What strangers say?

Posted by: sunday_driver

What strangers say? - 01/31/12 06:16 PM

I'm interested in hearing from some of you all what random strangers (people you encounter just being out and about) have said to or about your kid noticing he or she seems advanced, and how you've handled the comments. It's happened to me a few times recently, and they've caught me off guard...
Posted by: vwmommy

Re: What strangers say? - 01/31/12 07:41 PM

If it's just the typical "Wow, look at what he's doing" thing, I usually go with a stock answer like "yeah, he keeps me busy." or something to that effect. When the comments venture into the negative/judgmental area then I have a harder time holding back. I had an older lady stop me in the middle of Wal Mart to tell me that letting DS read at such a young age was bad for his development. I also had a daycare 'teacher' suggest that we should try to 'redirect' him back to things that are 'more appropriate to his age level' because otherwise we might cause him to 'burn out'. I still don't know how to best answer THOSE type of comments
Posted by: DeHe

Re: What strangers say? - 01/31/12 07:59 PM

For me it depends on what the comments are. I disliked the wow he's so smart comments because there is no answer, it's not like thank you is appropriate,or yes he is, good of you to notice. I settled on just smiling. It became more problematic as DS noticed the comments, especially when they would hear something and say how old is he. I would answer but it made him realize that there was something different about him.

But anybody who says your kid should be limited or denied is a loon. I have never encountered it beyond the looks when people heard how I answered my sons questions. I would say I disagree if you feel like engagement or if you want to be lighter to say something aout not wanting to get between your kid and books!

DeHe
Posted by: BWBShari

Re: What strangers say? - 01/31/12 08:41 PM

Originally Posted By: vwmommy
I had an older lady stop me in the middle of Wal Mart to tell me that letting DS read at such a young age was bad for his development. I also had a daycare 'teacher' suggest that we should try to 'redirect' him back to things that are 'more appropriate to his age level' because otherwise we might cause him to 'burn out'.


Depending on the comment, I may smile and nod or simply agree. In the case of the two you mentioned I would have quoted them chapter and verse about what current research shows and how wrong they are. I refuse to skirt the issue because it is imperative to me that my son never overhear anything that he could consider as a denial or embarrasment of who he is. Now that he's 9, he doesn't attract anywhere near as much attention and when he does we answers for himself. One of his most used lines... "Everybody has to be good at something and I can't hit a baseball". He has never had anyone question him past that.
Posted by: Seaserif

Re: What strangers say? - 01/31/12 09:04 PM

Shari, I love your 9-year-old's response!

For better or for worse, my daughter is extraordinarily tall (she turns 4 in February and is the height of an average 6-year-old), so when she does or says unusual things in public people just assume she's older.

But when she was a baby and toddler and the size difference wasn't as noticeable we got a lot more comments from strangers, usually about her unusually advanced vocabulary or her general alertness and intense perceptiveness. I once, for example, was stopped for a drawbridge when the woman in the car next to me inched her car forward and then motioned excitedly for me to roll down my window. When I did, she gushed for several minutes about how alert and sharp and "with it" my baby was (My daughter was then maybe three or four months old). They'd been looking at each other through the windows, and the woman seemed so moved it was as though she'd had a spiritual or supernatural experience. It was really sweet but also felt very strange! At that point, of course, although I knew I had an unusual baby (because I kept getting these kinds of comments from strangers) I didn't realize she was gifted. Now when I meet babies who are extremely alert or intense, I warn their parents. wink
Posted by: TwinkleToes

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 02:38 AM

Usually I just smile and nod. Often I am surprised that they see anything unusual because (in my mind) she isn't doing anything particularly advanced. When she was three it seemed as though we never went anywhere without some random stranger making a comment. One woman said, "She isn't like the other children. She could be president some day" just out of the blue with little contact. I just smile and nod. Another person said she had shivers from watching my three year old read magazine covers in the checkout line. These things were so normal to me, and comments so common, that I just roll with them. My DD is very confident, articulate, and outgoing and an encyclopedia of facts so it the sort of giftedness that is hard to hide LOL There may be children with a higher LOG who are more introverted or have the sort of gift that isn't as easily recognized in day to day interactions with random strangers.

No one has ever made a single negative comment about her being precocious, but her preschool was not remotely supportive. Her K teacher seems impressed by things that seem very minor to me (compared with what she does at home). I think these reactions will lessen as children get older because people are less sure of their age, whereas talking / reading babies really seem to wake people up LOL
Posted by: Austin

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 07:12 AM

We just say "thanks" and move on.

