Jennifer from The Martha Project (also known as @TheNextMartha on Twitter) is one of my very favorite people. I’m in awe of how she is always clever and funny (really, who gets that lucky?). Her guest post on raising a son who is gifted is eye opening – making you realize it’s both a blessing and a curse for the parents and the child dealing with out of the ordinary behavior and learning styles. Please to enjoy:
Something about saying that your kid is really smart just turns most people off. Tell people that your kid is gifted and you might as well roll their eyes for them.
But what does that mean? Gifted. I say my kid is gifted and you think what immediately?
I imagine that those are the first things people might think, but that is only a part of what defines gifted.
Because I have personal experience, when I hear a kid is gifted I think:
-A unique ability to take knowledge and apply it in ways you yourself would not have thought.
-Intense and strong emotions
-Sometimes developing one area so quickly that other areas are not able to keep up
-And finally, those poor parents.
Most people do not think of giftedness has having general characteristics that may go along with it other than having a specific IQ.
Let me open your eyes just a little. There’s more. Oh, so much more.
Is my kid smart? Yes he is. Being smart alone does not necessarily make him gifted. Just like other conditions such as ADHD, Autistic, and Aspergers, being gifted has a list of characteristics that help define it.
Being declared gifted is more than saying “My kid gets all A’s, he must be gifted.” That’s just ignorance.
Here is one LIST.
I like that list because it breaks down different areas in which one might be gifted.
Some children are born with natural ability to become artists, musicians, and even athletes. Those are gifted qualities as well.
My kid is not going to bat 300 but he’ll probably do well on the SAT.
Besides those characteristics there is also something referred to as “Dabrowski’s Over-Excitabilities”
And that list there? That to me is the tell tale sign of the gifted children. The 2nd list is also many reasons why parenting gifted children can be challenging.
-Can you change brands of hotdogs without your child noticing? I can’t
-Do you have to cut out ALL tags or your kid acts like they have knives in their skin? I do.
-Does your kid react to a situation (that seems harmless) in the MOST dramatic way? He does
-Can your kid kick your ass at a game of Memory even though he’s been running around the couch in circles not even watching? Mine can.
Oh, and if you happen to be gifted yourself with some of these characteristics? Good Luck.
And finally one other area that can really set a gifted child apart is having asynchronous development.
-This means that though my 8 year old can read and comprehend at a 12 year old level, he refuses to try to ride a bike due to his lack of inner balance.
-It also means that it took him a long time to be able to write in a legible manner because his fine motor skills were years behind his thought processes.
-It means that he may cry about something that you would think only a younger child would cry about.
These are some of the hardest characteristics to deal with as a parent. It’s hard to understand how a kid who can give you the water chemistry for a certain ocean animal will cry over the fact that 2 sprinkles fell off his cupcake. And when other parents or teachers see your kids acting this way? It’s hard to convince them that you actually have a really bright child.
I hope this has opened your eyes a little to what it means to be gifted. This is just a slivering of knowledge. Next time you hear the word “gifted” instead of thinking of the parents bragging or just that the kid is smart, maybe consider the dynamics of this child’s development and needs.
And of course, those poor parents.