Dealing With Smart, Stupid Daughters (Mom’s Advice)

Having a daughter is special for both moms and dads. Most moms dream about a mini-me, while dads envision having daddy’s little girl. But when fantasy meets reality, it turns out your daughter is far from perfect. Sometimes you might even find yourself wondering if you have a stupid daughter.

Parents dealing with smart, stupid daughters have multifaceted daughters. Usually daughters we think stupid aren’t book smart, but have common sense. And book smart daughters seem stupid if they make haphazard, naïve, or bad choices. The problem is thinking them as either/or, when really it’s both.

As a mom of a daughter, and of course a daughter myself, I know this information first-hand.

That said, I’m happy to explain my understanding of what it means to be smart and stupid; how to deal with having a daughter who’s maybe a bit more stupid than most; how to help your daughter regardless of her strengths and weaknesses; and a bit of fluff about smart, stupid daughter TV stereotypes.

What does it mean to have a smart, stupid daughter?

For Lisa Simpson’s dad Homer (of The Simpsons, which is available on Amazon in all forms), having a smart, stupid daughter is stressful. And I guess we all can empathize with that. What does this actually mean, though?

Having a smart, stupid daughter means having a daughter who’s book smart with a high IQ, but lacks good common sense and/or people skills. She may be easily conned or tricked, and labeled naïve or said to have her head in the clouds. She doesn’t need homework help, but benefits from other guidance.

Signs of having a smart, stupid daughter:

  • She’s academic and scores high on standardized tests, but may have comments from teachers about social problems or cues..
  • She reads a lot of books instead of interacting with others; or talks about things that other kids or family members don’t typically enjoy.
  • She gets tricked by so-called friends, and you may tell her she’s being taken advantage of.
  • Especially common for little kids, she may end up losing or giving away favorite possessions.
  • She might overextend herself and struggles with time-management.
  • She has unrealistic expectations of what she can do, one way or the other.
  • She doesn’t follow good safety or let’s time slip away.
  • She doesn’t get jokes. Or has a sense of humor that’s different than most kids her age.
  • You find yourself asking, ‘why did she do that?’ or saying to her, ‘that doesn’t make sense!’

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What about having a stupid daughter ?

Comedian Ron White has a controversial Stand-Up bit surrounding the claim, ‘You can’t fix stupid.’

You might wonder if your daughter is not actually smart. In that case, what do you do? In the spirit of comedian Ron White, ‘can you fix stupid?’

Some parents might wonder if they have a stupid daughter (or son) in comparison to other kids. As hard as it is to face, not all kids have high intelligence. It’s best to acknowledge a daughter or son’s needs and help them using tutors, more quality time, or by working on other strengths.

Tutors Can Help: If your daughter struggles in school, you’re likely to hear about it at Parent-Teacher conferences, or by notes in Weekly folders sent home. Your daughter may even share frustrations about how she ‘can’t read good’ or kids tell her she’s stupid.

You can either hire private tutors from tutoring companies like Kumon or Mathnasium; or look into college students who offer private tutoring. My best advice is to check with the teacher. Often schools offer afterschool tutoring at little to no cost or short-term programs she can join.

This might not fix all her problems, especially if she’s very behind, but it can help close the gap between what she needs to know and currently lacks, or provide more insight as to whether or not your daughter suffers from a learning disability.

More Quality Time: Believe it or not, sometimes just improving and/or increasing the time we spend with our children can bridge deficits. Our daughter was not stupid academically, but she really struggled with learning to read. This seems inconceivable now, considering she’s won multiple academic scholarships over the years, but it’s true.

Once we realized this, my husband spent hours with her every evening reading books and helping her with phonics instruction and whole language. It took a lot of effort on both their parts, but within months, she was not only reading, but was on her way to advancing the other kids!

Other Strengths: It’s also important to consider that academics might not be your daughter’s strengths. And that’s okay. Of course before coming to this conclusion, be sure to invest some time in the aforementioned suggestions.

