Vol II, No 12 December 9, 2020
FEATURED ARTICLE
Surprise! Your child is gifted.

Or maybe it wasn’t such a surprise. Perhaps you saw the signs from an early agethe precocity, the early language acquisition, the endless questioning, the obsession with everything LEGO. Regardless of whether there was any warning, it is a shock, a joy, and a bundle of anxiety all wrapped in a bow.

Welcome to gifted parenting!

As you grapple with decisions about schools and advocacy, as you search for books/classes/activities that engage your child’s passions, you might notice that your own emotions surge at unexpected times. They nag at you when your child seems bored at school. They erupt in anger when your child is misunderstood or their intentions disparaged. They swell with anxiety as you lie awake worrying about your child’s future. Fear, envy, pride, resentment, disappointment, anger, bitternessthese are no strangers to gifted parents.

So many emotions

The first step toward coping with the emotions that catch most gifted parents by surprise is to identify them.

Which of the following seem familiar to you?

___ I worry about my child’s ability to fit in with other kids.
 
___ I resent the amount of extra energy I have to expend to engage my child's academic needs.
 
___ I am angry that the school offers few (if any) gifted services.
 
___ I feel embarrassed when my gifted child is so immature; sometimes they act like they’re five years younger than their actual age.
 
___ I am tired of being treated like a pushy parent just because I ask for more challenging work for my child.
 
___ I envy other families whose kids seem so “normal.”
 
___ I am frustrated that my child exerts little effort and is coasting through school; they seem to be wasting their potential and the school overlooks this.
 
___ I wish I could show my enthusiasm and pride over my child’s accomplishments and not worry that others might think I’m bragging.
 
___ I resent it when others think my child’s abilities result from me pushing and prepping them.
 
___ I worry that my child will never reach their potential because of the schooling we have chosen for them.
 
___ I resent that I have to do all of the work sorting out college options--and the school offers little guidance.
 
___ I feel angry toward relatives who don’t get it and minimize my child’s abilities and my concerns about my child.
 
___ I feel guilty that I don’t want to do all of this advocacy work in the schools.
 
___ I feel in awe of my child sometimes; I can’t believe they can accomplish some of the amazing things they do.
 
___ I worry that I am not doing enough to push my child to succeed.
 
___ I also worry that I am pushing my child too much and it will backfire.
 
___ I feel heartbroken when my child is excluded from social events because they are so “different” from their peers.
 
___ I wish I could just relax and trust the schools to do their job.
 
___ I worry that my child never will be happy--that they always will feel so different from others and have trouble finding friends, a spouse or partner, and a job that is truly meaningful.
 
Do some of these sound familiar? Okay . . . most of them? 
 
Parents of gifted children often struggle in silence with emotions that evoke guilt and shame. This is heightened when others imply that they should feel grateful about their child’s abilities. After all, high IQ should be a ticket to happiness, Harvard, and any job a child wants. Right? Well, not exactly! Such myths and stereotypes only compound the stress involved with raising a gifted child.
 
Parenting an intense, curious, and reactive child, who may be asynchronous, highly sensitive, and out of sync with peers, is not easy. Constantly advocating for academic needs is demanding and overwhelming. And although intelligence certainly offers many advantages, it is no guarantee of success, joy, or even college admission.
 
What you can do
 
Parents of gifted children benefit from accepting the challenges of the road ahead; their attention to their child’s needs is critical, and can be exhausting. As a parent, you’re in it for the long haul, so get the support you need. The following may help:
 
1. Read as much as you can about gifted children, gifted education, and parenting. The more you know, the more you will understand about what you and your child are experiencing. It will normalize, validate, and provide much needed information. A few of the well-known publishers of books about giftedness include GHF Press, Prufrock Press, Great Potential Press, and Free Spirit. A few of the great online information sites include NAGC, SENG, Hoagies’ Gifted, and Davidson’s. Get informed!
 
2. Find or start your own gifted parenting support group. These provide support, mutual understanding, and validation rarely found elsewhere. They provide a venue for shared information about what works and what doesn’t within the schools and are a powerful tool for advocacy. If this is not possible, at least consider joining an online parent forum where you can find support.
 
3. Take care of yourself. This goes for every parent, of course, but don’t forget to find time for enjoyable activities, relaxation, and fun and silliness with your child. Learn stress management techniques for when you need them, and make time for friends, your partner or spouse, and enriching, meaningful activities. Your child also will benefit from you as a calm, happy parent.
 
4. If you haven’t already realized it, please know that EVERY emotion listed on the above checklist is normal, understandable, and widespread among parents of gifted children. It is understandable to feel angry, alone, resentful, and sad about these challenges. Accepting this reality may help with the guilt and sense of isolation that accompanies some of these feelings. Get the support you need from those friends and family who truly “get it,” other parents of gifted children, and gifted parent support groups. Don’t allow these emotions to overwhelm and interfere with the joy you might otherwise experience with your child.
FEATURED WRITER
Gail Post, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, parenting coach, workshop leader, and writer. She has been in clinical practice for over 30 years, providing psychotherapy with a focus on the social and emotional needs of the intellectually and musically gifted. Dr. Post also offers coaching to parents of gifted children and young adults. She served as co-chair of a gifted parents advocacy group when her children were in school.

