Meeting the Needs of the Gifted Family

gtchat 08282015 Gifted Family

Meeting the needs of the gifted family is much more difficult than most people realize. This week at #gtchat, we discussed the many issues faced by the gifted family and strategies for meeting their needs.

Our first question drew immediate responses from participants: What do you wish people outside your family understood about life inside a gifted family?

“Life is complicated inside a gifted family. Gifted kids often have intense reactions to events that upset the family equilibrium; divorce, death, loss of pet.” Lisa Conrad, Moderator

“We don’t sit around solving Fermat’s Last Theorem at dinner (most nights).” Lisa Van Gemert, #gtchat Advisory Board

“A G2e (gifted with twice-exceptional) family isn’t what the media shows; far more nuanced than that. It ain’t all sunshine and roses, and it is HARD with all the intensities/sensitivities bouncing off each other.” Jen Merrill of Laughing at Chaos

“Life in a gifted family is challenging, complex, exhilarating and indescribable. Seamless serenity when in flow. Chaos when not.” Marianne Kuzujanakis, SENG PAC, Pediatrician, Homeschooler

There was also a sense of perspective in many of the comments. Darian of reminded us that, “A bright 8 year-old is still an 8 year-old …”. Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Kids Guide at, added, “When you’ve met one gifted child, you’ve met one gifted child.” Leslie Graves, president of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, told us, “I’m one of 6 gifted and talented children, a number of 2E issues in the mix too; each was uniquely different from the brave Mom!”

Next we considered how families can cope when multiple members display over-excitabilities. Parents need to recognize overexcitabilities in themselves first and then understand them in their children; and be aware that gifted children experience different intensities than age-peers and often earlier than expected. High intelligence creates asynchrony of unusually mature understanding coupled with limited experience. (Robinson) It’s important to talk to young children about their fears and anxieties; treat them with respect and acknowledge their concerns.

How do you respond to sibling rivalry among gifted kids? Parents can draw from experiences of dealing with their own siblings, co-workers, or teammates to deal with sibling rivalry in their children. They can use life experiences to navigate the sometimes bumpy road of “differently gifted” family members. (Isaacs-McLeod)

The discussion turned to discipline and whether it’s any different in a gifted family. Traditional discipline, popular discipline, innovative discipline; all usually fail. It is better to understand the behavior. Depth of knowledge, insightfulness, and the ability to express divergent views on an adult level can make discipline difficult. You should consider the underlying reasons for behaviors rather than the specific behaviors when contemplating discipline. (Caplan)

Where can families turn for enrichment if schools fail to provide appropriate gifted education? Gifted education comes in many forms; online instruction is a good fit for many gifted kids who thrive on stetting own pace. Enrichment can mean providing opportunities for new experiences outside the classroom – nature, museums, makerspaces. Check out the resources in the links below! A transcript of this chat  can be found on Storify.



Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


Developing Your Child’s Habits of Success in School, Life & Work (pdf) Costa

Siblings, Giftedness, & Disparities – Oh My!

When Your Child Goes Overboard: Fears & Compassionate Concerns

Keeping the Family Balance

Your Learning Path: A Framework for Creating & Considering Learning Environments

With Thing One & Thing Two, Thing Three Must Make Do!

How to Identify & Cope w/OEs, Part 1/5: Emotional Overexcitability

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope w/Explosive Feelings (Amazon)

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities or Supersensitivities in Gifted Children

Social and Emotional Problems Affecting Gifted Children

Intensities in the Classroom

Getting Over Overexcitabilities: Effectively Managing Family Interactions when Family Members Have Different Overexcitabilities

Sprite’s Site: Beginning the Journey: Gifted 101

Calvin: The Unexpected Gifted Kid

Living and Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities OR “I Can’t Help It – I’m Overexcitable!” (pdf)

Tips for Parents: How Gifted Children Impact the Family

Sprite’s Site: Survivor – Gifted Island

Cybraryman’s Summer Page

On Giftedness and 2E or being ‘Twice Exceptional’

What To Do When Your Kid Is Smarter Than You (Amazon)

How (Not) to Argue with Gifted Children


Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Posted on September 5, 2015, in anxiety, Education, Emotional intensity, family, Fonseca, gifted, Gifted Adults, gifted and talented, gifted education, Online Education, parenting, Parents, Social Emotional, Teens and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for compiling the list of resources and summary, Lisa! I was sorry to miss this #gtchat and I appreciate all of your work to make everything available afterwards!

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