If I’d Known Then …



Yesterday I read an article about gifted children that was written over 10 years ago. It had deeply profound insights that could have made a world of difference in the life of one of my children. If I had known then what I know now … but I didn’t; and I can’t change the past.

My husband and I have been beating ourselves up lately about all the mistakes we made as parents; lamenting poor decisions; not advocating for our children more forcefully. We bought into the myth that things would ‘work out on their own’. After years of fighting the system, with limited resources; we eventually gave up.

But you know what? Kids do not come with an instruction manual. Most of us try to do the best we can for our children. Life has taught me … if nothing else … that as parents; we need to follow our instincts. We DO know our children best. Just because someone may interact with our child for a few hours a day does not give them the right to tell us how to parent our children; especially if they lack the training to understand gifted children.

I have been extremely fortunate through my work in the gifted community to meet and talk to many experts in the field of gifted education and ‘gifted’ in general. What I’ve come to realize is that it is extremely important when seeking help or advice to seek out professionals who are both gifted and understand what it means to be gifted

"Life has taught me … if nothing else … that as parents; we need to follow our instincts. We DO know our children best."

Unfortunately, professionals … be they educators, psychologists or therapists … are few and far between who truly ‘get’ us and our children. To this end, I did include a page on this blog listing professionals who identify as working with gifted. However, the list is rather sparse for many areas.

The good news is that there are many resources (see below) readily available online for you to take advantage of today. It does take time, but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing so. For the most part, we are only given one shot at this parenting gig. Make the most of it! I have listed below some of the resources I have personally found most helpful.

As for my husband and I? We have decided to try to finally give ourselves a break and appreciate the joys and triumphs our children have experienced as young adults. The story is still unfolding and we are still involved enough in their lives to become the parents we’ve always wanted to be … not perfect ones … just parents who seek the best for their children. 

Resources:

Organizations: 
SENG 
GHF 

Books: 

Websites: 

Blogs: 


Speakers to Seek Out: Lisa Van Gemert, Ian Byrd, Patricia Gatto-Walden, Brian Housand, Joy Lawson Davis, Dan Peters, Sharon Duncan

Comments

  1. I am a gifted mom with two gifted boys, ages 14 and 10. While our school system is known as being one of the best in Ohio, no one seems to understand gifted children. When my older son was in Kindergarten, the district coordinator for the gifted program was a wonderful woman who was gifted herself and she was a great help to us. However, she left the district the next year and while her successors have claimed to understand gifted children, they honestly have no idea. The teacher in charge of the gifted program at the elementary level also does not understand gifted children. There are two other parents that I know who really understand gifted children (being gifted themselves) and we all agree that she is not effective. Interestingly, the parents who do not understand gifted children think she is great!

    I too have spent many, many hours advocating for my sons. Although my younger son has a virtually identical IQ as my older son, the younger one struggles in school while the older breezes through everything. My older son is advanced three-four grade levels in math and is completely done with his high school math in eighth grade. Even though my younger son gets good grades, it was obvious to me that something was just not clicking. Of course, his teachers all thought he was just an average student. Finally, after five years of a lot of research on my part and visits to two very well-known gifted psychologists (who did not help a bit), I realized that he might have "stealth dyslexia." So I had him tested, and indeed he was dyslexic. Unfortunately, even though his ability indicates that he should be reading at well above grade level, he reads just at grade level, but that is not enough to qualify him for an IEP. We were somewhat fortunate that he did qualify for an IEP for writing, and that has given him some help, but still not what he needs.

    There are many days that I also am ready to give up and just let what is going to happen happen. However, I remember my own unchallenged childhood, the mistakes that I made growing up and the outcome, and I realize that I do not want my children to become like me.

    I follow most of the blogs and have memberships in most of the organizations, but unfortunately there are no easy answers, just a sense that there are others out there with the same problems that I have.

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