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Margaret in CO

Bit of a rant about achievements

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5 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

This is hard to puzzle out.  If someone asks you directly, I don't see anything wrong with sharing what kids are up to.  Or posting factual stuff on social media at intervals.  Do people honestly get attitude after doing that?   

yes.  I was really naïve.  people can be very unkind.

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13 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

1

2. Joy is not finite. I’m not taking away something from your kid if I’m truly enjoying my own child. There’s enough joy to share with everyone at every level. My friend with a disabled child...I’ll rejoice with her when he reaches a goal and I’ve still got joy enough to to rejoice over my own kids’ accomplishments. Thankfully, she’s not insecure enough to think I’m making a jab at her kid when I’m excited about my own. It’s not a contest. 

Amen!

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58 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Ouch.  I don’t think you meant to belittle me this way but ouch.  

no, I wasn't belittling you.  my point was invisible disabilities can be as much of a challenge as those that can be seen.  I really appreciated my friend's words - as my son looks NT, but isn't. (even professionals who deal with asd on a regular basis, can be totally clueless about how to handle him.)  and people can be … extremely judgmental. (I've received nasty remarks, from strangers as well as people who know my older children).  most people only see a child who "looks NT". (but isn't.).  they expect him to act NT, even though he can't.

when they see as child who looks like they have a physical disability - these same people are usually more polite (or at least keep their mouths shut.).  

this was something my friend could completely understand - because she experienced both sides firsthand.  her timing in sharing it was a big deal for me.  I reminded her about it recently when I thanked her for sharing it. she'd completely forgotten saying it, but does remember the sentiment.

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2 hours ago, lewelma said:

My older boy is struggling with his achievement because he has come to believe that it was ALL luck of genetics and luck of family.  He believes he works hard because it is luck that he is innately motivated.  He is coming to believe that he has had no influence in his achievement.  I find it both refreshing and disturbing. And I have struggled as to how to advise him on this deep dive into his sense of self.

 

Well this is pretty much true if you are a determinist, even a determinist who believes that we must act as if we have free will (that is to say, that part of the system is our perception of free will and acting within that perception).

He has had a ton of the influence in his achievement - he was the primary actor in his own life.  He has the brain, he has the motivation, he has the ability to focus, he has the work ethic to study, etc.  But where he got the brain, the motivation, the ability to focus, the desire and ability to work hard - those are things he was largely born with or developed as a reaction to environment.  That's not to say they're not his, though.  He owns them.

 

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4 hours ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

This attitude really formed my oldest dd's judgement of herself, and to be honest the judgement of a lot of our family members about her.  There were certain relatives who seemed to have it all together and attributed it all to their discipline, structure, good moral and habits.  Meanwhile my undiagnosed Adhd'er was just a train wreck.  She felt the difference acutely, but just could never understand -- she knew she was smart but she just couldn't do what they were doing and she always felt like she was Kramer (from Seinfeld) around them.  She finally got her diagnosis, she is learning to manage herself and her life and loving everything she is doing now, however she is also working through extreme social anxiety and self esteem issues from those years. 

So, yeah, I am not a big fan of awards, accolades and trophies, or assumptions that someone's success is due solely to their own hard work or self discipline. Because I've seen a kid that is crazy smart and so determined to succeed at life but whose actual performance has always been either all in or non-existent, and by all standards growing up was always "not trying hard enough, smart but doesn't apply herself, disorganized ,messy, lazy, or just doesn't care."   Whereas she did care deeply, but couldn't get her brain to function the way so many other's did so easily. 

 

I have one with this.  she was eventually diagnosed with very HFASD.  it really explained so much.  in academics, she's brilliant, ask her to clean her room....not happening. (because her brain couldn't handle it.).  we joked it kept her from taking over the world.  (and that that was a good thing.  ;p)

1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

 

Depression is a silent killer and unfortunately gets less sympathy then a heart attack which is the well known silent killer.

 

It would be impolite. For example I am too short to reach the top shelf at the supermarket. Some staff would grudgingly help while most staff are polite about it. When walking in healthcare facilities, having extremely short hair means people are extremely polite to me compared to a fellow patient with a full “mop” of hair. Even the Uber drivers tend to be extremely polite to me compared to fellow passengers.

yes - why can't you just buck up?  or talk to a friend?  yeah.   I actually heard that from a person at my insurance company whom I was required to speak before I could have mental health services approved.  

it's a close subject - my father seriously struggled with depression, until he ended it.

 

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

 It’s not a competition whereby the kid with emotional issues ‘wins’ the hard lot.  I was chill the first six posts implying this but I’m done. 

I am deeply sorry if you viewed my post as the first of six. I work with at-risk youth because I can make a profound difference in their lives. I can help them reroute their thinking in more productive ways as I see them one-on-one for an hour 2 - 5 times a week for 3 years. Clearly, it is harder for me to make as much impact with a child is physically ill/disabled, so I go where I am useful. I meant no disrespect or oneupmanship. None at all.

Edited by lewelma
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1 hour ago, maize said:

I think I might discuss the idea that we each have the privilege of taking what life has handed us and turning it to good in the world around us.

Good can wear many faces.

I just posted on the college board about what good looks like to this boy. I am so proud.

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4 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

   It’s not a competition whereby the kid with emotional issues ‘wins’ the hard lot.  I was chill the first six posts implying this but I’m done.   

so what are you regarding as "emotional issues"?   

 

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1 hour ago, Margaret in CO said:

This looks like a self-promotional press release.

I don't think it has much to do with this discussion at all.

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22 hours ago, lewelma said:

My older boy is struggling with his achievement because he has come to believe that it was ALL luck of genetics and luck of family.  He believes he works hard because it is luck that he is innately motivated.  He is coming to believe that he has had no influence in his achievement.  I find it both refreshing and disturbing. And I have struggled as to how to advise him on this deep dive into his sense of self.

My DD has struggled the same way, especially since starting at the CC, and making friends with a lot of non-traditional students who have had to struggle so much more to get into and take the same classes. She is struggling to write application essays because she feels like her accomplishments aren't really hers. I think it has been good for her to realize just how privileged she is, but at the same time, she's accomplished a lot because she really does work quite hard and takes full advantage of the situations that luck puts her in. And since a big part of the college application process is tooting your own horn, I hope she is able to find some balance so she lands in a good place for her.

 

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7 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

My DD has struggled the same way, especially since starting at the CC, and making friends with a lot of non-traditional students who have had to struggle so much more to get into and take the same classes. She is struggling to write application essays because she feels like her accomplishments aren't really hers. I think it has been good for her to realize just how privileged she is, but at the same time, she's accomplished a lot because she really does work quite hard and takes full advantage of the situations that luck puts her in. And since a big part of the college application process is tooting your own horn, I hope she is able to find some balance so she lands in a good place for her.

 

 I felt the same way after moving from CA to AR in high school. If possible, maybe she can focus on her journey and the lessons learned and less on the ‘accomplishments’. That self reflection was a welcome topic for all of my admissions essays.

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21 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

I find myself resenting the people who told my younger self that I could do anything I wanted to if I wanted to badly enough.

