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Forum: Gifted and Talented Children


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November 12th, 2011, 07:28 AM
shari626's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Delaware
Posts: 5,680
This was taken from another board - but I thought it would be a good conversation.

I'll start with my question. How honest are you with your kids when it comes to their abilities and long term goals? How honest do you feel a parent or a teacher/mentor should be? At what point do you start re-directing, bringing up other possible options, ect. Let's just assume it would be done in the gentlist way. Let's not assume honesty means "you suck" or any such nonsense.
DD (14) and I went to see a friend of hers in a youth theatre performance last night. We go to many but we'd never seen anything by this company. This particular show was for kids through college age which is atypical. While the script/score itself is fantastic, it was FAR too challenging a show for this group to attempt. To make a long story short, it was terrible yet they were given a standing ovation by a riotous audience. Their families were glowing and all you could hear in the lobby was how fantastic the individual performances were. The bios were rittled with dreams of going to Juliard and becoming professional actors (and remember, these are not 10-year-olds... the leads were almost all between 18 and 24.)
DD was very upset when we got into the car. DD said "why isn't anyone telling them the truth?" I've pondered this before but as we get closer to adulthood I ponder it more. How honest are you? At what point do you tell a young person who trusts you "if you want to go into science, you'd better start working harder" or "sorry, but you are already too tall to be a competitive gymnast" or "you need to be able to match pitch to be a singer."
Please don't think this is just about theatre in general or that I don't have a place for this sort of program. Theatre is fun and should be available to be experienced by anyone who wants to do it. The kids and their families were obviously enjoying the experience. We enjoyed seeing our friend who was in the ensemble who we know to have a lovely voice (she was just too young for any of the leads.) I just have a general frustration about selling kids a dream that they may not be well suited for. Wasn't it enough to just say "I really enjoyed your performance." Do they have to say "You are going to be on broadway some day" when frankly, a 24-year-old who can't keep pitch or rythym or act isn't going to broadway. It's like a friend who talks regularly of how her teen wants to be a doctor and how proud she is and yet, her child needs tutors to get through basic level science courses. I have no crystal ball. I suppose she could turn it around and become a doctor. It just seems like this parent would want to encourage her child to expand into other posibilities. There are lots of ways to work in the health field without going to medical school.

Thanks to Jaidynsmum for my awesome siggy!!!

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November 14th, 2011, 12:38 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 9,310
I'm very honest without being critical or best I don't say anything at all. Lucy is a gifted dancer which I complement all the time - mostly because I'm in awe. She likes to sing but so far isn't so good I don't tell her she's good. I usually don't say anything. I'm planning on getting her into voice lessons - they don't do them here until their 10. We'll see how that goes but we may find out that singing isn't her thing.

I wouldn't gush & say she was awesome if she wasn't.

My 2 miracles: Lucinda & Noah
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November 14th, 2011, 08:08 PM
Kathode's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 2,615
That was very well put. As a teacher I'm in this situation all the time. Some kids just don't have a knack for language and despite their best efforts, they will continue to be average or below average students. Parents don't want to hear that though.
Professionally, I try to be as honest as possible without being hurtful. I focus on effort and hard work and in the past I have come right out and told parents that their child will probably never get a 90% in English, but that if they keep working hard they could expect to be close to the class average.
Personally, I am very honest with my own kids. Again I praise effort and participation but I don't think it's a good idea to lie to kids. You are not doing your kids a favour by telling them they are good at something when they are not. I think there are tactful and positive ways of getting that message across.

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November 16th, 2011, 03:49 PM
HS&Fsmom's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 2,611
Um, I am pretty honest with my own kids because I don't want to set anyone up for failure. Take Hugo's martial arts for example. He sucked big time when he started and has improved a lot. But we weren't going to ooze, "Great job!!" when he wasn't looking where he was going and knocking over hurdles, being lazy on holds and just lying there, etc.

Now he's doing a lot better and we can say, "Way to go!! You have really improved on that!" And it's really the truth.

Other people's kids... eh, it depends on the scenario. I always want to be the hope-giver and in my work situation (Title I schools, high poverty) I am careful not to be the naysayer to any of those kids due to their life circumstances. However we do want to be fair to kids. Had this come up when a student in a particular situation auditioned for something and didn't make it. We felt it was fairer to be honest with the kid but encourage them to keep trying elsewhere.

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November 16th, 2011, 07:49 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
I'm probably a little too honest, but I try to do it in a nice way. If someone is terrible at something, I tell them to keep practicing or say, "have you ever thought of getting a tutor/coach/etc?" That way, I'm not implying that they're good or bad. It's just a question.

I'm honest with my kids. Tonight, Ben said he wanted to play football in the spring. First of all, football isn't a spring sport. Secondly, there aren't many teams for homeschooled 6 year olds. Thirdly, his motor skills are the level of a 4 year old. What 6 year old wants a 4 year old on their team? Then, I complimented him on how well he's doing with bowling. His friends can't do that. ... ok, "can't" isn't the right word. With practice, they could all kick his butt. I meant they "can't" right now, because he's had 1.5 yrs of practice. They've probably never played more than a couple of games.
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