Parenting Gifted Children

Outdoor Activities Nurture a Child's Curiosity for Nature

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Raising a Gifted and Talented Child

Being a good parent is a difficult job, being a parent to a bright child is even more challenging because the tendency is to become bogged down in the day to day tasks of raising children and forgetting about their individual needs. All parents want the best for their children but most of us know very little about being parents or how to bring up children. You have to learn as you go and that to say the least, can be frustrating.

Unfortunately for us parents, there is a lack of empirically supported parenting strategies to help parents in parenting their gifted child. Here I am trying to put forward some tips that worked for me, hoping that it can help you. If you have any specific strategies to help your gifted child, please share them with us at the comments section.


The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide

The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under
The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under

The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide is the perfect gift for the under-confident and over-skilled young reader. a must-read for students struggling to fit in and adjust to being `GT' (gifted and/or talented).

 

Parenting a Gifted Child

Being a parent to a bright child takes an enormous amount of energy and we have to be patient with our shortcomings. It is not easy to admit to a 5 year old that you don’t know the answers to his questions. But instead of feeling down for it, you should take the opportunity to teach him how to find the answers to his questions –and of course learn the answers yourself on the way! Many times I’ve had to look in the dictionary how to spell a word that one of my children wants to write, other times we had to look together online for answers to more complicated questions and other times I just had to explain to them that not even adults are sure about the correct answer for whatever they happen to be asking.

It is important that you acknowledge that you are not expected to be an expert with your gifted child. You are simply expected to find a way of providing an atmosphere of love and warmth, interest and enthusiasm. It is essential that as a parent you keep your own energy replenished otherwise you become short tempered, argumentative and impatient.

Children are NOT little adults... even if they are very bright

It doesn’t matter how advanced your child is, you need to keep in mind that your child is not an adult. He does not reason, feel, think or experience the world as you do. For instance, your child might be very bright at school but she might still be scared of the darkness in her room at bedtime. This is a normal part of her development and reasoning with her will not ease her fears. The best you can do is reassure her until she passes that stage of her development.

Remember that gifted children can demonstrate greater maturity in some domains but they are still children and therefore need to be treated as such. To a large degree, the needs of gifted children are the same as those of other children.

Gifted Kids

When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs
When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers: How to Meet Their Social and Emotional Needs

Though gifted students often appear to be well integrated, a closer look reveals that they frequently experience feelings of isolation, boredom, and even depression. This book delves into the emotional dimensions of giftedness and how to understand gifted kids from the "inside out" through first-person stories, classroom-tested activities, guided discussions, and up-to-date resources.

 

Extra Curricular activities


To help a gifted child you might want to add some extra curricular activities in a topic which your child shows special interest.  On the other hand, if your child is not inclined to extra curricular activities it might be more helpful for her development to just let her enjoy her free time.  I remember a friend of mine telling me how his daughter was absolutely loaded with extra curricular activities.  One day the little girl just looked at him and said: “All I want is time to play; I never have time to play!”.  My friend was shocked at how he had overlooked his daughter’s needs; he stopped the extra curricular activities and let his daughter enjoy herself with her dolls and friends.  Consequently, his daughter’s performance at school improved and she looked much happier. 

The importance of contact with nature

The French model


In France, Primary school children have Wednesdays free so they can pursue their own interests. Some children go horse riding or swimming, others practice team sports while others prefer to join the chess club or music school. Wednesdays are left for the child to pursue his own interests.

In our first year in France I put my daughter in music school and ballet classes on Wednesdays. After the first few classes she was clearly not happy. We stopped the classes and instead just spend Wednesday afternoons reading fairy tales, playing and drawing. She was much happier and ended up learning how to read and write in Spanish with me as I was spending my time doing all these things with her in Spanish, my mother tongue.

Sometimes listening to your children you will find the answer to your questions.

Enjoying early experiences of Apiculture

Little princess collecting honey
Little princess collecting honey
choosing a present
choosing a present
With freshly collected wild grapes and berries
With freshly collected wild grapes and berries
doing puzzles
doing puzzles
Playing to be sleeping beauty
Playing to be sleeping beauty

How to help a very young gifted child:


