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How to Bring up Gifted Children

Updated on January 24, 2010

My son has a fantastic genetic lineage. I know it, he has an inkling of it, we never discuss it. He is gifted and talented which I would have expected "normal" for him. What surprises me all the time, every time, is how wordly-wise he is. That does not come from genetics. He is so in tune with his surroundings and the people around him I am convinced he is a bodhisattva brought to me that I may realize enlightenment in this lifetime. Maybe. At any rate, he did not learn being street-wise and world-wise from me. I cannot claim to be either of the two.

As a parent of a gifted and talented child, I am constantly challenged. I call verbal arguments with him "every day dokusan" which means a verbal combat between a Zen Master and his student. The one problem I have is distinguishing who from who.

Gifted children require very careful handling. On the one hand, they need to be loved and nurtured just like any other child. On the other hand, as parents we can Inspire, not compel, nudge, not command them. It does not go with their nature. As Spock said in one of the episodes of Star Trek, superior minds breed superior ambitions. Gifted children are wired differently. They think more and therefore you have to reason more. They will respond to reason not an outright command.

On the other hand, there are times when one has to assert their "parenthood" every once in a while. I do. The fact is that he can out think and out talk me on topics that I am not likely to think about. He is more aware of the current events than I am and he knows more history than I do. His vocabulary is twice as big as mine and when we discuss debate topics I am constantly surprised at this eloquence.

As I am a trained scientist, I know the scientific laws. They do not change very much. Their applications do change but I can pick up any scientific journal and connect with the contents with little difficulty, and I can be caught up with ten years of past research on a topic in a couple of days. I know I can not do that with current events and while I do love history, I only want to read bits and pieces of it so I can not have a complete picture.

One of the things I have always done is to always talk to him as if I he is an adult. When he was little he could be with his friends and be a child with them, but in the back of my mind I always held the thought that I am bringing up a child who has been gifted and that someday he would be able to use those talents in the service of his fellowmen, in whatever capacity he so chooses. Therefore I am not bringing up a child. I am bringing up an adult in a child's body.

Yes, just like other children, they need to be loved unconditionally, but they also need to be reminded of accepting everyone as they are and enjoying everyone as they are.

Here are the following tips that I have found useful.

1. With privilege comes responsibility. Different sides of the same coin.

2. To those who are given much, much is required, not necessarily in terms of money but in terms of talent as well.

3. It matters little how the others perceive you, it is how you perceive yourself that matters.

4. The golden rule is golden because it really is. Do not do unto others.

5. Every man, regardless of their station in life, must be treated equally until otherwise necessary to not do so.

6. That which you love to do will always give you the greatest happiness and therefore the greatest reward.

7. For every action, there is a consequence, therefore choose your actions well.

8. Between everything else and love, choose love. Always. An action coming from a space of love will always be effective and complete.

I think this will be true of any child, gifted or not. It is the delivery of the message that is crucial. With a gifted child it has to always be delivered with "In my opinion, this is so and so..but you are free to think and act as you please, after all, you can think and decide for yourself with one caveat. You do not harm yourself or others."

© 2009 by Melinda M. Sorensson


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    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 6 years ago

      Thank you, Winbo :-)

    • winbo profile image

      winbo 6 years ago

      thanx 4 a great hub

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      Yes, I agree, thank you, Arlecchino for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    • Arlecchino profile image

      Arlecchino 7 years ago from Top of the Cloud

      Talented person is talented in everything what this person does. It's more difficult to be talented than not.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      It was very challenging. He is 18 now.Whew...

      It was even more challenging because ha ha matter how educated I am or worldly I am...he is more intelligent and more in touch with reality than I ever would be...or could be.

      No..I let him play as much as he wanted.

      The fact is that he got good grades in school without really trying..but I have known that his happiness is more important to me than anything I could push him to be, and I could have, but I chose not to.

      That was the hard part. To let be.

