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Four Principles for Parenting a Gifted Child

By Darren Perks



Most people have inconsistencies in their personality. We may openly strive for religious piety, but suffer with all too human tendencies. We may value our health, but love donuts a little too much for our own good. We value our children, but may display impatience, frustration and even outright rude behavior toward them. It is a fact of life with which we all must reconcile ourselves. A gifted child, to accompany his wondrous capabilities, also has difficult character traits.

The Gifted Development Center, founded in 1979, has assessed over 5,600 children in the last 30 years. Concerning this matter of character traits, they have the following to say: "Perfectionism, sensitivity and intensity are three personality traits associated with giftedness. They are derived from the complexity of the child's cognitive and emotional development. According to Dabrowski's theory, these traits, related to over-excitabilities, are indicative of potential for high moral values in adult life".

Complexity, it seems, carries the day when considering most aspects of consciousness and the gifted child is certainly no exception. A less tactful way of saying it is gifted and talented children can be a real pain to deal with. No parent is perfect, but as parents of gifted children, we need to keep our perspective and guide our children based on principles that require ongoing practice. Here are four principles that apply.

Clarity. Be clear that your gifted child is not average. In fact, he has special educational and emotional needs. This is a reality to face. While it may appear that other parents don't have much trouble keeping their children focused on schoolwork, chores and even sitcoms, parents of gifted children struggle to find activities that keep a quick mind interested. It's a challenge and your child cannot help it.

Patience. The universally beneficial parental quality, patience is even more important where the gifted child lives. Without it, parenting skills go out the window and the child is left feeling punished for being himself. Understanding the nature of giftedness - the natural personality traits associated with it - helps in developing greater patience.

Belief. Perhaps the greatest fear for all parents is that their child will not fulfill his potential. This is especially true in the case of parents with gifted children. The greater the child's potential, the greater the potential gap between actual performance and the full expression of the child's talents. Don't give up. Believing in your child, often more that he believes in himself, will drive him toward goals, provided that belief is not forced upon the child.

Self care. A good reminder for all of us, we need to take good care of ourselves if we are to be available to care for others. Parents of gifted children often over-invest in the child, pinning all their personal hopes upon the child's success. Caught up in this process, they run themselves ragged trying to keep up. Step back, remember who you are and take good care of yourself. Excess stress will not only ruin your own health, but also compromise the relationship between you and your child.

Being clear about who your child is, practicing patience, endlessly believing in his potential and practicing self care will provide a foundation for success in your parenting efforts. No matter this situation, whether dealing directly with the child or with educator, administrator, coaches and friends, these principles apply.

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Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Gifted Children
By James Delisle Ph.D.

Dr. Delisle offers practical advices and tips to parents of gifted children. Some interesting topics includes understanding a child's giftedness, building a child's character, working with the school system, dealing with perfectionism in gifted kids and help gifted kids achieve their goals and dreams. Along the way, stories from gifted children and their parents provide insight into the lives of these individuals.

 

 

 

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With a background in mental health counseling and NLP, Mr. Perks writes extensively for print and web journals about the importance of discovering children's unique talents.



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