If it seems this is the situation you’re in, then look into other options that your daughter might excel in. Perhaps your daughter is artistic, musical, or a social butterfly. You can support musical or artistic talents or interests with extracurricular classes or teachers; or by investing in some special tools to use at home.

An option to support a social butterfly daughter is with volunteerism. Your child can have an outlet for this by working at the local library; animal shelter; nursing home; or some other group. It’s a wonderful way to help her build communication as well as community!

Special Tip: If you have concerns that your daughter has a learning disability, it’s imperative to talk to her teachers or pediatrician so that she (and you) can get the support she not only needs, but deserves. The sooner a learning disability is diagnosed, the better your child will do. Learning disabilities that are ignored only hurt your child in the long run. In fact, research shows that children with learning disabilities suffer long-term behavioral and emotional consequences if their educational needs aren’t met.

Is it ever okay to call your daughter stupid?

So is it okay then to call your daughter stupid, ever?

Even if your daughter calls herself stupid, you shouldn’t ever call her that. Instead, try to get your daughter not to refer to herself that way, either. Focus on the action or choice that’s stupid. While we might acknowledge in our mind that our daughter is stupid, refrain from sharing it aloud.

To borrow a line from Taylor Swift, it’s ‘never ever, ever’ okay to call your daughter stupid.

On an episode of Supernanny, a dad calls his daughter stupid, much to the disapproval of child expert, Jo Frost.

On one infamous, memorable episode of Supernanny, Jo Frost had a teachable moment, not with a child needing discipline, but with a dad who called his daughter, “stupid”. As Jo explained, it’s not acceptable. Parents should never, ever tell their child, that they’re stupid. It’s unacceptable.

So while this whole article is focused on ‘stupid daughters’, it’s not intended that parents tell their daughters that they’re stupid. Parents should advocate for their children. Parents should build their children up. And parents should support their children.

This is, of course, in addition to disciplining children, and teaching them.

Problems With Having A Smart, Stupid Daughter

So what about when your daughter is both smart and stupid? What are the problems with that?

Parents often have smart, stupid daughters because daughters aren’t typically one or the other. Usually daughters are a bit of both, though they will lean towards one trait more than the other. Parents should support their smart daughters academically, but guide them where they lack common sense.

Problems often lie with daughters not getting the support they need. Smart daughters generally means they do well academically, but parents need to show them how to handle day to day demands, or their daughters will get overwhelmed. This is particularly key at transition times for daughters such as moving into high school or going to college.

Daughters who are the opposite, meaning those who are not ‘book smart’ but have great common sense, need your support too. Often these daughters feel dumb and ‘stupid’ and suffer from low self-esteem. Parents need to encourage their daughters’ strengths and help them find value in those, rather than what they don’t have.

TV Stupid Daughters

So now let’s look at a bit of fluff. TV is known for perpetuating stereotypes, and it’s no different when it comes to stupid daughters. However, we can sometimes still find a lesson or two from them, if we scratch below the surface!

Mallory from 1980s’ Family Ties

Mallory on Family Ties was known as the pretty, sweet, but stupid daughter.

Family Ties (which you can watch for free with a Paramount+ trial membership) ran from 1982 to 1989, focusing on hippies turned yuppie couple Steven and Elyse and their three children, one of whom was sweet but stupid daughter, Mallory.

While oldest child, Alex, their son, was super smart, ambitious, and to the parents’ chagrin, ‘conservative’, their middle daughter Mallory was depicted as very pretty, but an airhead. Over time, she grows into a smarter person, and that’s something parents can take from this.

Just because our daughter isn’t naturally ‘book smart’, she has the ability and possibility to be a smart, well-rounded adult! The opportunities and experiences we provide them can facilitate it!

Kelly Bundy of Married…With Children Fame

Kelly Bundy of Married…With Children was known as an extremely stupid daughter.

