Will You Share Your Questions With Me?

This is an excerpt from the book I am currently working on. If there is anything that you would personally like me to include in this book (I will do my best), please comment below. I truly want this project to bless as many families as possible. –Suzy

I know that some of you may be at your wits end with your children. Your questions to various professionals have been dismissed.  You are frustrated. You are hurt. You just want to have a “normal” conversation or maybe even just a conversation with your child.

You just need one person to listen. You want to make sure that it’s not you acting crazy. Things are just not making sense. I promise you, sweet soul, you are not crazy. You are rearing up a gifted child and that can be one of your life’s most whirl winding and rewarding experiences. Hear me at a yell here: YOU ARE NOT GOING CRAZY!

As we journey from this page to the back cover, I look forward to all the Aha! Moments that you and I will share together. There will be laughter and likely tears, but I genuinely want you to understand the amazing little humans that you are blessed with parenting.

 Are gifted kids easy to parent? No. Not at all. Not one bit.  This journey will have you belly laughing one day and wanting to escape from your home the next. Yet is all the grey hair, tears, and therapy sessions worth it? Of course! Hopefully, this book will save you thousands of dollars that could have been spent on therapy sessions. Pocket that cash and purchase yourself a family vacation. Rather yet, grab yourself a spa package.

 Throughout this journey, please remember this one thing: God choose you. This means that you are equipped to rear up your children beautifully. You will have your days. The days that you are so proud of the little beings that they are, and the days that you wonder what the heck did I give birth to? This journey is not for the faint of heart by any means. Yet, the outcome of rearing up a gifted child can have such rich blessings.

You are your children’s first line of defense against anything that could break their spirits and crush their hearts.

Some of you are blessed with compliant gifted children and you are wondering what the above paragraph is all about. If you are not living it, trust me, you do not want to understand it. However, this book is for you too. Everyone can benefit from understanding giftedness at a deeper level.

What a gifted child can do is so insignificant to who they are. As a parent, you are your children’s first line of defense against anything that could break their spirits and crush their hearts. My prayer is that as you flip from page to page, you:

  1. Feel a deeper connection to your gifted child by understanding his/her world better,
  2. Feel inspired that you have “What it Takes” to rear-up your gifted child,
  3. Feel empowered to not only connect with your child but advocate for him/her even better.

Good News for Parents

Parents,

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.

Unrealistic Expectations

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It is easy to have unrealistic expectations of gifted children as either a parent or a teacher, and, oftentimes, these expectations lead to frustration, tension, and even fighting between the authority and the child. Hopefully, shining light on some of the most common issues will help the gifted child not get so stressed trying to live up to everyone’s expectations, not becoming an underachiever while rebelling against authority, and bring more peace into the child’s home and classroom.

One common unrealistic expectation that many parents and teachers have is that a gifted child should take all advanced/honors classes. This is simply not the case. A person can be gifted in spatial relations but not english, or they can be gifted in science but not history. It depends on the child’s aptitude in a given course and his/her interest in the course material. It is normal for a gifted child to take a variety of classes and not all of them be honors or advanced placement. There is no reason to stress out a child by placing them in courses that, although they can figure it out, will have to struggle with and even begin to disdain. Allow them the opportunity to enjoy learning so they will not begin to get a negative mindset toward school or even their ability to understand things. Many gifted and talented children begin to lose their self-efficacy in various school classes because of just one bad experience in a classroom.

A second very common unrealistic expectation is that gifted and talented children can take care of themselves. Parents and teachers, without realizing it, often neglect the gifted child and focus more on the “children that really need their help.” Just because a gifted child may not be struggling with his/her homework as much as other children does not mean that he or she is not struggling with being included or accepted by his/her peers. Gifted children may be able to carry-on a conversation with an adult, but that does not reflect emotional maturity. What an adult would know as a teasing remark due to life experience, a gifted child may actually take that comment to heart and get his/her feelings hurt. An adult understands the “rules of engagement” in society but gifted children do not. They do not understand when to speak and when to be quiet about certain topics. Even though gifted children oftentimes come across as little adults, they are still very much (especially socially and emotionally) children.

Christianity with Giftedness Crisis

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There is a great need for youth ministers, pastors, counselors, teachers, and anyone else who works with our youth to understand – and I mean REALLY understand- the gifted, talented, and creative youth that God has placed in our care. I have seen TOO MANY gifted youths drop right out of and flat-out rebel against their faith-filled upbringings by how they were misunderstood and treated by well-meaning Christians who were trying to “save their souls” and make them act “normal” and, quite frankly, I am sick of it.

Yes. We all have been given the opportunities to embrace the Gifts of the Spirit upon accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. Yes. I believe that all born again believers have access to those gifts. God talks about how His people are perishing for lack of knowledge in Hosea 4:6 and then in 1 Corinthians 12, God explicitly talks about how we have different gifts (ex. there’s a difference between Spiritual Wisdom and knowledge) and how we are all uniquely designed to play different roles within the body of Christ so we shouldn’t try to compare ourselves to each other to change each other.

Why am I saying all of this? Well, two reasons:

  1. Gifted children grow up to be gifted adults who have the potential to change the world! (Think Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Steve Jobs, even Hitler).
  2. Gifted children have insane identity struggles that satan has and will take advantage of in trying to cast doubt and anger upon their faith by the way they are treated by the church, even by well-meaning members.

Considering the fact that History has proven that gifted minds have altered reality more than once for the rest of the planet from social injustices to technological advancements, don’t you think that it is about time that the Body of Christ makes a stand against any more of God’s gifted children being lost on the enemy’s battlefield? How do we take a stand against satan and protect our gifted youth? By equipping ourselves to empower them. We equip ourselves through studying, learning, and doing our best to understand these youth. We have to learn how God created them so unique not just intellectually but socially, emotionally, and even physically as well. We have to realize that as a whole, most people do not get gifted kids. Yes. This is a form of science, but God created science! It points back to Him. Real science proves His Word true!

Please, please share the resources that I share with you through my blogs, websites, Facebook page, etc…with others. Please help me fight for these children.  Please help me get other Christians’s awareness that this is a need in the community of believers in both church pews and private schools. These gifted children need us and our planet needs them.