Originally Posted By: TwinkleToes
but her preschool was not remotely supportive.


The only fully supportive person was Mr W's piano teacher. She immediately moved him up to work with an advanced 6 year old. Imagine if all things were that easy.
Posted by: DAD22

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 07:34 AM

Originally Posted By: DeHe
For me it depends on what the comments are. I disliked the wow he's so smart comments because there is no answer, it's not like thank you is appropriate,or yes he is, good of you to notice. I settled on just smiling. It became more problematic as DS noticed the comments, especially when they would hear something and say how old is he. I would answer but it made him realize that there was something different about him.


At the park a parent heard me conversing with my daughter, and asked how old she was. I told him she was two and he exclaimed "she speaks very well for a two year old." I wanted to say something like "well... she's almost three" or "she's actually two and a half" but she wasn't. She was 25 months or so. I replied "Thanks." I think he meant it as a compliment, which would make "Thanks" an appropriate response. Mostly it was awkward.

Honestly, there was another small part of me that wanted to brag and say "Yep. And she's bilingual too." I mean, if someone is going to assess my daughter's speaking abilities, shouldn't I steer them toward a more accurate assessment? Instead, I try not to draw attention to her abilities in front of anyone who might be made to feel insecure.

Sometimes I'll even lie. My friend had a baby 3 months after I did. When his baby was a few weeks old, my wife, my daughter and I visited them. His son was not particularly alert, and his wife said she couldn't wait for their son to be more interactive, like my daughter. Then they asked when she became so alert. If I were truthful, I would have said "she's been like this since birth." Instead I said I couldn't remember. I initially thought that my daughter was the normal one. I remember visiting the pediatrician when she was a few days old, and he told me "she's watching me." That comment didn't make any sense to me at the time. I wondered what she ought to be doing, if not watching him.

With her recent advances, it's only going to draw more attention. My plan is to readily mention that she leads and I follow, not the other way around.






Posted by: Iucounu

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 07:43 AM

Those situations can be tough. Mine have ranged from a worried dad on the playground comparing his son to mine, where I felt compelled to make encouraging noises about children developing differently and not being able to predict much from early milestones (which I tend to believe in some respects) and to downplay DS's abilities, to a playdate at the house of a quite pushy mom, who incredulously stated that she didn't believe my son was reading-- after seeing him read some things, not after a mention by us-- and proceeded to test him on the spot, which I let proceed with some inner pleasure.

I've grown to dislike pushy, aggressive parents fairly intensely over time, whether or not there's a real reason for believing in the advancement of their children, no matter how much that advancement may be. I like being around smart adults and children, and wish we could be much more often. I also understand where the pushiness comes from-- not just the desire to be better than others, but usually primarily angst over opportunities for our children-- and know that it involves some commonality for parents of kids all over the continuum of ability. I just hate it, because sometimes the children of these parents seem unhappy on some level, and also because it only makes things uncomfortable for everyone. I view this as a bigger problem than off-the-cuff comments from random strangers who don't understand my kids.

I still remember orientation night at our kindergarten, where one of the mothers raised her hand and asked whether the more advanced children would be allowed to read to the class. She looked around the room to see the effect her words had caused. DW was rolling her eyes, and I'd barfed a little in my mouth.
Posted by: sunday_driver

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 07:54 AM

It is good to hear how some of you handle this. I've handled the general "She's smart" comments with things like yes, thank you, keeps me busy, etc, and usually that's the end of it. However, the other day I had a slightly longer conversation with a woman, which started with her asking me DD's age. She then compared my DD to her older grandchild. I kind of made a joke, but have been thinking of it since then, because while maybe it made the woman feel better(?), it downplayed DD's ability. Sooner or later my daughter will be attentive to how I handle these conversations, too.
Posted by: Dude

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 08:00 AM

Last night I met DW at DD's soccer practice, and DW started filling me in on how DD had turned in her writing project that morning, and how that went. Another mom overheard, and wanted to know more about the project, so we briefly described it to her. "She's in 1st grade, right? Wow... it's amazing the things they have 1st graders doing these days!"

Seeing as how this woman had her own little first-grader on the team, we went ahead and filled her in on how DD's assignment is not typical 1st grade work.

