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Anyone here have skids that are high-achievers?

paul_in_utah's picture

Hey folks,

Had a random thought today. It seems that most of the posters here have skids that similiar to mine in terms of "life achievements," or lack thereof. My SS20, for example, barely graduated high school, does not attend college, has never worked a day in his life, and still doesn't know how to groom himself. My SD17 smokes pot, makes lousy grades, and secretly dates gang-bangers. Neither of these skids is going anywhere with their lives.

My question to the masses is this - does anyone have skids who actually **are** going somewhere in life? It could be good grades, military service, a good job for older skids, etc. I am just wondering if "underachieving skid" is the greatest common denominator as to why folks are on this site.

paul_in_utah's picture

When SD17 lived with us, she was an "excuse machine" when it came to her homework. She was pretty creative, and knew how to exploit "plausible deniability." For instance, she would say that she had turned in assignments, but they had not been recorded by the teacher yet. She knew that we would have to call the teacher to confirm this each and every time, which was not practical. Just an example, she had plenty of other excuses. She probably averaged 20 zeros a semester in her different classes.

Jsmom's picture

None of mine are overachievers. BS17 is though. They mock him and call him "Perfectson". They wish...

I really think that these kids of divorce their parents have lower expectations and that is why they do not strive for more. My expectations have always been high for BS.

PeanutandSons's picture

SS 10 is a classic under achiever. Everything is half assed, and he has struggled with school work since day 1. He is adhd, and had a rough first couple years (pulled from bm by dcf due to neglect) and I always wonder how he might have been different if given a better start in life.

Sd9- is a bit more of a mixed bag. If she thinks she can get attention for something she will up effort in, and school work come easily for her. But if she doesn't get constant praise and attention, or if it doesn't come easy to her, she puts zero effort into anything. She expects everything to be handed to her. I found a "to-do list" chart on her bed this weekend..... Here were her weekend goals:

Wake up
Watch tv
Eat breakfast
Watch a lot of hours of tv
Eat lunch
Watch more tv
Eat dinner
Watch tv

She had drawn a chart to check off each of her "goals" this weekend for Saturday and Sunday as she "accomplished" them.

paul_in_utah's picture

That's a good point. My skids are not geniuses, but they are not complete morons. SS is probably average in intelligence, SD17 is a little below average.

That said, I think that they were **capable** of doing a lot better. My DW just didn't take an active hand in managing their performance. She would check their grades on-line, and occasionally get on to them, but would always accept their BS excuses about missing homework, shitty test grades, etc. She would just not implement meaningful consequences for poor school work, so skids never had any reason to try. I think for DW, it was a combination of lazy parenting, coupled with a fear of "upsetting" the skids, which might cause them to want to live with the fathers.

asheeha's picture

i do not know what will happen with my skids.

i fear for them because their bm doesn't expect or demand much from them. she doesn't take the effort or foresight needed to prepare them. yes, she spends hours helping sd10 through her homework, she makes SOME effort but it is all rudimentary. it is reactive instead of proactive. therefore both skids are behind. one extremely so.

asheeha's picture

i did not say they were inherent losers. i said i fear for them.

i believe that parent's staying together is best for kids and most of the statistics support this, however statistics also show that parents who work together for the good of the kids after divorce usually turn out just as successful as those who's parents stay together.

i have no idea what would have happened with sd10's reading ability if dh and bm had stayed together. but bm doesn't pay attention as much. i also believe, even tho the divorce was something she initiated and fought for it took her an extremely long time to get over. unfortunately her kids fell through the cracks at that time.

dh was NOT involved in school activities in any way. he was involved in a lot of other things but school he left to bm. bm didn't do well in school and has no gumption for her kids to do better. she feels she is fine and she struggled therefor they will be the same.

i think the divorce and the kids doing poorly and dh's increased involvement due to MY prodding actually motivates her more in this regard.

the teachers even talk badly about BM.

i am a child of divorce and i put myself through college and am relatively successful. i'm not rich but i'm a good decent person and i've got tons of accomplishments. my parents and steps are enormously proud of who i am.

i actually believe that my step-parent's involvement enhanced my life and made me a better person.

my parents actually worked together tho and never made me pick sides or spoke badly about the other parent.

so, believe what you want...but i can't put their mom and dad back together and i can't make her a more proactive parent who's engaged in their education. and i don't think the divorce had ANYTHING to do with that aspect of her parenting.

LetItEnfoldYou's picture

My SD17 is a high achiever, always has been since she was very young, according to DH. She has always been incredibly intrinsically motivated to do well in school and beyond. SD12 is very intelligent but needs some extra "pushing", and often doubts her capability to do well. Because DH never even had to ask whether or not SD17 was finishing or homework or doing well on tests, he slacked a bit with SD12, assuming that she had the same motivation as SD17. They are both really different in that sense. But I think that both of them will go onto college and succeed.

Needless to say, my situation seems unique on this board, and the teenagers the stepparents here have to deal with are usually exactly how you described. I feel extremely lucky to only have major BM problems, and not so much skid problems. You girls/guys are saints. :jawdrop:

paul_in_utah's picture

I've read articles about so-called "resilent" children, who overcome horrible home environements and end up successul. Usually they are things far worse than what we typicalyl see here, such as physically abusive parents, drug-addicted parents, living in the ghetto, bad schools, etc.