 

I never believed that bc I didn't have the kind of up-bringing that would ever inspire such nonsense.  When my teachers would say stuff like that, I was the kid sent to the principal for telling them they were liars.  Not because I was wrong, but because I said it.  Which didn't exactly inspire more confidence in anyone at school. I don't tell my kids that.  It's just not true.  I can't even tell them they can go to any college they want if they just work hard enough, because that's a lie too.

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I have no problem with people telling me what great things their kids are doing, and I have no problems telling people what my kids are doing. In fact here it is a major conversation starter. Often I have been sitting in a waiting room or on public transport and strangers have asked me how many children I have and what are they doing.

Homeschooling is not very common here and people are genuinely interested in how homeschooled kids get into university and what they study and how they go getting jobs etc.

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I have been thinking about this a bit over the last couple of days and I think there a two related things at work here. And, I will admit that I often feel myself have a bit of an eye roll reaction to hearing about the accomplishments (wins) of high achieving young people, so I am thinking a lot about why that is.

First, I think we are framing it too much along the lines of an individual failing of the people who are not able to celebrate the wins of other people's children. We do this a lot in society. We talk about racism or sexism as if they are things that are felt in the hearts of individuals rather than systems and structures in society and culture that advantage some and disadvantage others. So, as I said earlier,  I think part of what might be going on is that our economy and society and culture are changing in ways that confer great advantage to high achievement in some areas (the knowledge economy) and that leave large swaths of the population struggling for what seemed normal and attainable for many more people just decades ago. It's not really clear individually what any of us are supposed to do about this, but it is clear that the gap between those who make it (who are increasingly wealthy) and those who don't is really widening. And, the ticket to that successful side of the chasm runs through top colleges and universities A kid who is super accomplished in something like math or the spelling bee or even sports can parlay that skill into a admission to a top college and secure their path into the successful side. All the parents I know who spend countless hours schlepping their kids to coaches and youth sporting events are not doing it because they expect their kids to become professional athletes. They want college scholarships to top universities or they want an admissions hook to those universities. So I think the resentment that people feel is borne of this sense of scarcity - the success of the few is, by definition in this economy, predicated on them beating everyone else - standing out as better, meaning more skilled, more accomplished, more driven, more focused. In other words, the wins carry future financial consequences and they have come to somehow signify greater moral weight. These are just better people. They work harder (seems everyone is determined to describe success in the moral language of hard work), they sacrificed etc... In other words, it raises the ethical and moral issue of desert - what makes some people deserving of a comfortable life and others not. And how can you live comfortably when so many in the world are struggling without being able to believe that there is some amount of desert involved. These are tricky moral and political issues but I think they are reflective of changes in our society and are expressed in some of the experiences of resentment that the OP is describing.  So I think the resentment is real, but I think it's origin is more complicated than individual moral failing.

Second, and related, I think we have turned a lot of things into competitions that don't really make sense as competitive endeavors (again this is related because these competitions are being used to access competitive college admissions). What in the world does it mean to be top 5 in math? What is the difference between top 5 and top 10. Look at the national spelling bee. What were there, six or seven winners this year. Clearly, all these kids can spell. In the ballet world, there are now competitions for ballet dancers. My middle DD loves art and it is frustrating how all opportunities to display or showcase artwork are now competitions. People won't bother if there isn't a prize. I just found out recently that there is competitive birdwatching (my son and I are amateur bird watchers). So you can use that formerly peaceful hobby to build your resume. Every year as I am out doing my solo summer recover from homeschooling backpacks I now run into the super athletes trying to break the FKT (fastest known time) for a particular trail. So much for just walking. Even  volunteer organizations hand out awards for hours worked. There really has been a sea change in how we participate in formerly non-competitive, recreational activities. And, kids know it. They know they are supposed to win at whatever they do. Yet, the truth about competition is that winning is predicated on someone else losing. Many, many, many people are never winners at all. It's not just you find your passion and I'll find mine. Most of us are never going to win. Winners like winning because most people don't. Sometimes it feels like the winners want not only to win, but they also want to insist that everyone else be happy for their wins. Year after year, tons of kids are required to sit through award ceremony after award ceremony watching the same kids be recognized over and over again, as if all of the important things in life can be summed up in a few academic and athletic awards. I think it can be really frustrating for many many people. 

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11 minutes ago, hepatica said:

My middle DD loves art and it is frustrating how all opportunities to display or showcase artwork are now competitions. People won't bother if there isn't a prize. I just found out recently that there is competitive birdwatching (my son and I are amateur bird watchers). So you can use that formerly peaceful hobby to build your resume. Every year as I am out doing my solo summer recover from homeschooling backpacks I now run into the super athletes trying to break the FKT (fastest known time) for a particular trail. So much for just walking. Even  volunteer organizations hand out awards for hours worked. There really has been a sea change in how we participate in formerly non-competitive, recreational activities. And, kids know it.

I find this very poignant. 

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On 9/5/2019 at 9:55 PM, gardenmom5 said:

I fully agree with this.

one thing I wish people who find it hard to be happy for others (for whatever reason), would ask themselves -"If I can't be happy for ___, why should anyone else be happy for me?"

let us all rejoice with each other, mourn with each other, and commiserate with each other.  and just support each other!

 

I think it is all in the presentation.   My group tended to like the thinly veiled brag,  Things like:

"Oh ugh, my son got into all 4 Ivy schools and now we just can't decide which to go.  This is just SO HARD!"

"Oh ugh, my son got first place AGAIN, and we have no more room on the shelf for his new trophies!"

"Oh ugh, my son has too many AP credits and we found out the school he wants to go to doesn't take that many, whatever are we going to do?"

I would have been far more receptive to simple comments like:

"Jonny has worked so hard, given up social activities he really wanted to go to, and has some sleepless nights, but he accomplished his goal to get into an Ivy school!"

"Suzie has such a gift at soccer and we are so thankful she found something she can enjoy so much.  We are proud of her and her ability to get trophies"

"We just found out Sally won't get full credits for all of her AP classes, but we still think her taking them was a good idea, she has really learned a lot."

 

 

Edited by DawnM
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I don't mind hearing about other peoples' kids' accomplishments of whatever sort.  I do get tired of it when it seems like a significantly above-average amount of accomplishment reporting, and I don't know how I'm making that judgment - soft social skills I guess.

Like, there are some people to whom you can say, hey, the weather sure is nice today!  What do you think about this late summer weather?  And they'll say, yep, it's been nice enough for DD16 to do her half-marathon while she trains for the big one in Atlanta next month.  And you say, awesome, so cool that she's running a half-marathon!  I'm terrible at exercise, art is more my speed, what kind of art do you like? and they say well, I love the fine art DS has been showing around the county this week at the local fair; he's super into French Reconstructionism [obviously I'm making this up] and between that and his high stats on the SATs and how he gets up at 5am to milk the cows and has saved $20k working summers as a Top Lifeguard, I think he'll be okay for college.  I'm so proud! And you say, wow, that's a lot of work! and they say yes, I don't know why other people don't just get their kids to work harder, luckily we have a family culture of hard work and self-support and community service but to each their own. And you say well, that's great that he's saved that much money, my daughter hasn't really worked much during high school as we take the summers off and another person chimes in and says don't you know that the thing to do in summer is internships and seminars?  And of course if you follow your kids' interests, which is just the way we do it but of course do what you want even if it is school-in-a-box and not any different really than the local PS, your kids can become seriously competitive for major scholarships and end up at [insert $60k/yr school here].  

