Great Expectations, Building Dreams
CASE STUDY 1
Four-year-old Philip was exceptional. He could read, run faster than his friends, and was top of his violin class. Philip’s parents were sure the sun shone right out the top of his head. They would show him off to their friends by having him read or play the violin when they came to visit.
Philip had an older sister, Madison, but she 'wasn’t anywhere near as talented as Philip' was. His parents were convinced that he was truly gifted. Madison tried hard to please her parents, but she was never good enough. She felt frustrated, ignored and very sad. Madison started misbehaving. She decied it was better to get negative attention than none at all.
|There is nothing wrong with being proud parents. There IS a problem with comparing one child’s abilities to another. Parents should recognize each child’s unique abilities without elevating one child over another.|
|Children can get a distorted view of their own ability when their parents exaggerate, setting them up for disappointment and a feeling of failure once they leave the home environment and find they are not as “gifted” as their parents had proclaimed.|
|Children who are truly gifted need a balanced life experience. They also need to take their turn with responsibilities around the home and family. They also need to develop their social, emotional and physical skills so they can interact easily and appropriately with the world around them.|
|Children should not be forced into interest/career roles that do not suit them. They need to be recognized for their own strengths not other's expectations.|
CASE STUDY 2
You could say that nine-year-old Simone was a perfectionist: She couldn’t stand her room to be untidy or for her little brother to leave his toys around the living room. She would get frustrated if she didn’t write neatly enough, or if she spelled words wrong. Her parents told her not to be so hard on herself, but she couldn’t shake it. She was constantly frustrated by the extremely high expectations she put on herself. When she was 11 years old she decided she was too fat and decided to change her diet. Soon her mother feared she was becoming anorexic.
|We can help a child to relax and enjoy activities by suggesting they perfect only one or two activities. The rest are just for fun. This way, they can enjoy the feeling of satisfaction in perfecting select projects, while enjoying other projects without a lot of pressure. This also helps them prioritize actities into what matters and what really doesn't.|
|A child needs to be praised for doing his or her best and not for being perfect. Sometimes, with this kind of personality, it can be important not to insist on always doing one’s best so the child learns to relax.|
CASE STUDY 3
Davy was the middle child of three boys. His brothers were good in school and this pleased his parents. Davy liked writing stories and songs, and music was his favorite subject. Davy didn’t do well in any other classes in school. His parents would compare his grades with his brothers and brag about his brothers to their friends.
Davy wasn’t getting any positive attention from his parents. They said music would get him nowhere and wouldn’t give him teh income a ‘real’ job would. He began looking for other opportunities for significance and started getting into trouble. He experimented with drugs and alcohol in high school and eventually became addicted to both. He was a gifted songwriter, spending a lot of time alone playing his guitar and writing songs. He moved to another country and lost two marriages. It didn’t matter what he did or where he went, his parents’ disapproval dogged his life.
|Every child needs to be valued for who they are, with their own unique skills and abilities. Middle children, without the responsibility of being the oldest child (who is often “Mother’s Helper”) or the youngest (who is “the baby of the family”) often gets lost in the mix and will sometimes create negative attention just to be noticed.|
|Even though it is good to set expectations for children, the goals need to be achievable and include things they personally excel in or enjoy.|
|Children need to learn that doing their best is more important than being the winner.|
|Children need to learn that failure is an opportunity to learn something or improve., that sometimes doing your best doesn’t yield a win, and should be taught to deal with it.|
|Children should not be compared to one another and should be referred to in a positive way rather than negatively e.g. ‘always the black sheep.'|
|It is important to be wary of living out adult dreams through children.|
|Children should be encouraged to dream big and have help in achieving their goals.|