Can I Speak Out on Behalf of a “Stupid” Child?
“My kid is 5 years old. We had been learning the letter ‘B’ for 2 hours. Then we finally moved on to the letter ‘C.’ While we were learning the letter ‘C,’ this kid forgot the letter ‘B.’ What is this? Stupidity? Should I take him to a doctor?”
I see and hear similar posts and words every now and then in social media and on playgrounds. And I can’t keep silent. Not because I am a psychologist and not because I am an experienced teacher. I’m not even an experienced mother! My kid has not even turned 2 years old yet. It’s much simpler — I am that “stupid” child.
My name is Asya Yavits and I have a funny and honest Telegram channel called “Bad mother daily” and especially for Bright Side readers, I would like to speak out in defense of all the “stupid” kids.
When I was 7 years old, I used to read 32 words per minute by syllables. At the end of the first grade, my mom was called into school to discuss a “serious matter.” One day before this call, we had a Readers Club where every kid was supposed to bring their favorite book and talk about it. One girl brought The Little Prince and the main “A” student, of course, brought a book by Jules Verne. And I brought a coloring book with fairies. By the way, it had text too! Something like “It’s Flora, the fairy” or “Color Flora the fairy and Fauna the fairy.” What beautiful dresses they have!" I don’t know why, but my teacher didn’t appreciate my choice.
It was difficult for my mother. She had to say goodbye to her fantastic skills in motherhood. All because her first kid could place all the chess figures on the chessboard correctly at the age of 8 months, recite the poems of Osip Mandelstam at 1.5 years old and read at 2 years old. Her second kid started to walk at 2 years old while at 5 years old, all I could do was to play with dolls and chess figurines.
The situation with math was even worse. At the end of the third grade, my dad tried to explain to me that when transferring a sign from one part of the equation to the other one, it changes. After 3 hours, even our curtains could understand it but not me. My brain just resisted all of the logical explanations my dad offered me.
I was taken to psychologists, showed special cards, and given pills. I wasn’t just stupid — I used to suck on my finger and play with my navel. Psychologists and doctors would prescribe me tons of pills. When seeing one of the prescriptions, my grandpa (a doctor) said that it was the perfect recipe for a “psychiatric vegetable roasted with saliva” and that this prescription will definitely stop me from playing with chess figurines, he joked.
Why am I telling all this? Because now I have a degree in economics and another degree in philological studies. In the third grade, I was the best at reading both in my class and the other third grade classes, as well. In the sixth grade, I took 3rd place in the Math Olympiad in one of the best schools in my city. Perhaps, it was the help of the pills that I regularly threw away into the garbage bin.
How did it all happen? By itself! When the right time came. OK, well maybe not completely by itself but at least without screaming, scolding, and punishment.
After having been called to the school on the topic of coloring books, my mom forgot about psychologists and made me read one page of a book daily and out loud.
In the fall, my mom was reading me different books herself before going to sleep. But since she had many other things to do in the evenings like cooking dinner, cleaning, or getting ready for tomorrow’s lecture, she soon stopped having enough time to read to me every night. By the way, it’s very difficult to go to sleep right after you have to put an interesting book down. That’s why I had to read stories till the end by myself.
Afterward, it was fun to listen to the same story for the second time when my mom was reading it to me. But I couldn’t confess to my mom that I have learned to read. Eventually, at some moment, she caught me red-handed but didn’t stop reading books to me — she would just start from where I left off.
The situation with math was simpler. In the eighth grade, I miraculously got into the strongest math class in our school. The teacher there was really cool — not only did he explain well, but was also an interesting and versatile person. At first, it used to take me 3 hours to finish my homework. Then, suddenly, I realized that math was the only subject in which I felt 100% confident. I could say the right answer even if I was woken up in the middle of the night.
Therefore, if you are a parent of a “stupid” child who doesn’t want to “switch on” their brain and it makes you feel angry, be patient. That’s my recommendation to you. Give him some time. As much time as it takes. Figure out what motivates them. Find a good teacher — not the one who will suck out all the energy but the one who will get your kid interested in a subject. And I am sure your kid will win the school or city Olympiad in the future.
Even if you’re now losing your faith and energy because you used to crack such puzzles like “Jane had 3 apples and Peter gave her one more” like nuts, just remember that even if your kid is not cracking them, he’s probably just interested in other things. Perhaps what’s going on in your child’s brain is something along the lines of, "Which Jane are they asking about? The neighbor from our countryside house or the one from kindergarten? If she is from my kindergarten, then why does she need apples? She doesn’t even like them! And why does Peter give her apples? The questions regarding “How much and how many” will start bothering your kid later when the time comes. Or they won’t bother him at all because one can stay happy without them too, right?
Have you ever been called a “stupid” child? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!