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"They all even out eventually"

(26 Posts)
Weegle Tue 28-Oct-08 15:13:19

Am I the only one who doesn't get that statement? It's quite often given on here in a response to a comment by a competitive parent. But children don't all even out eventually do they? Some are good at reading, some are good at maths, some are good at sports, some don't particularly excel at anything but are nice to know or have the gift of the gab, some are bloody geniuses but horrors, some are genuinely excellent all rounders who will sail through many academic and work place situations etc etc. But one thing is pretty evident - we as adults are not all on an equal level with ability or knowledge in all things. So, our children don't all even out eventually... and isn't that a good thing as long as we nurture our child for who they are?

Or am I missing something?

AMumInScotland Tue 28-Oct-08 15:23:53

I'm with you on this one - it's like saying "all adults have exactly the same skills" - it's obviously not true!

theinsider Tue 28-Oct-08 15:26:42

Up to a certain age I think it's true, about two. Those early milestones of rolling, crawling walking, even potty-training yes they do all even out eventually (not including disabled children (which may be your very point wink ).

After that though, you're right, they're not all even. By 5, 10, 20, etc everyone is very different and not even at all.

MrsMattie Tue 28-Oct-08 15:28:00

When people start congratulating themselves at how 'clever' their child is for being able to crawl or walk early, then I think it's an appropriate response - because most children do learn tp do these things eventually to an equal standard, so it really doesn't matter whether they did it 'early' or not. When it comes to things like reading - well, it's patently not true. Early, fluent readers and writers almost always excel all the way through school at these things.

morningpaper Tue 28-Oct-08 15:30:33

I remember one friend saying "Well yes yours is very clever, but mine doesn't fall over much"

I wasn't sure which would be the most useful skill as an adult...

Weegle Tue 28-Oct-08 15:37:28

Yes, you're right - in the infant developmental milestones you assume all NT children even out eventually. But after that it just doesn't make sense! I'm hoping my DS "evens out eventually" in the potty training dept anyway so I'm guilty of it myself wink

Weegle Tue 28-Oct-08 15:39:18

I did snigger the other day when a mum listed all the things my DS could do that her child couldn't (was a horrible cringe worthy moment), to which I replied "but yours knows the function of a toilet, which is a more important life-skill?"

Reallytired Tue 28-Oct-08 15:42:17

Yes, its partly true in that being an early developer does not mean that a child is going to Oxbridge. Nor does it mean that a child with major developmental problems is destined to a life of failure an unemployment.

I even think with reading it does not matter a lot whether a child learns to read at seven or three years old. Children develop in fits and spurts and sometimes the tortoise overtakes the hare.

However I think when a child does get to eleven or twelve it does become more painfully obvious who is going to be Oxbridge material and who has learning difficulties.

Issy Tue 28-Oct-08 16:04:01

I think the better adage is 'It's a long game'. It's a hell of a long haul between precocious crawling, continence or chapter-book reading and being a responsible, useful, fulfilled, emotionally stable, life-enhancing and resilient adult.

YetMoreTech (MNHQ) Tue 28-Oct-08 16:54:24

Ignore my post. Seriously.

AMumInScotland Tue 28-Oct-08 17:00:38

But, but, you know we can't shock

YetMoreTech (MNHQ) Tue 28-Oct-08 17:13:04

I know, I know!!! I wonder what I should write if I need (for boring technical reasons) to post on a particular thread?

AbbeyA Tue 28-Oct-08 17:16:50

They don't all even out, but it is impossible to tell at a young age. Some people might not reach their true potential until they are middle aged or even older.
It is very like the hare and the tortoise. Hot housing a toddler can do more harm than good IMO.

Acinonyx Tue 28-Oct-08 18:25:16

Oh Weegle. Potty training will give me PSTD. My dd (3) is pretty precocious in some areas but I totally despair of her ever potty training. I can see her starting school, reading and writing and wearing nappies shock The shame of it sad

WhatFreshHellIsThis Tue 28-Oct-08 18:30:42

Ds is 2.5 and shows no interest in potty training. when we or the nursery asks if he'd like to go on the potty he just says 'In a minute' or 'Later'. <<sigh>>

I too have visions of him still saying that when he's 18. sad

edam Tue 28-Oct-08 18:30:51

Most of the stuff that competitive parents worry about evens out eventually. I was ace at reading, always years ahead of my chronological age, streets ahead of even the older kids at school. But by the time you get to adulthood (almost) everyone else can read too - doesn't really make much difference in the long run.

