Are you ever sad when you hear about highly successful kids?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although I love all of my kids to death, I find myself kind of jealous when I hear about kids who are highly successful. For me, it is mostly adult kids who are at college, getting A's, planning for a big time career, playing sports, just MAKING IT in a big way.

    Of all of my five kids that I raised to adulthood, only Scott, the child who does not really believe he is part of our family, is highly successful. He owns his own business. The others are just average people. None of them completed a four year college. SportsFan and PastryChef have decent jobs in spite of that, but I have two nieces who are in college for Medical Assistant and Pharmacist and get straight A's. And Jumper's boyfriend J. is going to also excel in college both academically and in sports. I'm not even sure Jumper can get into college to play sports and become the gym teachers she'd like to become (or personal trainer). She doesn't want to settle for a two year school...wants to go to a four year college right away, but unless she can do the work, it isn't going to happen. That is her dream and she tries hard to do well, yet she struggles with her grades and it breaks my heart because I so badly want her to be able to go to college right away, like she wants to do.

    It is kind of sad to me when I hear about so many kids who are jumping into the college scene, ready to be very successful. I feel badly about it...obviously I am happy for the kids, but I am sad for my kids and for me. I guess it's selfish of me.

    Does anybody else look at other children or young adults, see them doing really well, and feel a pang? Sonic would just like to be able to get his driver's license!

    Is it just me?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Maybe I've lived too long. But I've seen SO many "successful" young adults become total washouts before they get to be 35. Total disasters. And so... I tend to discount "success". Those who have to work harder for what they get, tend to do better. The kid who fights for a high-B average... and then goes to tech school, and gets going in the right direction... and then adds a 4-yr degree (or a 2-yr extension degree...)... THESE are the people that tend to make a difference in this world. The journeyman machinist who ends up being a HS shop teacher... with a heart for kids who struggle, for example. "Successful" people ... usually are not even on my radar as "quality". And I'd rather have quality.

    So... we help our kids struggle through. I think we just might make it. We celebrate each small success as it comes. And we do not allow our kids to measure themselves or anybody else by the usual measures of "success". We help them see the cost of some of this success... the sports star who never had a life, and so on.

    But... my kids are "close" to normal. I'm not sure how I'd feel, if it was going to be a stretch for them to be independent, for example.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It is not just you. Lots of the kids we knew through Kanga are getting scholarships ~ academic and athletic ~ to Ivy League schools, major NCAA powerhouses, etc.

    One of my dreams (pre-children) was to be able to discuss the issues of the day with them and get their point of view on the world, teach them to effectively debate, etc. My kids barely get the most basic world concept. They certainly don't get it enough to form an opinion.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My niece is one of those compulsive over-achievers; a sophomore in high school who's a cheerleader, school ambassador, taking A/P and honors classes, with a GPA over 4.0, reads constantly, on a fast track to MIT, USC, or Stanford...and I was just grateful that Miss KT graduated from high school without getting arrested or pregnant.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Now this is something I can agree with you on! You have no idea how absolutely infuriated I was when I found out that Jamie opted out of having the deduction taken out of his pay the first year he was in the Marines so he would get the GI Bill. He figured he he would never want or need to go to college. I could have absolutely killed him! Why in the heck else does anyone serve in the military other than to get a college education? DUH!!!!! I could never afford to send his butt to college so that was why I drummed it into his head from day one to go into the military! And that was the answer I got...stupid stupid stupid. And trust me I have never let him forget it.
  6. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I remember when my kids were little, I had one friend who always wrote "those" Christmas letters, telling about all of her kids achievements. I was happy for her and her kids but they always made me cry. I always said I was going to write one bragging that my kid was the best one in juvie, etc. but I never did. But they do grow up. ONe of mine still leaves a lot to be desired but the other is doing well. ONe of hers is doing well too but the other ran away from home, got pregnant, and has had a sad life. So I guess we should just be patient. And the kind of he!! we know is probably better than the unknown.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I absolutely feel sad when difficult child#`s friends graduate from college with honors......and worse yet take leadership roles in our community. The pain of "what should have been" haunts me, as much as I try to simply be happy for their ongoing success. I don't feel good about my reaction but I just can't help it. His former close friends and gifted classmates are achieving their goals. His goals are to survive day by day. It hurts. DDD
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I think I've got one of both. A high achiever and then one of the potential "successes" that InsaneCdn mentions. Matt has not graduated high school. He is finally considering college but says IF he goes it will be a two year program at community college or even a two year condensed to one year program. He hasn't participated in a activity since grade 8 basketball. He never learned proper basic household skills or money skills. Never held a part time job. Could never be convinced to do chores. He spent all of his time at home and had no friends through high school. I consider him a huge success at 18 (knock on wood, I can only hope he continues on this path). He is paying half the mortgage along side his g/f. He's full time employed and is now assistant manager. He is becoming adept at chores but also home and yard maintenance. I could not convince him to even write for his beginner license. He is now driving on his own and learning basic mechanics to maintain routine things on his girlfriend's car and he is saving to buy a car from one of her relatives. He is still a high school dropout and still college is up in the air. But he's making decent money, more than minimum wage. He's proud of his responsability. Today the big thing in his phone call home was trying to get the guts to fire a staff member (who indeed has run out of chances and must go). He's learning to enjoy the responsibility of his job even though it requires a lot of him. He is at work by 5a.m. and some days he has to go back at midnight to place large orders. He works overtime with no compensation, although he'll get a year end bonus to compensate those hours. He has pride. He has a job. He is learning skills. He isn't in jail. He isn't partying, drugging or drinking. He treats his g/f well. He is making friends with other men. He joined a basketball team. He is not rich. He looks better at work than he'd come across on a resume if that makes sense. He's working hard but he's not reaching for any stars. He's unable to figure out how to do taxes or basic banking and relies heavily on calling me to talk him through things step by step, or asks for his g/f's help. To me? He's made it. He's doing more at 18 than I pictured back when I joined the board and he was so far off track I feared hugely for his future and hadn't any more belief he could pick himself up and do well.

