My Kid is NOT Average, and Pride Has Nothing to Do With It.

What can I say about the post, ‘My kid is average and I am oh so proud‘ ?

I can say that it makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the passive aggressive tone, maybe it’s the conflation of their child’s achievements and their own ego. I’m not sure.

What I think is damaging and breath-takingly dangerous about this post, is that it reinforces stereotypes that encourage discrimination and prejudice. Even if the opposite was the author’s intent. Which I’m not sure is the case.

My Kid is Not Average, and Pride Has Nothing to do with it,, Image: Purple flowers in grass
I feel that the problem for both the women at that table (as portrayed – and who knows if that is accurate?), and the author’s post – is that they are still stuck inside the school-box. What do I mean by that? I mean – that they seem to be judging their self-worth on the performance of their child. They’re still seeking some sort of validation through their child that they are doing OK as parents.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. I don’t mind what my kids do when they grow up. I don’t mind what they’re doing now. I don’t need external ‘good-work’ badges to make me feel good as a parent. If they’re happy, I’ll be happy. If they’re eventually able to live independently, I’ll be ecstatic. Because not everyone will get that chance with their kids. And some of those people might have been sitting around that table.

You see, having 2e kids means redefining the borders of the possible – because there is no guide, no road map. The easy is hard and the hard is easy.

My son recently walked normally down the road – that’s a victory. He also finished his 5th grade maths. That’s a victory. Neither is better than the other – they both took mountains of effort. One of the bravest things my son (who has SPD and HATES loud noises) did was to lie still in an MRI machine so his brain could be scanned. That is one of the moments that I am proudest of my boy.

But my son’s achievement has no impact on my self-worth. None. I am not ego-driven by what he can and can’t do – I don’t need external validation to feel better about myself based on what my son or daughter can do. I don’t need to compare them against other kids in some kind of macabre ‘winner takes all victory dance’. They make me happy every day just by being alive.

My kids and I spend an awful lot of time at hospitals. Particularly the specialist paediatric clinics. And I meet a lot of kids with special needs and their parents. One of the best conversations I had was with a mother whose son was non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair. She was one awesome mum – an old campaigner. When she talked with her son you could see the loving care and pride. Yes, mixed with sadness. But she was proud. Rightly so. She and her son had climbed metaphorical mountains. She could tell what her son needed by reading his facial expressions. He was patient and able to cope with waiting rooms. Her son might never get to talk, or compete in sports; get an F on an exam. He is still an amazing boy. His mother doesn’t need to list his achievements. He. Just. Is.

I don’t need to list my kids achievements to feel better about myself. No one should. I believe my kids are awesome. But you know what? I think ALL kids are awesome. But I don’t need to level the playing field. I don’t need to pretend that all children are equally brilliant at everything. I don’t need to pretend that every child has an equal chance of climbing the metaphorical mountain, whatever that mountain may be.

If you can’t be happy at someone else’s well-earned (or seemingly not so well-earned) achievement, I think it’s worth asking – where’s your stake in it? Where does your ego reside? Why are you even comparing?

7 Replies to “My Kid is NOT Average, and Pride Has Nothing to Do With It.”

  1. Thank you so much for this! Reading the majority of those awful comments is so disheartening…
    I fully realize that there are plenty of parents pushing their children too hard but I am currently dealing with trying to find the right program or balance for my son. He is so bored at school and he started to ' check out' I am constanting trying try find things to keep him simulated and interested in learning. I am supplementing him after school at home and can barely keep up. I just don't think people fully understand how exhausting it can be at times.
    and I agree. I just don't understand the mentality, how good someone else is at something has no bearing on how good you are.

  2. I hear you. It is hard enough to deal with the individual struggles of your own kids when they are atypical, without having to shoulder other people's envy at what they perceive you might be doing.
    You are doing a great job – I don't think there's any magic formula, it's taking baby steps and doing the best you can. We have a phrase in our house 'Holding back the avalanche'. I take it a day at a time and know that there are others out there doing their level-best as well. Hang in there!

  3. I hate it when she says her child is kind, sweet, etc., as though she thinks that just because I'm gifted, I'm NOT a good, loving person who cares about others. She talks as though giftedness and good character are mutually exclusive. And quite frankly, where her daughter learned to be kind I don't know, because apparently her mother teaches only hurt, exclusion, and stereotypes.

  4. Very true – it's a straw man argument and setting up a false dichotomy. Whether it was what she intended? Who knows. But it is catering to stereotypes and reinforcing them, which is never good. Thankyou for commenting.

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