But for every "resilient" child, there are probably 10 like my skids, who had every opportunity and still didn't accomplish jack shit.

Good for you, maybe they will be able to get jobs and move out on their own.

frustrated-mom's picture

Perhaps there really are success stories, but I think there are people who just are able to channel their energy towards career goals.

My SD's BM had her kids taken away because of abuse and the older two half-siblings (different dad) especially grew up in a bad situation. BM was mentally ill and addicted to prescription drugs. Sd15 makes a big deal about how she was abused, but her older half-sister had to deal with far more to deal with and I always thought she was a success story from just hearing about her. She's going to vet school, has done well in school. She's not hung up on what happened to her as a child. But she's an absolute nightmare to actual deal with on a personal level. She's a vindictive control freak.

In those types of situations, I'm not sure there are the success stories since a stepparent is going to be the type of person that gets to see the bad side of anyone who is mentally unstable, even if they can hide it well enough to stay in school and get a job

momagainfor4's picture

my sd is only 12. But for a kid that just switched from private schools to public schools, she should be acing her classes. Nope, she struggles. She's not a whiz kid by any means.
She is not that great in sports, although she does participate in some on a regular basis, seems like she really enjoys with friends but there is no real competitiveness.
Sd 12....her claim to fame..she's pretty. Yep, that's about it. She's average smarts but she's obviously not the entire package.
My bf realizes this I think.
He's made several comments.
We'll see what happens.

asheeha's picture


my best friend in high school was the smartest kid i've ever known. she even won a trip to see the president...about 50 kids across the entire u.s. were given this honor. she was also the top girl athlete in any sport she tried. she was a child of divorce and one of the sweetest persons i've ever known.

stepalong's picture

My husband is a step kid and he had military service, got out so he could fully pursue winning custody of his dtr (which he did), worked and put himself through college to become an electrical engineer (which he did) and has a great paying stable career-oriented job. He fully expects the same from his dtr (my stepdtr). She's only 10 but I have full confidence b/c he EXPECTS it from her.

GoodbyeNormaJean's picture

Rags does. His stepson is in the military and doing relatively well so far.

My stepkids don't show a lot of promise, but that's due to situations that happened before I was in the picture.

I have one son who is an achiever, but he is only 12, so we'll see how it goes as he gets older. My daughter also gets exemplary grades and participates in a lot of stuff.

I am a stepkid, and while I didn't attend an ivy league college, I own my own successful business that I built from the ground up, and I'm self sufficient and happy. I consider that an achievement. One of my biggest supporters has always been and still is my stepmom. She has often been the one to encourage me to keep at it when I would have otherwise dropped the ball and given up at times.

paul_in_utah's picture

Interesting responses, but about what I expected. There are some success stories here, but I think that for a lot of us, the bio-parents just don't push the kids to excel. As I mentioned, in my case, it is mostly becase my DW is afraid of "pissing off" SD17, who might then not love her, etc. Also, you have a lot of opportunists like my SD17, who skillfully play both parents against each other, which muddies the waters as far as accountability goes.

christag's picture

Depends on what you consider 'high achievers'. In terms of school/work/money, yes, my skids are high achievers. All went to good schools, have good jobs, nice homes, etc. One's in finance, one's a lawyer, one went to an Ivy league school and married well… Now these are also the same people who refused to speak to their father for 5 years because they don't like me, people who make up hateful names to call my then small children, so I don't consider them 'high achievers', I call them jerks who have done well in life because their mother's side of the family paid for their expensive schooling.

frustrated-mom's picture

I’d call SS9 an overachiever, but he’s still a brat. There’s a chance he ends up playing a college sport. He gets good grades and he excels at sports which means DH can’t ever say no to any sport he wants to sign up for. Weekends involve driving all over the place to his games and tournaments. SS9 has favorite child status because he’s such a jock and gets away with using games as a reason not to visit or to get his dad to visit him.

SS7 is hyperactive so he has problems in school. But he's nearly as tall as SS9 and DH calls him his future NFL linebacker. I can see him as one of those stupid kids who gets passed in school because they're good at sports.

SD15 failed 9th grade intentionally to piss off and punish her dad for being made to live with him. But otherwise, she would be a high achiever. DH used to brag about how smart his kids are. Now that she’s getting what she wants and living with her aunt and uncle with no rules, she is on the honor roll.

She took the PSAT last fall and scored nearly high enough to be a National Merit Scholar. If she retakes it next year, she probably will end up one. Which just goes to show that test scores mean absolutely nothing. If she wants to do well at school and go to college, she could. But she all she wants to do is hang around with horses.

Sweetnothings's picture

Letitenfoldyou, my sd21 is academically a high achiever, always has been. Though this does not mean you have a bright, normal living individual, as we learnt the hard way. It just made her extra clever about her lies, behaviour....and attitude. She is in College, has loans, and DH pays money to her regularly, she has never worked. DH says he is stopping supporting her when she finishes next year, but I'm not holding my breath. She will probably go on to do another two or three years training, etc.... And I cannot believe he will stil be paying for her at 25 or 26 !!?? She is a master manipulator, and now she is an Adult DH has just " forgotten" how she is, and is busy polishing his rose coloured spectacles.... Sigh....

