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My child is merely average.

LindaCarmichaelLindaCarmichael Posts: 337Registered User Junior Member
edited April 2009 in Parents Forum
Is anyone else here realizing that their child is merely average? My d, and I do not want to sound overly negative here just realistic, although a kind soul and a caring person, is utterly average. She has no passionate interests, making the essays difficult -- no varsity swim team for four years, no musical instrument, no work experience -- and is an average athlete. Her essays were quite literal and middle of the road. Testwise, she took a prep class and pulled up her SAT score 100 pts to a laughable 1830. Her current senior yr includes 3 AP classes and she is pulling her weight in them which is astonishing.

I cannot figure out if she is uninterested in academics, distracted by computers and friends, or of average intelligence. All of her friends have higher grades and higher SAT scores, so she runs with an accomplished crowd but in comparison, she is a bit of a loser.

I feel quite guilty about this -- did I send her to the wrong schools? Why did she turn out this way? The only colleges that she has the stats for are big mediocre public colleges (not the super hard to get into flagships) and small pricey LACs. I honestly feel a vocational major would be a better route for her.

Does anyone else have a child who turned out sort of dumb? She has a very long attention span for video games and seems to pay attention in most of her classes and is not a discipline problem, but she seems very low key and her reach exceeds her grasp.
Post edited by LindaCarmichael on
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Replies to: My child is merely average.

  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Posts: 5,807Registered User Senior Member
    Dumb? Dare I ask how you would label the children in her school who do not take AP classes at all?

    I mean this in the kindest possible way, but the problem is not your daughter.
  • corrangedcorranged Posts: 6,684Registered User Senior Member
    "I mean this in the kindest possible way, but the problem is not your daughter."

    I agree. Your attitude is dead wrong, not to mention harmful to your daughter.
  • JoshuaGuitJoshuaGuit Posts: 544Registered User Member
    I hope my parents don't think this way about me...
    "Does anyone else have a child who turned out sort of dumb?"
    "she is a bit of a loser"
  • ellemenopeellemenope Posts: 11,380Registered User Senior Member
    CC kids are like the kids from Lake Woebegon...above average...often, WAY above average. But actually the working world is populated by average kids who do just fine. Sometimes it takes a while for a kid to hit her stride and find her niche.

    Unfortunately, I know of some relatives who will always be underemployed because they just don't seem to have any initiative, energy and ambition. Let's hope your D if of the former group and not the latter...time will tell.

    BTW, I think the OP is a little frustrated, that's all...
  • Ernie H.Ernie H. Posts: 1,224Registered User Senior Member
    I think the OP may be insane...
  • LindaCarmichaelLindaCarmichael Posts: 337Registered User Junior Member
    I get what you are saying here, of course. My response, I think, has to do with the fact that the last few college essay application supplements seemed to be geared at a totally different sort of person or student than my d is; she really did not have much to draw upon for those essays. When asked about a film or piece of art that challenged or surprised her, for example, she wrote about The Lion King. She reads a bit so I was surprised by this choice. I have never viewed her as a particularly quirky or different child, but with the great emphasis these days on the college application process, it occurs to me that the potential she showed several years ago is no longer apparent; she has also fallen through the cracks, so to speak, at high school and has not enjoyed any particular honors or distinctions -- she is just average and while she is special to me, of course, she has nothing really distinctive to offer to a college.

    I cannot explain her success in the AP classes. Surprised by that.

    She is just an invisible student.

    I hope this clarifies.
  • DorkdorkdorkDorkdorkdork Posts: 127Registered User Junior Member
    Your particular diction to describe your D leaves me wondering if this is just a prank...
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Posts: 5,807Registered User Senior Member
    I cannot explain her success in the AP classes.

    I can explain it. You are wrong about your daughter. Can you at least, for your daughters sake, step back and admit that you don't know your daughter or her potential as well as you thought you did?

    Why not write about The Lion King? Do you know how many students are going to pick something they think the admission officer will be impressed with? The sheer honesty of her choice may very well catch someone's eye.

    Your daughter is not succeeding in your eyes in the very narrow quest of getting into college (with 3 AP classes!) You've raised a child who is a kind soul and a caring person. That was your job. That's what counts in life.

    I truly hope your daughter is an only child but something is telling me that there is a golden child somewhere in this story. And I'm going to bet it's a brother because that is often the case when girls are spoken about this way. If I'm wrong, I apologize for making that assumption. Either way, for goodness sake, get to a therapist and figure out why you are so comfortable judging your own child so harshly.
  • LindaCarmichaelLindaCarmichael Posts: 337Registered User Junior Member
    ellemenope -- thanks. You hit upon a real fear -- employment. I feel like this may be my fault for not requiring she get a job during high school. She does complete her school work, so there is a work ethic, but yes, I am not sure into what field she would fit, vocationally. I realize that my comments may seem out of place, and I understand what some of you are saying, but I may well have a child who would be better served by learning a trade -- electrician, plumber, some sort of technical trade, nursing, dental hygienist - than by spending four years learning liberal arts based subjects for a Bachelor's degree.

    We as parents all think our children are above average like in Woebegon and possessed of special gifts -- and some children DO have those special gifts --, but I speak for the subset of those who realize that their child is average, and that her gift to the world is that she is a kind person.

