To Top

Kids’ Question: My Dad’s Not Very Smart!


Hi Rene,

My name is Jenny and I’m 15 years old.

I live with my mom and dad and my younger brother Chad.

I have two wonderful parents, they really do love each other and I know how lucky I am to have them in my life, so I’m a bit embarrassed by saying this but I really need your help.

I have great grades at school (I am always top of my class) but as I get older, I notice that my dad is not very clever. And to makes matters worst, he always says in front of family and friends how intelligent I am and how “dumb” he is.

Dad puts me “on the spot” and asks me about what I’m studying at home and then gives his own “opinion” (which is so embarrassing to hear).

Please help – it’s so embarrassing!


Hi Jenny:

You’re 15 years old, which means you’ve barely scratched the surface of this thing called life. That’s why you wrote to me and why you’ll rely on other adults, including your father, to help get you to self-sufficient adulthood. So, I have three very important points for you.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK:  My mother used to embarrass me at every turn, talking to anyone who so much as smiled at her. I would hunch my shoulders in my best turtle impression, wishing I were anywhere but there. You know why I did that? Because I was overly concerned by the impression my mother was leaving on a bunch of people I would never see again in life. I know this is hard for you because you’re young, but there’s a huge difference between your father who will stop at nothing to ensure your happiness, and a bunch of strangers who wouldn’t strike a match for your bonfire on a freezing night. Who cares what they think?

APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE: You have a great life. You have two parents who love each other and love you. Do you know how many kids wish they had that?  You know why you’re doing so well in class? Because your parents were smart enough to get good jobs that enabled them to live in a place that has good schools. Your smarts can be directly traced back to theirs. Your dad may not know Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or have made it past Algebra 1 in high school, but neither did I! Do you have any idea how many famous, wealthy and successful people never finished college? Steven Spielberg, Halle Berry, Rachel Ray, oh, and how about this guy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg? The point is success and the path to it, is not linear and not all education comes from a book.

CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE NOW: I am saying this not because it’s disrespectful (which it is, by the way) but because I’m trying to save you some heartache down the line. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if you keep feeling this way about your dad, it will seep into your actions and behavior.  You won’t appreciate all that he has done for you and you’ll turn into an ungrateful, snotty brat. But worse than that, when he is dead and gone (yep, it happens to us all) you are gonna HATE yourself for feeling this way. You will look back on the time you shared with dad and beat yourself up, wishing you had spent more time appreciating him and his unique way of learning rather than being embarrassed by it.

So Jenny here’s what is in your power to change right now. First, love your dad. He may not be book smart but clearly he’s done something right. Remember when he asks you about stuff you’re learning, it’s because he’s proud of you! And get outside of yourself! Ask your dad what he’s interested in and the things he has opinions on. Learn a little more about his world and what makes him tick. I’ll bet you’ll be shocked to learn of the quiet genius within.

Good luck Jenny.

Do you have a question for a mom but don’t want to ask YOUR mom? Click here and ask Rene.


  1. Tajor9

    June 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    goodenoughmother very good advice. I think as a child we all have those feelings. First we think our parents are so smart and we walk around saying “my mommy/daddy said”. Then as we approach our teenage years we find our parents are clueless and we can’t ask them anything. But as we come into adulthood we clinge to our parents again. Many times they have the best advice for us.
    As for Jenny, Rene you are absolutely correct. She needs to inquire more about her Dad world’s and she will discover the quiet genius within. She may begin to tell everyone about the genius within her Dad.

  2. m.e. johnson

    June 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Right on, Rene! Weren’t we discussing the girl who wanted to know about her mom’s wayward past just the other day?
    I’ll bet in this case she’ll be in for some pleasant surprises.

  3. k.e.lloyd

    November 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    good advise, but saying she’ll turn into a snotty ungrateful brat? that is crossing a line and downright bitchy. who are you to make that kind of assumption?

  4. Rene Syler

    November 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm


    Um, Who am I? I am the owner of the site and she wrote in and asked me what I thought. That’s what I think. THX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Ask Rene

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

Copyright © 2014 Good Enough Mother® Designed By ABlackWebDesign