I've seen most of them f**k up to some degree. I have no doubt mine will do the same at some point.

That doesn't stop her being smart now...and that's what's caused this debate so far.

lou031205 Sat 20-Sep-08 17:11:08

I found it 'easy' but still had to work because no-one, no matter how clever, gets by by doing nothing. No exam - no grade etc.

I was really damaged by my Mum comparing me to my sister (who struggles academically and dropped out of school, but took her GCSE's and managed some D's), and saying 'but it is so easy for you'.

I didn't do much in my GCSE's but got good grades.

I didn't do much in my A-levels and nearly bombed out. I was disillusioned.

I went to Uni, and although I was very last minute with essays, I worked hard enough to get a 2:i.

I went from Uni to postgrad study and qualified as a Nurse.

I DID work hard, and I know it was relatively easy for me, but you do have to put some effort in. 3000 words is still 3000 words.

So, I think your intention was completely faultless, but I would say that your DH is right on this. You need to be careful to acknowledge the effort that your daughter goes to, despite her natural abilities and talents.

I have always felt that my parents didn't really value my achievements, because all I heard was how my brother studied so hard for his degree, and how tough things were for my sister.

I felt and still feel, that anything I do will be written off because academia comes naturally to me.

squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 17:14:49

That's so unfair for you lou. I know you have to work hard as well as be bright because I didn't, if that makes sense, so I don't have a degree to my credit.

I think I need to watch myself in front of other people. My mum always put us down/played us off against each other and I swore I'd never do that with my own children. Now I need to be sure I'm not using more subtle putdowns with DD...playing down her achievements in front of others when I should perhaps just be accepting them...

Miyazaki Sat 20-Sep-08 17:17:41

Ah... I should out myself as a mother of a belle with a friend whose daughter (ProjectionSquilly) is top of the class and sits and does her homework by herself and asks for extra work!

It is hard for arty kids as those talents aren't seen as equal to literacy etc at this age (by the school - as in no certs, top of class and so on). But if your dd didn't hear you downplaying how hard she works I don't think there is an issue tbh. I do really agree with StayFrosty - it's just playing the playground politics that's all...

CarGirl Sat 20-Sep-08 17:23:25

Perhaps the best way to describe your dd to others is something along the lines of "shes really into that sort of thing at the moment and enjoys writing, spelling, reading etc"

It's hard dd1 is very academically able, I am proud of her when she works hard, when she is kind and tolerant of her sisters & friends but I'm not "proud" of her achievements because yes so far it has come easily to her and I try to place praise on value on who she is than what she achieves.

Feels like you can't win!

squilly Sat 20-Sep-08 17:30:16

I think it's typical of our school system that there is so much focus on academic achievement at such a young age. It just shouldn't happen at 6 and 7. It puts undue pressure on us as parents and on our kids too.

I like the way you expressed that Cargirl. I think the hard work is something to be proud of rather than the results because it's all a bit meaningless at the moment as Miyazaki says.

StayFrosty Sat 20-Sep-08 17:55:12

You are right Squilly, school sets children up to compare and compete from a very early age. I'll reiterate that you said absolutely the right thing, because from the way you describe the conversation, it sounds like it was about your friend offloading about her fears/worries about her Belle, with you taking part as a supporting character, so keeping the focus going in that direction was just sensitive listening on your part.

Altho tbh your friend was a bit out of order bringing Squilly jnr into it, tis a bit rich her moaning about a climate in which children are compared to one another, then proceeding to do exactly that. Maybe in a short while you will be able to have a convo with her where you express your frustration at people thinking your daughter doesn't have to work hard when she really does - and your friend will do what you did and put her own 'stuff' on one side and do the supportive listening thing. smile

CarGirl Sat 20-Sep-08 18:05:30

Because I have never "bragged" about dd1s achievements there is always lots of surprise when she has ended up going to a very academic secondary school almost a disbelief that I could have produced a bright child hmm.

I don't think anyone wants anybody's achievements shoved down their throat. My only desire for my children is that they are happy, of course if dd1 becomes a barriter earns shed loads of money and keeps me in my old age that would be very nice!

NoblesseOblige Sat 20-Sep-08 18:18:38

slightly on a tangent my dh and his bro are both extremely intelligent and have achieved well academically/professionally etc.

my MIL never misses an opportunity to point out how my dh apparently had to work his arse off but his db has never had to try hard, he is just naturally clever.

even now i am not quite sure what point she is trying to make and wonder if she has done this their whole lives?

neither dh or his bro seem to mind (and tbh, i don't actually think she is right grin), but she will trot it out at every opportunity.

not sure what point i am trying to make...hmm

smile

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