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Advise on younger sibling passing up older


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#1 Lace

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 12:13 AM

My 5yo DS#3 is 2.25 years younger than my 7yo (nearing 8yo) DS#2 but less than 1 year behind him academically, and he's catching up quickly in all subjects.  

 
I'm afterschooling DS#2 and he's in the last chapter of BA 3D.  He's been on quite the roll, happy and positive about his work for the last couple of weeks.  Then this week DS#3 started BA 3A.
 
Yesterday DS#2 was working a problem on the white board and got stuck.  I was dropping him subtle hints while asking him about his process so far when DS#3 piped up with the correct answer, which he's done many times before even as early as a year and a half ago, but this time DS#2 flipped out.  He's very upset that his younger brother is in the "same level" of math (and also MCT) as him.  He was on edge all day today, picking fights with DS#3.  Even the things he said to him that wouldn't be considered mean were somehow all said with a nasty tone of voice.
 
I don't know what to do.  DS#3 passing up DS#2 seems inevitable and likely to occur within the next year.  Should I keep at it and just work harder to help DS#2 feel at peace with not be as accelerated as his brother?   Stop afterschooling DS#2 altogether and hope the GT magnet he's starting in a few weeks is enough?  Switch DS#2 to different programs for after school enrichment? (Like what?)  None of the above?
 


#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 12:20 AM

Is there any way to work with DS #2 in a separate room maybe before school and before DS #3 is even awake? Or some other arrangement so they are not together when you work with DS#2?

Eventually yes he will have to accept that younger brother is passing him up but right now he is very young. Severely damaged self esteem could cause him to stop trying altogether. He could end up feeling like a failure even though he is bright and very capable.

You might consider using different materials for each boy so it is harder to see younger is catching up (but it would be hard to replace Beast with something equally rigorous).

Edited by OneStepAtATime, 28 July 2017 - 12:44 AM.

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#3 CadenceSophia

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 03:41 AM

I'm sure others have far more experience, but we had that when DD was starting to read more quickly than oldest DS, and now I am facing it again as my third (entering K) is ahead of DD(1st, but 20 months older) in math. My plan has been, as far as possible, to keep them in separate programs so they don't feel the other child is on their heels. When we were struggling with the reading, as long as they were reading different books they never had too much issue. DD used to read aloud to DS#1 even though she's 2.5 years younger lol. DS#1 took off though at some point and is reading a few grade levels ahead, maybe early highschool level, while she's still around 4-5th grade level I'd guess (hard to tell for sure when you read and re-read Rick Riorden & Warriors!).  I'm moving DD to CLE math this year (should be good for her anyway) and letting DS#3 have the Singapore/BA track.  


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#4 SKL

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:29 AM

My two girls are 3mos apart and in the same grade.  The youngest is very advanced academically compared to the eldest.  So I have some experience here.

 

What works for us:

 

1.  Don't try to hide or mask the fact that they have different talents.  Instead, be open about the talents and challenges of both children.  I'm sure you can think of some areas where your older DS was a quick learner or stronger performer than your younger DS.  It may be physical or artistic or something.  Let them both know that you don't value one over the other but recognize that everyone has different talents.  And make sure you believe that in your heart - don't be disappointed that your elder can't keep up with his brother academically.

 

2.  Do what each child needs.  In my kids' case, the slower one needed a lot of review and was easy to work with in the evenings.  I have also gotten tutoring for the slower child.  The advanced one neither needed nor wanted that kind of attention, so I gave her much more open-ended, independent things to work on, or just accepted her reading independently if that was her preference.  Though I did/do push her in some academic areas, such as showing / reviewing her work in math.

 

3.  Discipline the sniping the way you would in any other case.  No excuses.  When my kids were around that age and going through a sniping phase, I told them that sniping at their sibling would earn them the job of cleaning a toilet.  :p  That phase passed rather quickly after that.  :p


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#5 HomeAgain

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:45 AM

A few things stand out and it's mostly the focus on comparison.  I think you have to come at it from a totally different angle to get the results you want.

