Successful Parenting Strategies for Gifted Kids
All parents hope their children will be successful in life. It is no different for parents of gifted children. The difference lies in the fact that parents of gifted children have fewer resources to guide them along the way. One of the first challenges these parents face is talking to their child about what it means to be gifted. At times, gifted kids receive mixed messages from adults that can lead to confusion about who they are and how the role of giftedness should affect them.
Parents must be diligent in explaining that it is simply a matter of being ‘different’; not ‘better than’. They may be ‘better at’ some things, but this isn’t necessarily the road to success. As Dr. Jim Delisle points out, “For gifted children, the difference is often the distinction between agemates and peers.” Parents can impress upon their child that age becomes less important as they grow older. Gifted children must understand that ‘intelligence’ is only one part of who they are.
Interestingly, parents of gifted children soon learn that what isn’t said may be just as important as what is said. Parents are role models and should not say anything they don’t want repeated. It can make for very awkward situations outside the family especially when young intelligent children have not yet learned social protocols due to asynchronous development. Unreasonable expectations place heavy burdens on these kids. Even undeserved praise can be confusing. Dr. Peter Flom wisely observed, “Avoid making the child’s worth a function of how gifted they are.”
Parents need to strike a balance in knowing the difference between pushing and encouragement. Gifted children have abilities to accomplish many things, but still need the guidance afforded by their parents.
To provide a nurturing environment for their gifted child, parents should place value in being present in their child’s life ~ quality and quantity. Nurturing doesn’t need to be expensive; it simply needs to be a priority in parenting. A gifted kid needs to feel valued as a person rather than for what they do.
What’s the best way to approach a child’s teacher about giftedness? Teachers appreciate being given resources they can explore on their own. Few of them ever receive coursework in college or professional development in gifted education. Parents should also attempt to learn all they can about giftedness and the language of education so they are prepared when they do talk to teachers.
More than in any past generation, resources are beginning to become more easily available for parents of gifted children. Taking the time to learn all they can, find and network with other parents, and being present in their child’s life all can work together to raise a happy and successful gifted kid. A transcript of this chat can 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 13.00 NZST/11.00 AEST/Midnight 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
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)
Parenting for High Potential (pdf) (Spring 2016)
Parenting Gifted Children (pdf) (Chapter 10)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.