My Kid Is Smart. Sorry, Not Sorry.

Is your kid smart? My kid is very smart. Sorry, not sorry. PROUD. So why do I feel guilty saying it?

People brag about their kids constantly. Essentially every post on social media can be construed as a form of boasting: ‘Watch my kid swim across the pool, ride without training wheels, score a goal, place in a gymnastics meet or beauty contest. Check out this awesome piece of artwork she did. Look what a great big brother he is. Check out this DIY project. Look where we went on vacation. Or simply, see how cute my kids are in this picture.’

However, for some reason talking about your child’s academic intelligence is more taboo.

My son started kindergarten this year, and I keep seeing posts in my newsfeed bashing kindergarten for moving too quickly and expecting too much of our children at such a young age. Posts about how detrimental it can be to force kids to read too early. Research supporting the importance of play. As a certified teacher with a M.Ed, I agree: this is true for SOME kids.

But what about the kids who are ready? What about those who, like my son, taught themselves to read by watching a few episodes of The Letter Factory and Super Why? The ones who tend to absorb knowledge faster than you can spew it?

I have never forced learning on my son. He plays all day long — he just happens to absorb and process things at a different level. At age three, when his friends were grappling with 25 piece puzzles, he was doing 300. He started kindergarten reading at a fourth grade level because he keeps himself up for hours at night reading books and carries them with him wherever we go. He builds complex Lego constructions. Just the other day, with no prior discussion or research he said “Mom, I’m not sure if Pluto is really a planet.” He is just smart. That’s how his mind works, where his interests lie. (Give him a pencil and some crayons and he will begrudgingly draw something that only Miro fans would consider a masterpiece.)

At just 12 days old you can already see his love for books.

When he found a caterpillar on one of the plants in the garden and was keenly observing it wondering if it would turn into a butterfly, was I supposed to withhold teaching him about the life cycle because it isn’t in the public school curriculum until third grade? I am certainly not going to hold him back or detract from his motivation so that others can catch up. Just like a coach isn’t going to stop a player from hitting a home-run simply because some of his teammates are still learning to hit the ball at all.

It makes me sad that we live in a society where I’m embarrassed to say these things out loud out of fear of touching upon someone else’s insecurities.

I feel like it makes other people uncomfortable if their kid isn’t reading yet, much like some parents get anxious if other kids walk before theirs. Some kids draw and color far better than mine. Some are better at sports. Some excel at music. THEY ARE ALL UNIQUE AND HAVE THEIR OWN TALENTS. We should celebrate them, whatever they are. Every individual has their own strengths and is smart in their own way.

 

In reality, our children spend the majority of their days in school, TO LEARN. We WANT them to learn, and grow and develop a lifelong love of learning. This is such an influential time in their lives. They are eager, excited, and complete sponges. This is the time to light the flame for a love of learning, to instill confidence in their abilities, and to help them develop lifelong habits. If you lose them now, it will be much harder to get them back later on.

Just the other day, my son randomly quoted this from his favorite Calvin and Hobbes comic book: “The secret to having fun in life is to make your own challenges.” Once I picked my jaw up off the floor I realized he stumbled upon exactly what I’m always trying to say!

We share posts and information because we adore, and are often in awe of our children. And we should be. We are parents and they are our pride and joy. They ARE amazing! Each and every one of them, for their own special reasons. Play to their strengths, cheer for their peers, and remember they are each as uniquely intelligent as their personalities.

What are some of your child’s special gifts? Celebrate them below!

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6 Responses to My Kid Is Smart. Sorry, Not Sorry.

  1. Jones August 18, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    I think its because of how it can be perceived as elitist or bragging. I constantly have to remind myself that its not a competition but its difficult when you see others doing something your kid hasn’t mastered yet. It reflects on your parenting skills; at least thats how it feels.

    Ultimately I want my child to be intelligent but what’s as important is whether they will exhibit good judgement and common sense and emotional intelligence. I’ve known people who are considered geniuses but haven’t got a lick of sense to make good decisions for themselves.

    • Andrea August 19, 2017 at 12:14 am #

      Thanks for your thoughtful response! I HATE that you feel (or anyone would ever be made to feel) that your child’s development reflects on your parenting skills. As I wrote in the article, each child is so unique and brilliant in their own ways. They are their own people from the very beginning. Our job as parents is to guide them, but ultimately they will do things when they are ready and able. If you ever feel that way, please remember that!!

      I’m not sure if you are familiar with Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. A few of them, indeed, focus on intelligence as it pertains to relationships. The various types of intelligence are what make the world so interesting. We need the “rocket scientists” just as much as we need the “listeners”. Ideally we can all help our children to be well-rounded, well-adjusted, good people!!

  2. Lori August 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    This subject was easier to read about because it was written in a humble way. Not boastful or f-you or dismissive at all. Great Einstein quote, too!

    • Andrea August 19, 2017 at 12:18 am #

      Thank you so very much for your kind words. You have no idea how much that means! I definitely agree that the context in which people celebrate their child’s strengths can make a huge difference! I absolutely love that quote too 🙂

  3. Beth August 22, 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    I absolutely love this! Friends have been asking how L is doing in kindergarten. When I tell them she is bored and her teacher is trying to find ways to keep her engaged, they ask why. She wants to keep up with her sister who is in second grade. She loves math and puzzles of any kind. If she wants to do something, she will set her mind on it and go for it at full speed. During her last conference for preschool, I had asked her teacher if we should encourage her love for learning. Which now seems silly. I didn’t want her to be too far ahead in Kindergarten, and feared she would hate school because she knew so much more than most kids in our particular school. She said exactly what you did, and for that I am thankful. L is loving school and her teacher is keeping up with her, for now!

    • Andrea August 25, 2017 at 7:37 am #

      I am so glad her teacher is challenging her and she is having a great year! Perhaps she will follow in her daddy’s footsteps and go into IT!

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