 

Here you have a kid who is hurting.  He may be jealous, or he may be upset and feeling stupid and slow to comprehend.  He needs the reinforcement that everyone has different talents and skills and helping him find his, helping him see that he is appreciated for who he is...it doesn't need to be a comparison.  Even by comparing in your own mind you reinforce the self-consciousness of your older child because it comes out.  Focus on appreciating each kid for who they are and just keep being attentive and listening.

 

It does sound like it's time to put them in different programs.  More than that, it's time to take the 5yo to task for butting in on another's lesson.  It was rude.  Rudeness should not be tolerated one bit.  This was your time with your older child and that should have been the first, and only thing out of your mouth before you removed the younger from the room.  What he did was not fair, and it is okay to acknowledge that as a parent.


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#6 SKL

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 09:15 AM

I would also add a recommendation to put both kids into an activity where the 7yo excels and the 5yo does not.  It will be good for the 7yo to experience success and pride, and it will be good for the 5yo to learn that not everything comes easily, you can't always be best, and hard work pays off.  :)


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#7 desertflower

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 10:35 AM

Lots of good advice so far. I don't have a solution. But I ended up teaching my children separately, so it doesn't damage anyone's ego. I know that can be time consuming, but it works around here.

#8 Arcadia

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 12:12 PM

Your 5 year old piping in with the correct answer when it is not his turn to answer might infuriate classmates, teachers and parents volunteers even in a gifted magnet school. My "street smart" oldest found out fast that parent volunteers can get jealous of kids "smarter" than theirs and he didn't even answer out of turn. For our extended family that falls under manners though as we consider that an impolite interruption to answer out of turn.

My kids are a year apart. DS11 is better at gross motor skills activities because he has a daredevil personality while DS12 has a look before you leap personality. DS12 will whine a little and we do allow whining. Everyone we know whines, as long as the whining is short and infrequent. I have relatives with stoic personality and I rather my kids whine now and then (personal preference).

Sometimes my kids use the same curriculum and sometimes they don't. My DS12 is picky about curriculum but he can survive on any curriculum you throw at him just that you get a sulky kid. My DS11 however does better with certain kind of curriculum so it is more important to fit the kid in his case.

My kids like Beast Academy as a fun read but not as a curriculum. They however like the AoPS books. I'll pick whichever curriculum works best for each child. If it happen to be the same, then do one to one dedicated afterschooling. When we afterschooled in kindergarten and 1st grade, younger boy had his afternoon nap while I oversee older boy's afterschooling. Then older boy reads for leisure while I spend my time coaching younger boy.
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#9 luuknam

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 12:27 PM

I was concerned about this at some point in the past, but in the end, youngest hasn't passed oldest. That said, they're 3.25 years apart, so a bigger gap than yours. One of the things I've told mine is that there's always people who are better at things and people who are worse at things (yes, technically, there's got to be someone on the planet who is the absolute best or worst for any particular thing, but mine aren't it, and odds are neither are yours), so yeah, younger may be better at something, but there are other kids out there who are even better at ___ than him. And that being good at academics isn't the be-all-end-all of life. It doesn't automatically make you successful (hard work is more important), it doesn't make you lots of friends, etc... being smart and being good at stuff is nice, it makes school easier, etc, but it's just not the most important thing on the planet. Especially since your oldest is smart already (my oldest is almost certainly 2E, and he struggled with a lot of academics for quite a while). 

 

I'd send youngest to his room if he blurts out answers. And privately, I'd talk to him about how the goal is for oldest to learn the material, and that if someone tells him the answer before he has time to think about it, he's not going to learn it. 