      Your son will be fine, Nell. Oh yes, there is creativity when he plays all on his own, Nell. We don't see it as such but it is there.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, it must be difficult, my son is an average boy but his talent lies in the fact that he can pick up a musical instrument, guitar and keyboard and just play! there is no learning there at all, he just has the gift, but he gets bored and goes and does something else. i would love it if he could concentrate on it long enough to become trained and maybe use it as a job. cheers nell

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      ha ha ha.. that is soo funny!!

      I was fortunate that one of his teachers make him take a test and so he was placed in the gifted children group right away, when he was 8.

      He is now 18. :-)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I remember an incident with one of my gifted brothers who wrote his name at the top of a paper and assigned himself a zero and handed it in to the teacher. The reason? He thought that it was a ridiculous assignment. Not easy for most parents I am sure. You seem to have a good handle on the subject with regard to your gifted child. Best wishes!

    • profile image

      Richard Robinson 8 years ago

      Great support here. Thank you. I also have a brilliant child who has been quite a handful lately. During one recent frustrated outburt or his lately I suddenly got his whole sense of being overwhelmed by who he is. I understood that he thinks that he was not born to lead an ordinary life but that he would like to have it easy like everybody else (in his perception. it was a magical moment because the instant I understood this without my articulating it, he stopped his angry shouting and came running sobbing into my arms. The next day I asked him if what I thought i had picked up was correct. He said it was, so I ressured him that if he just got on and enjoyed all his talents and his play as well, everything would be fine and that whatever happened he will always be loved unconditionally by his mother and me. It is not that we do not still have difficult days, but now he knows that i really understand him - perhaps because I was rather like him myself as a child.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      I am laughing a lot as I read your comments. It is what I have experienced."Mom, I'm bored" He is not now but when he was growing up, it was a real challenge for me!

      Thank you for this DeBorrah.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Thanks for a great hub!

      I have raised gifted children. It is important to realize that their temperaments are different and not to compare them with each other. Creating a balanced environment is key. Although challenging this will help them to flourish.

      It has been my experience that at times they tend to get bored easily at times, and say "I'm bored" So I would challenge them and say "so get creative!"

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      So true, Lisa, thanks.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Even in this otherwise generally well informed time, there still remains much misunderstanding and ignorance about "giftedness" and "profound giftedness" (two different things) in children. The same applies to understanding of the extent to which genetics play a role. Parents need to be very careful about where they learn about giftedness, and they need to realize that gifted children, like any other group of people, are individuals.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Dear Ultimate Hubber,

      A Zen Master uses many techniques to gauge the state of mind of the student. One of them is assigning a koan, a logically impossible problem. The other one is a verbal combat called dokusan. The analogy is that in Martial arts, you have to "beat" someone in order to progress in rank. It is the same thing as the dokusan.

      Regarding the last quote, it will make sense to you if you liked "The Matrix" where Neo can "fly" "stop bullets" etc. etc

      If you google Gerald O'donnell, he is actually one of the few who espouses that we create our own bubble of reality, independent but related to those of others.

      You are seeking answers [smiles]

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      Nice Hub!

      I believe you will like to further elaborate dokusan in another hub because it seems interesting to me. And do tell me if you write one about it. Its good to know that you have such gifted child.

      This is one nice tip: "It matters little how the others perceive you, it is how you perceive yourself that matters."

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Oh, great points Alex.

      I looove the # 2 point and the final point! I do #1 and #3 but I forgot all about #2 altogether..thank you.

      As for the final point, very important, I taught him that from childhood.

      One thing else I forgot to mention in the hub, teach them the value of manual labor, like I learned when I worked as a hand in my grandfather's sugarcane fields. Very important.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 8 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Great points.

      My sister has a gifted child who actually signs up for extra tuition in the summer break. From observation I wouild add

      1. Do not let them burn themselves out early

      2. Those who are gifted tend to find most things easy and when they find something not easy for them they may give up where a a lesser talent would perservere. Teach them the value of perserverance.

      3. Treat them as adults but let them be children as well

      Teaching them to use their gifts responsibly is very important if you do not want an evil genius on your hands.

    • Benz B profile image

      Benz B 8 years ago

      Nice hub. I really enjoyed it. please go by this hub and vote for my hub called "the junk car man". Thanks.