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Aster's avatar

What To Do When Child Hates Gifted Classes So Gets Kicked Out?

Asked by Aster (18985points) May 11th, 2010

What would you do if your 11 yr old went to a new school and was placed in Gifted/Talented classes again then Purposely made F’s so he could get kicked out since he missed his friends? Punishment, a long talk, counseling or what?

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32 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Punishment? Why on earth would you punish a child for doing something to show what he really wants? I remember being an age when who you went to school with was all that mattered and despite placing into a top high school here in NYC, I lied to my parents and said I didn’t make it – best decision I ever made. It doesn’t matter about G&T or any of those focuses if their heart isn’t in their education and being surrounded by people (like friends) that support you makes all the difference. Your child is 11, beginning to figure out what it’s like to make their own decisions and I think a long talk and maybe some counseling (for you on how to address such conversations not saying in a mean way) would help.

Seek's avatar

Punishment is not the answer here.

The kid was taken to a new school, then as soon as he got comfortable was moved into a whole new series of (harder!) classes. Did anyone bother to ask him whether he wanted to be in gifted classes, and explain the benefits and responsibilities of those classes, or was he just told “You’re going to be here now”, and thrust in headlong?

He is obviously looking to do anything he can to have some control over his situation. My guess is that he feels like he’s being pushed around. Give him some breathing room.

Aster's avatar

thank you for the surprising replies. I think many of us made our decisions based on what we felt was responsible behavior and by what would make or break our parents. If I had been put into GT, made my parents very proud of me then made F’s because I wanted to be in classes with my buddies I would have expected to be lectured , shamed and made to go and talk to the GT teachers and apologize. I was taught differently than you and I can’t help that. I’ve always felt education was extremely important to a young boy’s future prospects then to attempt to thwart that for selfish reasons feels unacceptable to my values.
**Please keep in mind if responding that No One Has Been Punished, OK?

gemiwing's avatar

I did something close to this when I was about his age. I quit because the GAT program was boring. My regular teachers were more fun, I could relax a bit more and just enjoy the experience. My GAT teachers, nice people that they were, had an almost vacuous lack of humor. I was a kid- I wanted to have fun.

I also wanted to be seen as less of a freak and being segregated into the GAT program made me a prime target for bullying and kids being the jerks they can be. It was bad enough that I was ahead of my peers at an age where being anything but ‘normal’ means certain social death- right at the age where you’re trying to figure out what that means in the first place.

So after a year or two of being in the ‘regular’ classes- I soon grew up (like we do) and found the GAT classes more interesting to me; even moving on to take college courses while in high school. Give him time and he might just surprise you.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think punishment is the answer, but I would definitely talk to him about it. Are there times outside of his new classes that he still gets to see his old friends? Does he understand what the gifted classes really are for? How does he feel about the work in the gifted classes? I can completely understand wanting your kid in the gifted classes so that he has the best options in front of him. Just curious, is this the same child you found out was smoking pot too? If so, you might need to see what else is going on and counseling may be a good idea.

Seek's avatar

Education is important. No one is saying that it isn’t.

However, shaming a child and forcing him into an uncomfortable situation is not going to benefit him in any way. We only learn what we want to learn, regardless of what situation we’re in. I understand that these days “Education” is what you can get an accredited institution to sign off that you’ve attended, but in reality, you want your child to know stuff. If he’s sitting in class, thinking “I hate my parents for making me take this stupid class with this boring teacher and all my friends are having a great time playing Heads Up Seven Up without me….” he’s not going to be receiving the greatest possible benefit from the courses.

If, however, one were to talk to him (like he’s a person with feelings, not a child to be lectured) and ask him about what he’d like to be and do someday, and does he know that taking these classes might make getting there that much easier – and we know it’s a huge responsibility to take on extra schoolwork and we’ll help you in any way we can – but if you want to take on that responsibility we’ll be so proud of you! might find you get a much more positive response out of him.

