Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Smart, but Socially Awkward

I'm reading: Smart, but Socially AwkwardTweet this!

DH handled camp pick-up today. While waiting around for the boys he got into a conversation with a mother about her "very bright," but socially awkward, 7 or 8 year-old son. "He's and advanced reader and does fourth-grade math; he just lacks social skills."

I wasn't there to assess her tone. To some it might have sounded like boasting. We should all have such "problem" children, right?

But I get it. A few times this summer Smartypants has morphed from a silly eight year-old to a mentally deficient four year-old in some very public places. I bite my tongue to keep from telling everyone we encounter about his academic accomplishments, his obsessive reading habits. No, really, he's incredibly smart.
Smartypants was wrestling with a friend recently. They were both being extremely goofy and another boy looked at them and pronounced with some disgust, "You guys are weird." As my heart shattered, I tried to think of an appropriate intervention, but the wrestling partner spoke first, "Yeah, we are!" He gave a hearty laugh and within seconds the three of them were in hysterics. The tension had diffused.

Let people think my son has mental deficiencies or is immature. Let them think I'm a boastful mom with an exaggerated view of her son. Let them think what they want. It's tough to parent a time traveling child.

Speaking of which, check out the current post at the Gifted Exchange Blog to read more about parenting gifted children.

Also, an interesting (if a bit long) perspective on Nerds and Popularity.



Anonymous said...

That's a great response. To me, that shows confidence. Probably even more important than being smart is for a kid to feel confident and comfortable with who they are. So whether they are blessed with Down's Syndrome or are crippled with a genious IQ, if a kid can say "yeah this is who I am", that is the best thing in the world.

I'm still trying to get there ;)

JimMc said...

Sorry, that wasn't anonymous, that was me. The identity thingamajigger didn't work.

JimMc said...

uh...make that g-e-n-i-u-s. i'm obviously not a member of that club.

Aman said...

I'm loving your approach here Kim, and I'm loving the I-don't-car-what-others-think attitude because its such an emotional handicap! We have to advocate self-confidence before we expect out children to adopt it. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's gifted child has been thought of as retarded and/or weird. Its heart-breaking, esp. when you think your child is the one like that. It is such a struggle when your child doesn't fit in for whatever differences and feels lonely and sad. Thanks for the cheerful post! Made my day :-)

Catherine Gruener said...

Thank you for blogging about gifted children. Your blog was included in the January 2014 Parenting Gifted Children Link Up Party.