Parenting Tips for Your Gifted Child
Being the parent of a gifted child may seem like every parent’s dream. However, after experiencing the emotional meltdowns one might disagree. There is a certain amount of patience and empathy that parents need to be aware of when parenting these unique children. Dr. James T Webb describes the following issues when working with gifted children:
Motor Skill Frustrations: Intense frustrations and emotional meltdowns are often present with gifted children in the early preschool years. This is because they often can visualize what they want to do but their body is not yet developed enough for them to successfully complete the task.
Peer Difficulty: Gifted children often create games that are too complex for peers or often try to organize peers in a specific manner. This often creates resentment with other peers. Additionally, gifted children are often defined as “odd” or “quirky” when compared to same age group of peers. Therefore they might tend to steer towards older children for peer support.
Perfectionism: Gifted children often set unrealistic expectations of performance of themselves which often leads to frustrations, emotional meltdowns, and avoidance of tasks.
Risk Taking Avoidance: Gifted children often observe peers and see potential problems and therefore avoid taking risks which can lead to frustrations with parents, peers, and teachers as it appears as underachievement.
School Difficulty: Because schools tend to group children by age, gifted children will often challenge the conformity of peers their own age thus adding to their feelings of not fitting in. Additionally a gifted child may feel like they are stuck in a world that moves too slow which leads to feelings of boredom and frustration.
What parents can do to help their gifted child is to educate themselves on their own child. Help facilitate dialogue with your child on his/her frustrations. Join a parenting group for parents of other gifted children to get support, ideas, and help you feel like you are not alone. Attend family counseling session with a therapist who works with gifted children to find a parenting solution.
Webb, J. T. & Tolan, S.S. Guiding the Gifted Child (1982) Dayton: Ohio Psychology Press