Aster's avatar

He is not the kind of child , at this point, who wants to be
“scholarly” , knows what he wants to be when he grows up or who cares about much more than his friends. He has quite the mustache and is going thru puberty (I guess early). Some family members think he’s smoking pot, yes, and his MySpace page attempts to portray him as a “gangster” not a geek. He seems to be consumed with girls , they call him all day, and he has self esteem problems from being extremely short. He is not being shackled in any sense and grades mean little or nothing to him. So with his superior vocabulary, looks, charisma and social skills it will be interesting to see how he turns out.

tranquilsea's avatar

My experience was much like @gemiwing‘s . I was in GAT classes when we moved to a new district. I was very excited thinking that I would be challenged, but that wasn’t what happened. I didn’t understand, at the time, how judged I would be by my peers and after a couple of months I decided to opt for dropping the classes hoping I could make friends. That was a mistake as I had already been labelled.

What would have been great was if I had had some mentoring from councillors and teachers during that rough time. All that happened though was I was allowed to drop the classes. No really tried to get to the bottom of why I wanted to.

Having peers who can bat at your intellectual level is important. I downplayed the importance of it for a very long time.

So, in answer to your question, I would talk to him and try to figure out a way he can still feel like he has time with his friends and be part of the GAT classes.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Aster . I’ve always felt education was extremely important to a young boy’s future prospects then to attempt to thwart that for selfish reasons feels unacceptable to my values.

Sometimes we focus a bit too much on the future and a bit too little on the here-and-now. There is intellectual (and social) value in allowing an 11 year old to simply be a boy. You don’t need to plan his future so much so now that he doesn’t have a chance to enjoy his childhood. If he has the capacity to be T&G then that won’t change even if it isn’t his primary focus at this time in his life.

Seek's avatar

I have a really hard time coming to terms with the idea of an eleven year old who is unsupervised often enough and for enough time to find out how to obtain and use marijuana. I think getting kicked out of gifted classes is the least of your concerns, all else you stated being true.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Aster Your son sounds a LOT like my grandfather. His IQ was in the 160s and he decided that he had no use for school and dropped out in grade 7. His father tracked him down, took him to a cabin in the mountains to “get through to him”. That ended when they got into a fist fight and my grandfather clocked his dad and took off.

This was in the 1930s. He was extremely individualistic.

janbb's avatar

Reading all of the above it does some like some good family talking and perhaps counseling with be beneficial. I don’t have an opinion about whether or not he should stay in the G&T program – that depends on so many other factors. He certainly is sending you a clear message that he doesn’t want to be there so you will probably have to accept that for now. This issue may give you an opportunity to get to know him better and find out what is going on with him. Eleven is awfully young to be smoking pot. I raised two challenging, bright creative boys and had issues with each of them at time wanting to take “the road not taken.” (These were often my issues, not theirs.) They are each thriving, productive, lovable and quirky adults right now.

tranquilsea's avatar

You may want to check out this group . This is the TAG (Talented and Gifted) Project which are mailing lists for parents of gifted kids who are in school or home schooled. I have found them to be a wealth of information on every issue I have had to face in the raising and education of gifted kids. They may have more information and resources for you.

Haleth's avatar

@Aster “I’ve always felt education was extremely important to a young boy’s future prospects then to attempt to thwart that for selfish reasons feels unacceptable to my values.”

I work with someone named Aster who is from Ethiopia. The fact that you chose this username makes me guess that you’re from another country and maybe you or your parents are the first generation to move here. Your son has grown up in (America?) all his life so he’s a lot more westernized and he’s trying extra-hard to fit in with the kids his age. He might feel very self-conscious about gifted and talented classes making him look different.

I know a lot of people who are second-generation Americans, and growing up, a lot of them tried to rebel against their parents to be cool. Most of them are pretty successful now. Deciding how much to embrace their own culture or American culture is still a big issue, all the way into adulthood.

If you and your son had some counseling about gifted and talented classes, he might be more into the idea. Then again, he’s only eleven. Nothing you do in middle school really matters, in terms of getting into college. The best thing these classes will do for him is give him some good habits that he can use in a couple years.

