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
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
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
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.
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.
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.