Category Archives: parenting

Helping Gifted Teens Cope with Anti-Intellectualism

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The teen years are hard … for everyone. It’s difficult to be a teen, but it’s also hard to parent and teach teens. When we consider bright, articulate, smart teens who have a passion for learning, we up the ante significantly. Having to deal with the effects of anti-intellectualism in of all places -school – can be devastating for many. It begins with name-calling and exclusion from social groups, but can escalate to more troubling actions.

What exactly is anti-intellectualism? Simply put, anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits. (Wikipedia) It is the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art and science as impractical and contemptible.

Teens are particularly susceptible to the effects of anti-intellectualism. Peer groups are extremely important during these years and teens don’t want to be seen as geeks and nerds. Gifted teens don’t want to be stereotyped as intellectual and feel they’ll be unpopular and bullied. Many of them see athletes, artists, musicians favored by society and want to ‘fit in’.

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Image courtesy of Ashwani Garg, MD via Twitter

 Anti-intellectualism can manifest in schools in many different ways such as placing sports above academics. It can lead to ridicule and bullying of gifted students and especially twice exceptional kids. The rise of high school dropout rates is one indicator of the increase in anti-intellectualism.

There are some coping strategies which gifted teens can use to combat anti-intellectualism. Gifted teens need to develop self-awareness about the nature of their own intellect; choose a personal path forward. Confronting anti-intellectualism can only succeed when done in a positive manner. At some point, teens need to understand the roots of anti-intellectualism; why others feel this way.

How can parents and teachers help gifted teens deal with anti-intellectualism? They need to mentor GT teens by providing them information on the causes of anti-intellectualism. Also, they can serve as role-models for gifted teens; responding to anti-intellectualism appropriately as well as inform GT students about ways to self-advocate in the face of anti-intellectualism.

The consequences of anti-intellectualism for the future of our society may be severe. Anti-intellectualism at its very root rejects critical thinking and is against anything considered elite. The very ideas that move a society forward are now suspect; we come to hate the things that could save us. Anti-intellectualism brings with it higher crime rates and incarcerations; lower literacy rates; less social mobility.

It’s important not to trivialize the signs of anti-intellectualism if we are to continue moving forward as a civilization. As parents and teachers, we must understand the effects it has on our brightest students and work to support them in their endeavors. The transcript of this chat may be found at our Storify page.

 

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.

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Making It Safe to Be Smart

Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America

Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1966) (Amazon)

The Age of American Unreason (Amazon)

Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America

The Cult of Ignorance in the US: Anti-Intellectualism & the Dumbing Down of America 

American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique (Amazon)

Why Do US High Schools Typically have an Anti-Intellectual Atmosphere?

Education’s Anti-Intellectual Problem (pdf)

Anti-intellectualism in Schooling

Review of: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Is the US Education Bar Set Too Low For All Kids?

Lisa (Simpson) and American Anti-intellectualism (pdf)

Christchurch has Ingrained Anti-Intellectualism & Fear of Innovation & the Unknown

Discrimination against Excellence

Anti-Intellectualism in Education (1955 Preview Only)

Sprite’s Site: Dystopia

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Parents and Teachers: Finding Common Ground

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This week, we were joined at #gtchat by 3 educators of gifted children; Angie French, Heather Cachat, and Jeff Shoemaker. Angie is a GT Specialist for K-4 in Houston, Texas. Heather is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for 5/6 in Ohio and a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator. Jeff is a Gifted Intervention Specialist for grades 5-8 in Lima, Ohio and OAGC Teacher Division Chair Elect. Heather and Jeff are Co-Moderators of #ohiogtchat on Sundays.

It’s no secret that parent-teacher relationships can often be strained; but even more so with parents of gifted children. As students begin to return to school, we took a look at ways to improve the relationship in a non-confrontational setting exploring ways to help all parties to work together for their children and students.

It was pointed out by the moderator that most teachers do not have a strong knowledge-base on which to draw about needs of gifted children. However, parents often don’t realize the restrictions and responsibilities placed on teachers today by their school administrations. This lack of knowledge can lead to misunderstandings. In addition, Jeff commented about the reluctance of teachers to acknowledge that parents usually know their child best. Friction can also be the result of competing goals and different perspectives of what is best for the child.

There are strategies which teachers can use to increase positive engagement with parents. Teachers need to renew their communication toolboxes each new school year; not rely on antiquated tools. They can seek out professional development regarding gifted education not provided at the undergraduate level. Heather suggested that teachers, “Validate their concerns. Parents need to know that teachers sincerely take them seriously.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, said, “Listening. Putting aside assumptions. Not dismissing parents – especially moms – like they’re all crazies or helicopter parents.Work on problem solving *together* as allies instead of antagonists.”

