I have an 11 year old gifted son, an 8 year old 2e daughter, and a 4 year old son who is most likely gifted, but won’t slow down long enough for us to really tell!
When did you realize your child was gifted?
My oldest was born with an alertness and a look in his eye that just told us he was paying attention and thinking. Everyone commented on how alert he was. He hit a lot of developmental stages early and, again, everyone would comment on how clear he was and what an amazing vocabulary he had when he was not yet even 2. All of these things were clues, of course, but the real clincher was when he started asking the tough questions. Then, because of the information I’d gathered about giftedness, my 2 younger kids were easier to identify.
Was there a certain lightbulb moment or event?
Three particular “big question” moments stand out for me with my oldest. The first, we were driving somewhere when he was 3 and out of the blue he asks, “Mom, does it hurt when we die?” The second, again he was 3 and again we were driving, and he looks out the window and asked, “Mom, what is green?” I said, “You’ve known the color green for a long time, buddy.” He said, “No, mom. What is green? What is color?”
And the final lightbulb moment was when he was 4 or 5, and thankfully asked my husband this one. He’d been learning about chemistry (as you do). He said, “Dad? Everything is made of atoms, right?” My husband answered (with a hint of wariness in his voice, we’d been down these questioning paths before), “Yes . . .” “And God made everything?” “Yes . . . “ “Then what’s God made of?” My husband’s answer? “That’s a question for your mom.”
Looking back, did you miss signs of giftedness? Which ones stand out the most now?
I don’t think we really missed any signs in my oldest and haven’t really missed anything in my youngest that I’m aware of. It has been trickier with my daughter, as she’s 2e, and has a whole laundry list of neurological differences that complicate her development. She’s definitely one of those typical 2e kids whose giftedness masks her disability and her disabilities mask her giftedness. Understanding her and her true potential is an unending process.
Were you ever in denial about your child’s giftedness? Or was giftedness simply not on your radar?
I don’t think we were in denial of their giftedness. I do think with my daughter’s extra exceptionalities we can sometimes miss her gifted needs, which leads to boredom and an exacerbation of her other issues. Earlier on we were unaware of the socio-emotional aspects of giftedness and typical personality traits, so we may have been in denial with regard to our oldest’s gifted needs in that regard.
If you had a do-over, what is one thing you would change regarding how you parented your gifted child?
I need to be asked this question in 10 or 20 years! At this point, I’m not sure that I’d have a do-over with regard to gifted needs. Maybe I’d have sought intervention and assessment for my daughter’s other needs earlier, but all in all, we’re trying out best with what we know and I tend to shroud myself with abundant self-compassion.
What do you enjoy most about your gifted child?
In my oldest – his enormous empathy, desire for justice, and deep philosophical mind and heart.
In my daughter – her wild wit and creative problem-solving
In my youngest – his unadulterated, intense joy and zest for life and learning.
What is most challenging about parenting a gifted child?
The incessant chatter. Seriously. Non-stop talking from before I’ve woken up until I can put them in their beds. Yes, I may have a bit of sensory intensity and introversion myself. 😉
What is one thing you would tell parents who have a newly identified gifted child?
Be kind to yourself and be sure to self-nurture. These gifted kids are intense and parenting them is intense. Intensely difficult and intensely joyful.
Is there a specific blog post that you would like to point people to that will show them more about your gifted child’s journey?
All of my posts are about our journey as a gifted family, so I had a hard time narrowing it down, but I settled on one of our podcast episodes, actually. This episode reflects our daily lives with a 2e child and some intellectually intense children and how we try to muddle our way through.