Besides, I'm not really interested in hiding who DD is to protect other people's feelings. She is who she is, and if it makes them feel bad about themselves or their own kids, that's not DD's problem, nor mine.
Posted by: Iucounu

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 08:11 AM

The downplaying is a concern for me too. Gifted children should never feel like they have to hide their abilities because they're shameful or inappropriate, although it's not good to show a lack of tact either. I would never downplay anything about my kids in front of them, and I tend to do less of it as I go on, instead just speaking in generalities or redirecting the conversation if I don't feel that an open discussion is warranted.

Originally Posted By: Dude
I'm not really interested in hiding who DD is to protect other people's feelings.

That's a healthy attitude. I tend not to want to engage in one-upmanship with a pushy parent, just because it's a hassle. I also think some parents can respond with veiled hostility if they feel that I'm the pushy one, so I try to be tactful at all times. I do want DS6 and us to fit in, with the ideal being fitting in with our differences fully recognized and appreciated. It's just my experience that some parents are more ready than others to discuss things like this openly without it tarnishing the relationship; with the more closed ones, I tend to redirect.
Posted by: DeHe

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 09:27 AM

I actually found myself looking for things that DS could not do so I wouldn't sound like I was bragging in pre-k. That's when I just got silent like so many do here. I realized I didn't want to put some other parents comfort level before DS's. Whether its amazement or competitiveness, its rarely a pleasant discussion and I find that avoidance is the best bet. But I don't really like it, I am hoping that in a gifted program that won't be necessary but I find I still do it, its just now about scope. Sigh.

DeHe
Posted by: Ametrine

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 09:32 AM

One particular incident comes to my mind.

I was talking with our son's preschool teacher about something he had done that day. She said I must be a very good teacher (because of whatever it was he had done).

I simply said that he was easy to teach. It's the truth and how can anyone challenge that? I'm not about to elaborate with a stranger (yes, preschool teacher is a stranger, imo) that he only needs a couple of repetitions and he has whatever down.

I've also said to other comments about how much he knows: "He's a busy boy". Usually I move on and don't give them a chance to question me further.
Posted by: ABQMom

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 10:24 AM

I think the one I find most annoying is when someone describes any of my kids as "freakishly smart". A compliment and insult all in one.

I have found that other parents, strangers and kids are much more comfortable with the extreme talents with my 2e son than they were with my high gifted son who was gifted in all exceptionalities tested. Seems human nature is more willing to embrace superiority when it is also served up with struggle in something else. It's ok to be able to recite from memory, including side effects, complete audio books at the age of three if that same child has a speech disorder.
Posted by: Dude

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 10:54 AM

Originally Posted By: ABQMom
I think the one I find most annoying is when someone describes any of my kids as "freakishly smart". A compliment and insult all in one.

I have found that other parents, strangers and kids are much more comfortable with the extreme talents with my 2e son than they were with my high gifted son who was gifted in all exceptionalities tested. Seems human nature is more willing to embrace superiority when it is also served up with struggle in something else. It's ok to be able to recite from memory, including side effects, complete audio books at the age of three if that same child has a speech disorder.


A popular defense mechanism is for people to generalize all HG+ individuals as severely handicapped in some other way... ie "Rain Man," "Revenge of the Nerds," etc. They accept the genius of Stephen Hawking because he's in a wheelchair. Einstein flunked math. Da Vinci hacked off his own ear. Etc, etc.

So yeah, if you're not showing off the ways in which your child is tragically flawed, you're threatening their view of the universe, and people don't tend to like that very much.
Posted by: vwmommy

Re: What strangers say? - 02/01/12 05:32 PM

Up for some more frustration? Check out this blog post:
http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/i-hate-hearing-about-your-gifted-child/
Someone just posted it to the Hoagies page on facebook. Just the thought that for some reason there are people who feel the need for my child to hide themselves to make themselves feel better is sad.
Posted by: Madoosa

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 12:26 AM

when we figured out how different Aiden was, I stopped speaking about him. I stopped mentioning milestones and achievements. He started hiding his abilities and even when he started pre school at 3 he then tried to average out his abilities to fit in with the kids in the class.

Once I managed to adopt the attitude that Dude mentions, it got a bit better, but now he is 5 and still tries to average out himself. Even to the point of deliberately messing up a reading assessment with his Grade 0 (K) teacher so that he is more in line with the only other 2 kids in the class who are reading.

