Life in a Gifted Family
In years gone by, dinner table conversation was often considered at the heart of the family. Today, that conversation may not take place at home, but it is still revealing about the nature of family life. When family members are gifted, it can be laced with intensity and passion about a particular topic; disconcerting; hysterical; riddled with questions; opinionated … you know.
“Personally, I find the asynchronous part the most challenging. Reminding myself “he’s only 5.” ~ Michaela Estes, parent
With so many highly sensitive and highly intelligent people in the same household ~ life can be interesting yet exhausting. Often a gifted child requires an extraordinary amount of the parents’ time leaving other family members feeling neglected. It can have a negative effect on marital relationships when there is disagreement about the nature of giftedness. Financial burdens can be significant for outside enrichment, counseling, early arrival of college, or homeschooling.
Life outside the family can be difficult for young gifted children as they begin school and experience social interaction with those who may not understand them. Their new environment may lack intellectual stimulation at the same level found at home on an ongoing basis and intelligence alone cannot guarantee social-emotional stamina before it’s developed in a young child.
Many parents of gifted children face criticism from society – such as being ‘helicopter parents’, ‘pushing their children’, or charges of elitism. What strategies can parents use to mute criticism of perceived faults? Education, information, documentation. Many people have no idea the extent to which giftedness affects a child. Furthermore, choosing words wisely and reading a social situation carefully can reduce criticism from other parents.
Fortunately, there are places where families can find support for the unique challenges they may face. One of the best-known organizations for supporting parents is SENG started by Dr. James Webb. Parents should look to state gifted organizations who can provide more localized resources for individuals.On the national level, there is NAGC (US), GHF and Potential Plus UK (UK); and internationally ECHA (EU) and the WCGTC.
Life in a gifted family may present extraordinary challenges for its members, but it can also serve as a refuge as well. A transcript may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Embracing the Whole Gifted Self (Gatto-Walden)
Embracing the Whole Gifted Self (pdf – 24 page free download sample)
Family Counseling with the Gifted (Silverman) (pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.