    For those who are calling me insane, please try to understand my point here. I am not saying there is anything wrong with my child, rather, I am speaking of the realization that after 18 years of educational toys, enrichment classes, and college prep curriculums, what I seem to have is a person who might be better off enrolling in a vocational program than a four year university degree program.
  • HImomHImom Posts: 19,185Registered User Senior Member
    Linda,
    I think your kid will do just fine. There are MANY students who would love to be doing as well as she is. My S had a very tough time with the college apps & in fact had to be prodded by several of the schools to turn in all the parts of them (seriously). The kids you read about at CC are really Lake Wobegone kids & have little bearing with the "real world."

    In spite of my S not finishing 1/2 of his apps until after the deadline he was prompted by the schools, S was actually accepted by several schools & is happiy attending one of them. I'm sure the same will happen with your D. Really, many schools are begging for applicants--there are 4000 Us out there -- your D will find some good Us that meet her criteria and will be a good fit.

    Some folks AFTER they get their 4-year degree do go back & get vocational training as well, so they can become a respiratory therapist or other vocational job. My mechanic has an engineering degree & then became a mechanic. College can be a great opportunity for our kids to explore their options & find that fire. My D is also a very kind and caring person and very interested in figuring out what will excite her. She has wildly divergent interests--European history & musicals, listening to music, creating art and now psychology.
  • ArachnotronArachnotron Posts: 1,761Registered User Senior Member
    Did it ever occur to you that your child just might not be really obsessed with school and sees that there's more to life than academics?

    And you think your kid's dumb with an 1830? If only the average score were anywhere near this.

    "vocational major" Ha! That's actually, like, for the 85% of the population who scored below her on the SAT or the ones who didn't take AP's or honors at all, or those who tried their hardest and got C's.

    Look -- just because your daughter's not the "best" and just because she's not an "ivy trophy" or whatever you overzealous parents use to label children nowadays doesn't mean she's intellectually incapable.

    And what's wrong with state schools? I'm actually looking at quite a few of them and I have an SAT score that, by your definition, would make me a genius.
  • pugmadkatepugmadkate Posts: 5,807Registered User Senior Member
    That it does not sound insane to you does not mean it is sane. You are describing your child as a loser and you just astonished that she is pulling her weight in her AP classes. This tells us two things:

    1. Your daughter is smarter than you are prepared to admit.
    2. Your view of your daughter is so out of touch with reality that something else is going on.

    Show of hands, who else here has a child in three AP classes who thinks their child would be better served by going into a "technical trade?" I'm not raising my hand.

    And, by the way, nursing and dental hygine are areas that a student can get a BS in.
    We as parents all think our children are above average like in Woebegon and possessed of special gifts -- and some children DO have those special gifts --, but I speak for the subset of those who realize that their child is average, and that her gift to the world is that she is a kind person...

    Your daughter does possess a special gift. That you refuse to see it as such does not make it any less true. And! She is a child. Who knows what else is going to be a wonderful match for her as life goes on?
  • hmom5hmom5 Posts: 10,882- Senior Member
    While I, like the above posters, am not thrilled with the description of how you view your DD, I'll answer your question. As we all know the definition of average, half of the world is average or below. I know having an average child can come as a great shock to high achieving parents but it happens. And while an 1800 plus SAT is well above average, when you live in a world of high achievers it seems low.

    The first thing I'd wonder is whether DD has come into her own yet. Whether someone has helped her build on her strengths and achieve her potential. This does not happen for many.

    Personally I believe many who go to college today would be better off with vocational education if they have an interest in such things. Where I live many plumbers, electricians and tradespeople make better livings and enjoy their jobs more than many college grads. There's no shame in pursuing a vocational education.

    Perhaps you should ask your daughter if she wants to go to some sort of career advising service as you consider possibilities.
  • starbrightstarbright Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    My gosh, I feel so sad for your daughter (and also you-- you sound really down, as in maybe depressed?). Are you sure you can trust your perspective right now? I sure hope you aren't conveying it to your dear daughter.

    How did your daughter compared to you at this age? How did you turn out?

    How is the death of her father not relevant here?

    Your daughter sounds intelligent, motivated, and maybe just not obsessed with getting a perfect GPA or taking the SAT five times. Who cares about her friends- statistically she's doing great. Sure, some kids on CC excel naturally with gifts, others work ridiculously hard, and a whole lot embellish. Talk about picking an unrealistic (and in this case cruel) reference point by which to judge your D.

    She's not dumb. She's not a loser. And her achievements are not laughable. The main thing she lacks, as far as I can see, is your regard and support. Tons and tons of students not nearly as good on paper end up very successful in university educated professions.
  • bessiebessie Posts: 1,818Registered User Senior Member
    Maybe she can take a couple of years at the state university to explore her options prior to pursuing a purely vocational track. My nephew sounds a lot like your daughter and he is happily attending a state school and enjoying his college experience. T
    You may want to take a break from CC! I have to say that this site can definitely lead to a severe under-appreciation of your child's talents if you get caught up in comparisons. It happened to me and I did not get my proper perspective back until the application process was over and done with. I work with a lot of high school kids and your daughter has a lot more going for her than you think. Ask HER what she wants to do. By the way, I recently did some volunteer work where some Americorps (sort of a Peace Corps program that operates domestically) volunteers were helping out. They were doing it as a gap year between HS and college as both a resume builder and a way to take time to figure out what they want to do and where they want to do it. Both felt it would boost their chances for admission next year.
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