So now when people say their comments I smile, say thank you for noticing. And when they ask more questions I quite openly say something like "yes he is an accelerated learner", or openly say that he is reading at a Grade 2/3 level or does grade 2/3 maths at home.

If I get negative comments then, I just tell them that each parent has to love their child just the way they are, and for me that means embracing that my child enjoys learning and thrives on it.
Posted by: TwinkleToes

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 03:41 AM

I wholeheartedly aggree with these assessments. People often feel compelled to say that most gifted kids have major issues and seem to comfort themselves with that idea. Many people say how unusual it is that my DD5 seems "so normal." She is also a pretty little girl and I am sure that also flies in the face of some people's stereotypes. I find that I unconsciously and sometimes consciously try to emphasize weaknesses (like in some sports) or challenges we have had. It makes me feel less likely to be publically stoned (ha ha). When I was younger, I was in a gifted program, a talented gymnast, and modeled, and actually met with some serious hostility from other girls. I don't think they were threatened by the smarts as much as other things. My DD5 did
dumb down in pre-k and hid skills, this was in part due to a terrible fit with an ignorant teacher (we pulled her out) but seems to be doing better in K even though the gap in her reading group is wide. The lowest kid is at Cat in the Hat (that my DD read at 2) and my DD can read near adult level text. I felt myself tensing up as I wrote this and telling myself not to brag, but then remembered I am here, and I can breathe a little easier. I actually take comfort when I read about children on here who are more advanced than my DD5!
Posted by: Mamabear

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 05:13 AM

You know, most often I try to use generic responses like, "She is a busy girl" or "She keeps me on my toes", but there was an incident a couple of weeks ago when a lady made a snide comment about my dd reading her kindle as we were walking in a store. I had to remind dd a couple of times to pay attention so as not to run into other people. Well, she did bump into a lady. She said excuse me and started to move on (again with the book in her face)and the lady said to me,"You really shouldn't allow her to be so interested in books!" I said, "Yeah, I know...someone should call CPS." Forutnately, the remark took her off guard and she turned and walked away.

Posted by: ABQMom

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 05:24 AM

Originally Posted By: vwmommy
Up for some more frustration? Check out this blog post:
http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/i-hate-hearing-about-your-gifted-child/
Someone just posted it to the Hoagies page on facebook. Just the thought that for some reason there are people who feel the need for my child to hide themselves to make themselves feel better is sad.


Thanks for the reminder about why I never enjoyed mommy-groups when my kids were young.

I came to the decision early on that I was going to put my kids' perception of my words before that of strangers. I didn't want my kids growing up embarrassed or intuitively thinking something was wrong with them because of my hiding their successes from others. Not that I didn't teach my kids to be sensitive to the feelings of others or to develop empathy, patience, etc., but I didn't want them hiding who they were, either.
Posted by: sunday_driver

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 06:32 AM

VWMommy I read the blog and most of the comments. Pretty sad indeed. There are significant misunderstandings about what it means to be gifted, and I think the real take away, in line with some of the comments here, is that parents of gifted kids need to be pretty careful about how they discuss this with others.

ABQMom, Dude, louconu and others, like you, I care more about what my kids will think and feel from what I am saying than how a stranger may or may not feel. Hence, the need for a public game plan. Thanks again!
Posted by: Dude

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 07:03 AM

Originally Posted By: vwmommy
Up for some more frustration? Check out this blog post:
http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/i-hate-hearing-about-your-gifted-child/
Someone just posted it to the Hoagies page on facebook. Just the thought that for some reason there are people who feel the need for my child to hide themselves to make themselves feel better is sad.


The article isn't nearly as sad as the comments, which serve to prove my earlier point.

- "I have a relative who has a very high IQ and she has never worked a real job in her life."
- "some people get to be so smart they donít have the sense to come in out of the rain."
- "I have a family member who is very intelligent, extrmeely well read but has absolutely no common sense."
Posted by: epoh

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 10:27 AM

Ug. I am glad I am not that woman's "friend."
Posted by: utkallie

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 10:31 AM

I generally just smile and say "thank you" or some generic response about how my kids are busy little people. Unless someone really inquires I'm not going to say anything more. I recently had a friend start asking questions but in a sincere way so I have begun to open up to her more about my kids.

That article is pathetic. I'm pretty disappointed that Baby Center allowed her to publish it.
Posted by: 1111

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 11:34 AM

I learned early on to just say "thank you" and move on. If it is a friend that makes a remark I do not make a big deal of it and try to change the subject.