I mean it goes on and on.  

 

 

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11 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

 

I never believed that bc I didn't have the kind of up-bringing that would ever inspire such nonsense.  When my teachers would say stuff like that, I was the kid sent to the principal for telling them they were liars.  Not because I was wrong, but because I said it.  Which didn't exactly inspire more confidence in anyone at school. I don't tell my kids that.  It's just not true.  I can't even tell them they can go to any college they want if they just work hard enough, because that's a lie too.

 

I am a school counselor, I never tell my students that.  I am very short and currently quite overweight for my height.  I often stand in front of classes and give the example that I could want to be a professional basketball player all day long, but I can't make it happen, no matter how hard I try.   However, I have my own talents and abilities that can be used in a career.   They seem to get the message.  We all have things we are great at.

Right now my son is in the pre-engineering program at his college.  I don't think he is going to make it into engineering,.   I don't have STEM kids, I have very creative kids.  His talents lie in creative fields, but I am going to let him figure that out.   Sigh (sigh about him not taking advice about a major, I am very proud of them for who they are and know God created him to be exactly the way he is.)

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1 hour ago, hepatica said:

I have been thinking about this a bit over the last couple of days and I think there a two related things at work here. And, I will admit that I often feel myself have a bit of an eye roll reaction to hearing about the accomplishments (wins) of high achieving young people, so I am thinking a lot about why that is.

First, I think we are framing it too much along the lines of an individual failing of the people who are not able to celebrate the wins of other people's children. We do this a lot in society. We talk about racism or sexism as if they are things that are felt in the hearts of individuals rather than systems and structures in society and culture that advantage some and disadvantage others. So, as I said earlier,  I think part of what might be going on is that our economy and society and culture are changing in ways that confer great advantage to high achievement in some areas (the knowledge economy) and that leave large swaths of the population struggling for what seemed normal and attainable for many more people just decades ago. It's not really clear individually what any of us are supposed to do about this, but it is clear that the gap between those who make it (who are increasingly wealthy) and those who don't is really widening. And, the ticket to that successful side of the chasm runs through top colleges and universities A kid who is super accomplished in something like math or the spelling bee or even sports can parlay that skill into a admission to a top college and secure their path into the successful side. All the parents I know who spend countless hours schlepping their kids to coaches and youth sporting events are not doing it because they expect their kids to become professional athletes. They want college scholarships to top universities or they want an admissions hook to those universities. So I think the resentment that people feel is borne of this sense of scarcity - the success of the few is, by definition in this economy, predicated on them beating everyone else - standing out as better, meaning more skilled, more accomplished, more driven, more focused. In other words, the wins carry future financial consequences and they have come to somehow signify greater moral weight. These are just better people. They work harder (seems everyone is determined to describe success in the moral language of hard work), they sacrificed etc... In other words, it raises the ethical and moral issue of desert - what makes some people deserving of a comfortable life and others not. And how can you live comfortably when so many in the world are struggling without being able to believe that there is some amount of desert involved. These are tricky moral and political issues but I think they are reflective of changes in our society and are expressed in some of the experiences of resentment that the OP is describing.  So I think the resentment is real, but I think it's origin is more complicated than individual moral failing.

Second, and related, I think we have turned a lot of things into competitions that don't really make sense as competitive endeavors (again this is related because these competitions are being used to access competitive college admissions). What in the world does it mean to be top 5 in math? What is the difference between top 5 and top 10. Look at the national spelling bee. What were there, six or seven winners this year. Clearly, all these kids can spell. In the ballet world, there are now competitions for ballet dancers. My middle DD loves art and it is frustrating how all opportunities to display or showcase artwork are now competitions. People won't bother if there isn't a prize. I just found out recently that there is competitive birdwatching (my son and I are amateur bird watchers). So you can use that formerly peaceful hobby to build your resume. Every year as I am out doing my solo summer recover from homeschooling backpacks I now run into the super athletes trying to break the FKT (fastest known time) for a particular trail. So much for just walking. Even  volunteer organizations hand out awards for hours worked. There really has been a sea change in how we participate in formerly non-competitive, recreational activities. And, kids know it. They know they are supposed to win at whatever they do. Yet, the truth about competition is that winning is predicated on someone else losing. Many, many, many people are never winners at all. It's not just you find your passion and I'll find mine. Most of us are never going to win. Winners like winning because most people don't. Sometimes it feels like the winners want not only to win, but they also want to insist that everyone else be happy for their wins. Year after year, tons of kids are required to sit through award ceremony after award ceremony watching the same kids be recognized over and over again, as if all of the important things in life can be summed up in a few academic and athletic awards. I think it can be really frustrating for many many people. 

YES to all of this! Thank you for bringing all my vague thoughts into clarity:)

It makes me think of the aforementioned link to the teen who plays all 144 instruments -- which is awesome! But he has a website, fb, is getting interviews, is on local news-- I can't help but be cynical and assume it's him and his parents paving a way to appear unique when he applies to college. It reeks of self promotion.  Then I think of my father-in-law who everyone describes as a Renaissance man -- he paints, he knows around 10 different instruments, he can quote whole passages of Shakespeare, and can also literally fix anything in a house, has run two businesses, and is commonly described as a "Man of the People" because he is everyone's friend from every walk of life.  He won't get any awards and never sought them but he is interested by EVERYTHING and always learning.  

And I hated those award ceremonies.  I hated them when I didn't win anything (middle school) and when I did (high school).  They seemed so meaningless.  Especially after all of us "academically oriented students" still floundered in college after our high school underprepared us! 

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Honestly, I do think it is an individual failing to be jealous of another person's accomplishments. And I especially think it petty to be jealous of a child's accomplishments. 

My kids excelled in sports (except my middle child) and they are competitive by nature and a few are perfectionists as well. I always told them that there is always someone smarter than you, faster than you, more talented than you. Look around for those people and learn from them. Everyone you meet can teach you something useful or wonderful.

I did not schlepp my kids around for college scholarships and frankly, I find that insulting.  I schelpped them around because they wanted it and worked hard for what they got. And it was a privilege to see my kids marry their talent, desire, and work ethic to something they love.

If the adult is jealous, they are teaching their child all the wrong things. You don't have to win a competition to have success. Getting your kids to write their own criteria for success is teaching them resilience and humility and that striving for better is not in vain. You can place first and have not have done well, you can place last and have done the best you have ever done. Attitude is so important and parents are huge teaching it.

Celebrate your kids achievements whatever they are- tell people about them, tell a backstory. You might hear some great stories about their kids too. Then we can make the world a little kinder.

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8 minutes ago, MysteryJen said:

Honestly, I do think it is an individual failing to be jealous of another person's accomplishments. And I especially think it petty to be jealous of a child's accomplishments. 

My kids excelled in sports (except my middle child) and they are competitive by nature and a few are perfectionists as well. I always told them that there is always someone smarter than you, faster than you, more talented than you. Look around for those people and learn from them. Everyone you meet can teach you something useful or wonderful.

I did not schlepp my kids around for college scholarships and frankly, I find that insulting.  I schelpped them around because they wanted it and worked hard for what they got. And it was a privilege to see my kids marry their talent, desire, and work ethic to something they love.

