Vol IV, No 1 - January 21, 2022
FROM THE EDITOR
Queen of All Obviousness is gonna make a statement. You ready?

Parenting is hard,

I know, I know. And then add in giftedness and twice-exceptionality and asynchrony and over-excitabilities and intensities and a never ending global pandemic that has thrown the teetering education system into chaos and hooooooboy! Hard isn't a strong enough word. I've been flying around in this G2e parenting hurricane for almost 21 years now and you'd think I would have come up with a stronger word. Alas, no. The best I got is hard whimpered in a shaky voice. Maybe by year 22.

In the meantime we're going to celebrate gifted parenting. Parents of G2e kids are the ones doing the heavy lifting, and that lifting just keeps getting heavier with every passing year. Here at GHF Learners we hear you, we see you, we got your back. This month's featured writer, Dr. Gail Post, talks about those guilty thoughts we've all had and that it's okay. I've had every single one of those guilty thoughts and I know I'm not alone.

Finally, check out the details on our NEW quarterly mini-conference! GHF Conversations is a half-day of topic-driven programming featuring two expert speakers, each followed by facilitated discussion. The first one is Saturday, January 29th, and if one of the speakers looks familiar it's because holy heck I'm speaking again on self-care and I should probably get going on that slide deck. 😆 I guarantee a half day spent with me and Kasi will be well worth your time.

Have a great month everyone!

Jen Merrill is a writer, music educator, and gifted-family advocate. The mom of two boys, she homeschooled one twice-exceptional son through high school while happily sending the other out the door every morning. Her book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?, struck a nerve with families; her second book, on the needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress. In addition to writing on her longtime blog, Laughing at Chaos, Jen has presented at SENG, NAGC, and WCGTC.

Jen brings both her acquired wisdom and her experience as a teacher and mentor to her work in the service of parents, teaching them techniques and mentoring them into their own versions of success. Her goal is to support parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, because they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored, patronized, and discredited. It is her hope that her sons never have to deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children.
Online G3
Online G3 nurtures critical and creative thinking in a diverse community of gifted learners by providing a supportive and flexible online learning environment. By pairing passionate teachers with engaging and interactive academic content, G3 offers appropriate acceleration within an accredited, secular, and affordable education program.

G3 courses are designed to appeal to gifted learners who crave new challenges and believe that learning should be fun! Classes emphasize critical thinking and teachers encourage children to draw their own connections between ideas.

For more information on our programs, contact us!

Details at Online G3.
COMING SOON!

Have you ever needed an answer to a confounding parenting conundrum? Wanted a sounding board for the latest worry? Hoped for someone to take you seriously but also make you laugh?

Aunt Sassy is coming to GHF. Send your questions (keep it short, folks) to her mailbox that looks an awful lot like an out of commission bourbon barrel. Anonymity guaranteed.
Guilty thoughts: What parents of gifted children really think


by Gail Post, PhD
We all have these thoughts sometimes. Guilty thoughts. The thoughts just about every parent has...but rarely acknowledges. "I'm bored." "I need a break." "I wish my child would be more...." "I wish my child would be less...."

But parents of gifted children have their own set of guilty thoughts and feelings. They often struggle in isolation with ambivalence and confusion, and with emotions that range from elation to despair. So few people understand. So few really get it.

Yet, the more these thoughts and feelings are acknowledged and understood, the less they will interfere with child-raising or with a parent's own well-being. Here are a few of the most common "guilty thoughts" parents of gifted children experience.

Which of these seem familiar to you?

I am embarrassed by my child.
Your gifted child may show signs of asynchronous development, show delays in social maturity, or have an absence of social skills altogether. When their intellect is so high, it is particularly hard to witness acting out, tantrums, or rude behavior toward other adults or children. You feel embarrassed when they misbehave in public, cannot get along with other children their age, or are disrespectful or immature. Yet it's also hard to admit to these feelings. After all, how can I be embarrassed by my own child, especially when some of these behaviors are not their fault?

I am bursting with pride.
You know that accomplishments aren't everything. Yet you are bursting at the seams with pride over your child's abilities. It could be, for example, when they reach milestones at a remarkably early age, achieve outstanding success at a particular task, or convey unusual insight into the complexity of the world. You are in awe of their abilities/talent/precocious behavior, and slightly stunned that you have such an amazing child. But you sometimes feel guilty, since giftedness is not a choice, and you know you would love your child regardless of their talents.

