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Discovering your child is gifted can feel more like a knot in the pit of your stomach than a reassuring pat on your back, and you may suddenly find yourself feeling isolated, alone on a parenting journey that you never could have expected (having no resemblance whatsoever to that described in the parenting manuals). And all you’re sure of is that you don’t get it. But you will. In the meantime, you can reach out to those who’ve been there. We may not always be easy to spot because we’ve learned to remain camouflaged, but we’re here.

Your tribe exists. You may feel alone, but you’re not. Even if you’re unable to find support within your family, your current circle of friends, or your community, it does exist. And it is often just a click away, on the Supporting Gifted Learners and Hoagies’ Gifted Education Facebook pages, for example. You can also reach out to your state gifted association, the National Association for Gifted Children, and Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. Your parenting peers are out there. And, once you find them, you’ll feel as if you’ve come home.

You know your child. There are countless books on raising children and many an expert (often self-proclaimed) willing to tell you what you’re doing wrong—you’re spoiling, you’re pushing, you’re blah, blah, blah. The truth is, like most situations in life, unless you’re living with a gifted child, you don’t know what it means to parent one. You’re sharing your home with a challenging, intense, brilliant, asynchronous young person. It’s absolutely true that you won’t have all the answers, you’ll make mistakes, and you’ll have days of guilt and nights when your own personal parent blooper reel will endlessly repeat. When it comes to raising another human being, no one has all the answers, but you’ll find you have plenty of knowledge about your own kid.

You’re not crazy. Okay, maybe you are sometimes. But, more often, you’re not. Really.

Your partner matters. You’ll be tired, you’ll be frustrated, you won’t always agree, but you’re in this together. So take the time to nurture your relationship. I’m not talking about big things (though those are nice too)—a kind gesture, a touch, a kiss, a query about his or her day, or a reassuring word can go a long way. Remember you’ll be with one another long after your children have left the house. Try to ensure you’ll still know and like each other when you are.

You matter. Again, you’ll be tired, you’ll be frustrated. You’ll need a hand, or a shoulder, or a lifeline. Other times, you’ll need to be alone. That’s okay. Refuel, recharge, reboot. You’re no good to your child, yourself, or those around you if you don’t take the time to tend to your bliss—read a book, write in your journal, go for a walk, meditate, work in the garden, sip a glass of wine, eat a piece of chocolate. It may seem selfish, and maybe it is, but it’s also totally necessary.

You’ll gain an affinity for roller coasters. You’ll have ups and downs—often in rapid succession. But eventually you’ll become accustomed to the nausea, the heart-stopping thrill, and the intermittent screaming. And things will get better. You’ll learn how to support your child, your child will learn how to come into his own, your child will become her own person and her giftedness will become a welcome part of who she is. Actual roller coasters may hold no appeal for you, but when it comes to the gifted parenting ride, you’ll learn to appreciate the highs and lows.

You may find yourself. You’ll learn things about yourself you never knew you didn’t know, and your child’s growth in some ways will parallel your own. You will become a better you for having parented your unique kid.

Your kid is a kid. You’ll hear people say you need to let your kid be a kid. Um, duh. But not everyone does childhood the same. Your offspring may be a pint-sized wise man, and if you try to pretend he’s anything else, he’ll educate you. The more everyone stops comparing their children to those of others and refrains from judging various parenting styles, the more rewarding all of our journeys will be. So carry on, keep learning, and breathe.

You got this.





This post is part of Hoagies' Gifted 101 Blog Hop.

Click here to read other entries!  
 


Comments

08/01/2015 9:47am

Yes! Kids are kids and everyone does childhood differently, but kids still need down time to be silly and play and even get a little mischievous.

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Ann
08/01/2015 7:52pm

Yes, kids need to have the opportunity to pursue the unstructured activities that bring them joy. Those are the moments during which they achieve great personal growth!

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Wenda Sheard
08/01/2015 11:37am

Wise advice! Thanks for taking the time to write and share.

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Ann
08/01/2015 7:53pm

Thanks, Wenda! I enjoyed writing the post!

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08/01/2015 3:09pm

Loved this, Ann. Clear, concise, funny and right on!

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Ann
08/01/2015 7:54pm

Thanks for the kind words, Paula!

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08/01/2015 3:17pm

It is just so amazing to me how, as the parents of gifted children, all of our stories, advice, pitfalls, mistakes, and life experiences are so much the same. Each and every bit of advice you give resonates and relates directly to what my family has been through now that we are nearing the end of our journey--I just wish I had this information quite a few years ago! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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Ann
08/01/2015 7:54pm

Yes, we all have much in common, and I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful community. This post was a pleasure to write, and I find great satisfaction in knowing that it resonates with others!

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08/08/2015 9:25pm

I love your post! I can relate to so much of it... and am grateful for the reassurance. Thank you!!

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Ann
08/08/2015 10:25pm

You’re welcome, Emily! I’m glad the post resonated with you!

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08/13/2015 3:50pm

This is such a great list of tips. Thanks for sharing!

Also, this piece stuck with me: "We may not always be easy to spot because we’ve learned to remain camouflaged, but we’re here." - It is so sad that gifted parents feel they need to remain camouflaged, but it is so often true.

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08/14/2015 12:07am

So sad that we hide our kids' abilities and feel the need to camouflage... but we do. THis was a great read.

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01/27/2016 3:55am

This post is great! Thanks!

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Princess
02/07/2016 4:44am

There is always a slight resentment from other parents and you learn not to share what your child can do. Sometimes they even think you are lying about the skills your child has.
The need to provide activities or things to do is always there, not because they need something to do to stop them from being bored or even to extend them but because its tiring to try keep up with them if you don't.

Also
Gifted doesn't = perfect.

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Gina
02/23/2016 10:09am

Love, love, love this so much. Thank you Ann! This mother starting this journey really appreciate this post because it's resonate so much with our current situation.

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