If the adult is jealous, they are teaching their child all the wrong things. You don't have to win a competition to have success. Getting your kids to write their own criteria for success is teaching them resilience and humility and that striving for better is not in vain. You can place first and have not have done well, you can place last and have done the best you have ever done. Attitude is so important and parents are huge teaching it.

Celebrate your kids achievements whatever they are- tell people about them, tell a backstory. You might hear some great stories about their kids too. Then we can make the world a little kinder.

Nothing I said was insulting. It was descriptive of a reality of which I am very much aware because I am surrounded by it. 

Why is resentment a moral failing for the losers, who are required to be gracious in the face of loss and who need to work to make the world kinder, but it is fine to be insulted by a discussion of the underlying social and economic motivation behind much of youth sports? Perhaps there is resentment on both sides and that might actually be worth exploring. 

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Just now, hepatica said:

Nothing I said was insulting. It was descriptive of a reality of which I am very much aware because I am surrounded by it. 

Why is resentment a moral failing for the losers, who are required to be gracious in the face of loss and who need to work to make the world kinder, but it is fine to be insulted by a discussion of the underlying social and economic motivation behind much of youth sports? Perhaps there is resentment on both sides and that might actually be worth exploring. 

 

Aaand this is why I prefer to celebrate the journey and growth rather than any particular destination or achievement.

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I think it's a huge misperception to assume jealousy is the motivation behind not wanting to hear constantly about how awesome someone or their kids are.  I am not jealous, anyway - I'm wealthy, I have 7 kids, a stable marriage, a good brain, I do the right thing, I work from home, when I feel like working, in my pajamas.

Really, I'm not jealous of your kid who got a sports scholarship or got into HYP or got a full ride to Duke; I'm not jealous of the Queen of England; I'm not jealous of someone who can play 40 instruments.  

I am jealous of some things - people who believe in a concrete religion and can therefore participate in a religious community and services.  Boy am I jealous of that.  If there are people whose toddlers don't crayon on walls and whose middle-grade kids don't leave legos out to be stepped on, I'm jealous of that, a little, barring what has to be done to keep these kids in line (as my energy for such a thing is limited).  

And I like hearing about people's accomplishments and joys and their kids' accomplishments and joys.  I just don't like hearing about them constantly, over and over, as a reaction to 50%+ of our topics of communication.  Similarly, if I brought up my wealth and business success, ease of reproduction, stable marriage, etc. every time we talked about anything, it would become grating.  It's become grating to me just in this single post.

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2 hours ago, hepatica said:

I have been thinking about this a bit over the last couple of days and I think there a two related things at work here. And, I will admit that I often feel myself have a bit of an eye roll reaction to hearing about the accomplishments (wins) of high achieving young people, so I am thinking a lot about why that is.

First, I think we are framing it too much along the lines of an individual failing of the people who are not able to celebrate the wins of other people's children. We do this a lot in society. We talk about racism or sexism as if they are things that are felt in the hearts of individuals rather than systems and structures in society and culture that advantage some and disadvantage others. So, as I said earlier,  I think part of what might be going on is that our economy and society and culture are changing in ways that confer great advantage to high achievement in some areas (the knowledge economy) and that leave large swaths of the population struggling for what seemed normal and attainable for many more people just decades ago. It's not really clear individually what any of us are supposed to do about this, but it is clear that the gap between those who make it (who are increasingly wealthy) and those who don't is really widening. And, the ticket to that successful side of the chasm runs through top colleges and universities A kid who is super accomplished in something like math or the spelling bee or even sports can parlay that skill into a admission to a top college and secure their path into the successful side. All the parents I know who spend countless hours schlepping their kids to coaches and youth sporting events are not doing it because they expect their kids to become professional athletes. They want college scholarships to top universities or they want an admissions hook to those universities. So I think the resentment that people feel is borne of this sense of scarcity - the success of the few is, by definition in this economy, predicated on them beating everyone else - standing out as better, meaning more skilled, more accomplished, more driven, more focused. In other words, the wins carry future financial consequences and they have come to somehow signify greater moral weight. These are just better people. They work harder (seems everyone is determined to describe success in the moral language of hard work), they sacrificed etc... In other words, it raises the ethical and moral issue of desert - what makes some people deserving of a comfortable life and others not. And how can you live comfortably when so many in the world are struggling without being able to believe that there is some amount of desert involved. These are tricky moral and political issues but I think they are reflective of changes in our society and are expressed in some of the experiences of resentment that the OP is describing.  So I think the resentment is real, but I think it's origin is more complicated than individual moral failing.

Second, and related, I think we have turned a lot of things into competitions that don't really make sense as competitive endeavors (again this is related because these competitions are being used to access competitive college admissions). What in the world does it mean to be top 5 in math? What is the difference between top 5 and top 10. Look at the national spelling bee. What were there, six or seven winners this year. Clearly, all these kids can spell. In the ballet world, there are now competitions for ballet dancers. My middle DD loves art and it is frustrating how all opportunities to display or showcase artwork are now competitions. People won't bother if there isn't a prize. I just found out recently that there is competitive birdwatching (my son and I are amateur bird watchers). So you can use that formerly peaceful hobby to build your resume. Every year as I am out doing my solo summer recover from homeschooling backpacks I now run into the super athletes trying to break the FKT (fastest known time) for a particular trail. So much for just walking. Even  volunteer organizations hand out awards for hours worked. There really has been a sea change in how we participate in formerly non-competitive, recreational activities. And, kids know it. They know they are supposed to win at whatever they do. Yet, the truth about competition is that winning is predicated on someone else losing. Many, many, many people are never winners at all. It's not just you find your passion and I'll find mine. Most of us are never going to win. Winners like winning because most people don't. Sometimes it feels like the winners want not only to win, but they also want to insist that everyone else be happy for their wins. Year after year, tons of kids are required to sit through award ceremony after award ceremony watching the same kids be recognized over and over again, as if all of the important things in life can be summed up in a few academic and athletic awards. I think it can be really frustrating for many many people. 

This feels pretty true to me.

i try not to be a “things were better in the olden days” type but I do see truth in this.

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2 hours ago, DawnM said:

 

I think it is all in the presentation.   My group tended to like the thinly veiled brag,  Things like:

"Oh ugh, my son got into all 4 Ivy schools and now we just can't decide which to go.  This is just SO HARD!"   --- well, I guess you'll just have to tape their names to the wall and throw darts.

"Oh ugh, my son got first place AGAIN, and we have no more room on the shelf for his new trophies!"  -- well, I guess you'll just have to get rid of some to make space

"Oh ugh, my son has too many AP credits and we found out the school he wants to go to doesn't take that many, whatever are we going to do?"  - well, c'est la vie  

I would have been far more receptive to simple comments like:

"Jonny has worked so hard, given up social activities he really wanted to go to, and has some sleepless nights, but he accomplished his goal to get into an Ivy school!"

"Suzie has such a gift at soccer and we are so thankful she found something she can enjoy so much.  We are proud of her and her ability to get trophies"

"We just found out Sally won't get full credits for all of her AP classes, but we still think her taking them was a good idea, she has really learned a lot."