Reading that blog and the comments makes me extremely...ummm...sad....Not sure what the emotion is but let's just say I am not in a good mood right now. Like Sunday-Driver said, really reminds me of the effect of discussion my gifted child with anybody, really, even close friends and maybe even family. VERY, VERY sad indeed..

Now, I do think that the word "gifted" is being thrown around a bit too much nowadays. There was a poll at Babycenter.com where I think about 70 % (Not certain about the exact number) of the parents thought their child was gifted...That makes it hard for the legitimately gifted kids and their parents to get ANY understanding from the general population.
Posted by: epoh

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 12:40 PM

But, didn't you hear? "Everyone is gifted in their own special way"!
Posted by: DAD22

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 12:48 PM

Joyce Slaton is obviously an insecure person. She wanted a gifted child so she could make a more positive assessment of her own self-worth, but didn't get one. Now every time she is faced with a gifted child's accomplishment, it makes her miserable. She placed a high value on intelligence until she had a child that wasn't remarkably bright. Now she is trying to convince herself that there are more important things... and there are, but what she really wanted was a smart kid.

Guess what Joyce, I hate hearing about the accomplishments of non-gifted children. Do the parents even notice that I fall silent and get downcast, listening? I try not to let it show. I know the parents are just excited and proud, and maybe Iíd feel the same way if it was socially acceptable to discuss my child's accomplishments. I don't tell them that my younger child passed the same milestone long ago. I smile and say "Wow. That's great!" and change the subject quickly, in order to avoid being cornered into a situation where I would have to lie to avoid raining on their parade.

I also hate hearing about the imagined short-comings that people pretend afflict most of the gifted population. My daughter is healthy with no known allergies, amazingly cute, amazingly bright, and amazingly well behaved (98% of the time). She is shy around people initially, but it passes. Why is it so important for others to believe that she is deeply flawed in some way? I don't desire to find flaws in other people's children, and I don't appreciate such a sentiment when directed at my child.

Having said that, I'm against bragging. It only serves to inflate one's own ego, and this is usually done at the expense of others. I suppose I'm guilty of some hiding, but there are limits to what I will do to accommodate the egos of other parents. Like others here, I wont give my children the impression that they have anything to be ashamed of.

I think the best thing to do is just live and be yourself. When someone notices that you are different (or your child is different) you can acknowledge that fact, but in a way that sends the message "we can still be friends."

Posted by: 1111

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 06:53 PM

Epoh, haha! That's RIGHT!

Well said DAD22. I actually had a friend tell me this afternoon, after telling me about her nephew being smart, "isn't that how it is...giftedness and being borderline idiotic go hand in hand". I felt like saying "Did you just say my son is an idiot??" Actually I have a completely fine, loving, fun, 4 year old that just happens to want to learn about everything under the sun and does so with ease....

Also agree that people that have "normal" kids are "closet wishers" that they had a smart kid. The way they make it all better is to do a 180 and not put any importance into it anymore. Had another friend say out of the blue, there had been no discussion about my son at all at that time "That's why I just want my kids to be normal. It is always the smart kids that get into a car accident the day before they go to Harvard" I can't tell you how much that bothered me. But I guess they have to think and say whatever makes them feel better about their situations...

Master of None, I agree with you as well. Like I said before, these people have no idea what a gifted child really is. And I do think the fact that the word "gifted" is being abused has a lot to do with them being turned off to the whole thing. Kind of like "Cry Wolf"...and the parents of the real gifted kids are paying the price.
Posted by: aculady

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 07:10 PM

Originally Posted By: 1111

Had another friend say out of the blue, there had been no discussion about my son at all at that time "That's why I just want my kids to be normal. It is always the smart kids that get into a car accident the day before they go to Harvard"


WOW. I can't believe this person didn't stop to think that telling a parent that, essentially, their kid has a higher likelihood of getting killed before adulthood than other children would upset them.