dpworkin's avatar

G and T classes are mostly crap anyway. Kids know what’s important to them. He made a powerful statement. Respect his integrity, allow him some autonomy, and let yourself be proud of his sensibility.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Punishment will be a waste and just get him more creative to give you grief. I’m kind of the mind of @dpworkin on the importance of the G/T classes. Decades of kids have graduated and gone on to college and vocations without them so I wouldn’t sweat it if he isn’t geek tuned. If he were my son then I’d have a short talk and say G/T classes are important only to those who want to make the most of them and aren’t any stamp of “better than” in the big scheme of things but he is still expected to take advantage of what school has to offer along with his social life, that neglecting one or the other to an extreme shows weaker character. It’s not exactly shame but a little barb of truth since what is PC isn’t always the real world and he has to learn now he will be judged and his academics will be scrutinized, D/T classes, regular classes, ROTC, vocational training, etc.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Aster You haven’t been raised with any different values – education was always the expectation in my household and I am a lifetime learner obsessed with academics (despite two kids, I have two degrees and am on my way to a double PhD). However it is important to understand (and I speak from personal experiences of being educated in Russia, the UK, South Africa and the US as well as from being a pre-med student which is a whole other can of worms) that the current system of education in the United States with its emphasis on G&T, on standardized testing, on ‘reaching that or this goal’ and then having it all about ‘making the grade’ is resulting in children with high anxiety about their academic performance, wich children that learn quickly how to simply ‘get by’ through calculating the exact grades necessary to get an A and doing nothing more and certainly doing nothing voluntarily. I have spoken to countless teachers who are angry at having to teach kids how to pass exams instead of teaching kids what they want. I have spoken to parents from other countries who don’t like the way things are done here because it’s ‘too easy’ (if you can believe it) and that’s not the way to do things either (kids in their countries are robots, imo). I am now a mother who is making a decision of which elementary school my kid will go to and how to prep him for those BRSA/ELSAT exams so that he does go into a G&T and not get lost in an overcrowded ridiculous setting even if I hate the idea of a G&T concept.

At 11 years old, ‘making your parents proud through grades’ isn’t what’s running through his head. If there isn’t honest communication about what matters to him, no talk of college or responsibility will sink in. It’s easy to fall into the trap (as a parent and I know all of this too well) that we know better because we’ve experied the entire trajectory and know that degrees matter and how it all resonates later on in life BUT your son doesn’t know this and you have to meet him where he is. You can not begin to have a resentful 11 year old because he’s not going to become any more compliant as a teenager so now is not a good time to lose him, to lose his trust. You might feel angry and say ‘well he lost my trust’ but getting Fs in all his classes didn’t take him one day and conversations should hav been had that you missed an opportunity to have. Now, you need tomove forward and figure out a compromise, this is a tough point and you can not place your projections on him.

Personally I am strongly considering a Free school like this one in order to not raise a child who in college will feel trapped because they’ve got two C’s and see their colleagues jump out of windows to their death because they didn’t make it into medical school (true story, NYU was the school for suicides during the 6 years I spent there).

MissAusten's avatar

Not all G/T programs are created equal. Maybe your son didn’t choose the best way to get his point across, and that makes me wonder if he tried telling you he didn’t want to be in the program but wasn’t given a choice.

He’s 11. That’s, what 5th grade? He has plenty of time to change his mind and decide to participate in the G/T program later in his schooling. Maybe you can set up a meeting with the G/T teacher and your son, and find a compromise that works for everyone. Getting the school counselor involved might also be a good idea, if there are other issues you are concerned with.

Also, I’m wondering how students at your son’s school are chosen for the G/T classes. Are they tested, or chosen based on grades? If he has been identified as “gifted” based on specific cognitive tests, he should be able to rejoin the G/T class when he wants and not have it based on his grades. I would suggest you do some research or read some books about gifted children and how they, in general, experience school and interact with their age peers as opposed to their intellectual peers.

An education is very important, but so is a love of education and learning. I agree with you that if he threw his grades on purpose, he should apologize to the teachers and to you. There should be consequences for not maintaining grades, but those consequences shouldn’t involve shame or punishment. Have him help you make up a homework and study plan, and limit his social interactions (or video games, time online or on the phone) until he has earned them back by showing an improvement in his grades, whether or not he rejoins the G/T classes.

perspicacious's avatar

Put the child in regular classes. He may be intellectually suited for the gifted classes, but not socially. Happiness with his own situation is important and there’s no reason to force him into the gifted program.

janbb's avatar

By the way, there are plenty of ways to enrich a child’s life outside of school. Encourage them to “follow their bliss” – guitar lessons, astronomy clubs, etc. Read with them, go to museums, parks and aquaria, discuss things. Help them find mentors and teachers outside of school. One of my son’s best mentors as he went through a troubled time was his loving “hippie’ guitar teacher.

