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Parenting gifted children, from toddlers to teens

As a parent of a gifted child, my child has had many teachers, good and bad.

But raising a strong, resilient gifted child needs more than that. A child needs a stimulating, supportive environment to grow, learn, develop and eventually, lead. Yes, all children need this, but I think ours, with the capacity to be future leaders of the next generation, need it even more.

And as parents - we need to learn and share with each other. I

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    Jul 24 2013: A thought to understand children

    On Children
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.
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    . .

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    Aug 17 2013: Everyone is gifted. A fish is gifted in swimming and a monkey at climbing a tree (paraphrasing Einstein)...and humanity has DIVERSE talents...SO the key is to recognize a child's gift and put her/him in the school that provides the environment for that (paraphrasing Sir Ken Robinson)

    Here's great inspiration:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
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    Lejan .

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    Jul 23 2013: What is your connection of a 'gifted child' to become a leader?

    A 'gifted' violinist who loves what he/she does has no need to become a conductor.

    Is leadership the ultimate form of talent? I don't see it this way.
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    Jul 23 2013: What are you looking for? There are a huge number of excellent resources in this area. One is the National Association for Gifted Children. I cannot remember the names of their two publications. One is, I think, Gifted Child Quarterly. Another is the Handbook of Gifted Education, with papers by leading researchers in this field about best practices. Johns Hopkins, William and Mary, and Stanford all have well known centers for research and practice in this area.

    Generally speaking the ERIC Clearinghouse is a good place to find articles by scholars and teacher researchers about educational matters, curriculum and pedagogy.

    I think many more people have the capacity to be future leaders of the next generation than those who are identified as academically gifted. Aspects of character, for example, are likely of paramount importance .
    • Jul 23 2013: Fritzie:

      Thank you for your detailed note. And yes, I am aware that there are many resources, including NAGC and Hoagies. But as a parent, and not an educator, I often find the research overwhelming.

      I see that I may not have been clear in my intent, but I am hoping to start the conversation about being a parent of a gifted child - and include some great resources along the way - but to offer support, mentoring and dialogue. I know my child is stimulated at school, and there is so much more available, but I'm never sure if we are on the right path, or what other opportunities are available. Thank you in advance for your feedback.
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        Jul 23 2013: Have you looked at all specifically at forums for parents of gifted kids to discuss parenting and educational issues pertinent to gifted children?

        I think you will find more people with expertise in that subject on such a forum than you will here.

        I happen to be a specialist in this area and will look for potentially useful forums. There is one for parents of profoundly gifted, but most gifted kids do not have as specialized needs as that. Do you use any of the forums Hoagies suggests?

        How old is your son?
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    Aug 18 2013: what do you mean by "gifted"? does it fly? night vision?...
  • Aug 18 2013: This is a description of what I was taught to look for in a gifted student.

    http://www.us.mensa.org/learn/gifted-youth/gifted-characteristics/

    Like I mention in my previous comment, this is not necessarily the type of student that gets placed in the gifted program in our school district. It is very rare to find a gifted student.....that fits the mensa description. But many schools still hire one teacher who is gifted certified by the state to give special attention to these extraordinary kids.....and many other academically advance students get exposed to the gifted curriculum as a result......usually there is room for around 20 to a class.

    Like I mentioned before, in all my years of teaching, I only had one gifted student, who really met the description of mensa.

    I would be interested to hear from other teachers on here who have had gifted kids in the elementary classroom.....primary grades especially. I would love to learn how the gifted program worked at your schools.

    And, if any of you teachers are from other countries, does a gifted curriculum exist in your country?
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    Aug 17 2013: Barb,
    I am the mom of a child (now in his 40s) who was labeled "gifted". In my perception, ALL children are gifted, and it is up to us, as parents and adults to recognize how each and every child is "gifted". Some may excel at sports, academics, music, etc., etc. Both of my children excelled in many activities, and I perceive them as children/adults who were/are genuinely exploring the life experience.

    What is the benefit in separating these kids from everyone else with the label "gifted"? It is good to recognize their abilities and talents, and ALL children need a stimulating, supportive environment to grow, learn and develop.
  • Aug 17 2013: Flowers open.
    Fruits ripen.

    Effortlessly

    If there is Gifted, there is Non-Gifted. You must examine this issue more deeply. It is not what you perceive. Question your beliefs. Doubt is the other side of Faith. As equally powerful. As equally transformative.
    • Aug 17 2013: There are certain children that are very different from the norm.......the true "gifted" child......at least the one identified as such by the school system, needs to be pulled out of the regular classroom and given special attention.

      He is not satisfied with the kind of education given in the regular classroom......he is an explorer, investigator, instigator, has unquenchable thirst for knowledge.....deep deep knowledge of subjects.
      He or she is endlessly asking questions that absorb the teacher's time.......and in her quest to deal with him, the teacher must ignore the rest of the class.

      I am not sure I can do justice to the definition of a truly gifted child.

