feeling like a failure, even though you're smarter than most

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schleppenheimer
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19 Feb 2008, 11:47 am

I'm the mother of two aspies, daughter of one, daughter-in-law of one, and I'm wondering . . .

Do most aspies feel as if they are failures? Do most aspies feel as if they can NEVER fulfill their parent's hopes and dreams for them?

I want SO MUCH to instill confidence in my son, but there is so much that we have to keep up on with him -- we have to remind him to:

write down homework
remember to do homework
remember when tests are
remember specifics of special projects
work on social skills
AND act confident

With so much that we are working on, it's no wonder that a child feels like they are consistently failing and are consistently "less than" other people.

And yet, the aspies I know are SO MUCH SMARTER, MORE CREATIVE, FUNNIER, and MORE INTERESTING than other people. It is mystifying to me that an aspie ever feels like a failure. I know in my head that there are difficulties that aspies experience, but I just think of all the people I like, and if they aren't aspies, they lean that direction.

What can be done to highlight what is so fantastic about aspie children and adults, making them KNOW that they are fantastic? And what can be done to work on their challenges, without making a child feel like a failure?

Kris (who is feeling very much like a parent failure at times . . .)



RampionRampage
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19 Feb 2008, 12:13 pm

my mom used to get furious with me because 'there is no reason you should ever have less than an A!'

...school was fun. :roll:

i remember in fourth grade i had final grades of all As and one B and my mom was so pissed.

then i went to prep school and that lasted all of two years before i OD'd and they wouldn't let me back.

at this point, mom would just be happy if i could ever support myself.

so yes. i do know how it feels to be smart but apparently a total failure and retard.


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jayssite
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19 Feb 2008, 12:18 pm

Personally, I've always felt like a failure because I feel so outcast and different from all my peers. I was never accepted by the people I wanted to make friends with. Even though I am told that I'm smarter, more creative, funnier, and more interesting than normal people, somehow it's all overshadowed by the constant rejection I experience.
The only time I don't feel like a failure is when I'm socializing successfully, which tends to only happen online. The internet is the one "place" where I really feel confident in myself.



jaydog
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19 Feb 2008, 12:19 pm

yeah tell me about it, i got a 3.8 gpa in high school, certifications, tons of job experience, even was at once very wealthy from self employment, even though everyone told me i couldn't do it, and cause of there crap and the educational system i got burned out entirely, and don't frieking care about anything right now.... job industry is just there to screw with you stress wise as well. i'm thinking about going back to self employment sometime though. but i'm permently disabled and unable to work at the moment.



RampionRampage
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19 Feb 2008, 12:20 pm

by the way. in high school i was lucky enough to join a new-ish program in my district for school-phobic kids.

the thing that the teacher worked with me on is list making. have you tried that with your son? sometimes it's so much easier if you can see everything you need to do, and number the priorities, and then cross them off. seeing the list get more and more crossed off is extremely helpful when feeling anxious about completing everything. it's not quite the same as an assignment book, and probably something you should try with him as soon as he gets home from school, to make it something like a routine.

again, i was in SpEd with a teacher who did this with me, so i don't know how well it's implemented outside of a program like that.


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RampionRampage
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19 Feb 2008, 12:22 pm

... the boards told me i couldn't post because it was too soon. not that it had posted at all.
yay for double posts.


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Last edited by RampionRampage on 19 Feb 2008, 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RampionRampage
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19 Feb 2008, 12:23 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
It is mystifying to me that an aspie ever feels like a failure. I know in my head that there are difficulties that aspies experience, but I just think of all the people I like, and if they aren't aspies, they lean that direction.



a lot of this largely depends on age of diagnosis, and how supportive the parents were.
i was only recently diagnosed, and my mother made me feel awful from about first grade on.


btw. schleppenheimer. :-p mom hated schlepping me around, herself.


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mmaestro
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19 Feb 2008, 12:26 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
Do most aspies feel as if they are failures? Do most aspies feel as if they can NEVER fulfill their parent's hopes and dreams for them?

Well, I have no need for my parents' hopes and dreams. I have my own life, and what they want/expect from me is really irrelevant. That I live 7,000 miles away helps with that sense. ;-)
schleppenheimer wrote:
I want SO MUCH to instill confidence in my son, but there is so much that we have to keep up on with him -- we have to remind him to:

write down homework
remember to do homework
remember when tests are
remember specifics of special projects
work on social skills
AND act confident

With so much that we are working on, it's no wonder that a child feels like they are consistently failing and are consistently "less than" other people.

Have you worked much on helping him find coping skills for the practical stuff? I know I'm terrible at remembering when things will happen, what I need to get done each day, I never managed everything, eventually I bought myself a PDA. Task lists, calendar (and, as an added bonus mp3 player) all rolled into 1. And that's the point - it stopped being (in my case, from my wife) constant reminders of what to do, because I could just hit a button and see the list. Once you get into the habit of writing these things down, and setting up the recurring reminders, it helps a lot. While a PDA may not be the right answer for your son (it worked for me in many ways because I love shiny tech, it turns a near compulsion into something productive), I'd try to find ways that you don't have to remind him. The key is in giving him the power to do this stuff himself, and that should give him some confidence.
Then you're just into the realms of having to work on social skills. Getting the basics out the way is important.


