How old is your gifted child? When did you realize your child was gifted?
My gifted son is almost 7 1/2-years-old. In all honesty, I knew there was something about him early on but my husband and I were so consumed with his reflux, colic, and failure to thrive that our thoughts were elsewhere.
Was there a certain lightbulb moment or event?
The lightbulb moment for us was the day that my son came downstairs after nap and read an entire book to us. He was four. The book was a new one, one that we had yet to read to him. The first time he read to me, he read an ENTIRE book. I was dumbfounded, in awe, paralyzed by what it meant. You can read more about that here.
Looking back, did you miss signs of giftedness? Which ones stand out the most now?
I can see so much now, in hindsight. My son has every OE in the book. When I remember him as an infant, all those signs were there. He was just so alert, so curious. He never took no for an answer. It’s amazing to reflect upon!
Were you ever in denial about your child’s giftedness? Or was giftedness simply not on your radar?
I wouldn’t say we were in denial. We always knew he was intelligent and different. Yet, we didn’t know how gifted he was. That came as a surprise. I remember the afternoon that the psychologist told me to research Davidson Young Scholars. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. In truth, I did cry. I saw my son’s life pass before my eyes- and by that I mean the “expected” or “typical” life. I knew that profoundly gifted was a whole new ballgame. I didn’t know what that meant for our family at the time but I knew things would have to shift in a major way.
If you had a do-over, what is one thing you would change regarding how you parented your gifted child?
I would have removed him from kindergarten immediately. Public school, even half-day, stole something from him. Yet, as a school psychologist and former public school employee, I felt that I had to give it a chance to work.
What do you enjoy most about your gifted child?
Oh gosh… so much! His energy, his passion, his creativity, his spark, his inquisitiveness, his perseverance. Of course, all of these things I love about him are also the very same things that wear me to my core. 🙂
What is most challenging about parenting a gifted child?
The not knowing. You have to go with your gut. Your child is atypical and so the general rules don’t apply. You have to believe in your gut in a way that you have never needed to before.
What is one thing you would tell parents who have a newly identified gifted child?
FIND YOUR TRIBE. FIND HIS/HER TRIBE. If you can’t find one, make one. I created a local gifted group and it’s amazing to see my children play with intellectual peers. I also co-founded an online Facebook community for gifted and twice-exceptional parents. I founded it with Colleen Kessler of Raising Lifelong Learners and the group (Raising Poppies) has been a lifeline. Even on my worst days, if I go in there I feel understood and normal. It’s a blessing.