 

 

the comments in your first set of examples... aren't  gracious towards others either.  your right - they are the "see how humble I am by making a deprecating lament?" - those making those questions/remarks, should still be asking themselves "If I can't rejoice with others, why should anyone rejoice with me?"

my mother-in-law used to jump on anyone who said they were 'proud' of their child.  "we're not 'proud', we're humbly grateful"..  (give. me. a. break.)

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47 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

the comments in your first set of examples... aren't  gracious towards others either.  your right - they are the "see how humble I am by making a deprecating lament?" - those making those questions/remarks, should still be asking themselves "If I can't rejoice with others, why should anyone rejoice with me?"

my mother-in-law used to jump on anyone who said they were 'proud' of their child.  "we're not 'proud', we're humbly grateful"..  (give. me. a. break.)

My brother, who is a really nice guy and I love, always says "we are blessed,"  when talking about his kids accomplishments or their vacations or whatever.  It drives me bananas. In the back of my mind I am thinking, "right, and I guess that means we are damned??"

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2 minutes ago, hepatica said:

My brother, who is a really nice guy and I love, always says "we are blessed,"  when talking about his kids accomplishments or their vacations or whatever.  It drives me bananas. In the back of my mind I am thinking, "right, and I guess that means we are damned??"

That sort of language isn’t even allowed on the special needs group I’m a part of on Facebook. Right up there with “I prayed fervently and my child is okay”.  Because the corollaries are corrosive and hurtful and quite frankly unbiblical, too.  Lots of other families prayed hard and their children died.  Lots of us with severely injured children are still blessed in a variety of ways.  Etc etc.  

At first I thought the policy was over the top but now I see the wisdom there, at least for public discussion with a mixed audience in terms of faith and outcomes.

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1 hour ago, moonflower said:

I think it's a huge misperception to assume jealousy is the motivation behind not wanting to hear constantly about how awesome someone or their kids are.  I am not jealous, anyway - I'm wealthy, I have 7 kids, a stable marriage, a good brain, I do the right thing, I work from home, when I feel like working, in my pajamas.

Really, I'm not jealous of your kid who got a sports scholarship or got into HYP or got a full ride to Duke; I'm not jealous of the Queen of England; I'm not jealous of someone who can play 40 instruments.  

I am jealous of some things - people who believe in a concrete religion and can therefore participate in a religious community and services.  Boy am I jealous of that.  If there are people whose toddlers don't crayon on walls and whose middle-grade kids don't leave legos out to be stepped on, I'm jealous of that, a little, barring what has to be done to keep these kids in line (as my energy for such a thing is limited).  

And I like hearing about people's accomplishments and joys and their kids' accomplishments and joys.  I just don't like hearing about them constantly, over and over, as a reaction to 50%+ of our topics of communication.  Similarly, if I brought up my wealth and business success, ease of reproduction, stable marriage, etc. every time we talked about anything, it would become grating.  It's become grating to me just in this single post.

Good point. I think I tend to think about jealousy as a more individual thing - like I am jealous of a particular person. I think of resentment as a larger, more diffuse feeling of anger or unfairness. So I don't think I feel jealous either toward many individuals (although there are days when I come home and hang my head and just wish that at least something could be easy for my middle DD), but I do think I feel resentment about some things. Like youth sports. I think I resent the gentrification of youth sports. Seems the wealthy have overtaken youth sports as well - as if the country club and the yacht club were not enough, they have overtaken baseball and basketball and track etc. The percentage of division 1 college scholarships going to first generation college students is plummeting. 

 

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I've been reading this thread with interest because it hits home. I have a super high-achieving kid and one who struggles with special needs. Both work extremely hard in their own way. Kid 1 has awards and achievements that he's busted his butt to earn. We (family and community) celebrate those. Kid 2's efforts aren't visible to most of the outside world. But we praise them and acknowledge them at every single opportunity. (Those especially close to him do as well.) In many ways, he's almost working harder trying to overcome what life's lotteryhas dealt him. And he's come so far! But it stinks. He's very aware of the difference in how the world sees the two of them. He has no real passions to pursue at this point despite our endless encouragement and offers to support and fund said interests as much as we can. I worry so much about him. He craves that outside validation. So we're working on finding a small, visible, quantifiable goal, something other people can see. It's a tough line to walk. On the one hand, the kid who achieves is well-deserving of praise. I'm not going to cheat him and skimp on it. But hard work and perseverance come in many forms. Yet the world at large only sees one kind. Not sure what my point is here. It's just something I'm trying to resolve for myself, I guess.

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30 minutes ago, hepatica said:

My brother, who is a really nice guy and I love, always says "we are blessed,"  when talking about his kids accomplishments or their vacations or whatever.  It drives me bananas. In the back of my mind I am thinking, "right, and I guess that means we are damned??"

really depends upon tone.

eta: I've observed some who say it, come across as though they are more deserving than others.  some have display a lack of gratitude in their words.  true gratitude can't be faked.

25 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

That sort of language isn’t even allowed on the special needs group I’m a part of on Facebook. Right up there with “I prayed fervently and my child is okay”.  Because the corollaries are corrosive and hurtful and quite frankly unbiblical, too.  Lots of other families prayed hard and their children died.  Lots of us with severely injured children are still blessed in a variety of ways.  Etc etc.  

At first I thought the policy was over the top but now I see the wisdom there, at least for public discussion with a mixed audience in terms of faith and outcomes.

you can insert any challenge/misfortune/etc.etc.etc. -  I remember in the depths of financial reverses and being able to say "I feel so blessed"...it surprised me, and it was weird.  ask me how, and I probably couldn't have given a coherent answer.  maybe it was just how my faith had grown during that time.   While I have felt like God has been with me with dudeling - those who are not religious might not understand. (for me, God has been with me guiding me on therapies that can help (now, if we could just get dudeling to cooperate...), comforting me when I'm feeling overwhelmed. - I consider those blessings, and or more long-term value/depth-of-meaning than an 'experience' vacation/etc.)

 

and sometimes you have to work to get them - they're not just given.  I know a woman who wants a cure for her severely disabled husband.  they've previously done a therapy that has helped considerably. (according to her.)  but stopped for unknown reason (money?), and his progress was lost.  she wants it all back, just for the asking without having to actually do anything but ask.  doesn't work that way.

I've learned praying for a burden to be lifted, rarely happens.  praying for wisdom in how to best support/handle something - is more likely to get a useful answer.

 

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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Just now, Arctic Mama said:

@Valley Girl hugs to your son!  That’s so hard to balance out and try to navigate as a parent.

I know so many parents on this board have the same issue. And I know even more here who don't parent SN kids are sympathetic in ways to larger world isn't. That's comforting. Thanks, Arctic Mama.

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IME, It makes people uncomfortable to hear about the day-to-day stuff, even good stuff, about kids who are struggling with developmental issues, illnesses, diseases, etc. Especially when things aren't going to get better. It is hard to get it "right" without sounding like...oh, I don't know...you are fishing for pity or sympathy. I might be genuinely happy that XYZ didn't happen but it can be a downer for someone else to hear XYZ is even an issue.

And also at some points, privacy issues come into play. It is the child's journey at the center of it all. The parent is alongside but is living a different journey. The things a parent can share when her child is 18 months or 8 years might be OK but isn't just hers to share when the child is 16 years.