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#10 pinewarbler

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 02:53 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with solutions mentioned. I have a 4 year span between kids and this comes up often. But because they prefer different modes of learning, I haven't had them using the same math program. It took years of correcting the younger's behaviour before he didn't openly butt in like this. When he's razzing his sibling in general, he still alludes to brains, though.

 

I'd like to refine one of the solutions... When telling my kids that "everyone has their own strengths", I am very careful not to suggest that one of their strengths is math and the other is art (as an example). Instead, I discuss how mathematicians have specialities. Someone brilliant in one field, is not so brilliant in another (and would have to work at it). If geometry is something you don't intuitively get... then maybe your strength is algebra, etc. 

 

I teach a small math circle with profoundly gifted children. They each show this... one has a methodical nature that borders on OCD that gets him great results while he works so slowly and with an exasperated and puzzled look on his face that anyone would think he needs constant help, one (my DS) has mindblowing intuitive leaps and sloppily shows work that skips steps, and the third child doesn't know any of the English words for mathematical operations nor has ever worked ahead of her grade level so is always the last to solve. In the end, she says "Ohhhhh, that would mean you could use that method to also solve this and that!", which the others hadn't thought about.

One child can't do 3D puzzles well, the other can't do logic puzzles, the last solves things in the least beautiful way, but first.

 

With both my kids I let them know that they were both good in math for different reasons, and they both had the ability to be in a math field as an adult. I didn't want them to lose that dream!

 

 

 

 


Edited by pinewarbler, 28 July 2017 - 02:54 PM.

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#11 Lace

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:20 PM

Thanks guys.  

 

I have been working with DS#3 on not interjecting himself into other people's lessons/conversations/etc., but he's understandably got the impulse control of a 5yo.  He doesn't shout out answers to be mean or show off.  He just gets really excited when he sees the answer and wants to talk about it.  He doesn't stop with the answer either, he'll talk your ear off (over your protests to be quiet) about why the answer is what he thinks it is.  I haven't wanted to get too punitive with him over interrupting other people's lessons since 1) he doesn't do it very frequently and 2) I'm afraid of accidentally smothering his strong enthusiasm for problem solving.

 

It's a great idea to do their lessons in separate spaces!  We had that going for a while and lessons were, indeed, much more peaceful.  DS#2 used to do his homework/afterschooling in the evenings once the other boys were in bed, but we moved, changed their sleeping arrangements, and hit summer break, so the schedule was abandoned.  I think it's time to reimplement it.

 

DS#2 is very bright, but he struggles with many 2e issues (working memory, processing speed, SPD, ADHD, dyslexia, motor planning, more).  He's highly capable and working above grade level in every subject except probably spelling/writing, but the areas in which he truly excels are not typical academia or sports/physical.  He's highly creative, imaginative, emotionally sensitive, caring, rocks persuasive argument, and is a heck of a budding businessman.  I'd really like to foster his aptitude for negotiation and business, but I'm not strong in these areas myself and don't know where to begin.  He's very socially-minded, despite his lagging maturity and thrives in group settings.  I haven't thought of any activities I could enroll both boys in which DS#2 would likely outperform DS#3.  At least not in any way that either would notice.  Any ideas?

 

What about recommendations for rigorous math curricula for afterschooling besides BA?  DS#2 went to the 4th grade class for math last year in PS, but we do BA a year behind because he has crippling perfectionism and balks at problems he might get wrong on the first try.

 

And, FTR, my DS#4 has global developmental delays and DH's late kid brother had profound intellectual disability.  I feel we as parents do well with praising effort and persistence, not achievement, and we absolutely value people not for their intelligence but for their personhood and the impact they can have on the lives of others.  I have always encouraged cooperation and discouraged competition and we are careful ton to make comparative remarks about the boys; however, they seem to have innate competitive tenancies.


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#12 Arcadia

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:47 PM

He's highly creative, imaginative, emotionally sensitive, caring, rocks persuasive argument, and is a heck of a budding businessman. I'd really like to foster his aptitude for negotiation and business, but I'm not strong in these areas myself and don't know where to begin. He's very socially-minded, despite his lagging maturity and thrives in group settings.