It would probably be *really* tacky to point out that all the teens who get killed shortly before they were going to start remedial classes at the community college probably don't get quite the same amount of sympathetic press, so I won't do that...
Posted by: laineylewy

Re: What strangers say? - 02/02/12 09:07 PM

Picked up our four year old from church the other day and the Sunday school teacher asked if we knew he does multiplication----um yes. Its difficult knowing how to respond. I want to say... don't they all? But obviously I don't.
Posted by: Madoosa

Re: What strangers say? - 02/03/12 12:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Mamabear
You know, most often I try to use generic responses like, "She is a busy girl" or "She keeps me on my toes", but there was an incident a couple of weeks ago when a lady made a snide comment about my dd reading her kindle as we were walking in a store. I had to remind dd a couple of times to pay attention so as not to run into other people. Well, she did bump into a lady. She said excuse me and started to move on (again with the book in her face)and the lady said to me,"You really shouldn't allow her to be so interested in books!" I said, "Yeah, I know...someone should call CPS." Forutnately, the remark took her off guard and she turned and walked away.



this had me laughing out loud!! lol
Posted by: Madoosa

Re: What strangers say? - 02/03/12 01:01 AM

Originally Posted By: laineylewy
Picked up our four year old from church the other day and the Sunday school teacher asked if we knew he does multiplication----um yes. Its difficult knowing how to respond. I want to say... don't they all? But obviously I don't.


bwhahaha! I also often feel like that. yesterday at school the assistant in Nathan's class told me - did you know he can read? I was like, umm is this not a school for gifted kids?? lol but yeah I just smiled and said "it's cool hey?" she was very enthusiastic and agreed totally with me
Posted by: kikiandkyle

Re: What strangers say? - 02/03/12 05:17 AM

I usually just say 'no idea where she got that from', same as when strangers think its ok to come over and start talking to her about her red hair, or her being tall, or whatever thing it was today that they thought they needed to tell me. What is it about stranger danger these people don't understand?! Go talk to your own kids!
Posted by: sydness

Re: What strangers say? - 02/03/12 05:31 AM

A stranger in a bookstore was talking to my the 2 year old girl and her own 5or 6 year old. She asked my dd what grade she was in. I was within earshot and saw my dd get quiet. The woman kept asking. My dd told her she was two. The woman laughed really hard and found me. She said "your dd told me she is two!" I was annoyed and said "she is two". The woman frowned and mumbled something about why people lie about their ages. I do have to mention my dd was extremely tall and verbal, mature and friendly. Lol. And here the woman thought she had found just the right friend for her dd!
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 02:27 AM

Mmmm, yesterday I had someone ask me if #3 was three, I can't remember how she worded it but her question was clearly "how much past three?". She boggled her eyes at me when I said "two at the end of the month".
Posted by: bgbarnes

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 08:43 AM

My ex- SIL was an expert in reading- in fact wrote reading curriculum for a school district. Eventually my parents and I had to edit all of our conversations and be super careful about anything related to my son around her but I can't stop my son from being who he is and would never want to. My ds is a prolific reader( bordering on obsessive- he has to have book with him at all times :)). He reads way above his reading level, as I'm sure most of your kids do- we realized we had to censor around her when I asked my SIL for reading suggestions for books that are at his level but content appropriate her response was- you should really just keep him reading what his peers read for fear of social implications. Seriously from a reading expert and curriculum writer in my own family??? Needless to say we stopped talking about reading with her or anything to do with his accomplishments with her. Before i knew we should not ask her- there was one book he was dying to read- I asked her about it- she said- I know he is smart but there is now way he will understand that book- she said- that is a junior high book and he is only 7....I decided not to listen to her let him read it because I listened to my Mommy gut- her "social implications" comment came shortly after that one. I realized she was not going to understand or be helpful. The look on her face at the next family function when he went on and on about his anew favorite book that he had read a couple times by that point ( the one she said he would not understand) was priceless. On a positive note, recently a junior high teacher saw him at a book store( half priced books is our friend) and initiated a conversation with him as we were discussing books. He is rather passionate and remembers every detail of every book he has ever read- so I am sure to hear us is entertaining. She asked him all sorts of questions and got book recommendations for her 7th and 8th graders( ds is in 3rd) She said she hoped to run into us again and wishes she had the opportunity to teach someone like him. She even told me- you know ther are schools where you can have him graduate high school early and go to college in high school- right? It was so refreshing to run into someone who wanted to nurture his intellect!!!! She was so positive and excited about his reading and intellect. She told him your a little genius aren't you. My ds immediately started spouting statistics about the percentage of the population that are truly "geniuses". She laughed and said and I believe you are on of them- he smiled and made his day. Amazing what a stranger can do how a family member can attempt to shut you down.
Posted by: triplejmom