And some people are just jerks. I mentioned in passing DD and I were watching squirrels and noticed how fat they were one fall. I got all kinds of snarky comments..."oh, is that a thing? Who watches squirrels? heh-heh-heh." Well, yeah, it is when it is hard to leave the house bc you're not doing well health-wise.

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I think the "blessed" language is a clumsy way of saying "I didn't do anything to merit this good thing in my life and I know things could have gone differently." I don't think it's a good extrapolation to take it to mean someone with more difficult or different circumstances isn't "blessed". (Health and wealth people not withstanding)

My pastor with a profoundly disabled child always talks about how people don't fully appreciate the blessing of their healthy children. But I know he absolutely *doesn't* mean that his daughter with multiple special needs isn't a blessing to his family in her own right.

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Just now, EmseB said:

I think the "blessed" language is a clumsy way of saying "I didn't do anything to merit this good thing in my life and I know things could have gone differently." I don't think it's a good extrapolation to take it to mean someone with more difficult or different circumstances isn't "blessed". (Health and wealth people not withstanding)

My pastor with a profoundly disabled child always talks about how people don't fully appreciate the blessing of their healthy children. But I know he absolutely *doesn't* mean that his daughter with multiple special needs isn't a blessing to his family in her own right.

I think the difference comes in how you think about it vs what you say.  I think we are incredibly blessed and were from the get go in our circumstances, hard as they are.  Many good things have come of them and God has used this for his glory.  BUT BUT BUT how I talk about this with my family or church friends is different than how I talk about it in a special needs group or random homeschool parents.  

Not every framing is appropriate or understood in every audience.  That is where some of the horn tooting for really skilled and adept kids can go awry, I think.  The parent talks about it in a weird humble brag or to other families without being sensitive to what they may be ‘hearing’ from what is actually said.  It shouldn’t matter but in real life it often does.

There are some moms I just cannot talk about my successful home schoolers with without poking, inadvertently, at her own pains and insecurities.  And because I love her and know this, I don’t.  I phrase it different or leave out details or steer the conversation to safer bean dips.  

A little reading of the room or group dynamics can go a long way in this, and I think it does matter in being kind to others even while we are proud of our kids where they are at.  Just like you don’t talk about all your easy pregnancies with a mom who just had a stillbirth, sensitivity in education and attainment is really important. There are safe moms and friends to celebrate the high test scores or orchestra achievement or cheer finals with, and ones who just don’t or can’t get it and take it well.  That’s life, I think.

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3 hours ago, DawnM said:

Right now my son is in the pre-engineering program at his college.  I don't think he is going to make it into engineering,.   I don't have STEM kids, I have very creative kids.  His talents lie in creative fields, but I am going to let him figure that out.   Sigh (sigh about him not taking advice about a major, I am very proud of them for who they are and know God created him to be exactly the way he is.)

 

There are lots of creative people in engineering school. I know one my age who can draw manga very well, another who does urban planning which requires lots of drawing. Civil engineering and mechanical engineering requires quite a lot of creativity in some of their specialization e.g prosthetics (mechanical), town planning with regards to traffic (civil), bridges and buildings  (civil, though there are more constraints to work around there and architects are also involved).

I was a “creative” kid who couldn’t draw well until handed a digitizer and tablet (similar to Wacom) in engineering school. I might have passed the school of architecture entrance exam if they allow the drawing test on HP workstations with the digitizer pens and drawing tablets instead of only having a pencil and paper exam.

Sometimes people muddle through to find what they want, sometimes they muddle through to find out what they don’t want. Most times it’s a combination.

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20 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

There are lots of creative people in engineering school. I know one my age who can draw manga very well, another who does urban planning which requires lots of drawing. Civil engineering and mechanical engineering requires quite a lot of creativity in some of their specialization e.g prosthetics (mechanical), town planning with regards to traffic (civil), bridges and buildings  (civil, though there are more constraints to work around there and architects are also involved).

I was a “creative” kid who couldn’t draw well until handed a digitizer and tablet (similar to Wacom) in engineering school. I might have passed the school of architecture entrance exam if they allow the drawing test on HP workstations with the digitizer pens and drawing tablets instead of only having a pencil and paper exam.

Sometimes people muddle through to find what they want, sometimes they muddle through to find out what they don’t want. Most times it’s a combination.

 

True, but I am not sure he is going to make it through Chem and Calc in college, so he will have to be creative a different way.   He is not "doubly blessed" with a STEM mind and creativity.

My other son uses manga but isn't doing it with Engineering. 

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47 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

IME, It makes people uncomfortable to hear about the day-to-day stuff, even good stuff, about kids who are struggling with developmental issues, illnesses, diseases, etc. Especially when things aren't going to get better. It is hard to get it "right" without sounding like...oh, I don't know...you are fishing for pity or sympathy. I might be genuinely happy that XYZ didn't happen but it can be a downer for someone else to hear XYZ is even an issue.

And also at some points, privacy issues come into play. It is the child's journey at the center of it all. The parent is alongside but is living a different journey. The things a parent can share when her child is 18 months or 8 years might be OK but isn't just hers to share when the child is 16 years.

And some people are just jerks. I mentioned in passing DD and I were watching squirrels and noticed how fat they were one fall. I got all kinds of snarky comments..."oh, is that a thing? Who watches squirrels? heh-heh-heh." Well, yeah, it is when it is hard to leave the house bc you're not doing well health-wise.

I agree wholeheartedly with the bolded. We are VERY careful about what we say and to whom regarding DS's issues. In part, I think that's why people don't always know what to make of him. But his challenges are his choice to share or not. And he has requested privacy. We've shared info only when we've felt it was necessary (and always with his approval) because he's nearly an adult. Most of our extended family have not be confided in. They may have guessed at issues but are too polite to push for details that haven't been offered.

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On 9/5/2019 at 8:33 PM, maize said:

Because we tend not to blame people for their visible physical disabilities.

 

Do you have a kid in that category?  Because in my experience people spread blame pretty widely.  

I've had people who didn't know my kid is adopted judge me for not aborting him (although there was no way of predicting his disability before birth).    I've had people who do know my kid is adopted who have judged me for adopting him, because by doing so I did a horrible thing to my other children.  We took my child out of state for medical care that saved his life last spring.  I've had people judge me for that choice because I left my other kids with grandparents, and people judge me for that because surely it would have been better to let him die.  And many of those judgmental comments were made in earshot of my son.  

And my experience as a parent is tempered by the fact that my kid is verbal, and quite intelligent.  People often seem to confuse those two traits with his value as a human being.  Before I was his parent, I was a special educator, working with kids who had physical disabilities, and also cognitive or communication difficulties.  Every time we went out in public, which was often because I did a lot of Community Based Instruction, there were people who judged my students' right to be present or occupy space in the community.  Parents who advocate for their children to be included receive an enormous amount of judgement. 

I don't think it's helpful to have competitions about whose lot is harder.   I have a sibling who has both ASD and psychosis.    I started my career in the most restrictive placements for kids with mental illness.  I know things can be hard for people with mental illness and their parents.  But the narrative that somehow society is doing OK by people with complex visible disabilities is just false.  

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5 hours ago, DawnM said:

 

 We all have things we are great at.

 

No we don’t. We really don’t. And being great at various things doesn’t carry the same weight and respect. 