      Their curriculum is usually very challenging......and the way they are taught in their pull-out program is very different from the regular class..........again, because they need a special kind of learning environment.

      In all my years of teaching, I have had only one such student.
      It was such a relief when he was taken to his 'gifted' class on Friday.......he wore me down.......it's like he needed a teacher all to himself.
      The other children just could not relate to him.......back then we did not use the term autistic...but looking back, perhaps he had some form of autism......and also attention deficit disorder......but boy, was he a wiz kid............Herman.........that was his name........I'll never forget him.

      Today, at least here in my state, the gifted program is just a program that pulls out the smarties from their regular class and makes them feel more important than the rest.......usually the kids that stay feel like they are not 'good enough'...........this way of implementing gifted, in my opinion, leaves much to be desired.

      True gifted children could very well attend a special school, or have special classes.

      Kids who pull all A's, are just smart.....not necessarily gifted......in the way this word was used originally in schools.

      And yes.....all humans are gifted...kids included :)
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        Aug 17 2013: I agree Mary that the child labeled "gifted" may be an explorer, investigator, instigator, has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, etc.

        I do not agree that this child's questions absorb the teacher's time so the teacher must ignore the rest of the class. In my son's 4th grade, a very special "gifted" teacher learned about how to deal with my son and other "gifted" children in her classroom, and it was a win/win situation for everyone.

        I do not agree that a child labeled "gifted" needs a teacher all to themselves. They need to learn that there are many kids/adults like them, and it is interesting to learn to interact with all people.

        Mary, you are saying that "gifted" children have autism??? How is that helpful? You also label him with attention deficit disorder??? When will you stop trying to diagnose in this on line forum???

        When the "smarties", as you refer to them, are pulled out of their regular class and made to feel "more important than the rest", as you say, how does that impact the rest of their lives? And how does that impact their peers? Eventually, they have to deal with the real world, which does not necessarily reward those who have some kind of label. I agree with you....this way of implementing "gifted", leaves much to be desired.

        True "gifted" children, which most children are naturally, need to learn to get along in the real world.
  • Jul 24 2013: Yes, Mensa is a great resource, and there are so many other good resources (and thank you all for sharing)

    But what I would really like to see a place where I can begin to understand what the 21st century skills are - beyond what the schools are currently teaching - what kind of jobs will our children have in the next 20, 30 or 40 years.
    • Jul 26 2013: Books. All the best ideas are carefully worked out, explained and deconstructed in books. When a child reads a book they are being tutored by the author. In this way it is very inexpensive and convenient to get your child the best tutors in the world.
  • Jul 24 2013: Adesh - I love this comment - and often think about this when I watch my 12 year old reading Archie comics while hanging upside down on the couch. Nurturing talents is a goal, but raising a happy well adjusted kid will always come first!
  • Jul 24 2013: Lejan - yes, you are correct and I am mistaken. If someone is talented, he doesn't need to be a leader.
  • Jul 24 2013: I just watched the newest talk from TED.So profound and touching:)
    http://www.ted.com/talks/roberto_d_angelo_francesca_fedeli_in_our_baby_s_illness_a_life_lesson.html
  • Jul 24 2013: There weems to be a good deal of energy devoted to that in Mensa
  • Jul 24 2013: I have been experiencing parenting work all:parenting children is our parents resposibility in daily life.I found it is also one part of parents' life.children sound like our extending lives,when I see them I memory and reflect mine.
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    Jul 24 2013: A word of caution in raising kids

    In search of excellence never loose the ordinary
  • Jul 23 2013: The goal of my meetup/blog/FB page was ultimately to have a support group in Toronto, for parents, as none exist.

    My son is sharp, but not profoundly gifted - as that would entail a whole new set of challenges.

    At the end of the day, although I can always learn more, we have learnt, through trial and error, how to parent our gifted child (who is 12, going on 40!). But I hope to be a resource for parents of younger chidlren too, especially since the gifted program in our city doesn't begin until grade 4, with parents left on their own for many years before.

    I don't plan on being an advocate for gfited education, as ABC (association for bright children) covers that.

    I need to spend some more time on Hoagies - like all of us, trying to juggle work and everything else!

    Thank you for your continued feedback. Sincerely, Barb
  • Jul 23 2013: HI Mary:

    I just started a support group in Toronto for parents of gifted kids. So I will give you a link to my blog, which answers your question.

    We live in Toronto, so he is in a gifted program, which I think is like the magnet program in the US. He takes chess ad math weekly and was the top scorer in several contests this past year. He is currently at day camp (space, then tech) and as a top scorer in the Math League, will be going to Stanford in a few weeks (very exciting).

    Sincerely,

    Barb
    • Jul 23 2013: Can't wait to visit your blog.....thanks!!
      I'm a teacher by the way....
  • Jul 23 2013: Barb, when did you discover your child was gifted?

    And what particular program is he involved in?