Dr. Post writes about giftedness at www.giftedchallenges.com. You can follow her at https://www.facebook.com/GiftedChallenges/ and https://twitter.com/giftedchlnges, or find out more at https://www.gailpost.com.
FROM THE EDITOR
Lifes a Bitter Pill

I recently watched a stand-up comedy special called Life’s a Bit” by Nicole Blaine. In one of her bits, Blaine discussed parenting her “spirited” and “persistent” children, poking fun at those “new-agey” adjectives and referencing a book “How to Raise the Spirited Child” (here is the actual book title). Although she mistitled the book (presumably intentionally), the premise of her hilarious, slightly brackish bit was instantaneously clear: gifted kids are pains in the rears.
 
I can say that, right? We’re all friends here.
 
Gifted kids turn into gifted adults, and guess what—that probably includes you. One doesn’t stop being a pain without some serious effort. Trust me on this. If you have kids, parenting a pain while being a pain can be emotionally painful.
 
While seeking the cure for what ailed me, I felt extremely thankful to have found Dr. Gail Post’s article on a gifted parent’s emotions. She says, “Fear, envy, pride, resentment, disappointment, anger, bitterness—these are no strangers to gifted parents.” I definitely checked off most of those. They showed up in Blaine’s comedy special, too.
 
I hadn’t yet learned how to effectively manage my own emotions about my son’s giftedness, and reading Post’s article helped me realize I wasn’t alone. I’m now surrounded by folks who get me and my spirited, persistent kids—in the GHF Forum.
 
Pain free.
GHF CHOICES: DIY Education
Most of us have watched DIY shows on TV. Handy people invite us to watch their creative approach to their current project. Have you noticed that the bigger the project, the more help they need? These folks consult experts, refer to source materials, explore options, and enlist help.

Your project is your child's education, with the goal of helping them learn what they need to become independent adults. Our kids may engage in higher education, trade school, careers, volunteer work, or go down a host of other paths, but our job is to help them be as prepared as possible to reach for their goals.

Homeschoolers do not DIY with only their own wits and limited materials. Homeschool parents are some of the most resourceful people in the world. They consult experts, refer to source materials, explore options, and enlist help. Sound familiar?
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE G WORD
MISSED THE FIRST AND SECOND TALKS? WE SAVED THEM FOR YOU!
 
Our first and second talks were very warmly received with lots of community feedback and engagement. Were so grateful for your participation and in awe of what this group is accomplishing. And please know, were archiving all talks in the series so you dont have to miss a thing! — The G Word
WATCH NOW:
Conversations with The G Word: Homeschooling, Virtual Learning, & Gifted Challenges During the Pandemic . . . with Celi Trépanier (GHF Learners), Kasi Peters (Square Pegs), and Jacqui Byrnes (FlexSchool).

Stay close for future talks; upcoming topics include:
  • 2e, 3e, & Neurodiversity
  • Trauma & Mental Health
  • Gifted Legislation & Funding
GHF DIALOGUE

Even during periods of social distancing and isolation, children and adults find ways to forge friendships and connections. Online social circles are widening, schooling has become more tech-oriented, and support systems of all kinds continue to fine-tune online offerings (such as exercise sessions, arts programs, mindfulness instruction, resource sharing, and children’s play dates).

A community is a network. Each of us has a constellation of communities comprised of people from different times, places, and stages of life. And every experience is an opportunity to create additional communities.

Communities may evolve from connections that are deeply rooted, or restored, or newly established. They may be predicated on location, commonalities, diversity, interests, or ways of thinking. A family is a community—so is a cohort of children, an orchestra, a workplace, a team, or any combination of thinkers, doers, or collaborators. And therein lies the heart of community! Because it is the thinking, doing, and collaborating that make it pulsate.

What does all of this have to do with gifted learners? The truth is that no one, no matter how advanced or independent, lives in a vacuum, and everyone, regardless of age, can benefit from supportive others. Here are five perspectives indicating how community can be advantageous to gifted/high-ability learners—and, potentially, to all children.

GHF PRESS
We Hope You Enjoy This GHF Press Latest Release!
Is Giftedness a myth? What is a Gifted Child? Why is Giftedness such a hot-button issue? Where does the fear and dislike of ‘gifted’ come from?

Come on an adventure about how Mrs. Einstein, newspaper articles from the 1920s, and the San people of the Kalahari Desert can help us understand what gifted isand is not.

In an easy-to-read style, Gifted Myths explores these and other stories on the history, science, and lived experience of gifted and twice-exceptional families.

Gifted Myths is a must-read for parents, educators, and professionals who work with gifted and twice-exceptional children.
GHF FORUM
A Supportive Community for Gifted Learners
Come join us in the GHF Forum, our new online community where GHF will be sharing all of our services and resources.
FREE ACCESS to:
  • Crowdsourced resource library (join the project)
  • Discussion groups
  • Parenting
  • Professionals
  • Gifted Adults
  • Empty Nesters
  • Regular Coffee Chats to take a break and share

INCLUDED in GHF Family Membership:
  • GHF Choices: DIY Education
  • GHF Expert Series
  • GHF Member Discounts
GHF PRESIDENT'S CLUB
ABOUT GHF
GHF connects all sorts of people who love gifted learners. We offer both family and professional memberships to support and encourage adults working to create new ways of educating gifted learners. Our members homeschool gifted and twice-exceptional kids, run homeschool co-ops and micro-schools, write to foster understanding of gifted and twice-exceptional learners, mentor students one-on-one, teach online classes, provide services specifically designed to meet the social and emotional needs of gifted and twice-exceptional learners, and more. Wed love for you to join us.

GHF is a 501c3 organization. Please consider supporting our community with your most generous gift today. For more information on our organization, please feel free to contact us at info@ghflearners.org. Thank you!