The Challenge of Raising a Gifted Child
Parenting is hard at times for everyone because each child has their own special challenges. Highly gifted children are no different. The problems are different though and this isn’t easy by any means. Highly gifted children tend to be perfectionists and will crack easily if they earn below an A on a test. There is are self-esteem issues with a gifted child along with depression issues because they are highly competitive and feel they have to be the best.
High giftedness means an accepted measurement over 140 on a standardized IQ test that measures over 140 on an IQ test. Some are gifted in particular areas of music and math. If you think your child may be highly gifted here are an example of some common traits.
- Early reading as early as two or three and a high vocabulary for age.
- Long concentration span
- Emotional sensitivity
- Learning in big, intuitive leaps
If your child is recognized as highly gifted, you may also encounter many different beliefs and outlooks about what you should do for them. There are different things about gifted children that are not logical and defy common sense. This may bring up isolation at times and others will reduce your concerns because “what do you have to worry about?”
There are some myths out there about highly gifted children that you should know.
They don’t need your help
Highly gifted children face struggles as well. Learning and getting good grades come easy at times, but you still can’t leave them on their own and not pay attention to them. One child might have an IQ of 60 and the other child has an IQ of 140 but the child with the lower IQ will need accommodation and the child with the higher IQ won’t.
Highly gifted children know right away that they are different than their peers, they feel a powerful desire to be like other children. They might act out in certain ways or pretend to not know the answer to a question they do. These kids can start to get an identity crisis which can lead to depression and anxiety. Make sure you are proactive and provide everything they need to help prevent these types of problems.
Highly gifted children should be well rounded
Parents should make efforts to be sure they are there to nurture all of their children in their strengths and weaknesses. This is no different in children that are highly gifted. The mistake parents often make is trying to push their kids away from an area of interest because they are already way ahead of their peers. The problem with this is they start to dislike school activities because they feel like they are wasting time on something they aren’t interested in. Parents also can delay their gifted child from good possibilities like becoming a great mathematician, author, computer software writer or musician. Think about this, if your child played basketball with kids 5 years older than them and was successful, would you ask your child to quit playing basketball and try baseball instead?
Staying with students of the same age below their intellectual ability
Some parents feel it isn’t a good idea to push their child a grade ahead because gifted children already know they are different and pushing them ahead a grade could cause a bad outcome. Research shows the exact opposite to be true because your child is working on schoolwork that is too easy for them and causes boredom. Highly gifted children who have pushed ahead consistently do better on standardized tests, mental health, future academic success and adjusting to adulthood.
People might think you are crazy for making your decisions but most teachers will suggest that you push your child a grade ahead to challenge them to alleviate boredom. Accelerated courses might not be the right choice for every gifted child but the thought should not be dismissed without doing some research on your own.
The school knows what to to do with them
Sadly, this is not always true because teachers and the school staff are required to have some type of experience with gifted children. High gifted children are rare so sometimes the schools may not be experts in the child’s unique personality. Because of the uncertainty of the administration, the school often uses the same strategies for the children who fall into the gifted category. This may work some of the time, but after a while, highly gifted children may not fit in with the norm of the gifted child curriculum that the district uses.
Do as much research as possible if you have a highly gifted child. In addition, pay attention and become a student of your child’s interests, strengths, weaknesses, sensitivities and overall personality. You will find that you might have to use unique approaches to their education. Take your information and go to school with a team approach. The end result should be that everyone included is on board with the right plan for your unique, highly gifted child. You want the best for your child and so does the staff so it’s important to become allies with the school in the development of a plan for your child.
Being the parent of a highly gifted child can be really enjoyable for the family. When you see them excel far beyond what they should be able to do can give you and your family great pride. Attack these challenges head on and be proactive for the social, emotional and educational needs of your child.
Remember these are the challenges your highly gifted child will face and watch for self-esteem issues, guilt, perfection, control issues, unrealistic expectations of themselves, impatience, friendship issues attention and organizational skills to name a few. Keep this in mind and do some research on these challenges. Your child will grow into a teenager you will be ready and willing to help them through one of the hardest periods of their life. High school is a big turning point in any child’s life and drama that goes along with the teen years and highly gifted children.