Author Topic: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not? - Horn O'Plenty Play Update (Reply #447)  (Read 72056 times)

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KimodoDragon

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This past weekend the thrift store where I volunteer had a pre-Halloween function for the volunteer employees and their families.  It was held in a recreation center with stadium food, beverages, sweets, etc.  The activities for the children were a ring toss, spooky maze, etc.  The children really seemed to enjoy the event.

Josh (age 10) is the son to one of the volunteers, Jessie.  Connor (age 9) is the son to the store manager, Carol.  During my time volunteering, Carol has been known to talk at length about how gifted and smart Connor is.  None of the workers can attest to this as we have never met Connor.  According to Carol, Connor could walk at 6 months and could sit in a room and quietly read the dictionary at 3 years old, complete with glasses and a pencil outlining certain words.  I have to tell you, I laughed inwardly when she said this because I pictured this toddler looking quite academic in a blazer with suede elbow patches.

So, the Halloween event is going along well. I am standing in line for a taffy apple behind Carol and Connor.  Jessie and Josh are in front of them.  Josh told Jessie he wanted to go through the spooky maze.  Connor crouches down like a cat with its back raised and teeth bared and began clawing at Josh’s leg.  We thought it was funny at first, but then Connor meows loudly and says, “you will not come out alive”.  Carol laughs it off, saying she told us he was gifted.  Jessie and I smile.  Connor comes out of feline mode, stands up, looks around and says, “I believe everyone in this room is fat”.  Carol tells Connor to pipe down.  Connor says, “fat like you Carol”, then punches her in her stomach.  Jessie sends Josh off to another table.  Carol tells Connor to pipe down again.  Connor takes a sweeping bow his with arm behind his back and says, “my apologies, dear woman”.  Carol turned to me and said, “see, he’s gifted with acting”.  She asked if I thought Connor was gifted and smart.  I told her I didn’t know how to measure that in a child, “but he’s something”.  I honestly didn’t know what else to say.  Connor looked at me and “meowed”.

Carol asked Jessie if Josh could come to their house to hang out with Connor.  Jessie said she will get back to her.  Carol will ask repeatedly, we know this.  Now, Jessie feels she is in a bind and wants to know what she can tell Carol to stop her from asking.  Does Jessie use a tub of bean dip or just say she is not comfortable with Josh spending time in their house with Connor?

One other thing happened – Carol’s husband comes over and tells Carol to get a move on, she has spent too much time in the food line, as usual.  Connor laughs and he and his dad walk off.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 09:07:50 AM by KimodoDragon »

LeveeWoman

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 10:46:02 AM »
Going by what his father said to his mother, there's no wonder Connor has little respect for his mother.

That said, I have no advice for Jessie other than to keep a 55-gallon drum of bean dip at hand. Since she is the boss, Carol likely wouldn't take it well if Carol said she didn't want Josh around the little monster Connor.

cwm

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 10:50:00 AM »
Well, Jessie could always say that Josh isn't interested, which is probably the truth. And then there's the "I don't want to push him into things he doesn't want to do."

You know, my niece was ahead on most of her milestones. Sis downplays this like mad. I'm automatically skeptical of anyone who goes on and on about how "special" and "gifted" their children are. And having known many gifted children, I've never seen a single one of them act like a cat because they were gifted in acting.

TurtleDove

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 10:50:49 AM »
Going by what his father said to his mother, there's no wonder Connor has little respect for his mother.

I don't think we can pin this all on the father either though.  Carol apparently encourages Connor's behavior by telling him he is smart/cute/gifted/special when in reality he is a rude little boy. 

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 10:51:48 AM »
Like cwm, I would say that Josh has a full slate of friends.  And even if Carol is the boss, Jessie is a volunteer.  What could Carol do to her?
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cicero

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 10:51:56 AM »
Ya know - I don't know this kid, but it *is* possible that he *was* reading at age three (i know more than one person who taught themselves to read by age three, and I don't mean memorizing Dr. Suess, i mean reading books.

and the fact that he is acting like a doofus, doesn't mean he *isn't* gifted. (case in point - sheldon cooper on TBBT, and while it's not a real person, i think we all know one or more Sheldon Cooper types IRL).