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2 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Do you have a kid in that category?  Because in my experience people spread blame pretty widely.  

I've had people who didn't know my kid is adopted judge me for not aborting him (although there was no way of predicting his disability before birth).    I've had people who do know my kid is adopted who have judged me for adopting him, because by doing so I did a horrible thing to my other children.  We took my child out of state for medical care that saved his life last spring.  I've had people judge me for that choice because I left my other kids with grandparents, and people judge me for that because surely it would have been better to let him die.  And many of those judgmental comments were made in earshot of my son.  

And my experience as a parent is tempered by the fact that my kid is verbal, and quite intelligent.  People often seem to confuse those two traits with his value as a human being.  Before I was his parent, I was a special educator, working with kids who had physical disabilities, and also cognitive or communication difficulties.  Every time we went out in public, which was often because I did a lot of Community Based Instruction, there were people who judged my students' right to be present or occupy space in the community.  Parents who advocate for their children to be included receive an enormous amount of judgement. 

I don't think it's helpful to have competitions about whose lot is harder.   I have a sibling who has both ASD and psychosis.    I started my career in the most restrictive placements for kids with mental illness.  I know things can be hard for people with mental illness and their parents.  But the narrative that somehow society is doing OK by people with complex visible disabilities is just false.  

 

There is certainly plenty of room for improvement in the ways we as a society cope with physical disabilities. We've got a long way to go. (And comments about how any one should have been aborted are beyond horrific, a definite tell as to how some people perceive the relative value of disabled humans.)

But.

There is not, in my experience and that of my family, close to the same persistent stigma as attaches to mental health conditions. 

My husband has both readily (and not so readily) apparent physical disabilities and invisible on the surface (though also physical in nature) mental health struggles. There is no comparison in the understanding and willingness to accommodate for the first versus the second category.

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13 minutes ago, maize said:

 

There is certainly plenty of room for improvement in the ways we as a society cope with physical disabilities. We've got a long way to go.

But.

There is not, in my experience and that of my family, close to the same stigma as attaches to mental health conditions.

My husband has both readily (and not so readily) apparent physical disabilities and invisible on the surface (though also physical in nature) mental health struggles. There is no comparison in the understanding and willingness to accommodate for the first versus the second category.


I think that may be true with disabilities that are only physical.  I don't have experience with that population, and I will defer to you on that.  All my experience with physical disabilities has been with children who also have other disabilities. My students with physical disabilities all had intellectual and/or communication disabilities, and many of them also had medical, emotional, or sensory disabilities.  Both Arctic Mama's son, and the young man described as "easier" upthread sound similar to students I have taught.  In my experience, people in that category are often given the message that they aren't welcome, or that they don't belong.  Yes, there are some physical accommodations made.  People are usually willing to hold open a door.  There are curb cuts, and wheelchair ramps, and automatic door openers.  But there's also an assumption that that's all someone needs.  That just getting into the building is enough. Emotional supports, and educational supports, and empathy for kids with complex needs are very very lacking.  

I recently had a woman in church approach me.  She had heard that I "knew about" intellectual disability and wanted some advice about a family situation.  She had a cousin who had recently passed away, who was the mother and primary caregiver for her adult daughter who had an intellectual disability.  The daughter was now experiencing some "behavior problems" and the family suspected it was because her father wasn't doing the "right" things.  When I suggested that perhaps the behavior problems were related to grief, the woman was shocked.  She asked me  "Do you think someone 'like that' can grieve?"  I asked how the young woman had handled the funeral, and was told that they hadn't brought her because they were worried she'd be a distraction.  

My heart was broken for this young woman.  I can't imagine losing the most important person in my life, and then having people exclude me from the rituals of grieving.  I can't imagine having my grief unrecognized and unsupported in that way.  But that's not an uncommon experience for people with ID, in my experience.  

I am not saying that people with severe complex visible disabilities have it "worse", because I don't think that's a helpful way to frame it.  But I will push back pretty hard on the idea that they have it "better".   

 

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2 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


I think that may be true with disabilities that are only physical.  I don't have experience with that population, and I will defer to you on that.  All my experience with physical disabilities has been with children who also have other disabilities. My students with physical disabilities all had intellectual and/or communication disabilities, and many of them also had medical, emotional, or sensory disabilities.  Both Arctic Mama's son, and the young man described as "easier" upthread sound similar to students I have taught.  In my experience, people in that category are often given the message that they aren't welcome, or that they don't belong.  Yes, there are some physical accommodations made.  People are usually willing to hold open a door.  There are curb cuts, and wheelchair ramps, and automatic door openers.  But there's also an assumption that that's all someone needs.  That just getting into the building is enough. Emotional supports, and educational supports, and empathy for kids with complex needs are very very lacking.  

I recently had a woman in church approach me.  She had heard that I "knew about" intellectual disability and wanted some advice about a family situation.  She had a cousin who had recently passed away, who was the mother and primary caregiver for her adult daughter who had an intellectual disability.  The daughter was now experiencing some "behavior problems" and the family suspected it was because her father wasn't doing the "right" things.  When I suggested that perhaps the behavior problems were related to grief, the woman was shocked.  She asked me  "Do you think someone 'like that' can grieve?"  I asked how the young woman had handled the funeral, and was told that they hadn't brought her because they were worried she'd be a distraction.  

My heart was broken for this young woman.  I can't imagine losing the most important person in my life, and then having people exclude me from the rituals of grieving.  I can't imagine having my grief unrecognized and unsupported in that way.  But that's not an uncommon experience for people with ID, in my experience.  

I am not saying that people with severe complex visible disabilities have it "worse", because I don't think that's a helpful way to frame it.  But I will push back pretty hard on the idea that they have it "better".   

 

 

I do think the stigma that attaches to mental health disorders is likely within the same spectrum as stigma attached to intellectual disability--both involve brains not functioning "up to par" and there seems to be a strong tendency to hold people accountable to one degree or another for the functioning of their own brains.

There can also be, with any obvious disability, an automatic aversion reaction--people are uncomfortable. And people don't know what to expect or how to interact.

I don't think I have said anything about having it better or worse; there are of course levels of disability ranging from mild to profound in all kinds of combinations and complexity.

What I have seen:

My blind sister in law has serious struggles with life, struggles I wouldn't wish on anyone. Accommodations, such as they are, don't come near allowing her the simplicity of life that functioning eyes allow. Social interactions are complicated--not least because other people, while mostly solicitous, also tend to be uncomfortable and uncertain how to interact. It takes a lot of interacting before you stop being uncomfortably aware of milky non seeing eyes. Some people treat her like a child because somehow human brains are inclined to think that one area of dysfunction must be linked to others.

Her life is not easy.

I have never, however, heard anyone suggest that her lack of sight is really a matter of laziness, that she needs to snap out of it and start seeing normally, that her parents just didn't discipline her enough so they let her sight get out of hand, that she just needs to try harder to see, that her lack of sight must be caused by a poor marriage relationship, or any of the other personal fault attributions that get regularly heaped on people with mental illness and yes I believe in many cases also on those with intellectual disabilities.

That the handicap itself is primarily a matter of personal moral failure.