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 10:44 AM

A couple of parents I know were talking about changing curriculum of prek/k standards that is about to arrive in the school and how the expectation of reading shortly into the K year was a bit much. I asked them why they thought the expectation was too much for that age group and their response was "just because your children are weird and can doesn't mean the rest of the normal population should be expected too"

Yet strangers at the bookstore who see my DS8 in the adult section picking up books think its great and say nothing bad about it at all. They have been known to sit and talk with him about the book selections and then after comment how it was like talking to another adult ( but not in a rude way that bus parents would comment about it )

I've gotten the " he will never understand that book " comment many times bg. Especially from school librarians! Normally I just smile and say, all those AR points didn't come from reading Cat in a Hat wink
Posted by: aculady

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 11:29 AM

Originally Posted By: triplejmom
A couple of parents I know were talking about changing curriculum of prek/k standards that is about to arrive in the school and how the expectation of reading shortly into the K year was a bit much. I asked them why they thought the expectation was too much for that age group and their response was "just because your children are weird and can doesn't mean the rest of the normal population should be expected too"


I think they may have this attitude in this specific situation because if the standard is that kids should be doing this at age 5, and their kid isn't, it means that either they did something wrong as parents, or that their child has a problem. No parent wants to believe either of those things (even if one or both are true), so some defensiveness is, perhaps, understandable. They absolutely shouldn't have referred to your child as weird, though: that was totally uncalled for.
Posted by: Cricket2

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 11:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: ABQMom
I think the one I find most annoying is when someone describes any of my kids as "freakishly smart". A compliment and insult all in one.

I have found that other parents, strangers and kids are much more comfortable with the extreme talents with my 2e son than they were with my high gifted son who was gifted in all exceptionalities tested. Seems human nature is more willing to embrace superiority when it is also served up with struggle in something else. It's ok to be able to recite from memory, including side effects, complete audio books at the age of three if that same child has a speech disorder.


A popular defense mechanism is for people to generalize all HG+ individuals as severely handicapped in some other way... ie "Rain Man," "Revenge of the Nerds," etc. They accept the genius of Stephen Hawking because he's in a wheelchair. Einstein flunked math. Da Vinci hacked off his own ear. Etc, etc.

So yeah, if you're not showing off the ways in which your child is tragically flawed, you're threatening their view of the universe, and people don't tend to like that very much.

Yes, and we've seen the unfortunate playing out of this in using one child in the family who is less obvious about her giftedness being downplayed to make the other child okay. For instance, my 2e dd isn't as obvious about her gifts and isn't grade skipped so I've had parents who are rather competitive downplay her as lesser than her sister. It seems to make them feel okay that one of my kids is smart if the other isn't that far out there (although dd11 may actually be more able). That is really hurtful understandably.
Posted by: Agent99

Re: What strangers say? - 02/04/12 12:09 PM

People often say thoughtless things because they're either clueless, or well, thoughtless. It was years later that I heard that other Kinder parents were talking about the clothes ds wore to class. They thought we were pretentious and how ridiculous it was that he "dressed up."

Dressed up meant jeans and a polo shirt. He wore a polo every day until he was in third grade because the kid's head was so big we literally couldn't get his t-shirt over it. And any shirt that would fit his head was 2 sizes too big.

Ds (now12) has a September birthday and due to a severe speech disability we didn't push early entry. This made him older than his peers. He's also 105% in height and weight for his age. Add in his sensitivity issues and it was hell getting him dressed.

A friend heard this snark and let these parents know how cruel their comments were. I didn't give a rip, but really. Some people just don't get it.
Posted by: Dude

Re: What strangers say? - 02/06/12 09:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Agent99
People often say thoughtless things because they're either clueless, or well, thoughtless. It was years later that I heard that other Kinder parents were talking about the clothes ds wore to class. They thought we were pretentious and how ridiculous it was that he "dressed up."

Dressed up meant jeans and a polo shirt. He wore a polo every day until he was in third grade because the kid's head was so big we literally couldn't get his t-shirt over it. And any shirt that would fit his head was 2 sizes too big.

Ds (now12) has a September birthday and due to a severe speech disability we didn't push early entry. This made him older than his peers. He's also 105% in height and weight for his age. Add in his sensitivity issues and it was hell getting him dressed.

A friend heard this snark and let these parents know how cruel their comments were. I didn't give a rip, but really. Some people just don't get it.


