Here is some good news for you. If you ever question whether or not you are doing right by your child, you are not alone in that questioning. The majority of parents I have met at conferences, in my office, on the road, or even read about in the gifted research question whether or not they are raising-up their gifted and talented children correctly.
Intelligence is a biological trait, thus your child got his/her gifts from, at least, one of the parents, and that gives you a 50/50 chance of being the parent who passed on the gene. Through reading articles like this, talking with other parents, joining organizations like the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) or any number of online resources, etc…you are educating yourself to be an even better parent and this will build your confidence as well. While you are educating yourself about your child’s unique traits and gifts, here is some advice for you in regard to parenting gifted, talented, and creative children.In regard to handling defiant behavior, realize that:
Consistency works. You have to train a child in the way he or she should behave in a variety of situations. It is ok to run around the yard yelling while playing soccer, but that is not acceptable in the middle of a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting or at an organizational event such as church. Whether you believe in spanking or not is a personal choice, but in either case, please explain to your child (1) exactly what his/her behavior was that got him/her in trouble and (2) why that type of behavior is unacceptable. Please do this explaining without stating, “Because I said so.” This is will only ignite their already built-in ability to have issues with authority.
Do not negotiate with your child over topics that you know you will not even consider budging upon. This only frustrates the child and a frustrated gifted child can be difficult to handle and reason with at times. If your child would rather rake the leaves then take out the trash, then negotiate on that,but if you have a strict policy on no swearing than do not allow the child to swear without consequences. Try to develop a routine of when to do homework, what weekly chores need to be completed, and how you are going to spend quality time with your child that day so he/she will know what is expected of him/her and not get confused in an environment of ambiguity.
Be genuine and honest with your child. Do not use excessive praise or inappropriate use of praise just to make them feel better about a situation, a grade, or anything. False praise will lead to a false sense of self-esteem and this can easily lead to a child developing a sense of entitlement and even narcissistic tendencies. Praise your child, but make sure that the praise is genuine. It will mean more to the child, to you, and it will build a sense of self-confidence in your children.
Give your child room to breathe. Parental over-involvement only hampers healthy development. Oftentimes, children who have what is known as “helicopter parents” begin to rebel while they are in high school or even middle school. They feel hurt that the helicopter parent does not trust them enough to let them have the freedom to live their own life and then come home and share with the family what they did that day. They want to be trustworthy, but they need you to help them by giving them opportunities to display that they are, indeed, trustworthy kids.On the other hand, children who have a parent or parents that are overly involved may develop a sense of codependency upon their parent(s) and never feel confident enough to take the initiative to be independent emotionally, socially, or even financially. A child in this predicament will not live up to his/her potential. Their emotional, social, and even, sometimes, financial growth is stunted and they could be well into adulthood before being able to take a risk on anything that does not directly involve their parents. Please do not be an obstacle in your gifted child’s life by being overly involved with them.
Enjoy your gifted children. They will grow-up to be some of your closest friends. Let them learn to fly on their own and then watch the show of their lives. You will be able to feel great pride in your children and they will honor you as they soar with their gifts.