Friday, October 30, 2009

Child's shortcomings

Are you open about your child's short comings or you don't talk about them with your friends?

As far as I am concerned ... I am not a very vocal person. I do not open up easily ... I take my time. Once I am comfortable with the person, I speak honestly. Mostly I underplay my kids ... that is something I am working on. I need to give them credit for their achievements and not necessarily talk about their short comings with friends.

But I have seen some moms who are very vocal right from the word go ... and all they talk is about how best the child is in sports ... academics.... etc. That amazes me actually.
There was one on one parent-teacher conferences 2 weeks back. The teacher set the expectations of each child and discussed on areas they could work on. For Eg: For Cantaloupe, the teacher said that she should really try to keep her hands to herself and not help other kids in her table. So when we mommies were discussing about how the conferences went, all parents maintained their child was almost perfect. Really ???

So, are you honest or you discuss your child's shortcomings as well?


Anonymous said...

I do both..
Like Ashwina, she is an excellent reader but has the most untidy writing.

Avasha has beautiful handwriting but doesnt double check her answers.

And the conferences, the teacher normally brings something that the child is lacking in, even my perfect A+ grade child has stuff that she needs to work on, be it taking her time to finish work, or not chatting so much or being more outgoing and putting hands up. Thats the point of conferences right, but I have seen most parents not telling the shortcoming of child...

B o o said...

My parents never discussed my shortcomings to anyone within my earshot. Thats something I ll definitely follow. Apart from that, I discuss the shortcomings of Ashu to my friends with an air of dismissal. As if I dont really care about it while I ctually do! :) thats something I noticed about myself.

mim said...

you know, you should never let the teacher dwell on a shortcoming...
quickly change the subject and ask her what are the good things abt my daughter - what is she clever @, what is her fav. thing to do... where do you think her talent lies etc etc

shortcomings? everyone has them. dont you? dont i? we know them only too well.

I read in a book (Dawna Markova) that we should dwell on the kids talents

Mama - Mia said...

accepting your kids' shortcomings and discussing them are two different things isnt it?

like Boo said i wouldnt want to criticize any kid to someone else in front of the kid.

and there are no perfect people. i dont think there is anything like perfect anything! :)


utbtkids said...

Ok, this is what I was thinking abut yesterday morning and you made a post of it :)

With friends, I sometimes underplay, because I feel like I am blowing my own trumpet.

As a parent, at school, I am very careful about what I say. As I was telling my collegue, they is such a things as 'marketing your child'. The more you say realistic AND positive things, like for example, 'She loves the library', 'she wants to be independent, but at the stage where she still needs help, that causes some tension'....etc, the credibility of the child is good.

But if you say, 'All he wants to do is read books' or 'he really doesn't know how to get things done, but wouldn't accept help', it gives a very negative image about the child.

The reason, this came up is a friend has a child who she thinks is little below par in terms of development. The child has tendency to be in his own world, does not stay with the group and wanders off. So she kept telling his teachers, 'he is not all there, always keep an eye on him, he does not understand all the instructions' etc. Now she is cribbing that the teachers do not treat him as they would treat other children.

One must be careful what color they give their child.

Solilo said...

I do both in moderation to my close friends and relatives.

I don't discuss my child with just acquaintances unless they ask me something.

I make it a point never to put down my child in front of others. If my child does something seriously wrong then of course I will immediately correct her but she never put me in such a dilemma.

Lakshmi said...

Hmm, I have to think on this one. I have friends who do discuss their children's shortcomings. With some it goes too much that way, that I feel like that the friend is not giving the child due credit for good qualities. A child cannot have only shortcomings right?

In case of S, I do discuss issues with her teachers and some of my friends openly. Sometimes my friends do have great solutions from their experience which have helped us. My husband and I also talk to S about things like that in a mild way, which we are considering stopping. (We are currently feeling that she acts more grown up than her age because we kind of treat her that way, discussing too much.)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@Asaan: Yep ... we never had parents conferences in school growing up ... if a parent was asked to meet the teacher it was assumed that the child had committed blunder. So this concept is new to me.

@Boo: I don't remember my parents discussing my shortcomings either ... well they didn't discuss my longcomings (no word I know) ... err my positives either. They believed that if their child was ever talented others would notice anyway without them announcing it.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@Mim: Oh the teacher starts off with all the positives :) ... so thats no issues there. Towards the end we discuss the areas of improvement and the goal settings and thats when shortcomings are worked on.

@Abha: I think I have to adopt this and work on it. I have discussed some shortcomings with some good friends ... but with acquaintances I normally maintain a neutral stand ... neither do I appreciate my child too much nor criticize.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@UtBT: I loved what you have said .... yes I underplay my kids too at the cost of sounding like a pompous mom.
This was a very useful comment for me .... in that the tone makes all the difference. You could discuss the child's shortcomings .. but the way you put forth the same makes a lot of difference. Need to work on this.

@Solilo: I think I pretty much have the same stance as you ... though with my sister I am brutally honest with my kids' positives and negatives.

@Lakshmi: You are lucky to have great friends who offer good suggestions ... treasure them. While my interactions with true friends are rare these days and I only happen to have conversations with acquaintances, I liked what UTBT had to say.

