I spoke at the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented’s annual conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center. I heard that over 2000 attendees were present. This is good. I think as a state we could do much better. But, that’s another blog. Back to this one. At the conference, I got to interact with several parents of these kids and I noticed two parental traits again and again.
1). The parents felt inadequate to raise their children.
2). The parents only focused on the gifted/talented aspect of their child and neglected to see the whole picture of their child.
By no means am I saying that EVERY parent I spoke with acted this way, but overall (in my opinion) it was very apparent. I wasn’t that surprised. I’ve seen this same thing countless times over the past ten years. So, I’m going to throw my voice out there again and speak on behalf of the gifted, the talented, and the creative kids. Listen, parents, they’re humans. Giftedness in any aspect can never take away or overshadow the human aspect of your child. No matter how brilliant your kid is, he/she is lacking in life experience and that still makes them children. They’re not just gifted. They’re kids. They’re students. They go through everything everyone else goes through socially, emotionally, physically…yet they experience these things with much more intensity. Bullying is intensified. Peer pressure is intensified. Anxieties are intensified. The first kiss. The first date. The first time you attend a coed party. The first time with sit with you boyfriend or girlfriend at a football game or even at lunch tables. Fashion. Music. Games. Movies. Sex. Driving. IPHONES! Everything that their nongifted peers are going through, your child is going through too in his/her own way.
So, parents, don’t forget that your child is going through a human life experience….with all it’s richness, joy, sorrow, anxiety, excitement, and everything else that incorporates into the arc of the human experience. Only focusing on the gifted/talented aspect of your child is like only focusing on the olive of a supreme pizza. Know it’s there. Understand it. Accept it. Adapt to it. Know that giftedness can enhance a typical life issue (sadness, anxiety, etc…) but it doesn’t necessarily cause the issue itself. When dealing with your child, please always remember, it’s always about who they are, not what they can do.