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Dad tells teen daughter in school for gifted kids that she's 'not gifted; AITA?

Dad tells teen daughter in school for gifted kids that she's 'not gifted; AITA?


Being a 'gifted' kid can be a bittersweet blessing and a burden, and the qualifications for being labeled as special can often be blurry...

So, when a conflicted dad decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As#hole' about his daughter's 'gifted' status, people were eager to dive into this family drama.

AITA for telling my daughter that she is smart and hardworking but not gifted?

My wife and I both have electrical engineering degrees but I no longer work in the field and am a manager.

We have a daughter (15F) and a son (17M) and both will be headed to university next month. My son is doing a BA and has not yet picked his major and my daughter will be studying physics and computer science. My son is also very smart and is a history and language nerd.

My daughter is smart and hardworking and is attending at an earlier age than usual. She was in a school program for gifted kids.

We were having a conversation at dinner the other day and my wife mentioned how proud she was of our daughter and how lucky we were to have gifted children going to good university programs and how not many people can do what our daughter did.

I was also very happy but I said that while (daughter) is really hardworking and smart, I would not say that she is actually gifted and others can't do it if they put in the same amount of work.

Her school does a lot to try to admit girls into her program, and my wife helped teach her advanced college level math and physics from an earlier age, she didn't naturally pick it up on her own.

If anything being a younger applicant with the same credentials probably helped her stand out more for the admissions committee.

I have seen how people can ruin their lives over thinking they are 'gifted' and it going to their head so I just wanted to caution her about that.

Both my wife and daughter are upset at me now, my wife thinks I was trying to put her down which is not true and says she is gifted, while my daughter actually agrees with me but says I should not have said it as she already knows.

AITA here? It might not come across in the post but I am genuinely proud and happy for my kids and beyond what I described here, there was a lot of complimenting and celebration on my part.

Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say about this mess...

fabulousautie said:

YTA putting your daughter down served no positive purpose. Discouraging a young teen like that can have serious detrimental effects. Even if she isn’t actually gifted, you were the as#hole.

That being said, she is gifted. Not every 15 year old can go to a university to study physics. Not only is she gifted academically, she is gifted with drive and determination. Not everyone has that. And you tried to put her down.

Saravat said:

YTA. There is absolutely no rational or useful or helpful reason to say something like this. The only purpose was to demean your daughter, who is most assuredly gifted.

You also spent an interesting amount of time in your post attempting to explain how her accomplishments and abilities really aren't that special.

You can make all the claims you want to about how proud of her you supposedly are. I see right through you. I spent my career as a woman in the sciences and I've been around countless guys like you who are quick to praise their little female 'worker bees' as long as they know their place, but who are incapable of acknowledging when a woman is genuinely exceptional.

It's especially heartbreaking that you have managed to erode her awareness of her own gifts to the point where she 'actually agrees' with you that she is 'just' a hard worker and not really gifted. You are toxic and I know you'll reject this reality, but I'll say it anyway. You're a misogynist.

Even-Emu5483 said:

YTA. You just insulted her for no reason. You didn’t want her to ruin her life by thinking she’s gifted? But she’s not ruining her life! She’s going to college at 15 to study physics and computer science… how is she on the pathway to ruining her life?

Also, she got into a gifted program, so they probably tested her and she is gifted. Yes, studies show the most successful people aren’t the most gifted or talented, but the most resilient…the ones with grit.

You don’t instill that in someone by putting them down. You instill this by praising their efforts, their grit in conquering something that was difficult and persevering.

You do it by praising what she’s accomplished and how she persevered to achieve that… not by putting down her abilities. Your focus is on the effort.

Emergency_Spite_8084 said:

YTA: Your daughter is gifted it’s very rare for a fifteen year old to head to university. The fact that she was able to pick up these concepts is fact at her age. All kids need teachers gifted or not! Not that “naturally picked it up bs” just because she needed someone to teach it to her doesn’t make it any less impressive.

When I was fifteen no matter how hard I tried I was barely passing pre-algebra. Don’t sh$t on your daughter's achievements dude.

Corporate-Bitch said:

Hell yes, YTA. Unless your daughter specifically asked for you to say whether or not you considered her gifted, you should've just kept your opinion to yourself.

I'm not sure what you thought sharing this secret truth would accomplish other than damaging your daughter's confidence and self esteem.

So, there you have it...

Everyone agreed unanimously here that this dad is 100% in the wrong for the one. Hopefully his daughter can ignore his hot takes and continue to thrive.

Sources: Reddit
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