If you have a gifted child and one who is pretty average...

(6 Posts)
Xihha Thu 01-May-14 12:34:55

How do you balance it so you are still giving the gifted child the praise they deserve without making the average child feel bad?

DS is gifted, particularly in maths where as DD is very much average, it's been ok up until now because there's a 4 year age gap but now DD is at school she is starting to notice that her brother got lots of certificates and awards and that she doesn't, it's not too much of an issue yet but I can see it becoming one as she gets older.

When my Mum was having the same problem (with 4 gifted and 3 average children) she played down the gifted children's achievements and praised the rest of us for things the gifted ones could do in their sleep, which I don't want to do as I know how much my gifted siblings resented that but at the same time I don't want to damage DD's confidence.

Hmm, difficult. I was the (can't bring myself to say 'gifted') more academic child who got no praise, no help, no guidance, and ended up drifting and resentful because of it. I have one very gifted dc, and one very socially able, but academically poor dc (the others are too young to know). Dc1 is aware that dc2 is brilliant and feels very threatened by it, even though there is an enormous age gap. I compliment them both on their achievements when they do well (so for dc1 that would be getting a C, for dc2 that would be getting 100% in yr 6 work - he's in yr3). I also praise them for non-academic things; how kind they are, how thoughtful, things that perhaps have a more social basis. Dc2 is not unsociable at all, but it's something he's average at, where dc1 excels.

So I suppose my rambling answer comes back to, praise them all for a range of things.

I'm not sure I'm helpful. I am still very bitter about my dparents' attitude towards me. I could never understand why they didn't appreciate my achievements, and were always so critical of my work. I spent years thinking they thought I was stupid and useless.

inthesark Thu 01-May-14 12:51:22

We don't have that problem - only child- but still have issues with a bright DD showing off to others. Two things seem to help, slowly.

One is telling her that everyone has superpowers - whether that's running fast or being kind or whatever. Some people might not have found theirs yet, but we all have them. Hers might be reading, but there are other things that she also has to try harder at.

The other - and all of this is what FYCATH is saying - is to praise effort rather than achievement. This intermittently makes a difference.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 01-May-14 12:58:08

I think its important to praise both achievement and effort.
Keeping their feet on the ground when all around are praising them all the time can be difficult and I agree with the above, telling them that some things they have to work harder at the same as everybody. We can't all be outstanding at the same things.
I have a G&T daughter (not academic) her brothers were totally different at her age, one was bright academically, the other a slow plodder who got there in the end.
It's important to stress how we are all different, so they don't grow up thinking they are freaks.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 01-May-14 13:03:31

well with regards to certificates then assuming the younger one hasn't got the exact same teacher the older one had then you can use the reason that all teachers have different things they award them for. or there is the fact that it is relative to who else is in the class. that isn't putting your elder child down nor dismissing the younger one's concerns, just trying to explain to them that their academic lives can't be compared and this will carry throughout their lives, who knows what exams will exist at 18 by the time they get there and one year GCSE results aren't IMO comparable to another's. they could go to different unis and do different subjects so they can't compare results in that way.

I have one who is very definitely exceptionally bright as we had to have IQ tests done to identify an SPLD and I actually think the other is equally bright but very different with it. We get lots of certificate envy or 'opportunity' envy such as being selected to do something but they are very close in age so I had expected that to a point.

you might like this - quite funny, the eldest has a rare SPLD and we were told to tell her she was quite special having this problem because not many people do, so we did, but little one overheard and started crying because she wanted to be special too! You won't be able to win whatever you do.

I think you just have to praise each of them and reassure each of them individually. my sister was the academic one in our family, we were both as bright as each other but different. she was always jealous of me because she felt I was the more popular one or the one who was always good at home so therefore our parents must have liked me more, equally I felt they valued her academic achievements very highly and were proud of her whereas they didn't have anything in the way of achievements of mine to talk about to other people so I felt ignored.

if the not so academic one has other skills, be they organising, helping, drawing and so on, really big those up. I am very organised, sensible and excellent at planning (and organising other people - bossy!) and my mum tried really hard to explain to me as I was growing up that they were very important skills, more so than being able to speak French or understand politics etc and in the real world of finding an admin job then yes they were very useful transferable skills. wonder if you can be a gifted organiser....

HolidayCriminal Sat 10-May-14 18:34:54

I dunno, you praise for what they're good at but you don't make some praise hugely more important than other praise. they should be achieving stuff for themselves, anyway, not for praise.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now