Raising a gifted child or children can present parents with a unique set of challenges that may leave them feeling overwhelmed or hopeless. We all want the best for our children, and recognizing that gifted children have special needs early on will help parents be more effective and empathetic to what their gifted youngsters are going through.
Gifted children are those that are highly receptive to the world around them, developing higher-than-average proficiencies in the arts, music, arithmetic and academics at an early age. Gifted children also have a tendency to stay well ahead of their class as they work through grade school, sometimes putting them years ahead of their peers by the time they reach high school.
Although it may be easy to think that gifted children can do everything on their own and don’t need any help from their average, dull parents, nothing could be further from the truth. Check out these tips below when you’re looking for ways to help your gifted child in his or her daily life.
- Avoid pressuring your child. Gifted children can be quite amazing, and it’s easy for parents of gifted children to assume that they’re good at everything. While gifted children are above average, keep in mind that they’re still children that are going to mess up from time to time. When they do, it’s important to remember to give them positive encouragement instead of negative reinforcement because they made a mistake. Expecting your gifted child to perform flawlessly at everything they attempt is setting him or her up for failure.
- Encourage social behavior. Gifted children have a tendency to stand out from the crowd, which can also make them a target for ridicule among their peers. Some gifted children will even begin to underperform at school just so they aren’t singled out as being a teacher’s pet. That’s why it’s crucial for you to encourage your child to get involved socially, whether in school clubs, sports, or after-school programs. Once your child’s peers realize that your child is just another kid, they’ll likely lighten up a bit.
- Keep your child (and yourself) grounded. We all think that our kids are the best and the brightest, but it’s always a good idea to take a step back every now and then and analyze how we’re treating all of our children. Do you have a tendency to put your gifted child up on a pedestal? Do you have another child or children that aren’t gifted, and are you giving them the same attention and care that you’re allotting to your gifted child? While gifted children do have unique needs, keeping them (and yourself) grounded will keep them from feeling like they’re overtly different from their family and peers.
Raising a gifted child can be a great challenge. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to understand everything that a gifted child is going through, because these children have a tendency to be well ahead of the pack at any given age, leaving parents to play catch-up. While gifted children do have distinctive needs as they go through their adolescent years, parents need to also remember to treat them just like any other child that needs support from time to time. Just because your child is gifted, doesn’t mean that they don’t need their parents to talk to.