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How do you manage siblings and their reaction?

(5 Posts)
suecy Thu 18-Jun-09 12:18:51

DD is going into year 2 in September. She is bright, motivated and achieving really well and loves school. She's not gifted, just very able, and used to being very close to the top of the class at pretty much everything.

DS is going into year 2 in September. He's gifted in literacy and numeracy - I've seen some posts here about what level they're working at - I don't know what level he's on, but he's currently level with DD on reading, and well ahead on science/analytical type stuff and head and shoulders above her on maths, so must be working to at least year 2 level now.

My problem is this - because it's a very small rural school (15 max per year), after reception they double up so they will be in the same class every alternate year. Of course neither child knows that DS is gifted. DD sees the work he brings home, but currently shows no interest in it. However, she's bound to realise next year when she's in the same class as him that he's working ahead of her in nearly all areas.

I'm really worried about how she will react, and how much it will dent her confidence in her own abilities - she's an odd combination really - lacks confidence in her own ability but is super competitive. I guess I'm fearing the worst and predicting her nose will be very out of joint and her confidence will be dented.

I'm after advice on how you've managed the sibling issue when younger children are gifted? Obviously my case is a bit more tricky because of the same class issue, but how have you managed it successfully?

I've already talked to the teacher about it and she's assured me that they will never be put in the same small group in the classroom, and she's going to give DD some extra work to bring home related to creative writing and art, which is the one area where she outshines him. Just so she doesn't feel overlooked etc.

But I need tips for dealing with it at home. At the moment if she's doing maths homework and he walks past he's quite likely to tell her the answer and she gets (understandeably) absolutely furious and has a right strop. I try to get them to do their homework seperately, but with my husband working away all week this is hard to do!

I'll stop rambling now and shut up! Any tips gratefully received.

throckenholt Thu 18-Jun-09 12:30:44

I think it is as much a case of teaching him to keep quiet.

I have a similar problem - there is 18 months between my 3 (including twins) and they all clam up totally when any other is in earshot - so we have to read with them individually in another room, same with maths etc. If we try and do it in the living room we are constantly interrupted by the others hanging round - cue lots of whinging on both sides.

I also think you have to repeatedly remind them both that everyone learns differently and at different paces. What one struggles with another finds easy. It is a fact of life and they are going to come up against it all their life. An important lesson to learn - you can only do your best - if someone else is better than that - it is not your problem because you have done the best you can (and next time your best is likely to be a bit better because you have done it before).

They both need to strive to do their best rather than be the best, and to appreciate their own achievements relative to their own level (regardless of those around them).

Can't say we have managed to achieve this yet with ours

madwomanintheattic Thu 18-Jun-09 12:35:32

just treat is as spectactularly normal - life is how it is. the more drama you create over it, the worse it will be.

only once have we had any tears over dd1 and ds1 (he is 2 yrs younger but on a par academically - she is yr 4 top group for everything))

she bawled for about 2 hours because he knew her spellings before she had learnt them... a bit like your ds does with her homework - you just need to rein him in. if he's clever enough to know the answer, he has to understand that in a classroom situation he has to be clever enough to keep his mouth shut with his hand up or he'll be in trouble all year long for shouting out lol. (it took ds about a day to realise this).

now dd1 realises it doesn't actually matter, and just does her homework in her room - some days we photocopy the sheets and they both have a go, but they do it on their own and compare after grin.

i do feel a little sorry for her - she was easily as bright as he, but didn't have an older sibling to copy/ read their books/ look at their stuff.

if their positions had been revered i think the situation would have been identical. she is in her fourth school because we move a lot, whilst he is in the third year at the same school - and since she left they have introduced a g&t policy.

really, don't stress about it. it's not an issue - we are all different and will find our own way. you just have to find a way to bump her confidence in her own abilities lol - that's your real issue!

if it helps - dd2 is also g&t lol - she taught herself to read very early so was identified at the start of yr r. again - it's just timing.

madwomanintheattic Thu 18-Jun-09 12:36:46

reversed lol, revered has a totally diff connotation

cory Fri 19-Jun-09 11:41:16

As long as you yourself can manage to think of it as just one more nice thing he has- like an ability to play football or whatever- rather than as the defining thing, then it needn't be too much of an issue.

But absolutely rein him in if he shows at home. I wish my parents had been firmer with me: I was 5 years younger than my db, and I know I had a bad effect on him because my emotional intelligence simply wasn't up there with my intellectual development. I should have been shushed far more firmly and put in my place.

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