Parents of GT/2E (twice exceptional: gifted with learning differences) kids constantly face a barrage of misinformation about their children from friends, family and those responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. Parenting GT/2E can be physically and emotionally draining; often accompanied by feelings of loneliness. Our guests on Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT this week were Kate Arms and Jen Merrill who guided us through this difficult topic.
“Social expectations are problematic because our kids don’t fit. We have to grieve unmet expectations we didn’t realize we had absorbed from the culture.” ~ Kate Arms
Whereas self-care, in general, seems to focus solely on the individual/adult; GT/2E parents must weigh the needs of their children with their own needs. Mainstream self-care devotes strategies targeting the ‘self’ with little recognition that care for others may actually impact care of oneself.
“Our kids often have sensory issues that can be quite extreme and may not make sense to others. Unfortunately, a lot of teacher prep programs do little or nothing to prepare teachers for having our 2ekids in their classrooms. That, then, becomes a challenge for US. Schools frequently only want to talk about servicing our 2ekids in terms of mitigating their DISability. Rarely will they deign to even recognize their ABILITIES.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, #gtchat Advisor
Parents of GT/2E kids should listen to the ‘little voice inside their heads’ when they notice a change in their own mood or behavior; seek help sooner rather than later. Proactive self-care may involve being cognizant of one’s diet, engaging relaxation techniques, and increasing physical activity. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re just too exhausted to have a healthy lifestyle.
“Gifted/2e parents need lots of self-compassion. Their kids are more challenging than most, so the parents are likely to “fail” to meet many of their own parenting expectations.” ~ Jen Merrill
Parenting any kid is not an easy job and most of the manuals are out-of-date by the time your child is born. GT/2E kids take extra effort and know-how. Education is the best solution … learn about self-care. Self-regulation must be anticipated in times of crisis and prepared for through learning to recognize a crisis situation;then, practice what to do ahead of time. Furthermore, model cooperation and attentive behavior for your child.
In the aftermath of a crisis, a quick emotional recovery can happen if a parent has a plan in place and learns to anticipate when to activate it. One should consider learning emergency calming techniques in the event of a parenting crisis.
There are many great books, blogs and websites that are devoted to self-care and further resources dedicated to GT/2E parenting. Our guests, Kate and Jen offer parenting classes specifically concerning these issues. Follow them on Twitter for more information! If you are the parent or teacher of a twice-exceptional child, we urge you to view the transcript of this chat found at Wakelet and then check out the resources below.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and 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
Laughing@Chaos (Jen’s Blog)
Breathe2Relax App (iTunes)
Mindfulness Meditation for Kids (audio)
Photos courtesy of Kate Arms and Jen Merrill.
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.