    easy child on the other hand. She gets high grades. She has always been in multiple activities. Years of hockey, soccer, basketball, golf, art classes, creative writing. She has always talked since she started school about going to university for at least a masters degree. She's aiming for a big name school. This year she's in cadets, swimming and starting piano lessons. As part of cadets she is trying out for the air force band and that would mean another evening at practice plus more practice at home, so learning that instrument plus piano. This afternoon she did a speech to the school to run for deputy Prime Minister on student council and she is joining her school basketball team. She has high goals and I don't doubt a bit she's going to achieve them and more.

    I am proud of both of my children. The funny thing is, although I wouldn't hurt the kids telling them this, I feel a larger pride in Matt. (not to discount my easy child's gifts and efforts at ALL) Things come easy to easy child. Nothing comes easy to Matt. He struggles to make friends. He isn't a joiner. He has interests that most men don't so he doesn't mingle well. He has low self esteem and no confidence. He has to work 10 times harder than easy child to accomplish something and he has physical disabilities that prohibit him or make things far more difficult. He has to work to contain anger and to behave in socially acceptable ways. But there he is. Moved half way across the country on his own, jumped into the unknown and is working his hiney off to make a life for himself. He himself says he'll not end up as career driven as easy child and probably always live pay to pay but that he's happy and learning to be proud of what he can do and to stretch his belief in what is possible for him. I admire him in so many ways.

    I think it's impossible to not at some point notice others accomplishments that we might have wanted for our kids but that aren't happening. I tend to try to view challenged kids as huge successes when they push their own boundaries and defy the limited expectations they had of themselves or others had of them.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I used to feel that way and occasionally I feel it creep up. With difficult child I am sometimes embarrassed by her level of underachievement and by her lack of motivation. With easy child, I am sometimes disappointed she didn't complete the bachelors for pastry arts. However, for the most part, I have tried to be mindfully aware of the things they have excelled at and the many ways in which they have reached their goals, some small and some still going. I try not to compare them to other friends' adult children when they boast. And like IC I've known many high achievers whose lives turn into a big mess because after academics, they can't handle real life which requires some social skills, Know what I mean?? Just my thoughts.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Mattsmom - I know what you mean. Sometimes the thought goes through my head that 10 years from now, or more, when (I think I'm past "if") difficult child is a productive member of society, I'm going to have a hard time dealing with people who tell me how "lucky" I am to have a kid like difficult child. Because... while there is some element of serendipity with how some things fell into place, it wasn't luck, it was mostly REALLY hard work. We appreciate what it took to get there... for him and for us. I'm going to have to come up with an appropriate come-back before we get there... because I'm going to need it.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You guys are right that with difficult child's there are success stories that actually mean more. I am genuinely proud when difficult child#2 accomplishes most any success. It is harder for me, however, with a former easy child who is difficult child#1 now. The expectations were SO high and the reality is SO low. It's hard to be rational. DDD
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    DDD - yes, those are harder. {{hugs}}
    But... they still can turn around.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't know if sad is the right word. I'm really happy the kids I know who are doing well but I do get a slight twinge of something. Maybe it's sadness, I hope it isn't jealousy. It isn't anything I dwell on. I know my kiddos are just on a different path.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The people I know who were high achievers remained that way.