Parents can also work to forge a productive relationship with their child’s teacher. Heather told us, “Acknowledge the work teachers are doing with your child. Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to your child’s teacher.” Jeremy Bond, a parent in CT, said, “Establish from the outset how you want to communicate and what you hope to learn about their classroom.” It can be beneficial to provide teachers with an information portfolio of the child’s behaviors (academic/social/emotional) outside of school.

The parent-teacher relationship can affect student achievement. Kids, especially gifted kids, are highly cognizant of parent-teacher relationships. Adults need to be aware of emotional repercussions that may result due to their actions and work to prevent any negative reactions. Mutual respect by all parties can enhance and propel student achievement.

Can technology bridge the parent-teacher communication gap? New technologies can only help when everyone understands how to use the tools available. Not every new piece of technology is right in every situation. Be aware of cultural concerns and the availability of whatever tech is chosen. (See ‘suggestions’ in the links below.)

Clearly, good parent-teacher relationships will have a positive effect on a child’s educational experience. All parties must be committed to continually improving this relationship. When a parent or teacher does not believe this is occurring, they should take steps to seek assistance. This may include working with school administrators, counselors, or outside advocates. The most important thing is to keep the best interests of the student in the forefront of all discussions. A transcript of this chat 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.

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Parent-Teacher Conference Worksheet (download)

What Can Be Done To Improve Parent-Teacher Communication?

New Teachers: Working With Parents

Gifted 101 for Teachers New to Gifted Students

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (YouTube 31:00)

Parent Workshop: Productive Partnerships with your Child’s Teacher (Handout – pdf)

Why Don’t Teachers and Parents See Eye to Eye about Gifted Children?

5 Strategies for Building Effective Parent-Teacher Partnerships … From a Parent’s Perspective

Six Tips for Communicating with Your Gifted Child’s Teacher

Back to School Blues: Why Gifted Teens Dread Returning to School

How Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning OutcomesHow Parents & Teachers Can Work Together For Powerful Learning Outcomes

5 Keys to Forging Strong Parent Engagement

Districts Work to Bolster Parent Involvement

Harvard Family Research Proj: Parent–Teacher Conf Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers & Parents (pdf)

How to Turn Parents into Partners

It’s Time to Revamp Parent-Teacher Conference: Include the Child! (pdf)

Talking Points: Talking with Teachers about Your Gifted Child (pdf)

Choosing a Parent-Teacher Communication App

Gifted Son Being Punished by Teacher

Influence of Student–Teacher and Parent–Teacher Relationships on Lower Achieving Readers’ Engagement and Achievement in the Primary Grades

Periscope: 5 Tips for Working with Parents with Lisa Dabbs

Cybraryman’s Parents and Teachers Page

Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child (Perspectives in Gifted Homeschooling) (Amazon)

Overcoming the Barriers to Effective Teacher-Parent Partnership (audio 11:07)

Overcoming the Biggest Barriers to Effective Parent Teacher Relationships

9 Tips for Successful Parent-Teacher Communication in the Digital Age

Communication Apps (availability; not recommendations):

Remind App

ClassDojo

Periscope

Canvas

Bloomz

Class Messenger

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.   CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Where’s the ‘OFF’ Button? Helping Parents of Young Gifted Children

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Parenting young gifted children can be a challenge! This week we looked at the intensities these kids bring into the world around them. It’s often lamented that they do not fit into society’s notion of how children should act or react. Parents describe them as ‘more’ in every aspect of their lives and it can be exhausting for everyone involved. So … where is that ‘off’ button and do you really want to push it?

One of the first telltale signs of giftedness is a child’s extremely early proclivity to ask questions; a lot of questions. And not just simple questions. Oftentimes, asynchronous development leads to highly intuitive and complex questioning of practically everything. Parents quickly realize that the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture is a false dichotomy. The best way to foster their child’s giftedness is to nurture nature and provide them with an exceptional learning environment in which those questions can be answered; no matter how often or how many. As author Christine Fonseca tells us, “we must remind ourselves that they are curious; and that’s a good thing!”

 

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In their book BLOOM, authors Dr. Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young compare intense children to flowers in a garden. Consider the quote below from the introduction when thinking about your gifted child.

 

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The intensity experienced by young gifted children extends beyond their insatiable curiosity and unfortunately can affect their relationships with adults as well as age-peers. The fact that they are labeled as gifted cannot be an excuse for bad behavior. One of the most important lessons we need to teach our children is how to optimize interpersonal relationships in a way that benefits all involved.