(Sorry, but your tone is sounding a bit condescending and while i understand where you're coming from, it is possible that the kid *is* gifted, along with idiotic parents...)

But as to what Jesse can do at this point? Seriously, by age 10 I would let my son choose his own friends and not have parent-initiated play dates. so she can either majorly beandip, or say "oh, Josh is his own social director, i stopped making play dates for him last year.".

Or evil Cicero would say "Oh, i don't think that would work, after all Conner is sooooo much more advanced than Josh, i'm afraid he would be too bored playing *simple* games and holding *regular* conversation. but i hear that MENSA is looking for new members. why don't you try them?"


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LeveeWoman

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 10:53:34 AM »
Going by what his father said to his mother, there's no wonder Connor has little respect for his mother.

I don't think we can pin this all on the father either though.  Carol apparently encourages Connor's behavior by telling him he is smart/cute/gifted/special when in reality he is a rude little boy.

Yep. Carol needs to stop makeing excuses for him.

lowspark

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 10:54:54 AM »
Based on the behavior you witnessed, it's impossible to say if Connor is "gifted" or not. It is possible, however, to conclude that Connor is disrespectful and that his mother has not established appropriate boundaries for his behavior. It seems to me that Carol is using the time-honored "my son is gifted so we don't want to stifle him" philosophy to raise Connor. In addition to which,  it's not surprising that Connor is immitating the rude bahavior that Carol's husband is apparently modeling.

Jessie can bean dip but if Carol is persistent, then Jessie would probably be best served by nipping it in the bud. Maybe something like, "Sorry, but with Josh's hectic schedule of scouts, little league and homework, we simply don't have time for play dates."

Lynn2000

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 11:01:34 AM »
Yipe, that all sounds really weird. Some gifted kids do act out because they're bored, especially in class. But no matter Connor's IQ, it sounds like he's not being taught how to behave appropriately in public or to treat his mother with respect, and I wouldn't want my son to spend much time with him, either.

I think Jessie needs to be firm in her boundaries. I like apologetic, but busy.
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Twik

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 11:08:06 AM »
I remember many years ago when there was a trend for genetic banks for "gifted intellectuals" like Nobel Prize winners, so you could be artificially inseminated and your child would be, automatically, a genius.

I remember that there was a woman who, for a few years, would trot her child out to show just how brilliant he was. How his IQ was double hers. How every little thing he did showed his budding genius. Strangely, it didn't seem so obvious to the audience. What she saw as a budding Mozart the rest of the audience saw as a restless three-year-old banging randomly on piano keys. After the child hit about five, he didn't get on TV much any more. I hope he grew up without being crushed by his mother's expectations.

It sounds like the same thing is going on here. Carol (and her husband, perhaps) has decided Connor is brilliant, and everything he does, like getting up in the morning, is evidence of that. I suspect he's learned to play "eccentric genius unfettered by social conventions" to keep up the charade, since this is easier than actually, say, writing scientific papers by age 10. Of course, picking up his father's contempt for Carol makes it even more toxic. I feel rather sorry for Connor.
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Knitterly

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 11:10:34 AM »
Don't engage.  He's not displaying giftedness, he's displaying something else! :P

It's probable that he was advanced as a toddler, but it also looks like Carol and her husband have let that be an excuse for raising a special little snowflake.   I am frustrated by parents who let the giftedness of their kids hinder their parenting.  You can talk at the age of one? Great, let's learn to say please and thank you.  Your fine motor skills are a year ahead of your peers? Awesome, let's learn how to fold and put away the laundry. 