What about recommendations for rigorous math curricula for afterschooling besides BA? DS#2 went to the 4th grade class for math last year in PS, but we do BA a year behind because he has crippling perfectionism and balks at problems he might get wrong on the first try.
...
I have always encouraged cooperation and discouraged competition and we are careful ton to make comparative remarks about the boys; however, they seem to have innate competitive tenancies.


Model UN at YMCA (or anywhere else) for later for your 7 year old son. Link is to a description of Model UN
"Middle school students (delegates) participate in the program with their peers. They are given the opportunity to discuss international issues, discover other cultures, develop life-enhancing skills, and make new friends. "
https://calymca.org/...-united-nations
For now look out for public speaking or speech and debate clubs for elementary aged kids. I won't worry about having kids in the same activities. They can excel at different activities for example different sports, different musical instruments.

We use so many free resources at that age that I didn't bother keeping track. Math circles materials were actually useful for my kids perfectionistic tendencies as they tend to be more open ended and multiple solutions are possible. The single answer kind are less fun as you either get it right or wrong and also there is no thrill of getting a nicer/better/cleaner solution. I used mainly those free materials from U of Waterloo because they have such a nice range on their website of different topics from easiest to hardest. http://www.cemc.uwat...ations_gr6.html

Sometimes people make comparative remarks within earshot with no bad intentions but it still hurts my kids. Like strangers commenting about my kids heights. My DS12 is consistently tall for age and my DS11 was short for age most of the time.

Edited by Arcadia, 28 July 2017 - 11:49 PM.

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#13 Jackie

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:59 PM

Just on the afterschooling stuff: How about using Zaccaro, MOEMS books, old Math Kangaroo tests, and stuff like that instead of a curriculum?
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#14 SKL

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:15 PM

DS#2 is very bright, but he struggles with many 2e issues (working memory, processing speed, SPD, ADHD, dyslexia, motor planning, more).  He's highly capable and working above grade level in every subject except probably spelling/writing, but the areas in which he truly excels are not typical academia or sports/physical.  He's highly creative, imaginative, emotionally sensitive, caring, rocks persuasive argument, and is a heck of a budding businessman.  I'd really like to foster his aptitude for negotiation and business, but I'm not strong in these areas myself and don't know where to begin.  He's very socially-minded, despite his lagging maturity and thrives in group settings.  I haven't thought of any activities I could enroll both boys in which DS#2 would likely outperform DS#3.  At least not in any way that either would notice.  Any ideas?

 

Have you considered 4H or scouting for your kids?

 

What about encouraging him to start a small business?

 

How about cooking?

 

Or some combination of the above?  :)
 


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#15 KSinNS

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 06:10 PM

All great advice. I wrote an identical post a few years ago about my 2 who are 15 months apart. D never passed T as T had a big developmental leap. It may never happen. But preserve elders ego when you can, just in case.

#16 Lace

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 09:46 PM

Our first ever swim classes just ended.  DS#2's instructor feels he is not ready to move to the level 2 class of 6-12yr instruction and should repeat the level 1 class.  He's having a hard time with actually getting wet, especially his face.  DS#3's instructor approved him moving on to level 2, AND she advised us to switch him from the 3-5yr age grouping into the 6-12yr classes.  *Facepalm*

 

I'm thinking I'll not put DS#3 a level ahead of DS#2 in swimming just yet.  Maybe they can take the level 1 6-12yr class together and they could be... buddies there?  It would be such a PITA to sign them up for different days, but I guess might need to resort to that if they don't both get promoted after this next series of classes.

 

And thanks again for all the recommendations.  I looked through a bunch of things and decided to order the competitive math books by Borac for DS#2, who just finished the last book of BA3.  That can supplement whatever he ends up getting at school and the boys will be less able to compare themselves academically.


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