We're on the opposite end of this one. DD7 has always taken a great interest in fashion (picked out her own outfits since 3mos) and insists on having her hair done nicely each morning, switching up the styles from time to time. Her school does uniforms, so shoes and hair are pretty much the only ways to stand out.

Yet when we take DD to school, we see a parade of little girls who look like they didn't even get a brush through their hair that morning, prompting DW to joke that those kids don't have moms.
Posted by: skark7

Re: What strangers say? - 02/07/12 01:08 PM

Originally Posted By: ABQMom
I think the one I find most annoying is when someone describes any of my kids as "freakishly smart". A compliment and insult all in one.

I have found that other parents, strangers and kids are much more comfortable with the extreme talents with my 2e son than they were with my high gifted son who was gifted in all exceptionalities tested. Seems human nature is more willing to embrace superiority when it is also served up with struggle in something else. It's ok to be able to recite from memory, including side effects, complete audio books at the age of three if that same child has a speech disorder.


The most hurtful so far [to me, not my 3 year old because he didn't understand] has been a neighbor who actually adores my son and loves spending time with him said "you are one of those savants aren't you? Without the idiot part." Wow. If I wasn't within hearing distance, would she even have said that? Another neighbor said "so what are his favorite channels? Discovery, Science channel?" When I told them the same TV programs their kids watch, they were like "yeah, right". And, the worst part is, I have never ever mentioned any of his achievements or milestones to them. They only know because my son loves to write all his words and sentences with sidewalk chalk all over the driveway. He loves doing that and I let him. I am now beginning to wonder if that is a good idea. Strange thing is, the kids of these neighbors don't care. They accept my son the way he is. They make deals like this 4 year old who told my son "okay, you can write all your words till z and then we can play with the sand table okay?" smile I love their innocent worlds. smile
Posted by: Polly

Re: What strangers say? - 02/11/12 07:13 AM

A bit beside the point, but on the subject of Einstein... A famous anecdote about Einstein is that he was told his baby sister Maja would be like a new toy, and when he first saw her he's quoted as saying, "Yes, but where does it have its small wheels?". One can just look at their birth dates, he would have been 2 years 8 months at her birth. The two two statements (the anecdote and the bit about his talking at 4) appear in the same articles, but they can't both be true.

Polly
Posted by: HappyChef

Re: What strangers say? - 02/11/12 09:15 AM

When someone says something about my DD being smart we usually just reply with "We think so" and smile with the tone of yeah, she's our kid and we love her and we think anything she does is great. I never try to downplay her intelligence, but I am also careful in what I say, especially to someone we know.

I learned how careful I needed to be in her play group when she was under a year. The other parents would talk about the cute, funny thing their kid did or what milestone they had just met. I would do the same, but got dirty looks or ignored, no one enjoyed hearing about my kid. It really hurt my feelings and I was never invited to the other activities they would do. Then I realized that she was doing a lot of things at the same time as the others, but she was 3 months younger. I honestly wasn't trying to brag, I just didn't see the big deal at first. Oops. I still blame it on that fuzzy new mom brain.
Posted by: Kathie_K

Re: What strangers say? - 02/11/12 11:11 AM

Out of the mouths of babes...

DH was visiting our son's preschool classroom for Donuts with Dads. As DS headed over to the classroom library, one of his classmates informed my husband: "He reads...real words."
Posted by: sunday_driver

Re: What strangers say? - 02/11/12 12:02 PM

@Kathie_K good one! that's awesome.
Posted by: momto2ms

Re: What strangers say? - 02/22/12 08:41 AM

Now that DD is 4, we don't get as many stranger comments. I guess the most frustrating comments have come from those closest to her educationally...her teachers. When I got a note home last school year that read "DD knows the first letter of her name" I totally came unglued. She had know this for nearly 2 years by that point. When I called a conference and brought lists from my blog that showed what all she has know and for how long, they were shocked. The head of school came to the second conference. When I told her one of DD's interests was learning digraphs, she told me flat out that she didn't believe me. When I mentioned DD loves princesses, I was told "Now there is something we can do in preschool." Now, a year later, we are finally pulling her from school and crossing our fingers for the gifted school in our area for next year.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: What strangers say? - 02/28/12 07:44 AM

This hadn't happened to me in a while, but is coming up again now that DS is sounding out words wherever he goes and lecturing everyone he meets on the ocean. It has always been an interesting exercise in tact and social skills for me. I need to rehearse my standard rejoinders.