Balancing Act

Gifted parenting can seem like a balancing act. Oftentimes, parents of gifted children are described as pushy, demanding, arrogant … or all of the above by school personnel. Many educators do not believe parents are qualified to know if their child is gifted. In fact, it has been found that parents are correct 84% of the time when referring their child for testing (Silverman, 2009).

As parents, you want your child to develop into a productive member of society; well-adjusted and reasonably happy. You also want them to reach their full potential. The primary place you expect this to happen is at school. When you encounter obstacles there, it is easy to become frustrated and angry. Unfortunately, parents often respond in inappropriate ways.

When adults model bad behavior, a gifted child is often quick to follow. Throw in asynchronous development, and sparks can fly! No one benefits in this scenario. This can become a powder-keg if stakeholders are unable to find a way to work together. It is in the best interest of your child to try to work things out.

In the final analysis, your child has needs that are required by law (in most places) to be met. Their school on the other hand rarely has enough resources to meet all their needs. So, what is the answer? Do parents advocate, give up or compromise? For some, the last two options are the same. Compromise equals defeat. It does not have to be this way.

If the issue is a matter of attitude toward gifted education, parents may have to consider an educational path outside the public school system. If it is a matter of funding and your only option is a public school, then compromise must be considered.

This doesn’t mean you move to the lowest common denominator. Instead, look for ways to achieve the best possible education with the resources available. Parents can research low-cost or no-cost options and present them to school administrators or school boards. They can also form advocacy groups who can provide the school with tools to enhance gifted programming such as grant writers, mentors, opportunities for job shadowing, fundraising, free seminars for teachers, and classes on utilizing online resources and social media tools. The possibilities are endless.

The most important thing is to not give up and to find resources to support your position and to help your child. Working together with your child’s school may be the most difficult part of parenting, but it has the potential to be the most rewarding!

Comments

  1. I agree with you! We need to learn how to work with the school for the best possible outcome given the resources available. We need to develop alliances with teachers and administration that have us focused on the same goal: the best possible education for our kids. It's a challenge, but this kind of alliance can also be rewarding!

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