That was what I was talking about in the post you originally quoted. We tend to hold individuals accountable--personally and directly--for mental illness (and any neurological difference such as ADHD and ASD that affects primarily the way human brains function) in ways we don't for most other physical disabilities.

 

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9 hours ago, hepatica said:

So, as I said earlier,  I think part of what might be going on is that our economy and society and culture are changing in ways that confer great advantage to high achievement in some areas (the knowledge economy) and that leave large swaths of the population struggling for what seemed normal and attainable for many more people just decades ago.

 

My brother and only sibling was born in 1981. He would have made a good car mechanic but no one was hiring and he failed the health prerequisite test to work as a mechanic for the military. During his time in elementary school (Asia), there was already tracking/streaming so high academic achievers go to elite public elementary, middle and high schools. 

I wasn’t a good student in college but having a degree helped me get job interviews in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis. HR (US MNC) was looking for that bachelors degree to check the box. After my then boss interviewed me and made a tentative offer, HR just confirmed that I had a bachelors degree from the nearby public university and gave me an official job offer. 

My brother has said many times that I was born under a lucky star because academics was so easy for me despite my health issues. My brother is definitely happy for my “successes” but it does hurt him because my “successes” feel so unattainable to him. I was running an allergy induced fever during exam season, took Tylenol and coffee before the exam and managed to get good scores. My brother is healthy and studied very hard but the As weren’t coming on the academic subjects. It’s why he would ask me for help for his kid’s schooling but we don’t talk about my kids schooling. It’s a very sensitive area and my parents never compared me to him (other than saying how nice that he is healthy and not an ER regular like me).

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1 hour ago, maize said:

 

I do think the stigma that attaches to mental health disorders is likely within the same spectrum as stigma attached to intellectual disability--both involve brains not functioning "up to par" and there seems to be a strong tendency to hold people accountable to one degree or another for the functioning of their own brains.

There can also be, with any obvious disability, an automatic aversion reaction--people are uncomfortable. And people don't know what to expect or how to interact.

I don't think I have said anything about having it better or worse; there are of course levels of disability ranging from mild to profound in all kinds of combinations and complexity.

What I have seen:

My blind sister in law has serious struggles with life, struggles I wouldn't wish on anyone. Accommodations, such as they are, don't come near allowing her the simplicity of life that functioning eyes allow. Social interactions are complicated--not least because other people, while mostly solicitous, also tend to be uncomfortable and uncertain how to interact. It takes a lot of interacting before you stop being uncomfortably aware of milky non seeing eyes. Some people treat her like a child because somehow human brains are inclined to think that one area of dysfunction must be linked to others.

Her life is not easy.

I have never, however, heard anyone suggest that her lack of sight is really a matter of laziness, that she needs to snap out of it and start seeing normally, that her parents just didn't discipline her enough so they let her sight get out of hand, that she just needs to try harder to see, that her lack of sight must be caused by a poor marriage relationship, or any of the other personal fault attributions that get regularly heaped on people with mental illness and yes I believe in many cases also on those with intellectual disabilities.

That the handicap itself is primarily a matter of personal moral failure.

That was what I was talking about in the post you originally quoted. We tend to hold individuals accountable--personally and directly--for mental illness (and any neurological difference such as ADHD and ASD that affects primarily the way human brains function) in ways we don't for most other physical disabilities.

 

 

I think that the stigma against people with ID, or people who are assumed to have ID is different from the stigma against people with mental illness.  It’s less the belief that their disability is their fault and more the belief that they are less than human, and less deserving of a place in society.  I am not sure either belief can be considered less hurtful they’re both horrible.

 

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I think that the stigma against people with ID, or people who are assumed to have ID is different from the stigma against people with mental illness.  It’s less the belief that their disability is their fault and more the belief that they are less than human, and less deserving of a place in society.  I am not sure either belief can be considered less hurtful they’re both horrible.

 

That makes sense.

And is very sad.

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11 hours ago, moonflower said:

I don't mind hearing about other peoples' kids' accomplishments of whatever sort.  I do get tired of it when it seems like a significantly above-average amount of accomplishment reporting, and I don't know how I'm making that judgment - soft social skills I guess.

Like, there are some people to whom you can say, hey, the weather sure is nice today!  What do you think about this late summer weather?  And they'll say, yep, it's been nice enough for DD16 to do her half-marathon while she trains for the big one in Atlanta next month.  And you say, awesome, so cool that she's running a half-marathon!  I'm terrible at exercise, art is more my speed, what kind of art do you like? and they say well, I love the fine art DS has been showing around the county this week at the local fair; he's super into French Reconstructionism [obviously I'm making this up] and between that and his high stats on the SATs and how he gets up at 5am to milk the cows and has saved $20k working summers as a Top Lifeguard, I think he'll be okay for college.  I'm so proud! And you say, wow, that's a lot of work! and they say yes, I don't know why other people don't just get their kids to work harder, luckily we have a family culture of hard work and self-support and community service but to each their own. And you say well, that's great that he's saved that much money, my daughter hasn't really worked much during high school as we take the summers off and another person chimes in and says don't you know that the thing to do in summer is internships and seminars?  And of course if you follow your kids' interests, which is just the way we do it but of course do what you want even if it is school-in-a-box and not any different really than the local PS, your kids can become seriously competitive for major scholarships and end up at [insert $60k/yr school here].  

I mean it goes on and on.  

 

 

OMG, yes. That’s my SIL, although she isn’t as relentless about it now her kids are all grown with families and jobs and such. But yes. For years and years, any conversation with her was exactly like this...

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14 hours ago, moonflower said:

I don't mind hearing about other peoples' kids' accomplishments of whatever sort.  I do get tired of it when it seems like a significantly above-average amount of accomplishment reporting, and I don't know how I'm making that judgment - soft social skills I guess.

Like, there are some people to whom you can say, hey, the weather sure is nice today!  What do you think about this late summer weather?  And they'll say, yep, it's been nice enough for DD16 to do her half-marathon while she trains for the big one in Atlanta next month.  And you say, awesome, so cool that she's running a half-marathon!  I'm terrible at exercise, art is more my speed, what kind of art do you like? and they say well, I love the fine art DS has been showing around the county this week at the local fair; he's super into French Reconstructionism [obviously I'm making this up] and between that and his high stats on the SATs and how he gets up at 5am to milk the cows and has saved $20k working summers as a Top Lifeguard, I think he'll be okay for college.  I'm so proud! And you say, wow, that's a lot of work! and they say yes, I don't know why other people don't just get their kids to work harder, luckily we have a family culture of hard work and self-support and community service but to each their own. And you say well, that's great that he's saved that much money, my daughter hasn't really worked much during high school as we take the summers off and another person chimes in and says don't you know that the thing to do in summer is internships and seminars?  And of course if you follow your kids' interests, which is just the way we do it but of course do what you want even if it is school-in-a-box and not any different really than the local PS, your kids can become seriously competitive for major scholarships and end up at [insert $60k/yr school here].  

I mean it goes on and on.  

I would get that mostly from homeschoolers. But I  was not the "right" kind of homeschooler for most people.  Not Christian enough, not secular enough, not academic enough, not relaxed enough.

And, if I ever mentioned my kid with LDs, it was always "why can't they just work harder?"  That from parents of high-achieving, neurotypical, homeschoolers, private schoolers, public schoolers alike. 

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