Children are gifts from God. He gives each set of parents no more than they can handle. Early on it was apparent that the princess was going to be a lot to handle. She never cried as a baby and was able to verbally communicate at a very young age. She figured out every single child proofing gadget within 24hrs of putting it up. It wasn’t until kindergarten that she was tested and identified as gifted and talented
Dealing with a gifted child can be seen as positive to others who are not exposed to gifted children daily. People comment on how awesome it must be that your child is so smart. However, many don’t realize that gifted does not always mean intellectually advanced. It means they have different ways of thinking. The princess happens to be both but we aren’t talking about that today. As a parent with a degree in Human Development, I understand that a gifted child is a special needs child.
Today I am going to give you three simple tips for understanding a gifted child:
1) Understand that a gifted child does not develop equally across the spectrums.
The princess is 10yo and she looks like a 10yo physically. Mentally she is about four years older but emotionally she is at least three years behind. This is very difficult for others to understand because a gifted child will be uncomfortable in the wrong elements. They need to be mentally challenged and guided in ways that allow them to become more knowledgeable at a pace comfortable yet challenging for them.
So while a gifted child may have increased intelligence and understanding of things beyond their years, emotionally they can be behind. As an outsider or someone with a lack of understanding, you may recognize that a gifted child is extremely sensitive. They may cry more than other kids. Their anger may appear even more intense than others. The way they respond can be a direct correlation to number two.
2) Help your gifted child understand the importance of grace and not the need the focus on perfection.
This was one of the hardest things to deal with for myself. I am struggling to accept this as well as teach this to the princess.
When a child is identified as gifted, adults expect more from them and before we realize we have placed our expectations on them. We expect because they are reading at higher levels they should understand everything better. We don’t understand the sensitivity and lower emotional intelligence age. So when their emotions don’t line up to where we think they should be, our confusion causes them to try harder to be more mature than they actually are.
When they fail a test or make a mistake, they are even harder on themselves because they want to please others and it’s important to them to be the best due to the fact that society has placed that label on them.
When they are emotional about something that they are perceived as too old for it causes them to try and force themselves to be above where they are. And when they don’t measure up it truly pains them.
3) Keep in mind the complexity of their minds.
When a child is identified as gifted, people hold them to a higher standard. They assume that their intelligence makes them understand things easier and process more quickly. This is so far from the truth because a gifted child’s mind is so complex that a simple response may be hard to reach.
When a gifted child is asked what color is the rose in the above picture, instead a quick response of red, he or she thinks about roses are red, violets are blue, then Valentine’s Day, then what type of Valentine’s Day cards they want, then they remember it is their aunts birthday, then how many days until their birthday, then that they want a unicorn theme birthday, then are unicorns real, then the difference between real and fake flowers, then oh yeah what color is the flower in the picture. Their thought process is so complex that it’s none stop.
In conclusion, your child is unique. Stop comparing them to others. Learn your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Teach them that it is okay to be different than their peers, rather they are advanced in areas or delayed in others, nurture them to understand and accept that nobody is perfect. When they get sad or angry and something small, talk to them and walk through the problem. Remember they have complex brains, by allowing them to ask lots of questions, be included in open discussion, and being patient will help you both during the process.