From Married…With Children (available on Amazon Prime, or by DVD), Kelly Bundy’s IMDB description says she’s “a very promiscuous teen-aged daughter…who makes up in attractiveness what she lacks in IQ points,” making her the stereotypical ‘stupid daughter.’

Actress Christina Applegate did a great job playing Kelly, so great in fact, that though Applegate has had a long career by Hollywood standards, she’s commonly still called ‘Kelly’.

One thing that’s apparent from this show and it’s stereotype of a stupid daughter, Kelly was played as someone with social skills and ‘street smart’ frequently pulling the wool over the eyes of her parents, tricking her smarter brother, and trading sarcastic quips without hesitation.

Stupid Hayley Dunphy of hit Modern Family

Hayley Dunphy of Modern Family is another TV daughter who’s cute but stupid.

Modern Family (linked to Amazon) debuted in 2009 and continues to be successful. Oldest daughter Hayley, played by Sarah Hyland, is sweet, fun, carefree, and yes, stupid. She failed her driving test multiple times; is known for being airheaded; and not able to get most jokes.

And yet, Hayley shines now and then when her strengths are highlighted. She finds success in relationships; jobs; and problem solving. Again, showing that not all ‘smarts’ are bookish.

TV Smart Daughters

And now let’s take a brief look at how TV has addressed ‘smart daughters’ over time in some popular series. In actuality, I think these somewhat ‘stereotypical smart daughter’ characters happen to be good examples of ‘stupid, smart daughters’, which provide us a more balanced view overall.

Growing Pains‘ Smart, Middle Daughter Carol

Carol was not only the middle child on Growing Pains, but known for Harvard dreams and being very book smart.

Carol on Growing Pains (available on Amazon Prime) was the middle child (until later seasons when new sister Chrissy came along), but also very bookish and smart, though was easily fooled by big bro, Mike.

And though Carol is smart and on the school honor roll, she often falls victim to her ‘dumber’ older AND younger brothers’ teasing and tricks.

Carol also has several stupid moments, from attempting teen marriage to dating someone 11 years older to sneaking out at night…actually these seem like typical teenage behaviors, but they’re actions you wouldn’t expect from your ‘smart daughter.’

So we can take Carol as an example of a smart daughter who does stupid things that are typical of all daughters, from time to time.

Lisa from The Simpsons

And Lisa, best known as ‘Bart’s sister’, from The Simpsons (available for purchase on Amazon) which is TV’s longest running series, is musical, level-headed, empathetic, socially aware, and yes, very smart….much smarter than most any adults she meets. I’ve already mentioned how this can be stressful for dear ol dad, Homer.

Lisa is an example of a TV daughter who’s a bit more fleshed out than some of the sitcom versions we usually see (and mentioned in this article). Lisa also makes some stupid statements and choices throughout the series, too, though.

A few of these are when she professes that ‘solitude never hurt anyone’ (We know that is absolutely not true!); the many times she’s just mean and vindictive; when she ruined Homer’s BBQ; and the time she let her emotions of Bart interfere with a good business decisions. And there are many other dumb, stupid things this smart cartoon daughter does!

‘Smart Alex Dunphy’, Stupid Daughter Hayley’s Little Sister

Modern Family has not only a stupid daughter (Hayley) but also a smart daughter (Alex).

And from the same series, Modern Family known for stupid daughter Hayley, there’s also a smart daughter, Alex. Alex is smarter than both her parents when it comes to math and science; and she’s a shoo-in for college, but she continues to underestimate her stupid older sister, as well as exhibits personal poor character like bullying and manipulating others.

She either ignores friends or compares her social life with her sister’s, making herself look jealous, ungrateful, and bitter.

Dealing With Smart, Stupid Daughters Takeaway

So the takeaway about smart, stupid daughters is this-

Don’t treat your daughters as being just either/or. Realize daughters, like everyone, are multifaceted, a bit of this and that. If your daughter is smart in one area, she likely needs help in another. Encourage her strengths, but help her with her needs, too.

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