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Explaining your own limitations to your children

Explaining your own limitations to your children2010-04-07T13:51:41+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD It Runs In Families Explaining your own limitations to your children

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    The other day, my 8 y.o. daughter, E, asked me, “Mommy, when you were my age, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?” While searching for my 6 y.o. daughter’s missing sneaker I looked her in the eye and replied, “A pediatrician.” E then asked, “So why aren’t you a pediatrician?”

    I explained that although I’d applied to medical school 4 times that I was never accepted (although I did make it to the wait list 3 times!). I went on to explain that I decided to then apply for doctoral programs in public health and was accepted to every school to which I applied and figured that was a better choice.

    My daughter looked stunned. “What do you mean you applied to medical school but didn’t get accepted?” E understands the general trajectory of these things: after high school then college and you can continue on to a graduate or professional school. I explained that medical schools were very selective and that in order to be admitted that you needed good grades and test scores and that my test scores were too low.

    “Like you got a B-?!”

    I nearly laughed out loud. If I managed the equivalent of a B- I’d have danced naked in the streets! What I said was, “Something like that.”

    I’ve told my daughters before that I’ve trouble with math. My daughters have friends with dyslexia and/or ADD, some of whom go to schools for kids with dyslexia. I’ve explained that my troubles with math are like their friends problems with reading. Somehow, the idea that these problems could limit one’s career choices was news to her.

    Although I think I answered her question as well as I could, it certainly got me thinking…about explainations versus excuses and how to respond to challenges, etc.

    (How) have others explained themselves to their kids? What was the result?


    Post count: 140

    In the middle of her tearful struggles with slow reading and processing, my daughter seemed delighted when I “confided” to her that I’ve always needed to read material several times and say it in my head just to process the meaning—unless I’m super-interested in the content. Since my own career is completely based on my literacy, it was the beginning of her belief that she could like reading and would someday feel good at it. Yay!

    Really often now, I find myself coaching my kids on ways to temper and channel their emotional reactions, control their impulses and change their locus of attribution when hypersensitive. These are big, daily challenges for them both, and because they were huge problems for me growing up, I’m the only one who really “gets” them. I feel their internal torment, understand why they act out when no one else does, and can talk to them with insight and the greatest of empathy. That gives me credibility with them, and (mostly) they listen. You know—as long as I keep it concise and fairly interesting.:)

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