How not to give up on your not so bright kid?

(90 Posts)
MsWhatever Tue 19-Jan-21 12:33:23

Hi there...
I’m feeling completely lost atm.
My DS (8yo) really struggles at school to put it mildly. He does try to understand things but he just can’t. I can’t help think is just not a bright kid.
The issue with that is I don’t really know what to do.
I’m growing frustrated with this situation specially when I pounder how much I have given up because of motherhood. All the career opportunities I missed, social life, etc etc and then, boom, my kid is dumb as a rock.
Part of me now feels any time spent with him is a waste of my time and perhaps he can do just fine in a sub-par job when he grows up.
I am not sure I should continue spending tons of money with tutoring and keep missing job opportunities so I can help him with school if he is just not talented.
With all honestly, I am completely regretting motherhood atm.
Sorry if it sounds harsh.
I do love DS lots.

OP’s posts: |
FortunesFave Tue 19-Jan-21 13:20:56

hmm Might he have a learning disability? They're not always obvious. Sometimes it's subtle.

SummerHouse Tue 19-Jan-21 13:28:03

I opened this post thinking we are in the same boat. My DS is also 8 and fallen behind. I will never give up on him. I will always believe in him. I think he has a brilliant mind and an amazing sense of humour. He just can't do some things at the same point his peers can. You need to find the positive. What does he do well? Celebrate and champion that. There are so many things that make a person worthy. Kindness, empathy, particular interests, conversation. Ability to excel academically is not particularly what I want for my children. I just want them to be happy and that can come from so many sources.

alltheadrenalin Tue 19-Jan-21 13:33:23

That was a depressing read. I've no doubt your dumb as a rock child has picked up on your feelings. All children are bright, he might not be academically bright but there will be other areas where he'll shine. Hope he comes across an adult that will help him with that.

TheGonnagle Tue 19-Jan-21 13:36:57

Not everyone can excel academically. Support him to be the best he can and actively help him to find the things that he succeeds at. It’s ok to feel unsure how to proceed but it’s absolutely not ok to give up on him. He will be acutely aware of your disappointment.

SmidgenofaPigeon Tue 19-Jan-21 13:37:42

Oh my god OP!! Dumb as a rock is a shocking way to describe your child, as is listing all the things you’ve given up (like, that’s parenthood?!) and money spent! So he’s not academically brilliant, so what? Find what he’s good at and channel that, because I bet there’s something, and just help him to be ok at being average at the rest.

It’s either a joke or you’re just horrible. But then I do know lots of parents around the private-school bubble I work in would be devastated their little darlings won’t be setting the world on fire academically. It’s sad.

NewYearNewLockdown Tue 19-Jan-21 13:42:33

Don't give up on him ffs.

Two of my DSs were found to have dyslexia around that age. It's hard not having academic kids if that's what you are used to (my other two were top setters).

I agree with SummerHouse, try and find something that he is good at and can excel at. My DS is in year 11 and it's so worrying thinking about his GCSEs but he is fantastic at art and with a little bit of luck and a fair wind, he will be able to get into college to study it further. He was never going to be able to do A levels so it's just a case of finding something he can do.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Miriam101 Tue 19-Jan-21 13:43:56

You feel any time spent with your son is a waste of time because, at the age of eight and in a situation of unprecedented strangeness, he is struggling to excel? I can tell you one thing, OP, with a parent who has an attitude like that he may well struggle in life- but not for the reasons you state. Poor boy. (And I say this as someone who is very academic. My DD is showing no signs of being similar, but she is a wonderful little person with oodles of humour and pizazz. Your description of your son as “dumb as a rock” really saddens me.)

surelynotnever Tue 19-Jan-21 13:45:26

My son is badly struggling at school. He is a similar age as yours. He just doesn't seem to grasp things, has had an EP assessment. Really struggles to concentrate and retain information. I am desperately worried about him, tired of battles to get him to do basic literacy and numeracy, especially as I am also working at home full-time due to lockdown, and him messing about instead of concentrating wastes my time when I could be doing my work.
If I am honest I do sometimes feel like giving up when I am angry with him but know that I can't. If even his own mum does not have his back, then who will?
He has many good qualities too. He is a kind, empathetic, sensitive, loving little boy.

