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How do you deal with differences in ability?

(7 Posts)
Bogeyface Wed 12-Feb-14 17:02:29

I have one with SEN (now an adult with a good job, no issues there), one who is bang on average (and a teeny bit under in maths) who has just started college, and now 3 who are G&T, had 2 and 1 suspected but now all 3 are official.

The thing is that the average one got really pissed off today about "being thick". She isnt thick but as each one of her siblings gradually gets closer to her level in ability despite being many years younger, it is demoralising for her. She is just not academically minded, my sister was the same compared to me yet now my sister has a fantastically successful career in senior management that came from her vocational college course similar to what DD is doing. I keep pointing out to her that depsite me being exceptional academically, my sister is the one with great job, lots of money, luxury holidays etc while I have none of those things. I do tell her that an average ability coupled with determination, hard work and focus is far better than a massive intellect and none of those things (which is why I havent achieved anywhere near my potential) But it isnt cutting much ice.

I dont make a fuss about the others abilities, but today is parents evening so it is brought into focus.

Do I keep doing what I am doing by focussing on her other (not inconsiderable) talents including her sport, her charity work and her course or is there something else I can do?

lljkk Wed 12-Feb-14 19:18:20

What else can you do?
Brains ARE over-rated. It's nice to have 'em, but they aren't a patch on being sensible, responsible, hard-working, level-headed, etc.
Thing is your the parent and everything you say carries about 5% weight that it would if she heard it from her friends.
Maybe let her be frustrated, let her share her anxieties, and then talk about how we carry on in spite of all of our imperfections. Most people in the world aren't perfectly useless. We each have a unique contribution to make.

RubySparks Wed 12-Feb-14 19:23:43

Could your sister talk to her? Might be helpful to hear it from someone else who has been through similar.

simpson Fri 14-Feb-14 01:05:44

I have a DS in yr4 who is very strong in numeracy and ahead in reading but literacy wise is just slightly ahead.

His sister in yr1 is very strong in reading and literacy (rivalling her brothers levels and he feels it).

The way I deal with it is to emphasise how each person is different and we would be very boring if we were the same, that DS is v strong in numeracy (although not going not this too much as I believe it is too early to tell if DD will be strong in numeracy) and the fact that DS is VERY good at sport (which DD will NEVER be good at - hypermobile).

Also I talk to DD about hurting people's feelings about talking (outside the family) what she is very good at and how people are different.

It seems to be working so far smile

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 14-Feb-14 13:30:58

I think there will always be a 'problem' area between siblings even if it isn't linked to one being average academically and another being exceptional academically. One will be good at sport or music whilst one wants to be but struggles, or one is good at sewing and the other wants to be able to make a skirt and so on. One passes driving test first time whilst the other takes 8 goes. It is one of those situations where sadly insecurities will always seem to outweigh confidence if that makes sense.
All you can do is keep doing what you ARE doing, reassuring that she has her excellent qualities too, be it organising or sport or arranging flowers, making jewellery etc. My brains have got me nowhere and if anything they have made life very difficult for me because I overthink everything meanwhile I have friends who quite possibly wouldn't score as high in an IQ test but who have brilliant careers, great exam results and are confident and unruffled by life. My skills are organising and managing things but memory problems meant whilst I was bright I never really achieved in exams (except IQ tests typically!) and this greatly affected my confidence and so stopped me going on to use my skills other than in voluntary work occasionally. Your 'average' daughter is quite probably way above average in her own area but just hasn't found it yet. being a good organiser at 15 means very little other than managing to get your homework done but being a good organiser at 30 in a good job is great.

Agree with Ruby that perhaps your sister could help with some guidance and reassurance. If she can build her self esteem and self confidence then she will come out the other side of this patch and be much happier overall.

Gladvent Fri 14-Feb-14 13:32:24

I did great at school, you wouldn't know it now. I think you are doing all you can.

Martorana Fri 14-Feb-14 13:35:04

If the "average" one isn't in the same school as the others, why does it even come up?

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