Younger skid, unemployed, below average grades, no plans, not perfect, but no way as scary as the elder skid. Younger skid was truely buried in the sd21's shadow, as she was always center of attention, and idolised....

The other part of this equation, I think is to ask, what the BM is like too. Ours, was and is helpless. Basic education, no career, had the skids young, had another later kid, barely making it in a dead end job, with a mass of debt. Didn't really care about the value of education for skids, etc.......

hippiegirl's picture

My DH's middle son is going to med school, he's in his second year. His brother is a totally different story, and DH's daughter isn't a "high achiever" per se, but she does support herself and her child.

ybarra357's picture

"My question to the masses is this - does anyone have skids who actually **are** going somewhere in life? It could be good grades, military service, a good job for older skids, etc"


I have four adult SK's ages 27, 24, 21, 19 - out of the four of them only the eldest has ever had job. E.V.E.R!!

Bex_S's picture

My SD is heading nowhere. With her "know it all" attitude, stupidity and inability to take ownership of her own mistakes (rather blames everything and everyone else), she's barely scraping through school. She thinks her consistent lack of achievement is the fault of her teacher (every year, even with different teachers). She just won't listen, and never accepts criticism of any kind (not just in education); she takes it as a personal affront and refuses to address the problem. If something requires effort, it's not worth her time. Every school report, she barely scrapes a pass, and is consistently behind with other things, and her grades get worse every year as school gets naturally harder. Every school report highlights the same issues, both behavioural and educational, and she just won't improve. If she's this bad in primary school, how bad is she going to be when she goes to high school?! How bad is she going to be when she's an adult and expected to function in society? She'll just do what BM did. Find herself a rich, older man with no self esteem so she can live off him and not work. Make sure she gets herself pregnant so when they split up, she has an 18 year meal-ticket.

sandye21's picture

SD did well in high school and college but was raised with the notion that she was better and smarter than anyone else.  It's sort of sad.  I know her parents did this out of love, but it crippled her mentally and emotionally. 

At first she was easily able to find jobs but she wasn't showered with the same admiration she was raised with..  With every job there were people who were "stupid" or "weird" or "creepy" or "incompetent".    If she was lucky she would last for a year, maybe even two before she quit or they 'let her go'.  Today she is 45 years old.  It's been years since she has worked.  She is talented and could contract out but her 'better than thou' attitude hinders her future and, as I've been told by others, (including DH's family) she turns people off.  It would be great if she could get counseling but narcissists never think they need counseling.

On the other hand, I have a Niece who divorced but raised her children to to self-sufficient and kind.  They are both in their twenties and have moved on to be successful adults both socially and financially.  They respect her SO and other people.

I believe Parenting is one of the hardest jobs on earth.  We do what we think is best for he child.  I know now that even though I tried my best, some things I did with my adopted children was not the best for them to grow into productive, responsible adults.  It is really hard to find that magic balance between encouragement and humility.  But I've noticed that many divorced parents are so guilty that they focus on a broken child rather than giving their children the tools to grow into a successful adult.  So, no matter what the achievement level is, emotionally and socially crippled children live the rest of their lives with confused values and unjustified contempt for others.

It's really hard to fix when the mold has set.  This is why Step parents have to disengage.  It is not the ideal solution but it is essential for survival.

is it just me...'s picture

Definitely not. SK seems to be totally cool being an underachiever.

Iamwoman's picture

A hard "no" here.

DD is a high achiever. 
Skids have been failures up until this school year. Now they are clawing and scraping for anything higher than a D.

Rags's picture

My SS-27 is pretty successful.

He has done it differently than his mom and I would have preferred but... he is successful.

For much of his HS experience it was a battle to get him to perform to capability.  So we had to shift our perspective away from him being an honor student and focus on the goal of a diploma.  Once we refocused on that and he successfully graduated we refocused on guiding him to launch.  

That was another battle but ultimately he made good decisions and is doing great.  He is a few months from completing 9 years in the USAF.  He just extended for an additional year on a Germany assignment which will get him to 11 years.  He will be re-enlisting in about 9 months with the intention of completing 20+ years and retiring before transitioning to a private sector career in his late 30s.

strugglingSM's picture

I have two low achieving SSs who believe they are high achievers. One gets all his grades artificially inflated to Bs this year (I've watched two grades go miraculous from Ds or Fs to Bs) because BM has told the counselor that he has OCD because he's nervous about grades. He tells me his teachers are mean and the classes he's switched out of are "too hard for everyone". 

The other doesn't even work hard at things he supposedly loves, like football. Whenever DH takes videos, I can always tell which one is SS, because without fail, he is always bringing up the rear or the last one in on the play. He's also never paying attention - either on the field or off. He still talks like he's a superstar though. 

I was always an overachiever, so I have difficulty dealing with children who revel in their mediocrity and who are surrounded by others who treat them as if they are so smart and talented.