Mind you, I did grow up to be a writer (earn less than contemporaries who went into other careers though). But I'm sure there are plenty of other writers who weren't early readers or streaks ahead of their peers.

BroccoliSpears Tue 28-Oct-08 18:35:07

YMT - you need a secret identity to do that. Get yourself the username Mummy2Joshy2243 and leave the comment "Well that's what I did and it never did mine any harm". Job done.

cory Tue 28-Oct-08 18:46:26

They don't even out eventually, true. But that is partly because some of the slow developers turn out to be geniuses too! So, I agree we are not on equal levels as adults, but it can be difficult to predict which one is going to be the genius. I used to think I was the clever one in the family and that my db was a bit dim. My parents also thought I was the bright one. This has not been borne out by later experience... sad

I have come across parents who react with shock and horror when they find that their oh-so-bright child is suddenly not in the top group of the class any more. They blame the teachers, or they blame themselves, or in particularly sad cases they blame the child. What they don't realise is that some of the other children may have been potential geniuses who just didn't show their brains very early.

lingle Tue 28-Oct-08 19:14:58

Is this a thread about a thread?

Anyway, may I add speech into the pot? DS1 was only just starting to combine words at 3 years and was very behind in understanding language.
If they had such a thing as "top of the class" nowadays, he'd be it or near it

Nearly everyone eventually learns to talk and no-one asks when you did it once you've cracked it!

ketal Tue 28-Oct-08 19:46:59

I understand what many people mean when they say this - I think often it is said to mean that just because a child does something early, that does not mean that they will continue to be 'early' or 'brighter' - that perhaps they will slow down in their development, and may even get overtaken by others (just like the tallest kids do not always turn out to be the tallest adults), but agree that this is not the same as "they all even out in the end". I think it is obvious to everyone that people have differing levels of abilities and intelligence, so on that level, the argument makes no sense indeed!

Weegle Tue 28-Oct-08 20:15:29

no not a thread about a particular thread at all, but I have noticed the comment on many many threads on MN and always been a little puzzled.

But from what you all say I can see it's relevance to younger infants/children in that being an early walker/talker is no indication of anything at all really. I was thinking more that when a toddler is a little older, or a pre-schooler, or a child, and they are really starting to show that they are musical/good with figures/good spatial awareness/athletic/whatever - these things don't even out eventually, and that really that can be a good thing. It'd be a dull 'old world if we were all the same afterall!

apostrophe Tue 28-Oct-08 23:05:39

Message withdrawn

cory Wed 29-Oct-08 09:39:02

By Weegle on Tue 28-Oct-08 20:15:29

"But from what you all say I can see it's relevance to younger infants/children in that being an early walker/talker is no indication of anything at all really. I was thinking more that when a toddler is a little older, or a pre-schooler, or a child, and they are really starting to show that they are musical/good with figures/good spatial awareness/athletic/whatever - these things don't even out eventually, and that really that can be a good thing."

Even then predictions can be unsafe. Many children who seem incredibly advanced in Infants school are then overtaken in Yr 5 by a child that just needed more time to come into its own. This happens particularly with boys, who are often far behind in Junior School for developmental reasons, and then start showing what they can really do.

The kids who were top in dd's infants were not still all in top set by the time they got to Yr 6- and some totally unexpected children turned out to have great gifts.

When we were in Junior school everyone thought I was brighter than my brother- when we got to Sixth Form things had changed.

Not unknown for a child to peak at O-level and be thrown by the next stage.

As a university teacher I frequently deal with very upset students who have been top in everything all throughout their school lives, got A* at A-levels and are shocked to find that they find university too hard. Whereas some previously undistinguished plodders actually turn out to do better.

I also often come across people who did only moderately well at school, but then come back 20 years later to do an MA and turn out to be absolutely brilliant. Ex-housewives a lot of them. Often they do all the better because they are humble and expect to have to work hard. But some people just seem to bloom late, others seem to peak very early.

So not, it's not a dull old world- it's full of surprises grin

And Junior School is still far too early to predict somebody's whole life. All we can do is provide opportunities, stimulate learning and make them feel that life is fun!

Anna8888 Wed 29-Oct-08 11:59:15

Agree with the OP - saying that they all even out eventually is complete rubbish.

Peachy Wed 29-Oct-08 12:02:53

They all (well most) even out

In terms of - they all develop into their own bodies and talents and grow up to be the person they are best fitted for

not sure why anyone would want more than that anyway? I mean if your child is Einstein or the Binman- who cares as long as they're happy and contribute?

obviously its different for kids with SN and those who have other issues but these are the ones the evening-out thing is designed to spot

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