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19 Feb 2008, 12:31 pm

I loved working on the computer. What worked for me is the calendar scheduler that comes with Office software (or something similar) because it would just pop up reminders for everything I needed to do, at the time when I needed it to remind me. I was on the computer anyway, and I learned to just start it up to see what popped up.
New computer doesn't have that, but at this point I know how much I need it, so I have learned (pretty much) to write things down. If you don't have the software, Google Calendar might work, but it doesn't do popups.



mmaestro
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19 Feb 2008, 12:45 pm

Jeyradan wrote:
If you don't have the software, Google Calendar might work, but it doesn't do popups.

IIRC, Google Calendar will send you reminder text messages though? Those might only be once a day, however - I don't use it so I'm not so sure.


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19 Feb 2008, 12:49 pm

Perhaps it will. I've only just started trying it.



schleppenheimer
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19 Feb 2008, 1:31 pm

RampionRampage, I was just going to work on the listmaking skills today when my son gets home. Thanks for the reinforcement that lists help!

mmaestro, absolutely excellent comments that I found helpful. I am trying really hard to find ways that my son can do things on his own, WITHOUT me. He does very well for a while, and then relaxes and doesn't do quite as well. We have even considered the PDA idea -- I'm a little nervous because he is only 11 years old, and a PDA is an expensive piece of machinery! I'd hate to see him lose that! But I have an old one, that I'm not even using -- I might as well give it to him and see if he enjoys the computer/technology aspect of using it. I know that my older son has found that using things like Google calendar, and reminder-type things on his phone, and really uses them a lot to remind him of things.

Jeyradan, my son would love the idea of a calendar with pop-ups. I'm really going to have to look into that!

Thanks so much, and keep these ideas and comments coming -- us parents out there are honestly not out to ruin lives, we just want to see our kids reach their full, independent potential, and more than that, we want our kids to be HAPPY.

Kris



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19 Feb 2008, 1:45 pm

How children fail, by John Holt topic

Nothing succeeds like sucess. this is why I am on my son's computer right now. Mine is slower than the proverbial turtle. :wink:


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19 Feb 2008, 1:50 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
a PDA is an expensive piece of machinery! I'd hate to see him lose that! But I have an old one, that I'm not even using -- I might as well give it to him and see if he enjoys the computer/technology aspect of using it.

That's not a bad idea, or you can get one of the Sharp ones (look in Target or Staples) for under $40. Palm has a bare-bones model that my wife uses for under $100 here, I've seen them for as little as $80.


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Mishcana
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19 Feb 2008, 1:51 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
Do most aspies feel as if they are failures? Do most aspies feel as if they can NEVER fulfill their parent's hopes and dreams for them?

. . .

With so much that we are working on, it's no wonder that a child feels like they are consistently failing and are consistently "less than" other people.

And yet, the aspies I know are SO MUCH SMARTER, MORE CREATIVE, FUNNIER, and MORE INTERESTING than other people. It is mystifying to me that an aspie ever feels like a failure. I know in my head that there are difficulties that aspies experience, but I just think of all the people I like, and if they aren't aspies, they lean that direction.

What can be done to highlight what is so fantastic about aspie children and adults, making them KNOW that they are fantastic? And what can be done to work on their challenges, without making a child feel like a failure?

Kris (who is feeling very much like a parent failure at times . . .)


Probably the best thing to do is to find a role model for them; someone who has to write stuff down too, but is very successful. Take the focus off failing or not failing. Definitely do not joke about marks, ever. My parents once joked in grade two about "Where's the other 2%?" when I got a 98, I still have trouble looking at anything less than 100% as a failure. One of the things I find really helps when you've been working on a project 5X as much time as what everyone else has, is to go over what you've actually learned.

A lot of people do a project, get the bare minimum done, and then hand it in. For me, anyways, I find I "waste" a lot of time learning how things actually work. This is the main reason it takes me longer; it's not that I'm really all that slow. When I do a project, I know I've usually learned a lot along the way. Sometimes it doesn't feel that way though, and I find writing a list (or having someone remind me of all I learned) really helps.

I'm not officially diagnosed, but I know I have a lot of problems with feeling like a failure. I'm at the college level; I have a 3.98 GPA, and I still feel like I'm the bottom of the class. I think I would feel the same even if my marks were at 100%, strangely enough.

It's probably okay to give the "Smarter, interesting speech" if the child responds to it. Personally, when I was a child, it drove me nuts. Because:

- When you're smarter - you're often the only one laughing in a theatre. You usually get the joke long before everyone else does. Or, worse, the only one NOT laughing at a joke because you see something very serious within it. It's extremely difficult to bond people. Sure, it's great to be smarter - If you don't mind laughing alone most of the time :) Not to mention the problems with day to day wit - If you try to be witty, you often come on to fast and strong, and if you try to not get the jokes, people think you're slow. You really can't win.

- When you're interesting, people usually don't want to get too involved with you. You're a little much to handle. This might not be the case in a "real" job, but it certainly is at the minimum wage job and education level.

- The creative bent will often be made fun of; you're not creative even in the way average creative people are. A lot of people don't really get it, and they'll often make fun of what the don't understand.

It probably will get better with time, and you can try reassuring them of that. Just don't think you're a bad parent if you can't convince them of it. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just give them a hug and let them get it out. ^_^.