It really frustrates me when parents see giftedness and don't raise their expectations accordingly.  It's horribly unfair to the child, who is just acting out in a way they have been taught is appropriate.

Jessie has no obligation to have Josh do playdates.  It seems kind of weird and pushy for Connor's mom to be arranging playdates at this age.  This is the age where kids, as previous posters have mentioned, make their own friends.

Just beandip, smile, and say that yes you can see Connor certainly is special.  No need to add on the "snowflake" part.  It's okay to just think that part in your head. 

Twik

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 11:14:31 AM »
It seems kind of weird and pushy for Connor's mom to be arranging playdates at this age.  This is the age where kids, as previous posters have mentioned, make their own friends.

Alas, I fear that Connor's parents have brought him up so that this will be extremely difficult. Gifted or not, I bet this is one skill he hasn't mastered, or even been taught. A whole lifetime of "you are better than everyone else" is not a good preparation for making friends.

But this is not the problem for Jessie, and particularly Josh, to solve. If I were Jessie, I'd ask Josh his opinion. If he doesn't want to spend time with Connor, that would be an end of it. No good would come of putting two nine-year-olds together if they're not interested in being friends.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

FoxPaws

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 11:20:39 AM »
But as to what Jesse can do at this point? Seriously, by age 10 I would let my son choose his own friends and not have parent-initiated play dates. so she can either majorly beandip, or say "oh, Josh is his own social director, i stopped making play dates for him last year.".
>:D Evil FoxPaws would be sorely tempted to describe this as Josh being "socially gifted".
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AliciaLynette

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 12:22:58 PM »
Ya know - I don't know this kid, but it *is* possible that he *was* reading at age three (i know more than one person who taught themselves to read by age three, and I don't mean memorizing Dr. Suess, i mean reading books.

and the fact that he is acting like a doofus, doesn't mean he *isn't* gifted. (case in point - sheldon cooper on TBBT, and while it's not a real person, i think we all know one or more Sheldon Cooper types IRL).

(Sorry, but your tone is sounding a bit condescending and while i understand where you're coming from, it is possible that the kid *is* gifted, along with idiotic parents...)

But as to what Jesse can do at this point? Seriously, by age 10 I would let my son choose his own friends and not have parent-initiated play dates. so she can either majorly beandip, or say "oh, Josh is his own social director, i stopped making play dates for him last year.".

Or evil Cicero would say "Oh, i don't think that would work, after all Conner is sooooo much more advanced than Josh, i'm afraid he would be too bored playing *simple* games and holding *regular* conversation. but i hear that MENSA is looking for new members. why don't you try them?"

(Bolding mine)

Speaking as a reader from age 3 and a Mensan from the age of 11, if I'd acted at any age like Connor did here, my parents would have whipped me straight out the car, no treat, no playing, and probably a smack to boot.  'Gifted', if that is what he is, does not preclude manners or proper behaviour, and no group of Mensans would put up with that behaviour for very long at all.  Mensans value sensible discussion on varied topics/interests, not appalling behaviour especially from a 9 yr old who should have been taught better!!
I take my daughter age 4 to Mensa lunchtime meetings, and they love having her there, because she is well-mannered, eats properly and is happy to talk to the other members about the books she's reading/the toy she has/what she's done at school/etc.
Children are natural mimics; they act like their parents in spite of every effort to teach them good manners.
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barefoot_girl

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Re: "Gifted" Child - Engage or Not?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 12:25:06 PM »
Carol asked Jessie if Josh could come to their house to hang out with Connor.  Jessie said she will get back to her.  Carol will ask repeatedly, we know this.  Now, Jessie feels she is in a bind and wants to know what she can tell Carol to stop her from asking. 

No, he can't. More bean-dip?

Truthfully? Connor does not sound 'gifted' based on this post, he sounds like a rude entitled little twerp. If he was just awkward and trying to be funny (the meowing etc), it might be differnt, but he simply sounds rude and objectionable, and Carol is a twit to encourage his behaviour.