I’m Jealous of Your Smart Kid

Yes, I am jealous, but I would never roll my eyes or say nasty, mean things about you or your child. Nope, I keep my envy to myself, and I just smile when I see your smart child making honor roll, gathering academic awards and breezing through school. I know how lucky your child is to be so successful academically. He or she will easily go far in life.

 

I guess you are assuming my child is not smart, or not doing so well in school.

 

Are you wondering if I’m a mom of a child who struggles in school?          Well, yes, I am.

 

Are you thinking that maybe my child does not always make good grades?       No, he doesn’t.

 

Are you feeling a little relieved and happy that you don’t have to worry so much about your child academically like I do?     Yeah, you most probably don’t need to worry like I do.

 

“Hey, good for you!” Really, I’m happy for you and your child.  As parents, we all need less to worry about when it comes to our kids and school.

 

Are you maybe feeling a little sorry for me and my child because my child struggles in school and doesn’t make good grades all the time? You know, it has not been easy at all on my family.

 

Would you be willing to help me and other parents whose kids are in the same boat as mine? It would’t take up much of your time at all, really. Actually, none at all.

 

My child doesn’t need after-school tutoring, or extra worksheets, or reteaching, so no help is needed there.

 

Wait, wait ….. wait! I know what you are thinking now. Poor grades must mean my child needs that extra practice work in school, or some tutoring after school.        No, he doesn’t need that kind of extra help at all.

 

So, what does he need?

 

He needs your understanding. A clear, factual understanding about what kind of learner he is, what he is capable of, and what he needs to be successful in school–successful like your child.

 

So, what kind of student is my child?

 

He’s gifted.       Yes, he’s gifted.

 

Surprised?

 

Are you still willing to help? Are you still sympathetic? Still willing to understand who my child is?

 

My child is gifted which means he is not automatically academically successful. It means his thinking and learning seem to transcend what goes on in his regular classroom. And when specialized gifted programming taught by teachers who understand his way of thinking and learning are not available to him, he has trouble paying attention in class, he may get fidgety, he will likely start talking when he shouldn’t, and often becomes disruptive in class by asking a lot of questions that go further and deeper than his teacher’s lesson plan was prepared to go. I could go on, but my kid just doesn’t fit into this regular class no matter how hard he tries.

 

And then things fall apart for him: failure, humiliation, bullying, recommendations to have him tested for ADD or learning disabilities. But, I have to be discreet when I go to school to talk to his teachers about his—um–giftedness, because you know, there are teachers who will roll their eyes over the fact that I actually think my child is gifted even though he isn’t doing that great in school. And  I can’t talk to my friends about my gifted child and his struggles in school because, you know, they will roll their eyes or say nasty, mean things about my child at a time when he could not feel any worse about himself.

 

Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m just rambling on, aren’t I?

 

You do still want to help my kid, right?

 

Here’s want you can do: Please try to understand that giftedness is not all what it is cracked up to be. Giftedness is not always about being smart; smart excels in school. Giftedness is more about thinking, and seeing, and feeling the world more intensely, more deeply, and through a stronger, clearer lens. Giftedness is like being born with red hair, or inherently artistic–some kids are just born gifted. And it isn’t easy being a gifted kid when your friends’ parents are envious of you, and your mom’s friends roll their eyes at her, and your own friends think you are weird so you try to change yourself to fit in. The worse thing about being a gifted child is being envied, and shunned, and bullied for a stereotype that is purely mythical.

 

So, could you please let others know that gifted children are born that way, and that giftedness is not at all the intellectual privilege you once thought it was?

 

 

 

Thanks, that would be wonderful!

 

20 Comments on “I’m Jealous of Your Smart Kid

  1. Thank you for advocating for our gifted kids, and being so honest in sharing your experiences; it’s nice to know someone shares our joys and challenges!!

  2. Great post that really highlights both the differences between high achieving “bright” kids and the highly gifted, and how quickly people withdraw their support for helping gifted children.

  3. I only wish that there was more teachers out there who took an interest in teaching children who are Gifted, who understood our children, who had a passion for teaching the extremes, who didnt just concentrate on all the negative behaviours of teaching children who are a little different to the main.. I dont tend to tell people about my child, for they simply dont understand, as they just think im one of those parents who brag about their child, its about being smart its about having your child ride the waves through life and making it out the other end, happy for who they are.. but i tell you sometimes some days this is really hard, without a teacher commenting on their behaviours..

    • Yes, I understand exactly what you are saying, Elisha! Not all teachers disregard or misunderstand gifted children, but most have not had training on all the traits and characteristics of gifted children, and how to educate and interact with gifted children. And often it is difficult to move past the teacher thinking you are one of “those parents”! More training would go a long way for teachers to understand what gifted children really are about, and I’m saying this from my experience as a former teacher who received only a 15 minute lecture about gifted children which basically said they were smart, advanced and excelled in the classroom.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • I probably shouldnt be all that cranky about the schools and the teachers, but some days i just feel like banging my head against a wall.. The whole process is really frustrating, and i often wonder why this has happened to us?? and esp our child, who thank goodness has the attitude of water off a ducks back.. i hope he continues to have this attitude, maybe it will get him further in life? I really hope that one time teachers will have more knowledge of gifted children, and their thinking if only basic, knowing that all children are different.. – but it might be a start..

