In a household steeped in academic prowess, the Original Poster (OP) and his wife clash over their perception of their daughter’s achievements. As pride and concern intersect at a family dinner, tensions escalate, pushing the family to the brink of a transformative conversation.
OP and his wife are both equipped with electrical engineering degrees. While the wife presumably still works in the field, OP has transitioned to a managerial role. They have two children, both soon to embark on their university journeys.
Their 17-year-old son has chosen to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree but remains undecided on his major. However, his passion lies in history and languages. As a bright student, he stands out despite not choosing a traditional academic path.
OP’s daughter, only 15 years old, will study physics and computer science at university next month. This is notably earlier than most students her age. Her enrollment in a school for gifted children sets the stage for her success.
A Mother’s Pride
At a family dinner, OP’s wife expresses immense pride in their daughter’s achievements. She believes that her daughter’s talents are exceptional and that not many could emulate her success. The sentiment sets a positive tone for the evening.
While OP shares in the joy and pride of his wife, he voices a different perspective. He acknowledges his daughter’s dedication and intelligence but hesitates to label her as innately gifted.
OP believes that with the right effort, others might achieve similar success. He thinks his daughter is smart and hardworking but not gifted. She has been privileged with tools and resources that most children don’t have access to.
The daughter’s school’s focus on admitting more girls and the wife’s teaching contributions are acknowledged. From a young age, OP’s wife has made their daughter’s education a priority, schooling her at home in advanced levels of math and science.
OP suggests that her young age, combined with her credentials, possibly made her a unique pick for universities. It benefits the universities to welcome young gifted girls into their program to turn around outstanding graduates with unique capabilities.
The “Gifted” Trap
OP’s reservations about the label of “gifted” are based on observations. He has seen people’s lives spiral negatively due to pride and overconfidence from such titles. He wishes to protect his daughter from similar pitfalls.
Rifts at Dinner
As tensions rise, the shared pride in their children’s achievements takes a backseat. Both the wife and daughter are now upset with OP. While agreeing with her father’s sentiment, the daughter believes it should’ve remained unsaid.
Mother Defends Her Belief
OP’s wife feels her husband’s words undermined their daughter’s abilities. She stands firm in her belief that their daughter is genuinely gifted. The debate intensifies, showcasing their differing viewpoints.
While upset at the timing and setting of her father’s words, the daughter concedes to his point. She acknowledges the truth in his perspective but wishes he had chosen a different platform and time to express it.
OP’s Genuine Intent
Despite the strained atmosphere, OP emphasizes his genuine pride and joy in his children’s achievements. Beyond the contentious discussion, there was ample celebration and complimenting. However, the mood remains tense.
Was The Father’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online, seeking outside perspectives from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Putting your daughter down served no positive purpose. Discouraging a young teen like that can have serious detrimental effects.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Your daughter is gifted. It’s very rare for a 15-year-old to head to university. The fact that she was able to pick up these concepts is the fact at her age.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Did your wife say you were lucky to have gifted children? Then you decided to call out your daughter as not gifted but say nothing about your son not being gifted. Because it reads as sexist.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Unless your daughter specifically asked for you to say whether you considered her gifted, you should’ve kept your opinion to yourself. I’m unsure what you thought sharing this secret truth would accomplish other than damaging your daughter’s confidence and self-esteem.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.