    I am proud of my kids, don't get me wrong. SportsFan had mental health issues that kept him from doing finishing college. It's too bad. He's so sorry he never went. He does have a really good job, but it bothers him that he never did get that four year degree...he feels he could have done a lot better. He tried to go and work at the same time, but it was too hard to do it and way too expensive and now he has a son.

    My daughter, the Pastry Chef, is the one who did drugs...I am so proud of HER I could burst. She came the closest to having the college experience. The two year college s he is at is one of the best in the country and now she works there. Sonic...who knows? I just want him to be happy and productive and I think he will be, although he will have limits due to his disability. Jumper....she is the typical easy child/Teen most people love to have...her LDs are really holding her back from her dreams. I do worry about her.

    And I still get a bit of a tug at my heart (although I shouldn't) when I hear about that college kid who is going to be a doctor and plays sports too. I so badly want at least one of my kids to have that college experience, especially Jumper, since she wants it so badly.

    Oh, I know. I'm just being a big Enough of my pity-party. I've just been hearing a lot about successful young adults and teens lately.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    You know, I'm not "there" yet. I'm fighting ti make sure DD1 does not become classic UNDER achiever just like her mom. That's where I get the pangs when I hear "success" stories. That should have been me. I could have done that, I should be doing that, etc. Reality is that no, I couldn't. If I could have, I would have. The intelligence is there, but the emotional/mental ABILITY is not. So I have to re-frame and realize that I have a different kind of success, and that my life is not over, and there can still be more successes, and there may even be successes that I may not even witness in my lifetime, but they will be a direct result of ME (for example an effect I have on another, or something my kids do because I was the one who raised them.)

    Success can be defined in so many ways. I'm sure even parents of "average" PCs get jealous hearing of the "A type" successes.
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think, in the long run, that each person will define success on their own terms. No one will truly have it all so perhaps its best to help our children learn to identify what is most important to them rather than having a predetermined road map to success.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with you, TM. However, what makes me sad is when a child WANTS to be that kid who can excel or at least attend college for four years, and can't get in or can't do the work once he/she is there. That, to me, is heartbreaking.
  18. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    It is heartbreaking, but it's also an indictment against our educational system that seems only to value the college bound students and has no real path kids that require an alternative way into adulthood. There are very few vocational classes now and underperforming children are pushed along or pushed out.
  19. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    This really touched me. I am the same but was never able to put it into words as well as you just did. Thank you.
  20. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I would never say this anywhere but here. My easy child is a great girl, exceptional. She's smart and kind, she was jut born sweet and never gave me any trouble. Ever. I mean that. I have loved watching her grow up and there were certainly times that I wish that my difficult child could have been more like her. Then I have felt badly about wishing the good genes had been disbursed evenly. easy child has worked hard for her success, and I never want to take that away.

    I took difficult child to a Kelly Clarkson concert a couple of years ago. It was a surprise, I got great tickets and it was a perfect night out. Perfect. She is awesome in concert and I love her voice/music. Well difficult child, was having so much fun, and was so thankful that tears began to roll down her cheeks. I thought maybe one of the girls drinking next to her had bumped her or said something to her. She was just downright happy to be at the concert with me, knowing it was a huge extravagance for me and that fact that I did it for her. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was just so happy!!! I had the same feeling from that moment as I did watching easy child graduate from High School. Both were great, great moments for all of us. It was so great to know that those feelings were in my difficult child daughter. My difficult child is in all advanced classes and is getting straight A's. She doesn't even study like my easy child did, I know she's super smart, but I don't know how successful she will be because of her social skills and if she will think that she can achieve college. I didn't go to college and like Kiesta said I know that I could have done the work scholastically, but emotionally and mentally I had issues that kept me from ever finishing anything. Therefore, I do not believe that I would have ever gotten a degree. In a few years, I might be talking differently. For now, I have seen different types of success in both of my children. Stable lives, good people, working hard, kind. That's what I want for them. I think that's what most all of us want. I so hope we get it and some point in our children's lives. Whether it be when they are 40. I just hope they all come around.