I'm struck that you feel being a SAHM is about ensuring your child excels academically, especially when you are not a homeschooler?
Surely the benefit of being a SAHM is about being able to give the time and attention to develop that relationship bond and emotional development. That's what I always thought the key benefit would be anyway. The emotional benefit of all that time. (as well as time to cook proper meals instead of the crap I give my kids grin.

I do however, feel your frustration and hope your post reflects your worry and frustration.

OnlyTeaForMe Tue 19-Jan-21 13:47:38

OK, so I had moments of feeling like you about 10 years ago, and would probably have posted something similar and despairing.

DS simply did not engage with school. Hated the structure. Didn't seem to be able to grasp reading. Got tired/upset/angry easily. Always had an excuse why he couldn't do something and why it was someone else's fault that he didn't know stuff.

After YEARS of pushing schools to try to help him and being fobbed off with "he's just young/ immature/ hasn't found his groove yet etc" I paid for a private SEN assessment at age 11 and discovered he has dyslexia and very bad retention/verbal memory recall - basically he INSTANTLY forgot anything he was told verbally, which of course meant learning was extremely hard.

We then worked with his (by then new) school to try to help him and it worked! He is a massively visual learner and can cope so long as he can 'see' facts/instructions etc. He's gone on to do brilliantly with great GCSEs and A levels (in all creative subjects).

Could your son have something similar going on?
What does he enjoy doing - is he more of a visual or creative learner?
Does he have problems concentrating/sitting still?
Online /screen-based learning really doesn't work for some kids.

Don't give up on him yet OP!

Xerochrysum Tue 19-Jan-21 13:47:55

What a horrible thread. You should be ashamed of what you have said.

surelynotnever Tue 19-Jan-21 13:48:26

I would also say, and I am saying this gently, that it is not your child's role to validate your life choices. If you can change this way of thinking, you may start to feel a bit better.

shakeitoffshakeacocktail Tue 19-Jan-21 13:50:21

How do you prove success?
He may grow up and not be academically strong. That does not mean he can't be successful, well liked, happy and a great human.

I hope he doesn't grow up to be a narcissist, a key trait is having a mother who gives praise based on superficial achievements or academic ones and confusing ideals on success! He does not need to win your approval with success. He should get your love from his humanity

HalfShrunkMoreToGo Tue 19-Jan-21 13:52:08

Everyone is good at something, he may not be academically inclined but is he: determined, enterprising, charming, sporty, dramatic, technically minded, good at understanding the workings of things (mechanics, engineering), good at physical tasks........

You've had 8 years to get to know him, you must be able to see some strengths outside of his ability to read, write and answer test questions.

Find out what interests him, what he is naturally inclined towards and encourage him to develop his skills in those areas.

2 of my brothers were not academic, they went the apprenticeship route, one is a carpenter and the other a steel engineer in the space industry. Both very successful with good livelihoods.

You need to stop putting your aspirations on your child, and never ever give up on them.

wibblewombat Tue 19-Jan-21 13:53:34

Have you had his working memory assessed?

He might learning difficulties in some areas, not others...

Fork out the cash on a proper assessment before writing him off.

Lougle Tue 19-Jan-21 13:53:59

I love a bit of dry humour, but this has really stuck with me. DD1 has learning difficulties. Can barely write at 15 (finds forming the letters hard and can't spell, reverses letters, can't see which letter she's missed out, etc.), some grasp of maths, but loves science, etc.

She isn't 'dumb as a rock'. She fights to overcome huge barriers to learning. Your DS isn't dumb as a rock, he's just struggling.

BlingLoving Tue 19-Jan-21 13:54:45

OP, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your rant is because your'e at the end of your tether and this is an anonymous forum so you said things you might not normally say.

And on that basis, of course it's hard. But I do think you need to consider that there are other options besides academic brilliance. Also, as other APPs have said, if he really is struggling, it may be that you need to consider whether he has some additional needs that aren't being identified or met.

But let's just say that academics are not his thing. what IS his thing? DS struggles academically (although does have some challenges such as reduced executive function and SPD). He's okay at sport but not dazzling - but good enough to be part of a few sports groups and not be the kid stuck at the back. But he is getting more and more into music and performance. He's also a genuinely nice child who is well liked by his teachers and peers. He's creative and imaginative and, somewhat to our surprise as his fine motor skills were pretty weak, he's starting to get into drawing and art.