B o o said...

oh my parents always praised us in front of guests. it was nt like they were blowing their own trumpet, they did nt cross the line. Just enough to give me self confidence and feel proud of myself. I ve to learn that art, though! :)

AverageJane said...

I can already see that setting the right and yet honest image of my child is important. For example: The Scout was going through a mild phase of stranger anxiety in the 6th month and I would suggest to some friends to give him a few minutes before attempting to hold him. Some of these friends still think he is hard to handle. :(

ChoxBox said...

interesting post C's A!

i don't typically discuss child's shortcomings (at least thats what i think). i do tend to say nice but honest things about them though, especially of late.

but at a recent PT meeting, the teachers were praising my kid to the skies - i kid you not, for like an hour. i seriously did not know what to do - should i start listing what i think are her shortcomings? or should i say yup ladies you are right, she is a star and join them?!

anyway i'm not complaining. who knows, tomorrow they might have nothing but cribs about my kid! then i'll defend her big time, because well she IS a star ;)

starry eyed said...

I do both, CA. When my kids have shortcomings, I discuss them with other moms (not school moms), because it helps me to have them nodding in empathy, and sometimes I get good tips on how to handle it. But I never discuss in front of my (or other) kids.

As for PTA, I never discuss my kids successes or shortcomings with any of the other classmates' parents...I can't bear their competitiveness. I do listen carefully to the teacher, and if she is pointing out something, I weigh it carefully.

So far, I've always had caring teachers who were genuinely I took their suggestions at least a little seriously. But always if I feel the teacher is being too negative...I ask for some positive feedback...or provide it myself.

Another thing I do is to give good feedback to the teacher...they are under a lot of attack from parents, and it's wonderful to see the happy smile on their faces when I thank them for paying extra attention to me kids, or tell them that my kid worships them. Teachers are human beings too:)

It can also get sickening when parents brag abt their sickening as parents who whine abt their kids. I think, as in everything else in life, balance is important. Praise the kid's efforts genuinely, but acknowledge there's room for improvement.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@Boo: That must have felt good to hear nice things said about you. We lived in a small town and there was no need to talk about our achievements like debate /singing / drawing whatever competitions .... everyone seem to know :)

@Chox: Its nice to hear good things about your kid. But wish the teachers also identified their shortcomings. Dont' you think? I am ok with discussing with the teacher ... but with parents I don't seem to know what to say. Mostly I keep quiet :)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@Starry: I rarely criticize my kid in front of people ... of course I don't praise them a lot either. The problem is I get confused as to when something crosses the thin line of being honest and blowing my trumpet. I think its different limits with different people.
But you are so right that teachers need appreciation too. You know one of the teachers in Cantaloupe's school had discussed some short comings during our PT meetings ... that was my first meeting and I didn't know what to expect. I thought the teacher hated my child. Turned out the teacher loved my child ... she in fact would come and meet my kid even after she (teacher) quit her job :)

Solilo said...

I should have mentioned that I discuss everything about my daughter with my parents and in-laws. :)

Uma said...

I don't like anyone discussing a child's shortcomings when the child is around. I would feel hurt if someone did that to me. I do share some with friends I trust - the ones that are sensible enough to not quote it to others.
And, yeah, I get tired of bragging moms - hope I don't become one...

ChoxBox said...

a friend who works in an international school told me that teachers are instructed to do 'sandwich reviews' - say nice things and then put in one shortcoming gently and then say a nice thing again! political correctness and all :)

what i meant was i no longer take any review of my kids totally word by word. most often i feel like i already know what i'm being told. also another thing parenting teaches you - anything and everything can change.

Poppy said...

Very illuminating post and comments. I esp love UTBT's comment - totally. Am very guilty of painting a negative picture of Poppin esp her shy nature. It seems to eclipse everything else about her because it's the one face that is visible to outsiders - they don't know what her real personality is. And it's so true that other people treat your child the way you portray them to be.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@Solilo: I guess you are indeed very close to both sets of parents ... I discuss my concerns / proud moment :) with my sister.

@Uma: If the child is around, I discuss the shortcomings with only hubby and we both try to explain / work our ways with the child ... complete NO NO with anyone else.

@Chox: Sandwich reviews ... ha ! Now I know the term... but I have experienced the practice ... its mostly followed in schools here. You are so right ... deep within we know what our child is. Hearing from the teacher only ascertains some facts.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@poppy: I am guilty of that negative painting as well. I realised that few months back. For Eg: Whenever some one offered candies / sweets to Cantaloupe I'd announce No candies for her beyond 6 pm ...she gets very hyper. And then in one of the gatherings cantaloupe came to me and said amma I won't get hyper, I'd like to have a candy. And there were people around. I realised that she had basically picked it up from me ...
So yes guilty as charged.
And yes I loved UTBT's words... the tone makes such a difference I tell you.

chitra said...

oh yeah as honest as i can get. i usually say it the way i see them. but if i think they are really good at something, i dont go overboard on that. i acknowledge that they are alright in that area but usually listen to what somebody else has to say and prefer to keep quiet.

Artnavy said...

hey-no one is perfect
focus and build on the strengths and commend it

on th short comings address it but in private

if u seek help it shld be from some one who can really do so without being flippant or judgmental- else why bother ?


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