Sometimes my kids drive me crazy!
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’ve heard lots of other moms say the same thing about their kids whether they are toddlers throwing tantrums or teenagers being smart-mouthed.
We all struggle in parenting.
One of the things that bothers me about my kids is their strong avoidance of doing anything hard.
As a single elementary teacher, I had visions of what my kids would be like when I had them. I pictured idyllic scenes where we would sit at the kitchen table in the evening and my kids would embrace learning with a passion.
They would happily complete their homework without complaint and read and do extra projects in their spare time.
The reality is much different.
They like things easy
Much of life has been easy for my kids and that is what they embrace with a passion. They like having things come easy. So, when they are faced with something tough, they often balk, whine and want to give up.
Math is almost a bad word in our home.
We do it first thing in the day just to get it over with. This year we opted to put our kids in Stanford University’s Redbird Math program so that the tension between me and the kids would lessen, because whenever we are doing math the whining and arguing begins.
Right now it is my son who is struggling the most.
He is very good at math, but somehow when it comes to learning it he gets confused and will not work to understand it. It is easier to whine and complain and stop trying.
I second guess their giftedness a lot
I have wondered several times if he is actually gifted.
He isn’t getting stuck on a new concept; he is mired in simple facts. We spent thirty minutes on him being stuck working on a simple problem. Yet, days later the Stanford tutor will highlight how well he’s doing for his age.
Emily is also a practiced avoider. She has always been good with words and was able to read early. If she likes a book, she is committed to reading it. The problem arises when she loses interest early in a book and decides she doesn’t want to read the rest of it.
I so want their perseverance to match their giftedness.
So, I end up having to force her to read books. She doesn’t want to do the work of reading enough of a book to give it a chance.
Somehow I have raised kids who struggle to work hard when things get tough.
It’s not just academics. They hate cleaning their rooms, putting dishes away or putting away their clean, folded clothes. These things are “hard” and all of the sudden my gifted children become incapable of simple tasks.
When we engage in conflict over these things I seriously wonder if they’re truly gifted…
But then they do something, give a speech, write something, make an amazing connection between two pieces of literature we have read and I am reminded that they are, in fact, gifted.
The reality is that they’re kids.
Avoiding hard things is instinctual for them. It is our job to teach them the benefits of hard work and perseverance.
So to my parent friends who are raising gifted kids and doing a lot of second-guessing because rooms are unclean, and to those who are frustrated by the lack of perseverance they see in their gifted kids, let me just end with this:
You are not alone.
And yes, gifted kids are still kids. They’ll avoid all sorts of hard work. Which is why they can’t parent themselves.
We still have work to do.