Cruiser's avatar

I will strongly disagree with @dpworkin primarily from the POV that my kid was suffering greatly in regular classes….bored to tears. We had to move to get him in a more challenging school district and he is now straight A in 3 AT classes to boot. Kids need to be challenged or they tune out. I have seen way to many dummy downed classes these days because parents do not get involved and support their kids educational efforts and public schools are treated more as glorified baby sitting services. Sure higher learning will happen if and when they get to college but it is that very attitude that is fostering a implosion of the US education system and allowing countries like India, China, even Russia to blow the doors off us scholastically.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Cruiser Granted, it shouldn’t really matter how other countries are doing, just what your kid is doing to meet their potential – I don’t want to pressure them into those segregated groups of ‘bright kids’ and I don’t want them to feel un-challenged either…sigh, the balance is always on my mind and I agree with you – more parents should care because a competent and intelligent parent team can make up for lack of academic challenge and for feelings of resentment towards ‘gifted’ classes.

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Smart kids are not segregated in our city they go to and participate in all the “normal” minded kids programs but do get to go to classes that challenge their minds and all of them are quite fine with these golden opportunities to learn. I don’t challenge my kid to do anything he doesn’t want to do but I constantly challenge my school and school district to continue to make available programs that help my son to be smart enough to realize his dream to be an engineer of roller-coaster he wants to design and build someday. My boy is popular enough and and admired for his smarts by his peers and his only resentment is how the kids treat him as their personal homework tutor.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Cruiser Ha, I hope that will be the biggest problem he’ll ever face – I worry about bullying and all that around here (my oldest has experienced none of that but he’s in a Montessori school) and I’d hope that helping others with their homework would be their fate instead of others.

Cruiser's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Bullying was and is a problem for sure. He was raised to not start fights but he certainly has my support and knows how to finish them. He has had his share of “issues” but no more so than I see from or of his normal friends and very few directly associated with his higher learning.

Nullo's avatar

Put him back in regular classes. If you’re really on the ball, you can compensate extracurricularly.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I didn’t know that about NYU and the suicides. They were a result of the med school admissions process? That’s terrible.

Kayak8's avatar

My family moved to a new state when I was in 8th grade (age 13). The kids in the G&T program had been together since kindergarten and I was the first new face in a very long time. Adolescence being such a wonderful time under any circumstances, this was not a match made in heaven and I did the same thing your kid did. I didn’t do it to be around friends (I didn’t have any yet), but I did it to escape the torment of the kids who didn’t have the skills to accommodate someone new entering the group. My learning was not enriched by having mean kids around me all day.

As kids seem to display “tween” behavior earlier and earlier these days, once can only guess what his actual experience was like. That part of it is probably worth a discussion with him (how did it make you feel? kinds of questions) so you can better understand WHY he made his decision. The decision he made or how to reach the ends he saw as better is not as important as understanding the why of the decision.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dr_Dredd no, certainly not all of them…some were from STERN, the comparable insanity of a business school

Cruiser's avatar

@Aster I had replied to your/this question (your repeat that was removed as a duplicate) and a mod was kind enough to retrieve them for me and thought I would offer them up.

My son did the exact same things at that age. He wanted to be normal and a “cool kid”. I have no easy answer other than to say we did not give him an option to not continue in the AT classes. We knew he would ultimately be bored to tears in regular classes. I am not sure what we did other than to motivate him with praise and long term goal rewards for his hard work.

I will add in here I would like to think a nice talk to allow your son time to articulate what is storming around in his head. Then have an in depth talk about this opportunity to learn at a pace better suited to his brilliant mind. If he is as smart as he is he will understand. We did allow our son one concession in that we allowed him to drop out Lit AT class after we found out that there was no penalty for doing so towards access to Advanced lit in HS. He was very happy with that compromise and we all are happy with his efforts.

crankywithakeyboard's avatar

If it’s truly a class for the gifted (as opposed to pre-AP or AP classes), I don’t see how they can be kicked out. If kicked out, they are not being provided with the services they require. Most states mandate that gifted children be served.

Aster's avatar

@crankywithakeyboard , they get removed from GT if they get F’s. He got them on purpose.

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