To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

A characteristic such as bossiness is viewed as highly unfavorable; especially when directed towards teachers or other adults. Young children who are highly intelligent may not yet understand the nuance between being bossy and  qualities associated with leadership.  Gifted children often have a wide breadth of knowledge leading them to be criticized as a ‘know-it-all’. It’s important to guide them to know how to temper their approach to those around them. Gifted kids need to harness their abilities and learn to appreciate others’ viewpoints.

Navigating age-peer relationships with kids who don’t understand their intensity can be a source of angst for a gifted child. To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

Sleep is often a major concern for parents of gifted children. Some research suggests that gifted children need less sleep; but they still need sleep and so do their parents! As with most advice on parenting, it rarely works for gifted kids. It is usually a case of trial and error to find what works best for each child. And sometimes; nothing works. If and when it begins to affect everyday life … inability to complete school assignments, being habitually late to school, displaying inappropriate emotional responses … a parent may need to consult a professional who is familiar with giftedness for help. Otherwise, the risk of misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate interventions.

Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different.

It’s important to not assume that young gifted children understand the nature of giftedness. It’s more than just being smart. Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different. It is experiencing life in a way that doesn’t always conform to social norms.

Does it ever get better? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gifted kids do grow up. They will probably continue to be intense, but they have the maturity to deal with it. Yes, it does get better. There is hope for a good night’s sleep. You may eventually even miss those early years! A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

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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.

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Giftedness & Emotional Intensity

Don’t Ride the Wave 

The “Up” Side to Being Intense

The “Up” Side to Being Intense (Part 2)

Tips for Working with Emotional Intensity

Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitability In Action

Channeling Intensity Through Creative Expression

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students (Amazon)

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Amazon)

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? (Amazon)

BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry & Over-the-Top Kids

Tips to Help Your Gifted Child Fall Asleep

Sprite’s Site: Memory Elephant in Overdrive

Sprite’s Site: Talkfest

Sprite’s Site: Perchance to Dream

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Cybraryman’s Dealing with Children Page

Cybraryman’s Sleep Page

Cybraryman’s Parenting Gifted Children Page

Strategies for Dealing with Overexcitabilities

Young Gifted Children

Laughing at Chaos Blog

Storynory (Free Audio Stories)

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

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Young Gifted Children

Davidson Institute: FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

Picture courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Strong-Willed Gifted Child

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Strong-willed gifted children can appear oppositional and fail to respond to traditional behavior interventions. They are characterized as uncooperative, stubborn, defiant, rebellious and arrogant. They can also be thought of as passionate, idealistic, and emotionally intense. Due to asynchronous development, gifted children may have a deep understanding of a problem but lack ability to deal with it.

A gifted child’s behavior is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed by professionals. Many characteristics of giftedness may appear similar to mental health and few professionals have training in gifted issues. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate and ineffectual treatments which make matters worse.

Traditional behavior strategies don’t work because the underlying causes for the behavior are atypical for their age. A gifted child’s refusal to comply is often the result of deeply held yet inconsistent beliefs and feelings of injustice.

What info could be shared with teachers to help them understand this behavior as it relates to giftedness? Few teachers have a background in gifted education; basic information is a good place to start. Teachers need to know that gifted students don’t always know what they are good at; guidance may be needed to direct students to a place of understanding.

Scaffolding, a technique used in teaching, can be applied to helping gifted children deal with their emotions. It is a way to provide positive, but temporary support to a child during an emotional impasse; and can foster emotional growth as it leads to a positive, non-argumentative resolution of behavior issues. Scaffolding with gifted children promotes self-esteem and self-efficacy with long-term impact on reducing negative behavior. (Malonai 2016)

What positive steps can parents & teachers take to help strong-willed gifted children thrive? Parents can help their child discover who they are, their strengths by providing opportunities for recognizing personal strengths. Teachers can encourage students to follow their passions through school activities that challenge and validate them. Both parents & teachers need to provide positive supports before issues arise; celebrate good behavior when demonstrated. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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.

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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

7 Ways to Help Your Strong-Willed Gifted Child Thrive

5 Discipline Tips for When Time-Outs Don’t Work

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children: Mood Issues with Gifted Child

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers (Amazon)

Living With Intensity: Understanding Sensitivity, Excitability, Emotional Development of Gifted Children (Amazon)

The Strong Willed Child, Limit Testing & Why Giftedness Matters

Are Strong-Willed Children Gifted?

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

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy & Successful Gifted Children (Amazon)

Emotional Regulation and the Gifted Child 

Laughing at Chaos: Real Life Scaffolding 

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster

 

Photo courtesy morgueFile  CC BY 2.0   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

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