10 things I’ve learned about gifted children

Here are 10 things I’ve learned since becoming the mother of a pile of gifted kids!

1. All gifted kids are not created equal.

2. Just because your kid is gifted does not mean they will succeed academically. Or that they will give a shit about succeeding.

3. Just because your kid is gifted does not mean they will fail academically. But it might mean that they obsess over getting their answers absolutely right.

4. Some gifted kids are rule followers (these are the ones who often do OK at school).  Some gifted kids are rule breakers.

5. Just because a kid is gifted and capable of discussing advanced concepts does not mean that they are emotionally mature enough to deal with the concepts in practice.

6. When a gifted kid takes a long time to make a decision, it’s not because they’re trying to annoy you or not focusing. Sometimes, it’s because they are considering not just the immediate decision, but the knock-on effect for the universe and will this cause the end of life as we know it?

7. Gifted kids are all intense. Even the quiet well-managed ones – those ones just internalise more. Gifted kids are challenging, wonderful, amazing, outstanding and often downright frustrating.

8. A gifted kid can be perfectly happy at an ordinary school.  But they can be ecstatic, passionate and inspired when they get to go to a school for gifted kids.

9. Just because they’re gifted does not mean they should be entitled to special treatment; it does not make them better than anyone else and it certainly does not mean that they can treat anyone in their lives as worthless.

10. And the top thing I’ve learned since becoming the parent of gifted children? No matter how gifted, how much they succeed academically or how many imaginary universes they save, destroy or build, they are still just children.  I want them to be happy, compassionate, contributing members of society. But most of all, I want them to be happy.

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “10 things I’ve learned about gifted children

  1. Hannah R

    Well put! Thanks for sharing

  2. I spotted this blog post today, and it is outstanding. I’ve used a piece of it for the photoquotes project at http://www.flickr.com/photos/51965108@N05/7619270238/in/pool-1680413@N20/

    Do keep blogging about giftedness. This is an awesome contribution.

  3. Thank you for this amazing blog! Greeting from the Global Center for Gifted & Talented Children.

  4. Love this. Very true.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Come by again sometime!

      • Great post!

        I have also found that it doesn’t mean that teachers will automatically like you, find you charming, and know how to appreciate you! This is unfortunately true when a highly-gifted child challenges a teacher…not all but..

      • We’re a bit lucky in that respect – one of our gifted kids can charm the birds off the trees and teachers love him. But even the two most challenging boys still have a fair dollop of charm and teachers tend to say “I just love [insert name here] but I don’t know how to manage him”. I also remember my 8-year old daughter asking if it was OK to correct the teacher’s spelling and punctuation, so we did a bit of work on when it was appropriate and how to approach it, which helped with the challenging the teacher thing!
        Thanks so much for stopping by – please do come again!

  5. Bec

    Thanks for the list!
    Points 1-3 ring true at our house, particularly number 2. It is sometimes frustrating when you know the capabilities of a child but their personality is one that lack the drive – when you know heaps without why trying, why bother to know more? I now think of giftedness being more about how they learn and think, not so much about how smart they are!

    • Yes, couldn’t agree more Bec! Our oldest works on the theory that it doesn’t matter how well she’s passing, as long as she gets a pass, so she cruises on with very little work. Frustrating when she could be getting straight As! That’s why we really try and reinforce the message that it’s what you do with it! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Madelaine

    I love this – no nonsense & no mincing of words! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  7. Angela

    There’s so much more to be said, but a very good blog so thank you.

    • Thanks Angela! I thought “100 things I’ve learnt about gifted children” might be an unwieldy post, so stopped at 10! Thank you for stopping by – do come back again!

  8. Lisa

    WOW. Oh my gosh. SOOOO eye opening as I am navigating the world of giftedness for the first time with my 9 year old. I *thought*, when the gifted labels started being tossed around, “Cool! She’s super smart!” but the level of intensity and sensitivity and anxiety that have come along with it have been a HUGE shock to me. I really need to do more research on ALL the different ways giftedness looks and manifests itself, and more importantly, how to best manage the quirks and celebrate the gifts. THANKS!

    • Thanks for reading my blog Lisa! I have another post which I also wrote for gifted awareness week and you might find it interesting – you can find it in the archives for June. I think the anxiety one was the biggest surprise for me, and learning that many really smart kids struggle with time pressure in exams for example. There are lots of great resources and blogs available – I especially like Dear Mrs Einstein and MyTwiceBakedPotato. Do come back again!

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