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Dad Accused Of Trying To 'Humiliate' His Daughter After Telling Her She Might Be 'Smart' & 'Hardworking' But She Isn't Gifted

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A father was accused of trying to "demean" his teenage daughter's success as she heads off to university. Posting to the subreddit "r/AmItheA--hole" (AITA) — an online forum where users try to figure out if they were wrong or not in an argument — he explained that his 15-year-old daughter is attending college at an earlier age than most after exceeding with her studies at school. However, he refused to agree that she was "gifted."

He told his daughter that she may be 'smart' and 'hardworking' but is nowhere near 'gifted.'

In his Reddit post, he explained that both his daughter and 17-year-old son are heading off to college in less than a 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," he wrote. He acknowledged that his daughter is extremely hardworking and smart for being able to attend college at such an early age, and was in a school program for gifted children.

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During a conversation at dinner, his wife gushed about how proud she was of their daughter, how lucky they were to have such gifted children, and how not many people could do what their daughter had done.

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While he affirmed that he was also extremely proud of his daughter, he quickly shut down the idea that she was gifted. "I was also very happy but I said that while [my 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."

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His wife and daughter were upset at his choice of words and accused him of trying to undermine her achievements.

He pointed out that her school does a lot to admit girls into the gifted program, and that his wife helped teach her advanced math and college-level physics from an early age, proving that she didn't naturally pick up on these subjects on her own.

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

Upon telling his daughter that, both she and his wife got upset. His wife even accused him of trying to put down their daughter's success by refusing to acknowledge that she is gifted, which he adamantly denied trying to do.

The father's refusal to use the term "gifted" to describe his daughter is understandable, especially when looking at the many negative impacts that gifted programs at school have on children, as many are often overlooked.

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According to a report from Purdue University’s Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute, in six of ten schools that have identified gifted children, 10% of students were classified as gifted. However, there was a wealth gap. Low-income schools identified 8% of their students as gifted, compared to 13% of students at wealthier schools.

Assigning the label of "gifted" can also create a sense of pressure and expectation for students to constantly excel. They may even feel they need to maintain a certain level of performance to live up to the label, leading to anxiety and stress.

However, while his intentions may be valid it's essential to acknowledge his daughter's and wife's feelings as well. The teen's emotional reaction clearly stemmed from feeling that her father's words undermined her accomplishments.

Instead, it's vital to find a balance between acknowledging her hard work and making sure that she knows being "gifted" shouldn't be the most important thing to strive for.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.