        • Elisha, I think you are one of the luckier ones, and yes, thankfully your child has a good attitude about it! But, yeah, that banging your head against a wall scene seems to be the most appropriate to describe the knowledge and attitude towards gifted students! Thanks for your thoughts, Elisha!

          • thank you… for the positive words.. We currently home schooling, and have a much happier child 🙂 (not to forget to mention, Im less stressed:) )

            I enjoy your blog… keep up the great work of bringing a smile on us parents of gifted children.. nice to hear, read someone understands..

  4. Pingback: I Have a Gifted Kid and I Will No Longer Be Ashamed | Crushing Tall Poppies

  5. Your kid isn’t GIFTED. He or she is academically challenged. Gifted in a school setting means they excel in academics beyond the norm. Your kid doesn’t even fall into the norm category. So quit calling him gifted, he is more like SPECIAL. Face the facts lady, he will never even measure up to normal. So don’t lie to him. When he becomes an adult he will resent you for it.

    • Certainly, I understand why you, as many do, misunderstand what a gifted diagnosis means and it has NOTHING to do with school performance or academic achievement. Giftedness is the advanced intellectual ability which is often first noticed when a gifted child is just a baby. The vast majority of the time, giftedness is diagnosed by a psychologist using IQ tests, not academic achievement. Many gifted children, because they are humans, may also have learning disabilities which causes struggles in school. Some gifted individuals are also autistic which is to say they are not perfect and academic performance isn’t always above the norm.

      Academic achievement has no bearing on whether a child is gifted or not–do some research and you will see I am right. Proof?–Einstein was considered a genius with a superior IQ. He was considered gifted, BUT he struggled in school and his parents were told he was a dunce and would never learn. And there are many more like him–Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Dr. Temple Grandin to name a few. School is a very narrow, very standardized way of learning which does not reach all children.

      Sadly, giftedness has been skewed and misunderstood because of how it is often poorly addressed in schools, but gifted children and adults are gifted when they are born, gifted before they enter school, gifted when they are homeschooled and gifted when they are finished schooling, and not all of them excel in school. Giftedness is not a function of education. http://crushingtallpoppies.com/2014/12/05/giftedness-is-more-than-a-function-of-education/

      • how very true.. not to forget – schools only give standard tests/standard learning, where gifted children dont shine in.. taught by standard/average teachers..

        I dont expect people to understand me when i talk about my child, and his struggles with school or school understanding him and his giftedness. In fact, we gave up with standard schools. He is now home schooled,much happier and funny enough – all the children/parents in home schooling accept each other for who they are, funny enough there is a lot of ‘gifted’ children who are home schooling..
        I met one who is currently doing Medicine Degree at UNI, age 16. now if she went through ‘standard school’ she only be doing year 10/year 11 and the school would be holding her back, as she is far beyond school.

        Our govt. in Australia needs to be educated, the education needs to be ‘educated’ and it needs to change – small % of children fit that box of ‘learning’ standardized way. Maybe we can stop comments like what Tina explain..

        • Elisha,

          You are absolutely right! Standardized school is geared towards the middle 50% of students–those outside of the middle struggle with a curriculum that is either too difficult or too easy.

          It is not intuitive for schools and others to understand that when gifted children struggle in school, it can mean that they are frustrated, day after day, with moving through the material so slowly, learning information they already know and needing the information to be more at their level.

          One of my sons did struggle in school. Once he was homeschooled and given the higher levels of information he needed, he no longer struggled. He started taking college classes at 15 and has maintained exceptional grades.

          Your story and your experience, like so many others here, proves the need for all of us to be a part of the conversation and to advocate for all gifted children in the hopes more will understand the needs of gifted children. Thank you!

    • Tina…giftedness is an IQ range, you actually have to test into it 😉

      You’d know if you were…you know..gifted.

      Or a genius, like the people in my family tend to be.

      Contrary to the average’s misconceptions, many gifted kids are WAY too busy thinking much more deeply, with greater complexity than even their adult teachers are even capable to focus on the busy bee work folks like you are expected to amount to in life.

      I just wish there were more schools specificaly for the gifted. At least at my kids’ school they have a classroom set aside for those with greater capabilities.

  6. We home school now, and it fits our child on so many levels. My husband worries will he ‘learn’ enough like school, but really these days – how many schools are ‘meeting’ the needs of every child there? are they teaching them exactly they need to learn? when has our education curriculum been really looked at – and does it still relate to children of our day? then, how do you know that your child needs will still be meet? There was a report done recently and published in the paper (a friend cut it out for me, not sure exactly what paper it was) stating that there is no difference the test results in children who learnt at home, or children who was taught at school, then there was another report stating that children who are taught at home, actually learn more – as they get to study subjects they like to learn about, more freedom, still getting their basics but if they want to study Anciet Egypt in year 3, they can they dont have to wait till they are in year 7.

    At the end of the day, gifted or not (many people do question, for only they dont understand) that he is still our child, a parent knows the needs of their own children.. No, we dont drum it into that he is gifted, after all we all shine in different areas.. Gifted children come with so many different concerns that only another parent of a gifted child can understand..

    • Hi Elisha,

      I’ve seen more studies/statistics which show homeschool children are outperforming traditional school children, but all in all, homeschooling is an excellent education which can meet every one of your child’s specific learning needs!

      Your son is so lucky to be supported with an education which best meets his needs!

      Thank you for stopping by, Elisha!

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