At this point, it seems unlikely to me that he's ever going to be surgeon or similar. But I think he will ultimately be okay, even if he does have a less high profile/well paid career. Also, we can't stop helping him all the time because for so many things, while you don't need necessary the best academics, you do need to get through the schooling system. So we can't give up with the extra support he needs even while encouraging and celebrating the other stuff that he's actually good at.

surelynotnever Tue 19-Jan-21 13:55:26


May I ask where you went for the private SEN assessment? I am sure there must be something going on with my son. I can already see that his four year old brother is so much quicker at grasping things. I would love to get him assessed and to find out what we need to do to help him.

TroysMammy Tue 19-Jan-21 13:58:40

I struggled at school especially maths. I was too shy and quiet to ask and my parents didn't have the education to help me. However for some unknown reason I was put in the top band in Comprehensive but I felt I still struggled and didn't do as well in my exams as my peers.

I didn't have the ability to revise and to recall. But in my 40's and 50's my memory is exceptional, probably because of the things I look up and remember are interesting to me. Apparently I'm a walking encyclopedia or as my colleagues say I have a memory like and elephant (I'm also grey and wrinkled too).

Have you tried other ways of learning like Duolingo or life skills like cooking and gardening. After finishing education algebra won't help a lot of people but being able to bake a cake, make a Bolognese and be kind to people will stand him in great stead in life.

Don't give up on him, he's only 8. Encourage him at the things he is good at and don't put him down at the things he is not. We are all different and the way someone perceives that will help him become who he is not who you think he should be.

BlingLoving Tue 19-Jan-21 13:58:47



May I ask where you went for the private SEN assessment? I am sure there must be something going on with my son. I can already see that his four year old brother is so much quicker at grasping things. I would love to get him assessed and to find out what we need to do to help him.

You weren't asking me but just FYI, there are various options so if you have a sense of where the challenges are, you can take different routes.

An educational psychologist is a great choice if your child seems to struggle with school etc

An occupational therapist is particularly helpful if there seems to be a physical underlying issue - eg your child struggles with fine/gross motor skills etc.

If you suspect dyslexia or similar, there are specialist organisations that can work on this (the Helen Keller organisation has been recommended to me by multiple people if you're in London/Surrey).

A private paediatrician who specialises in this stuff CAN be good, but most people I know find it helps to rather start elsewhere and then go that route. Needless to say, the paediatrician option is also the most expensive of the already expensive options!!

In our case, we went with Occupational Therapy. Helped a lot. She did suggest we might want to see a paediatrician at some point but to date we have not done so.

BlingLoving Tue 19-Jan-21 14:00:16

A private paediatrician who specialises in this stuff CAN be good, but most people I know find it helps to rather start elsewhere and then go that route. Needless to say, the paediatrician option is also the most expensive of the already expensive options!!

Oh, and the advice of a child psychologist I spoke with was to research paediatrician's if you go that route and specifically look for one who isn't a "must be ADHD, let's give ritalin" type. Ideally, you want to explore all options etc before that.

Pippa234 Tue 19-Jan-21 14:02:31

That's an awful way to talk about your child.
Not all children are 'clever' but even 'clever' children have things they aren't so developed in.
Perhaps you should step up your responsibility as a parent and get help for your kid.

surelynotnever Tue 19-Jan-21 14:03:13

Thanks so much @BlingLoving

OnlyTeaForMe Tue 19-Jan-21 14:06:12

I think Bling might mean (not Helen Keller, who I think is an author?)

Your son's school should be your first port of call - they should have a SEN co-ordinator?

MsWhatever Tue 19-Jan-21 14:06:33

Thank you for your comments!

DS is a loving and caring young boy. And indeed, we are investigating if he has dyslexia (my mum has and it’s highly likely that he may have it as well).
Perhaps I may have been harsh on my comments, but I am genuinely worried about his future and what will happen to him if he is not good at school.
Perhaps this is the bubble I lived in and how I was raised. I grew up very poor (homestead and shit and school was the what got me out) but all I can think is that he will be hard time earning a living with poor academics. I can’t think of anything he could do with the skills he has as a job in the future.
people may have gotten me wrong on this comment, but I should just “give up” school and focus on other areas like music or arts? unfortunately he is not interest in either. So I am desperate.
I want him to succeed but school seems to be a dead end. And then what?

I’m just trying to be practical

OP’s posts: |

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