Raising Stupid Kid

Some Parents Are Afraid Their Child Will Be Ugly–I’m Afraid Mine Will Be Stupid

Mom Jeanine
August 2, 2011


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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Last weekend my daughter and I went to a birthday party for one of her friends who just turned three. The party was fine, but as we were visiting with the birthday girl after the party I was amazed to see her write her name–perfectly legibly, mind you–all by herself. My daughter, who is also 3, cannot do that. Heck, I have a hard time even getting my girl to spell her name aloud.

Immediately I went into panic mode. My daughter is behind–when she starts kindergarten she isn’t going to be able to keep up. The first thing I did when we got back home from the party? Went straight to Toys ‘R Us and got my daughter letters, numbers and shapes flash cards for her to begin practicing writing asap. The next thing I did? Cancelled the cable. No more TV until she can write.

I know it seems a little extreme. Okay, a lot extreme. My boyfriend says I’m being that competitive mommy I despise. But I really don’t think this is the competitive side of me. I don’t want my daughter to write better or faster than her friend, I just want her to be able to do it. Period. They are the same age and it terrifies me that my little girl might be falling behind. There are parents who secretly hope their child is something very specific–blond, athletic, bilingual. I just so happen to want my child to be smart.

I actually talked to my pediatrician about it and she also politely advised me that I was over-reacting. My daughter just turned 3 last month and there are plenty of things she can do that her friend cannot.

But I’m wondering if I’m the only parent who gets freaked out when she sees a kid do something her child can’t. Do you trust that your child will develop fine on his/her own or do you make adjustments so your child keeps up with his/her friends? Also, is anyone else afraid of raising a stupid kid? Weigh in in the comments.

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  • Pam Davis
    August 2, 2011

  • I learned a lesson at a very young age, internalized it and passed it on to my own children and friends. The lesson is, there are NO Stupid People! People may do Stupid Things, but they are NOT Stupid! Think back to a time when you may have called someone stupid. The person was not stupid, but their action was stupid. Thinking this way not only prevents over generalization, but it puts the blame on the action and not the person. Calling somebody stupid may last a life time in people’s mind and cause psychological damage. Calling an action stupid, makes it a learning situation and doesn’t last long. Kids especially, need to heed this lesson that there are no stupid people, only stupid actions!

  • Tara
    August 2, 2011

  • “Left Behind” I think those are the words you are looking for. Most moms have something they worry about. In my family, we like fat babies. We also worry when the child is “not eating enough.” Classic Italian mommy (and dad) syndrome. Despite our efforts our children go from fat babies to lean children. That said, I often give this example for many parents of infants, “If your child can either walk OR stack a couple blocks at 12 months old they are doing very, very well.” Children are human beings. Each human being has a unique mind that will develop with a certain amount of variation….It is what makes us great survivors and our world interesting.

  • Lori Martin Mackey
    August 2, 2011

  • Hi Jeanine, there is a great book called Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, how our children REALLY Learn, and why they need to play more and memorize less.
    I teach money management for kids, and I did a lot of research on how kids learn, and simply our brains are millions of years old and no flash card, video or devise is going to change that. Children learn at their own pace and time frame. Research is proving that some of these smart toys actually stifle the learning when done to early.
    Now having a 15 & 18 year old, It’s not how smart you are that is important, it’s how creative, confident and strong you are. That comes with love, play and attention. I have a statement that rings true, A’s in school will never out preform F’s in Finance. You best bet is to save and invest in your child, love them unconditionally, get them in sports to keep them healthy, limit TV- and time suckers, and spend quality time letting them dream and imagine everything that is possible.
    There is a documentary called “Race to No Where” which shows how kids that are pushed to hard to be smart, are becoming stressed, sick and unmotivated by the time they reach college.
    I’m really glad you posted this article, it’s a wake up call for parent’s who push their kids to be smarter than the next, may not be the smartest thing to do.

  • Elle
    August 2, 2011

  • The best thing my pediatrician told me was to read to my 6 month old daily and I did. The American assoc. of Pediatrics recommends no TV for kids under two and I followed that as well. As a result my daughter could read at 3 1/2 and my son at 4. It has fostered a love of books and reading for them now 8 & 7. They are whole grades ahead in English and language arts. As a result the homework they do get is very easy for them and I never had to teach them to spell. I can’t even imagine trying to teach a kid spelling words. I even do 30 mins of work with them daily during the summer. I don’t think your actions are extreme at all. Keep it up it’s so worth it.

  • Lorissa McKay
    August 10, 2011

  • I agree with Lori. My IQ didn’t get me anywhere that a good work ethic and self confidence wouldn’t!! I trust that my kids will “get” things in their own time. Exposure to the concepts is important, but drills aren’t.

  • Stephanie H
    August 22, 2011

  • A neighbor who just recently moved out of state (military) had her daughter a day after mine. They are now 26 months old. Her daughter was walking way before mine and takling in sentences way before mine. My daughter is just now putting two words, once in awhile a three word, sentence together and talking jibberish still. At first I was worried that my daughter wasn’t wakling until 18 months and her speech isn’t as up to par as other 2 year olds; however, I also looked at our environments.

    1) Neighbor’s child has older siblings and that comes with language you don’t want your child to repeat lol. My daughter is our only child. Even though she is very social and outgoing. More so fearless. she also still don’t get as much verbal experience as our neighbors no matter how hard I try. I keep the radio on and she learns vocal singing from that. That is how I cop with it by finding other routes than just popping out kids just so she can have a playmate (Oh, I got many people saying I should have more JUST so she can have a playmate. Not!)

    2) Genetics: I didn’t start wakling early either. Each child is different and should be treated differently. Heck, your next child if you choose to have more might be a early bird on everything. My daughter is still in less than 5% tile. She is just short and tiny compared to kids her age who are twice her weight and sometimes height. Females are small in our families. rarely reaching 5 and half feet.

    Keep in mind. Your child is 3. Putting alot of pressure to learn can cause major issues in the long run. It is one to be supportive and alittle firm. but it is another to put pressure on a child to be “smart”. that is where chidlren might not feel good enough and at a constant have to please their parents to learn rather see learning as fun and find enjoyment out of it.

    The thing is to relax. There is plenty of things my daughter has done way before or better than my neighbor’s child.