I spend a lot of time in my practice and in this blog extolling the unique differences of raising a gifted or twice-exceptional child. Although I feel educating parents and the community on the distinctions of being gifted are very important for a number of social, psychological and educational reasons, I also feel it’s important to impart the notion that it’s crucial for a kid to also be nurtured in being just that, a kid.
As parents of gifted children, it is important to be mindful of unintentionally putting too much pressure on your children.
Try not to take your child’s achievements too personally and become too focused on your child’s success.
Try not to be too impressed with their intelligence and also see their behaviors and characteristics that represent their chronological age.
We are all human and it’s natural for us, especially as parents, to want to get as engaged as possible in every aspect of our child’s lives. It’s a good thing to check ourselves though once in a while and make sure that we aren’t putting undue stress on our gifted child when they may be at a point where they just want to play with their toys, or be like “normal” kids, or be treated the same as everyone else their age.
When in doubt of how to parent your gifted child, try to remember the following: Be supportive. Don’t expect perfection. Don’t push too hard. Help your child when he or she sincerely needs it; they can’t be experts at everything and still need to work through the learning process. Be understanding. Talk to and with your child, and listen to them. Remember how you were at their age and think about what would have been helpful to you.
Finally, remember that your child’s growth and development, and yours as a parent, is a work in progress.
Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Summit Center (http://summitcenter.us/), which provides psychological and educational assessments and counseling for children and adolescents, specializing in the gifted, creative, and twice-exceptional.