Accentuating the positive when the positive is “arrogant”

I don’t post much on social media these days. In part, because I’m trying to navigate the privacy of my 7yo, S, who is increasingly self-aware. In part, because there’s just not a lot of time for it these days (which is not entirely a bad thing). And, sadly, in part because when you are dealing with a neuroatypical brain (his and mine), it feels as though it’s acceptable to discuss the negatives, but there’s an arrogance associated with acknowledging the positive if it can come across as bragging.

That’s not fair to this struggling kid.

In the midst of assessments and seemingly endless IEP meetings, it’s good to be reminded that it’s not all negative. My kid’s brain is fascinating.

This morning, Facebook reminded me, in the form of a memory, of a pic taken at a preschooler class years ago. The kid was trying to spell Mommy at 3.5.

It’s not surprising that’s he’s struggling. It’s hard trying to figure out how to function in a society that claims to prize intelligence, but refuses to praise it if it falls outside of the norm.

Really, all I want is to raise a child who knows how to love himself and be confident enough in who he is that all that ridiculous crap won’t matter to him. Confidence, not arrogance.

In order to gain that confidence, he needs to hear what he’s doing right. He needs to see his mom puff up with pride when he’s working hard and challenging himself, even if that’s trying to master multiplication and division while many of the kids in his class are still working on addition and subtraction.

He needs to understand that at least some of his attention difficulties, outside of the ADHD, may be due to boredom. That it’s ok to be honest about it and advocate for himself. That it’s not arrogant to be aware that the level of stimulation he’s receiving just isn’t cutting it.

But how’s a mama to teach him tact?

He’s struggling as it is and he has to learn tact on top of it. But how tactful are those around him when he’s not paying attention, not doing his work, being disruptive?

How’s a mama to teach him tact when he’s surrounded by tactless faces?

Model it, mama. Hike up your big girl pants, get over the unfairness of it all and show that kid resiliency. You’ll both be better people for it.

I’m off to whisper in his ear about how the positive outweighs the negative. I’ll be bumbling around the social complexities of being twice exceptional while trying to work within the rigid expectation to behave squarely in the middle. Wish me luck. I haven’t quite figured it out myself.

How do you share your kid’s accomplishments without coming across as arrogant? If he or she is twice exceptional, how do you ensure you’re fostering the giftedness as much as providing support for the disability or learning difference? How do you stay positive in environments where both are treated as negatives?

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