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The 'your child is gifted' predisposition.

Have you heard a parent say this to another parent "Your child is so gifted..."? Then you are at the right place. Parents often believe some children are gifted, while it may be true in some cases such as Mozart or was he? I believe every child is 'gifted' and that it is our job as parents to open the beautiful gift wrapped up so tightly by the creator. Agree or disagree, I would love to hear from my friends here on TED. The aim of this conversation is to share the wonderful gift of life we have in our children and how as parents, as their guardians, we have the most crucial responsibilities during the early days of childhood and how it may well shape our future generation.

  • Sep 22 2013: Let me suggest some counter examples that says parental guidance or encouragement should be done in moderation rather than indulged in high pressure. A child's natural gift or talent must be recognized, encouraged and nurtured by his/her parents. But one must realize that there are many exceptions due to subjective biases or the changing nature of a child's interest or devotion.
    A. A child's talent/gift may not necessarily be recognized in early ages. Also, a child may change his/her interest as he/she grows. Moreover, there could be false logic by the family friends that if the child's parent is a physician,say, then most people usually believe that he/she is gifted in medicine.
    B. Even if the child is truly gifted in certain things, the parents should encourage and give sufficient support for development. Because, if the child is truly gifted and interested in the particular field, the success will come out without too much of an hard push. Sometimes the gifted child will excel as long as there is no inhibition or roadblock in the way.
    C. We must recognize that, especially for a very gifted child, he/she may become excellent in two or more fields, so the parents shouldn't favor one and discourage the others, as long as he/she could easily handle both or all of them.
    D. Finally, A child could sometime succeed in one or more fields or skills without the support or his/her parents.(because the parent(s) may not even recognize the talent in the child.) The child could get help or encouragement from a teacher or coworker when his/her talent is recognized by them in one way or another.
    • Sep 22 2013: A. Parents who spend more time with their kids in the early stages and during their major developmental milestones are more likely to spot something interesting about their offspring. This could be as we'll developed as great musical talent or well developed spatial sense or numerical abilities or simply a stare into the sky. We may not conclude that they will become the next Vivaldi, Euler or Newton but we can at least tap into these potential qualities and provide more avenues to explore their prominent side of their brains. I completely agree about false logic, we see more commonly perhaps for example in Indian families -the pressure to become an engineer or a doctor but that's another thread of conversation.
      B. I agree with this - sometimes the best of the talents just don't need prodding. More often than not children are like vines, they need direction and support to grow otherwise they are all over the place. With just the right support - not too much not too little, they will yield best of the fruits in years to come.
      C. Very true. Gifted nature can come in different forms. A child could be very good with numbers, very good in listening skills and thus music in general and has a very good artistic bent of mind. These qualities can be useful in many walks of life and as parents we must help children apply their strengths to situations that fully utilize their capabilities with a sensible balance.
      D. It is very sad if a parent hasn't recognized their child's strengths. Parents must help each other and other parents to be able to support our children better, spend quality time with them without imposing our views on them. And let them make mistakes but stand by them in case they need a hand. To let them make silly mistakes early on in life and learn from them rather than make big blunders later on in life when it's a more serious ball game. Other than that, if an outsider recognizes something more than what a parent already knows then that's a bonus.
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    Sep 20 2013: Maybe it is best not to worry about complimentary descriptions you hear of other people's children. As you suggest, almost all parents love their children and aim to help their children as best they can to make fulfilling lives.
  • Sep 22 2013: Let me use an analogy, each person is like a plot of land and the fertility of the land is based on the person's genes but the cultivation is based on the environment of which parents/family/society play a major role. The most fertile land will produce nothing if poorly cultivated and the less fertile land will produce a great person if cultivated correctly. That is key correctly, since each plot of land is different.

    each plot of land is gifted but the cultivation is needed to make it visible.
    • Sep 22 2013: Very good analogy! Yes. And to add to your analogy, Instead of cultivating them organically, we are using 'fertilisers' in an attempt to produce a 'bumper crop'. I can share another example as an analogy extension to the above. We used to live in a house several years ago which had a piece of land attached to it. It did look wild when we first moved in. But slowly as we started living we realised that the piece of wild land was actually so fertile that just dropping a few seeds of runner beans we had a vine of them running on our wall. We then used it as area to produce vegetables and we had tomatoes, beans, pumpkins, squashes, chillies, peppers, many flowers, a banana plant and a guava plant and we produced so much that we shared with our neighbours. All we had to do was find a spot and throw in the seeds. Thats it! Keeping in line with the analogy of a fertile field, if we provide a fertile ground for our kids at home they will thrive in it and as well be a great student for their teachers outside. As the famous saying goes 'Charity begins at Home' , Parents are a very important source of inspiration for their kids and thus every child is a special gift which comes with its own uniqueness into this world.
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    Sep 21 2013: I absolutely agree with you, yet I don't see in saying 'Your child is so gifted...' that all other children aren't.

