(Gifted?) Underachiever(19 Posts)
Hi, we have always believed our daughter, now 8, to be 'gifted'. She was a breathtakingly bright baby and toddler - friends and family who are pediatricians and teachers used to comment and tell their colleagues about her. She is learning two instruments and both music teachers always say she is extremely talented and intelligent. At school, her teachers say she´s clearly very bright, but could be doing so much better. She seems to be too interested in her group of friends in the classroom, and is in the second set at Maths, when she should really be in the first. She´s in the first set for Literacy, but her handwriting leaves a lot to be desired. Her teacher has spoken to us about this, and seems concerned that DD is not pushing herself enough, and this could create a pattern into secondary school. I have been quite upset by all this, can anyone advice me?
she seems to be doing fantastically well in some areas and just fine in others so I wouldn't call her an underachiever? Also, the fact that she loves interacting with friends could make some parents of gifted children very envious. Why are you so worried, she is only 8? Why should she push herself and not just enjoy herself? There's enough time later in secondary school to push herself. As long as she applies herself from age 13 onwards or so she'll be fine. I think you should encourage her to enjoy friendships, sports etc so that she doesn't just focus on the areas she's clearly so advanced in.
I´ve just seen there´s a G&T section, so will move post there.
I´m not sure what levels she´s at, but I know there are a few kids in her class who are higher than her. I was fine about it before I spoke to her teacher, but now I´m worrying about secondary school... I know it´s probably silly, but DD is very strong minded. She´s very quirky and original, not your conventional clever kid. This comes across in one-to-one music lessons, but in class this is lost...
I think your first step is to ask what NC levels she's working at. Her teacher will know. That will give you a rough idea where she is compared to an average child.
I suppose the next question is what would you like her to be doing that she isn't, and what are you worried will happen because she isn't.
I'm not sure, but her teacher worried me saying this could create a pattern of not working hard, that could have serious repercussions in her future education... I also have a son in Reception who's equally bright but being a boy, I suppose, does his own thing and only plays only in the playground... he's in the G&T program, etc.
Have the school suggested she is G&T or are you just going on your belief and friends' opinions? - because friends are not always going to be objective in their assessment of your child, and - TBH - neither are parents
It can be a hard thing to accept - that your child might not be as bright as you want her to be - but she seems to be doing very well. I am not sure why you are so upset
I am aware of that... I only want her to learn to do the best she can
As I said, NC levels a a good start. Not sure why Th school hasn't told you, they can't go round worrying yo and saying stuff like that without some hard evidence. And progress through NC levels is the obvious evidence to show you.
Is it possible that she is "bored" (academically and/or subject-wise) at that school?
Being G&T is one thing, but someone has to want to realise their potential to, well, realise their potential. If a child is "pushed", then they are likely to resent it and rebel and turn their back on it. They need to be enthused and stimulated to want to achieve. Not easy to do in all areas.
Have you tried positive reinforcement (maybe reward charts and some longer term reward) for her weaker areas?
I think that a lot of pressure is (and labels are) put on children too early these days. You do not to be g&t in all areas to become a very successful and very happy person. Encourage her passions and be sure to acknowledge, praise and reward accomplishments in her weaker areas.
Thanks QT, very good points. Absolutely, the main thing is motivation and passion for something. I think there is a lot of pressure on kiddies now from society and schools who need to work on their status, etc. and we, parents, are fearful for their future as things are so bleak... I'll try not to let is affect me, and follow your wise advice,
Also, being precocious is not necessarily the same thing as being truly exceptional later on. My DD1 read early and had a reading age of 16 at the age of 7. She is now 17 and doing well academically, has a string of very good GCSEs, but is certainly not outstandingly more literate or clever than the majority of her peers; she was just very early to get good at reading rather than a genius. She reads for pleasure, but not Dickens or Jane Austen, just ordinary books - I think QTPie is very right that they have to want to realise their potential, and if they don't actually have a burning drive to be and stay the best, they may actually be happier in the long run. As long as your DD's doing well and happy, that's the main thing, I really think.
Out of curisosity have you ever made the mistake of praising her for being clever.
Children of whatever level intelligence do better when they are praised when they work hard than when their achievement (or lack of achievement) is commented on.
If children are valued on their intelligence which many people precieve as fixed they may see no point in working. Children do better when they see that hard work controls their destiny in life.
It is good she has friends, and being in the second group for maths hardly the end of the world. Prehaps you need to adjust your expectations of your daughter and accept that prehaps she is not as gifted as you think.
Ds1 is very 'flashily' bright and was an exceptionally articulate toddler so was always having people exclaim over his 'giftedness'
As a teenager he does have a very high IQ but he's also incredibly lazy as far as academia goes. He's never had to try at school and consequently doesn't know how to pull his finger out ... He's just had his half-term report and his effort marks are all 2s and 3s (slightly more 3s which is 'room for improvement') but his achievement marks are unfortunately mainly all 1s with a couple of outstanding thrown in ... He can't see the point in working harder and seeing how good he could be when with no work he can do pretty well
I suspect quite a few children in his class who aren't as innately clever will actually end up with better grades in the end , if not at GCSE, then certainly at A-level and degree level
ahem - surely having a precocious baby/toddler is not the same as having a gifted child? just because your dd was ahead of her peer group aged 1/2/3, does not mean she is significantly ahead of them aged 8?
Her music teachers may think she's wonderful and her class teacher may think she could do better but really, what does that mean?
The population needs average children just to continue. Being average is not so bad.
Vi8 daughter is better than average. She has friends and is doing reasonably well academically.
My son was developmentally slow as a toddler. It caused me no end of worry, but at the age of nine he is doing well both socially and academically.
Children make progress at different ages and often go through spurts of progress. As parents all we can do is give them the best environment possible to grow into happy productive adults. The most sucessful adults aren't necessarily the most academic.
As someone with a very bright 7 year old who is 'exceptional academically' but who is desperately unhappy because his 'emotional intelligence is not as developed', (quotes from his teacher), I would do all you can to reinforce positive learning at home (encouraging her interests, going to museums/galleries/concerts etc) and enjoy the fact she has friends and is socially confident. I am sure if she us as able as you say, she will be fine - perhaps she is just on a bit of a plateau at the moment before accelerating again. They can't keep on a exponential trajectory indefinitely. (and, she is only 8 .....!)
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.