  • Allow free time for play and do not interrupt your child all the time by asking him what he is playing at or what he is doing.  Observe more and intervene less, or even better, let him play alone.  Some children are intimidated when adults watch them play and do not let their imagination run wild for fear to be judged.  
  • Provide simple toys that require your child’s imagination to complete rather than complicated toys.  For example, favour a construction toy rather than a complicated computer game.  Creative play is essential for a gifted child and it is essential to provide time and appropriate materials for this kind of play.  
  • Encourage your child to play outdoors.  Let him be in contact with nature, play with sand, water, plants and animals.  Provide an environment where your child can discover the natural world around him.  You don’t need to prepare complicated activities, a simple afternoon in the garden helping you gather autumn leafs can proof very interesting.  Personally, we enjoy going for afternoon walks in the woods discovering the wild life around us and the wild fruits available each season.   The children take great pleasure in collecting nuts, apples, and wild berries which later we transform into pies and jams. 
  • Give your child examples of real work so that he can imitate it.  Let him help you clean up, cook, put up seasonal decorations and so on.  These activities will become integrated into his play and will help him learn about life.
  • Teach your child to record thoughts, discoveries, feelings and questions.  Before my daughter could write, I used to ask her about the things she was seeing.  Now that she can write, I ask her to write brief notes about her visits to touristic places.  This way she has started to write longer and longer accounts of her travels as she did in her hub about her trip to Paris. 
  • Once your child can write, ask her to write her own Christmas cards to her grandparents.  Give her ideas to write about what she is expecting for Christmas or how did she spend her birthday.  However, do not force her to write more than what she wants to.
  • Tell your child stories, particularly fairy stories because they will provide nourishing images that her imagination can build on.  Once your children are older, you can ask them to complete the story you are telling them.  A fun game that we enjoy is making up a story where each of us has their turn to add a little bit to the story to create a fun happy ever after tale. 
  • Provide some artistic activities that allow your child to express her emotions freely such as painting with her fingers, a brush or a sponge.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends watching television, playing video games and other electronic games. 
  • Investigate after-school clubs and societies, weekend activities, summer schools, and distance learning experiences.

Doing crafts

“The challenge presented by gifted children is that of creating learning opportunities appropriate to their ability and age while at the same time keeping them emotionally and socially within their peer structure.” National Association for Gifted Children.

About gifted children

Be Bilingual - Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families

Supporting a Gifted Child at Home


Give them quality time. Spend some time alone with your child, if you can. I know this might sound as a cliché and that this is often difficult if you have other children and a full time job, but you must find at least a few hours a week to spend with your child, to listen to their ideas and try to share their passions. I personally have learnt to play chess as a way to share one of my son's hobbies, I am not very good at it but it give us time to be just the two of us not only playing chess but exchanging ideas about many other things.

Another activity that we do toguether is reading, sometimes I read to him, others is him reading to me and other times we read toguether as in a play.

More by this Author


Comments 29 comments

H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

Good articles for the notice of parents. Thank you for sharing.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

H P Roychoudhury: you are welcome, I am just hoping that my experience helps other parents who sometimes might feel isolated or don't know how to cope with the challenge of dealing with bright children.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Excellent advice for any parent, you have though this through very well and presented some very good information.


SANDO5 7 years ago

You have a good hub.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Great article, Princessa. You lend such great advice to others with gifted children and made very valid points. Thank you!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Brian: thank you, I think it is important to identify the strenghts and weakness of our children in order to help them.

dohn121: thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Jane@CM profile image

Jane@CM 7 years ago

Princessa - great hub! We have successfully raised a gifted child and she is now in college. Being gifted is very difficult for kids, I won't elaborate here, but some become outcasts for unknown reasons. We started our daughter in dance to give her an outlet at 4 and she took to dance like academics (must be the best, must be perfect), in the end, it saved her through many troubling times.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

Jane@CM: thanks you for sharing your experience. Raising a bright child is not any easier than raising any other child, each has its own challenges and it is important to identify them to be able to help them properly.

I am happy to read that you succeded at raising your daughter.


NewHorizons profile image

NewHorizons 7 years ago from Gozo, Malta, EU.

Great Hub. Must have taken you a long time to complete and publish. I'm helping to raise a 4 yr-old, not gifted but bright I think. today we played Radio, we pretend she is reading a story on the Radio for Kids her own age, just to make her read a page or two, from Read with Me books, LEVEL 1. Cheers.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

NewHorizons: That sounds really good, learning through play is the best way to encourage a child to develop her skills! Thanks for sharing and all the best for the two of you!


ocbill profile image

ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

very good points. more positives.

Thanks


wearing well profile image

wearing well 7 years ago from Lancashire U.K.

What a wonderful article.I am looking forward to reading the many articles you've written here on hubpages!

Thank you


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 7 years ago

Princessa, Wonderful hub! I have raised several gifted children. You are quite right it is important to remember no matter how intelligent they are they are still children! Excellent suggestions and great advice Thank you for sharing! Blessings!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

ocbill: thank you for taking the time to comment.

wearing well: Thank YOU for taking an interest in my articles.

