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Spending unequal $$$ on siblings school/ activities, etc.


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I am really struggling to see each of my dc as individuals with different needs. I have 4 dc ages 12, 10, 7, and 2.

 

My oldest ds is a very strong student, easy going, hard working, social kid. He is a very good athlete and is particularly gifted in a sport that he could likely get college scholarship money for. There is a local private school that excels in this sport and seems like it would be a perfect fit for this ds. If this ds were an only child this private school would be the obvious choice for his high school years. It is expensive but we could swing it for the oldest and it looks like it would be a great choice for him.

 

My next ds is a great kid but not gifted/ driven in the same ways. His needs could be much more easily met by homeschooling or even public school. While the private school might be nice for him it isn't really "needed" in the same way.

 

I just can't get my mind around how to approach this. If I don't go this private school route with my oldest I will be holding him back because I simply can't meet his athletic needs well enough homeschooling. He will never get to see what he could have done if he had the right support.

 

My second (and likely all subsequent) dc just doesn't have that same need. I would not be holding him back by not sending him to this private school. However, I just can't bear the thought that he will feel like we didn't love/ support him as much as older brother.

 

Intellectually I've always thought that different kids have different needs and you meet them differently. I've always thought that things do not need to be even and equal all the time. But, I don't know how to show that to a child.

 

Anyone been here? Do I hold back the gifted/ hard working one just to make sure things are even for the average/ less driven one? I know that I love them both the same...but will they know that?

 

Is anyone doing this? Better yet, has anyone BTDT and want to share with me the outcome/ fall out from it.

 

Thanks,

Marie

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Being equal and fair doesn't mean giving them the exact same thing. I say send the oldest to private school. See if he can maybe qualify for a scholarship there as well.

 

For the next one, begin by asking him if he even wants to attend the private school. If he doesn't, then you have your answer and no need to feel guilt. If he does, then let him go as well. He may be more interested in public school or in just staying at home. Or he may suprise you and excell at the private school in a way you don't expect.

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Yes, you love them both, and the kids can see it too. They will be teens and will be able to think it through.

 

If one child was headed to the Olympics, and not the other one, would you hold the future Olympian back?

 

We have friends facing that same situation. The girl is 14, and world champion in her age category. The boy is 12 yo, an average hockey player and will never make the NHL. Why should the parents spend the same amount of money on both kids? Parents are just as present for one sport as for the other. They see every match (and there are many more hockey matches than synchronized swimming competitions). So the boy gets more parent-time than the girl.

 

There are ways of presenting the situation to your kids. Your eldest is choosing the high school because of the sports opportunity, but that means he has to deal with the bad aspects of school. Since second child does not have said sports opportunity, why should he be "locked up" all day long? Offer something else to the second child, like travelling during the school year, exchange student, or whatever else would please him. Meet their needs, not the money.

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Seriously, send your oldest to the school because that is best for him. Don't send your next kiddo because it's not necessary for him.

 

To me, this seems easy. You are a better parent than you are allowing yourself to believe. Your kids will *know* that you loved and parented each of them the way each of them needed by your doing so. You are short-changing them in more ways by NOT giving the one the opportunity you think is best for him.

 

And your other kids will have other things come up. One will want to go to a wilderness camp three summers in a row. Another will want to spend money on some art materials. Another will need a tutor in this class or another. Another will have special health needs for a short time. And you'll handle them all swimmingly :)

 

My dd took private school and college classes at 15. My ds doesn't. My son spend a few weeks at Children's hospital as a young child while my daughter spent less than a week at almost 15. My son was a contender for a top spot in a sport so we spent more money towards that sport for him including private lessons, tournaments, etc. My daughter enjoyed the sport but didn't get the same treatment. My daughter needed special shoes, my son didn't. My son needs his hair cut, my daughter doesn't. My son got a sleep study and a cpap machine AND a new bed. My daughter got my old bed and a dog sleeps with her. My daughter goes out with me more so gets Starbucks more.

 

The list goes on and on. And i'm sure you have a similar list. The schooling option is no different than a hair cut or a doctor's visit.

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For the next one, begin by asking him if he even wants to attend the private school. If he doesn't, then you have your answer and no need to feel guilt. If he does, then let him go as well. He may be more interested in public school or in just staying at home. Or he may suprise you and excell at the private school in a way you don't expect.

 

This is where I think I am leaning with this. I think there is good chance he would rather stay home at that time or that he might have some interest we can support for him instead of the private school. Truth is, though, if he really wanted to go to the private school we would probably find a way to make it happen for him. I could probably find other things to offer him that would appeal to him and be more feasible for us.

 

I am really struggling with setting a precendent with everything we do for my driven, disciplined first born. The other kids are so different. Hopefully I will luck out and they won't even want the same things.

 

My second ds is a good student but not necessarily driven. The workload he sees his brother have from this school might be enough to convince him he doesn't want to follow him there :glare:

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I don't think all children need to have the same amount of money spent on them.

 

If you are serious about the private school-talk to them. Many schools have lightly publicized financial aid programs, discounted tuition rates for families, scholarships etc. Looking into this may open more options for your family.

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I agree that it's a tough decision, and that different children have different needs, and that's OK.

 

Two things I would be aware of--

One, that there's not a subtle message being sent that the older one is more "special," more capable or more "good." I can hear it in the way you describe the oldest in such positive terms, and the other child as "average," which, although perhaps true, carries a negative connotation (or can, anyway). Be careful the younger child does not perceive himself as less capable and therefore homeschooling was ok for him.

 

Two, that you continue to do lots of things as a family. We homeschooled two and public schooled one--just for part of the time, but the one who was public schooled often felt a little left out because he didn't have the daily context for our dinner conversations. He didn't WANT to be homeschooled, but part of him felt he did not belong to the family--he was already different (his perception) because of his high adreneline/sensory needs (everyone else likes to read, he likes to skateboard and take risks, etc.). Just be aware of it for both your children (all of them, really).

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I agree that it's a tough decision, and that different children have different needs, and that's OK.

 

Two things I would be aware of--

One, that there's not a subtle message being sent that the older one is more "special," more capable or more "good." I can hear it in the way you describe the oldest in such positive terms, and the other child as "average," which, although perhaps true, carries a negative connotation (or can, anyway). Be careful the younger child does not perceive himself as less capable and therefore homeschooling was ok for him.

 

Two, that you continue to do lots of things as a family. We homeschooled two and public schooled one--just for part of the time, but the one who was public schooled often felt a little left out because he didn't have the daily context for our dinner conversations. He didn't WANT to be homeschooled, but part of him felt he did not belong to the family--he was already different (his perception) because of his high adreneline/sensory needs (everyone else likes to read, he likes to skateboard and take risks, etc.). Just be aware of it for both your children (all of them, really).

 

Thank you for mentioning this. It is my exact concern that he feels he was not "worth it" when that is very much not the case. I am very aware that I could be sending the message that he does not have the same potential as a human- I don't feel that way at all! I think my descriptions of the boys was more in an effort to briefly express their differences. I call the second ds average (which doesn't necessarily have a negative connotation to me) just to kind of give a quick picture of the situation. He's a great kid but his gifts are not the most tangible. For example : he is very good at relating to younger kids/ kids with special needs. I don't think that is "average" but it is much less tangible than being an exceptional baseball player.

 

FWIW, in my family I was in the role of second ds so I am very sensitive to his position.

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