    I usually get sensitive if the parents themselves talk about their 'so gifted' children, especially if I am having problems to share those views ... :o)
    • Sep 21 2013: Yes. You are right. I would be too and thats why I think parents who think other children are really gifted and theirs are just usual are undermining themselves and the opportunities they can provide for their children. All children are gifted and if you stand in a school waiting area waiting for your child, you can meet wonderful parents who have the same dreams for their children. Yet we see parents talking about different struggles on a day to day basis. There is no magic solution to all our parenting challenges because children and the times they are living in is always different. But we could definitely be good parents by continuously improvising and learning from our surroundings.
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        Sep 21 2013: Absolutely!

        And it is plain irony that many high talented children are put in special schools for educationally handicapped pupils, just because no one noticed, that they have just been bored to death in those 'normal' schools, which forced them to become 'difficult'.

        Yet I am afraid that our current education system isn't oriented by the individual talents of our children, as they have been designed as conveyor-belt production machines for our economies, in which 'talent' isn't a variable for most of the working people.

        So parents definitely are the pivot point of stability in our children's education and to nurture their talents wherever possible. Otherwise not much change is to be expected in our societies.
        • Sep 22 2013: Excellent point! Well said. Yes. That is exactly what I am trying to get at, that we as parents have such a pivotal role in shaping our children's destiny. But more than too often we leave the responsibility entirely to teachers and schools that we completely entrust our children to.
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        Lejan .

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        Sep 23 2013: '... that we as parents have such a pivotal role in shaping our children's destiny.'

        Especially on this part parents should be very, very careful as many of them tend to see their children as an extension of their own 'ego' instead of seeing their children as self-determined beings.

        This isn't easy at all, as it sometimes requires to support given talents who doesn't deem 'useful' to us, especially in the context in what career path our children get interested in.
  • Sep 21 2013: I agree. But when the other side is your child and your friends say your child is 'gifted' thats when you get tickled. Its not giftedness but hard work and support that gives a child the right frame to thrive in. And this is quite serious because for many kids this is missed opportunity when parents assume that their child is not gifted and hence is unlike their friend's child who is so good at everything. Parents must support and provide intellectual and moral nourishment from the early stages apart from providing all the materialistic needs of the child.
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      Sep 21 2013: You write "Parents must support and provide intellectual and moral nourishment from the early stages apart from providing all the materialistic needs of the child.".Is this a controversial or uncommon point of view where you live?
      • Sep 21 2013: It's neither controversial nor uncommon and is location independent (I live in London if that helps) Its just that sometimes and often times we notice that us parents are so busy trying to give our children the best that we may often overlook what is actually needed for a true long term investment. Pressures of the society and the daily grind consume us so much that we fail to stop and look back and recheck.
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          Sep 21 2013: When you notice this in yourself ("often times we notice that us parents are too busy..."), what do you do, if you don't mind sharing?
      • Sep 21 2013: I don't mind sharing which is why I started off this conversation topic. The situation with us has been so far fruitful. Our child is 8 years old and we have always taken the time to connect with her. Which is why she comes off as a gifted child in our circle of friends which I think is not so. We work very hard with her and we believe that positive parenting and being a good role model actually matters. For a simple example, if we want our daughter to be sincere and thoughtful in her ways, we are sincere and thoughtful in our actions so she learns it first hand. If we make a mistake we don't mind accepting it and apologising for it and she does the same. Every action shapes our child's mind and we clearly see that Unless parents do it, a child wont know it and will not have a right gauge to differentiate right from wrong. What is your experience?
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          Sep 21 2013: Absolutely the same experience as yours, although my children are much older. But that to me is not surprising, as I think this is by far the most common way parents choose to relate to their children or believe they relate to their children.

          I think parents often assume others are not parenting in as productive or enlightened a way as they are, but this assumption is typically based on not being intimately familiar with other people's values related to family or how others raise their children.