DeBorrah K. Ogans: I think that is a very important point. Sometimes we forget that we are dealing with children and treat them like adults -which is not right- Children are children and despite their brightness there are lots of things that only time, maturity and experience will explain to them.

Philipo: Interesting to hear something about the Nigerian educational system. Thank you.


terrowhite profile image

terrowhite 7 years ago

beautiful hub.. parenting a gifted child is very important.. every parent must take a good care of their children. You have pointed out some great tips.. thanks fo rthe info..


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Very good information. I agree with the artisitic and also expanding their minds. I allowed my

gifted" child, who was gifted in Kindergarden, to ask all kinds of questions. I even asked many questions of her to open her mind. The school system back in the 80's didn't really have a good structure for gifted children. What they did was just give them more school work and as my "gifted" child explained to me was that she wasn't going to do just more school work. She was in 3rd grade then. They have a deep desire to do more with their minds so as parent's we need to provide as much opportunities as possible. When she got into college is when she was really surprised because, even though she got lots of math, it was almost too hard for her to understand it then. She made it through though, as I always thought that she would, and is now and IT Manager for a company that she interned with while in her senior year of college. Keeping up with her was the hardest part for us.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France Author

terrowhite: Being a parent is an amazingly difficult but delightful task. The tips here can be used almost for any child.

Lady Guinevere: Yes, most people think that if you have bright children you have it easy as a parent. The thruth is, that it is a daily challenge to keep up with your child and promote her growth according to her means. I am happy to hear that it all worked ok for your child.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Thanks, Now that she has a 1 year old, we are wondering if that trait is going to pass on. We shall see in the coing years. It was when my daughter turned five that we kind of knew she was gifted. We gave you a rubic cube and she had it finished in less than 5 minutes. I don't know if this has any bearing on the siuation or not, but she had an Invisible "friend" while growing up. Come to find out that "friend" was going to be my sister's son. He was born when she was 7 and her invisible friend and her never had another conversation after that.


Right Black profile image

Right Black 6 years ago from Huntington Beach, California

Very interesting hub. My son is now a 16 year old "gifted" child. He achieves in everything, except social skills (he is oblivious to girls). It has always been hard to remember he is not a little adult. He was so bright that we had to homeschool him. All the adults love to talk to him because he is a walking encyclopedia. He actually read the World Book Encyclopedia from cover to cover in 6th grade without being made to. Parenting is always a challenge but gifted children make it even more difficult.


travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 6 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

Wonderful article Princessa. I watched some friends raising a gifted child. One of the most important things they said they tried to teach (and successfully) was to "be grounded" and therefore able to live and relate in the real world. Great topic.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Princessa, excellent advice for any parent here. Being a parent is a gift in itself. But watching a gifted child grow up and at times wonder where they were sprouted from is a totally different experience. It can be frustrating when they stand in front of you not yet ten and try to explain some intricate calculus calculations(never my favorite subject).

Awesome hub on an important to know subject.

hope you and the family is well kindest regards Zsuzsy


aquaseaCreative 6 years ago

Blackberry picking and Sleeping Beauty play - your house sounds like a fun place to grow up.


ibloomdrop profile image

ibloomdrop 6 years ago

Awesome hub. I read it all the way to the end. I was considered gifted, and though my son is only 2, he's already showing signs of acceleration. I'm proud, but scared at the same time. Well aware of the possible consequences with gifted kids, and glad you provided these resources to help out. Thanks so much.


namelessrider 6 years ago

Very excellent hub! I can see this being very useful for parents definitely..


kimbaustin profile image

kimbaustin 6 years ago from Sunny California

Great hub. I have two gifted children and finally decided that homeschool was a better alternative for us to manage and balance their development. Great ideas and insights.


AuthorLMS 6 years ago

Great hub, great information. I understand how you feel, my child is gifted but in a different way. Thanks for sharing.


savingforkids10 profile image

savingforkids10 6 years ago

Much of this hub is really good advice - even if you think your child isn't overly gifted. Exposure to a wide variety of experiences in a safe environment is beneficial to any child whose curiosity is aroused. Great Great hub - loved the bit about French students and Wednesdays.


Dao Hoa profile image

Dao Hoa 6 years ago

You give very good and practical advices. Giving Wednesday off for primary students to explore is a great idea also. Thanks.


Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 5 years ago from LA

Intrinsic interest and enthusiasm is part of the child's joy of life. Why not give all children more time to pursue what they are naturally interested in. Also, all children are destined to develop unique and individual talents and skills. It is so important to become aware of what they are stimulated by. This takes observing them. They also have unique learning styles. We are not to make them SMART. We are to help them UNDERSTAND the world and what they need to survive and thrive! Remember boundaries allow freedom.

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