How to Talk to Your Gifted Child
by Barbara Kasey Smith
First and foremost, if you believe your child is creative and/or gifted, you should have your child tested by a professional with experience in the field. If it is determined your child is gifted, it’s important your child is put in the best school you can afford or find a good school where you can get free or low-cost tuition.
Children, regardless if they are gifted or not, listen and observe the actions of their parents. Knowing the gifted child is listening and observing their parents, the parent must avoid the pressures of having a gifted child. Parents should talk about their daily lives and emphasize how their own efforts lead to benefits for them. If a parent continually complains about their superiors and their jobs, this can send a message to your child that putting forth an effort is a waste of time. It’s important for parents to allow their child to see positive things about their working environment, and if there is a problem in the workplace, by their persistence any negativity is worked out in the long run. This allows your child to see that individuals who struggle will succeed.
Too much pressure on your gifted child and allowing it to put pressure on the parents, can give rise to serious emotional and developmental problems like anxiety, depression and burnout. If you give too much attention to your child’s giftedness, the child may think (he/she) is only loved because they have a special gift. Show your child your love for (him/her) for what it truly is, regardless of the child’s gift. A parent’s love will give the child emotional security and stability.
Parents need to communicate open with their gifted child. A gifted child has many things to understand about themselves. Help your child to understand they are unique and that they think differently from other children their age. It’s up to the parents and the child’s teachers to help your child to have as normal of a life as they can. Parents need to have a discussion with their child that (him/her) shouldn’t treat other children as if they are superior, and don’t make the child feel like an outsider because the child is different. Never treat you child like an adult because your child has an adult-like reasoning power because the child doesn’t have the experiences in life to act like an adult. Many gifted children tend to be emotionally intense, ensure you talk to your child to find out how they feel about school, friends, family life, and you will be able to assist your child if they have any type of problems.
Monitor your child’s homework and talk with them about any problem they feel they are having with a particular subject. Be sure to share with your child, in a loving manner, an experience you had at this particular stage in your life and allow them to know about your special gift. Allow the child to know that in every phase in life, even the most talented, must work to achieve the rewards they want to achieve in life. Talk to the child about their endeavors at maybe being good at one effort at a time, defining a task and sticking to it until it is finished.
Since most gifted children inherit their giftedness from their parents, parents may have had childhood experiences because they were probably gifted also. Be careful not to allow your past experiences affect your child’s situation. Remember, your child is not you, and allow the child to have their own life experiences separate from the experiences the parent had as a child. Remember, to give rewards and praise for the jobs the child completes, allow them to see the joy and happiness on your face for them doing and finishing a project. If a child tends to be a perfectionist and is disappointed with (him/herself), and if the child fails, assure the child his worth is not measured by his performance alone. Teach your child everyone makes mistakes and failing is a part of life, and it can be good by being better the next time.
Do not be overly proud of your child by constantly bragging about them to friends and family members. When parents do this, it can effect a child’s identity development and well-being.