5 Challenges of Raising Gifted Children (That You Probably Never Thought Of)

Parenting a child — under the best of circumstances — is a daunting task. Raising gifted children adds a spin on the parenting experience that you might not have considered. You see, most everyone will consider gifted kids to be easy. Folks will call you “lucky” and (in some instances) “conceited.” Not surprisingly, it is tough to ask for help from peers, who generally believe that raising gifted children is a snap. There are most likely five challenges you are experiencing right now, which you never considered previously. Are you ready to tackle them head-on?

1. Gifted kids are always “on”

A gifted child is exhausting. The child is very active, requires consistent stimulation and switches activities, trains of thoughts and lines of questioning at breakneck speeds. Although older kids get to be pretty good at finding things to do and activities that keep them busy, infants and toddlers lack this ability.

Tip: Find peer support. Enlist help to keep the youngster occupied and take breaks.

2. Giftedness comes in areas

What is a gifted child, if not a youngster with a special inborn talent for a certain task? Whether it is music, math, movement, empathy or languages; gifted kids vary by talent. It is tempting to demand that a musically gifted child also be a high achiever in language arts; but consider that this may really not be her talent. Although it is possible to find multiple areas of giftedness in one child, it is not a given.

Tip: Educate yourself about the scope of your child’s giftedness. A counselor who specializes in dealing with these kids can be of tremendous help.

3. Asynchronous development is tough on kids and their parents

The child walks at nine months, runs at 10 months but will not string together a sentence until the age of four. In elementary school, she may be adept at seeing the relationship between angles of a triangle; however, the proper use of pronouns escapes her. Maturity and intelligence, too, may develop on two different tracks; frequently maturity lags behind. In some cases, it may lag very far behind.

Tip: Knowing that asynchronous development is a distinct possibility makes it easier to cope with the problem. Do not think that there is “something wrong” with the gifted child. If you are worried, discuss the youngster’s development with a pediatrician.

4. Gifted kids get their feelings hurt — often

Parenting a child identified as gifted occasionally requires a parental egg-walking exercise. The child is extremely sensitive to changes in mood, subtle facial expressions and even voice inflections. Adding insult to injury, the child does not just want to be loved by her parents; she also wants to be liked. It is easy for a parent to make a thoughtless comment, which the youngster — in his mind — blows out of proportion.

Tip: Apologize often and sincerely. Do not be afraid to call attention to a bad choice of words and explain what you really meant.

5. Developing the child’s talent is a double-edged sword

Raising gifted children usually has the parents look for avenues of supporting and stimulating the youngster’s talent. Sports, music, art, language, academics or any other field offers plenty of opportunities via extracurricular activities. It is here that mom must be careful not to overdo it. The child may be a perfectionist already; if the parent pushes too hard, the resulting frustrations may be more than either child or parent bargained for.

Tip: Find a balance between encouraging a child and letting him explore — and fail! — on his own.

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