How old is your gifted child? When did you realize your child was gifted? Was there a certain lightbulb moment or event?
I have two children, my son, C who is 8, and my daughter, J who is 4. For my son, our lightbulb moment was when he started writing at 2 years old. Even though he was able to read small words we didn’t think that was “too different” from normal development. But writing? That hit the “hmm, this isn’t normal” alarm bells.
My daughter was and is different again – she loves letters and numbers but is not super-advanced compared to age-peers. But she is a whiz at abstract problem solving – if it’s a visual puzzle, she’ll nail it, otherwise she seems pretty “normal”.
Looking back, did you miss signs of giftedness? Which ones stand out the most now?
We missed them all! My son was so alert and awake all the time – he had fabulous head control from an extremely early age. But we never kept a baby book, we were too exhausted. So I have no idea how advanced he was as a baby.
For my daughter I kept a detailed book for the first 10 months – and then she started walking and detailed record-keeping became impossible! But by then we were fairly sure she was at least a little advanced.
Were you ever in denial about your child’s giftedness? Or was giftedness simply not on your radar?
Not on the radar – I had no idea what it was until we got our first psych report just before my son’s third birthday. And then the results were so at the “not-normal” end of the bell-curve that it was a necessarily fast learning curve for our family from that point onward.
If you had a do-over, what is one thing you would change regarding how you parented your gifted child?
Not pay attention to the baby-books! I’m a book-based type of person and loved reading about what my kids would do at X age. Neither of them have ever followed any of those “kids develop this way” books. I think about all the hours I spent trying to get a not-tired baby to sleep because “babies need X hours” and kind of wish I could get those hours of (my) missed sleep and (his) fun back.
What do you enjoy most about your gifted child?
Seeing how their minds run with an idea. We have had the most amazing, mind-blowing and, yes, deeply silly conversations. And every time I start to take what they do for “normal”, they surprise me with something profound or silly or both!
What is most challenging about parenting a gifted child?
The exhaustion. There is no “off switch”. My partner and I rarely get down-time or adult-time because the kids are dynamos. We work around it as best as we can, tag-teaming a day off once a month.
What is one thing you would tell parents who have a newly identified gifted child?
Take a deep breath, and remember that they are still the same child they were yesterday. Your journey will be very different from what you planned or imagined, but if you focus on what your child needs and what your family needs, it’s going to be OK and it does get easier.
Is there a specific blog post that you would like to point people to that will show them more about your gifted child journey?
I have a number of blog posts on our journey with our children. Probably a good place to start is Why We Homeschool. And this is a page link to some of the activities where I have written about our homeschooling journey with gifted kids.