Starting your journey as a gifted parent

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Discovering that you are the parent of a gifted child can lead you to a new world of wonder and confusion. You don't even have to know for certain that your child is gifted to set foot into that new world. Many, if not most, parents of gifted kids start out realizing that their child is not quite like most other kids of the same age. Sometimes that realization comes slowly because we compare our children to the other children we know and those children tend to be members of our immediate or extended family.

And those family members are also likely to be gifted and so will exhibit similar behaviors. In other words, that "different" behavior looks perfectly "normal."

At some point, however, parents of gifted kids often wonder what's at the root of those different behaviors. More often than not, that happens when their child starts school and the differences in ability and behavior becomes more obvious. Whether you begin to wonder about your child before or after she starts school, you'll be looking for answers. Some people say it doesn't matter if your child is gifted or not. Labels aren't important. That, however, is not necessarily true. There are many reasons it's important to know whether your child is gifted or not. One reason is so that you know how to deal with behaviors that may be puzzling to you. Another reason is so that you may more effectively advocate for your child's needs in school.

If you are looking for answers, start here. The answers aren't easy to come by, though. Be prepared to do a lot of reading!

Understanding Giftedness and Recognizing Gifted Children

When parents first begin noticing what  their child is capable of doing and realize that the child isn't quite like his age mates, they may begin to wonder if their child is giffed.

It is not an easy question to answer. A good start, though, is to learn as much as possible about just what giftedness is and be able to recognize the signs of giftedness. These articles are a good start.

Basics of Testing

In most cases, parents of gifted kids recognize that their children are a little different from their children's age mates. But there is still the nagging voice in our heads: "Really? You sure about that?" One reason it's so hard to know or accept that our child is gifted is that there is no such thing as a typical gifted child. Gifted children are as different from one another as non-gifted children are from other non-gifted children. For peace of mind, some parents will opt to have their child tested.

If your child is happy and being challenged in school, there may be no reason for testing, but testing can help us advocate for our children in school. There is no guarantee that test results will get us anywhere, but in these cases, they can't hurt. If you're wondering whether you should have your child tested, or if you've decided on testing, but aren't sure how to procede, these articles will help.

Nurturing Gifted Kids

Once parents learn that their child is gifted - whether they've gone the testing route or not - they almost immediately begin thinking about how to nurture their child's "gifts." They may become overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility and may not feel "up to the challenge. The first thing I want to stress is that gifted children are children. You don't need to do anything different than you'd do for any other child - in principle. That is, we want to see that our children learn, are challenged, and have fun. That said, because gifted kids usually have intense interests and learn quickly, you will have to pick up the pace a bit to ensure that your child is learning and challenged. The second thing I want to stress is that some people begin to fear that they are pushing their children. However, as long as what you are doing is child centered rather than directed by you and your agenda, you are most likely not pushing.

Continue Exploring

There is so much to learn about gifted kids and their unique needs. Parents can easily feel overwhelmed and uncertain, particularly if they are confronted with contrary opinions such as "all children are gifted." But such opinions are based on myths. It is much better to read as much as you can - and most importantly, love that wonderful child you have!

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