• Fri, Jan 18 2013

Suck It ‘Average’ Student Parents – All My Kids Are Gifted Students And It’s No Big Deal

shutterstock_50867956Yesterday I received notification that my daughter is to be placed in the academically “gifted” program at her elementary school next year, and although I’m proud of my daughter for being an excellent student and for having other characteristics that are classified as “exceptional” by the battery of tests and interviews that were conducted, I could give a rat’s ass. Because all of my kids are gifted students.

My eldest son was always different, in that from a very young age he has always been extremely easy to deal with. Perfect grades, finishing his classwork before the other students, creating perfect replicas of Corbusier architecture with his Legos at age four, reading at an accelerated level all throughout his childhood. We were informed that he was “special” during elementary school, and attended the “special” meeting for the parents of these “special” kids before they were placed in the advanced program.

You have never seen a bigger group of amazingly self-involved asshole parents in your entire life. After the third parent raised their hand to ask the “special” gifted kid’s counselor present how they could deal with their precious child and how they “view the world differently and have issues because they are just so much smarter than everyone they encounter” I wanted to vomit. My husband and I sent each other text messages reading “You have got to be fucking kidding me.” But our son was enrolled and we dealt with having a “special” child but at the end of the day, all it really meant was a hell of a lot more homework and school projects that he had to complete.

My middle son was also “special” and he was so special that a year after attending the advance placement program we pulled him out of it. Our once perfect grade child was now getting C’s and D’s, and he was miserable. He is a very bright kid, but not a good student. He hates homework, has issues concentrating in class, and although he can say things that you would be shocked coming out of a ten-year-old’s mouth, if you looked at his report card you would see below average grades. He is a very smart kid, just not book smart.

And my eldest, who is definitely advanced and amazingly smart and articulate and lovely? This same kid brings home a C grade in his AP English class and an A+ in Japanese. My point is, no matter what educators tell you about your kid being “special” and “gifted” that can all easily change by the time they hit high school and hormones and boredom set in.

I’m not negating the fact all my kids are smart. They are all charismatic and funny and interesting and well-spoken and well-read little humans. But until one of them graduates from high school at age 12 or discovers a cure for cancer, I’m not going to say they are gifted. Now, I know by writing this I will receive a barrage of angry E-mails and phone messages from family members saying “What are you talking about? Your kids are brilliant!” but that will probably be because they are grandparents and aunts and uncles. A brain only a relative could love. I’m joking but as their mother, I know my kids are smart, but it isn’t like they are attending Yale at age 15.

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  • CW

    The more parents who embrace mediocrity, the less the competition for those of us who do make our kids do math league, spelling bees, chess academy, etc. College is insanely hard to get into these days, and excellent grades & test scores aren’t enough by themselves. A student does have to set himself/herself apart from the crowd through his/her accomplishments.

    • CMJ

      It’s not about embracing mediocrity…it’s about understanding that, sometimes, your kids might not be the best at something. My mother always told me that there is always some smarter, better, or more talented than myself. It wasn’t because I wasn’t any of those things, it was that I can’t always be #1..and that’s okay. Pushing kids to take AP classes for the sake of AP classes puts more stress on a child to meet expectations they might not be able to achieve. Definitely build up the strengths, courses, activities they love and actually WANT to be a part of…but don’t make them do something they might hate to get into college.

  • Scoop007

    I was “gifted” (just typing that makes me snort) throughout school, went to college & graduated in 3 years. I have a good career but I’m not curing cancer or brokering world peace. My brother was not “gifted” (although he’d argue that), went to college, & graduated in 5 years. He has a pretty great career and is far happier with his work than I. Because while my parents pressured me constantly about homework, grades, extracurriculars, getting into the best college, learning this, doing that…he was free to explore the things that interested him not just the things that would look on his college application. I wish I had been given more freedom just to be me.

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