I wish my child would be normal like other kids.
As much as you appreciate your child's unique abilities, sometimes it would be easier if they were just like other children. If they didn't need so much advocacy for accelerated, challenging school work... If they could just get along with peers their own age... If they were not so overly sensitive and emotionally intense... If you didn't have to explain and sometimes apologize for their offbeat behavior... It seems that life would be easier for your child, and for you if they didn't require so much additional energy. Parents often feel alone with their reactions, as other parents often cannot understand the challenges and difficulties these families face.

I wish my child could just fit in and be popular.
While you might feel pride in your child's uniqueness, you also may wish for a time when they would fit in with the rest of their peers. You worry about their social and emotional development and whether they will find friends who will appreciate and accept them. Will they get bullied? What is the impact if they only have a small group of friends? Will they miss out on high school social events, like dances and parties, and feel regret? It would be such a relief if my child could be popular, and not always feel so different and misunderstood.

I have something to brag about... but can't.
Sometimes, your child might do something really amazing, and you have no one to share this with. You don't want to brag. You don't want to seem like you're exaggerating. You don't want to "bore" your friends with yet another story of your child's amazing success. When other parents broadcast their child's accomplishments ("my son made honor roll this semester," "my daughter will be in the school play"), where is there room to mention, for example, that your son always gets straight A's, or that your daughter consistently has the lead in both the school play and community theater? Unless you are speaking with other gifted parents, or with family and friends who truly understand, it may be difficult to honestly share your child's strengths without fueling discomfort, envy, or even disbelief.

I have had it with my child's school.
You tried to cooperate and patiently accept what the school offered, hoping they would meet your child's needs. Then you met with your child's teacher and requested more challenging work. After this failed, you educated yourself about gifted education, went to administrators, and spoke up at school board meetings. You considered alternatives, such as private schools, cyberschools, or homeschooling. The more you read, the more frustrated you become; it is hard to accept how so few resources are devoted to gifted children, how misunderstood they are by those who presume to educate them, and how your child and family are caught in the middle. And yet, you don't want to harshly criticize the school to your child. You might feel guilty when you advocate for your child (you don't want to stand out and be viewed as one of those parents by teachers) or when you don't (you feel hopeless about creating any meaningful changes).

Guilt is one of the "hidden emotions" that can negatively affect your parenting efforts. It gets in the way, makes you feel worse, and distracts you from actually taking care of your child's needs as well as your own. Recognizing that these thoughts and feelings are commonplace, understandable, and part of the package, is critical. Gaining support from other parents of gifted children through local and state organizations, or online sites such as NAGC, SENG, GHF, and Hoagiesgifted can provide a reality check on the normalcy of these feelings. And if feelings of guilt or isolation become overwhelming, counseling with a licensed mental health professional can be helpful. Raising a gifted child is a challenging venture; recognizing and accepting the impact it has on you as a parent is an important step toward being available to your child, and reducing stress for yourself.
Gail Post, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, parenting consultant, workshop leader, and writer. In clinical practice for over 35 years, she provides psychotherapy in the Philadelphia area and through PSYPACT with a focus on the needs of the intellectually and musically gifted, consultation with educators and psychotherapists, and parent coaching/consultation throughout the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Post served as co-chair of a gifted parents advocacy group, and continues to advocate through writing and workshops with schools and parenting groups. Her writing related to giftedness includes online articles, several book chapters, a long-standing blog, Gifted Challenges, and an upcoming book, “The gifted parenting journey: A guide to self-discovery and support for families of gifted children.” You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or her personal website.
GHF Press Featured Title
It's finally here!
So, what’s giftedness all about? Well, some of our most popular GHF writers aim to answer aspects of that very question in Perspectives on Giftedness: Sound Advice from Parents and Professionals. This volume presents essays from parents who have been there, educators who are working to get it right, and psychologists and other professionals who understand the rich complexity that is so often part and parcel of giftedness. With a plethora of wisdom, a touch of wit, and oodles of compassion, the writers cover a range of topics related to giftedness, gifted children, gifted education, twice-exceptionality, and gifted adults. It’s all about presenting an array of perspectives in the hopes that doing so helps you develop your own and provides a bit of a lifeline in those times when you feel yourself treading the gifted waters. We’re here to remind you that we’re all sharing the same pool and to invite you to jump in—the water’s warm and so is our welcome!
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