Being a parentВ is one of the greatest joys in life, but it certainly comes with its challenges. Just ask mom and digital influencer Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle FactorВ who told MyDomaine that having a baby is "possibly the hardest and most exhaustive thing" she's ever experienced while also the most rewarding. Add a gifted child into this equation, and it's a whole other ball game, one made even harder sinceВ there is no official definition of what it means to be gifted. Nearly every state has its own for academic purposes.
According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),В "Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).вЂќ
The NAGC estimates that there are 3 to 5 millionВ "academically gifted" children in the U.S. in grades K-12. If your child is one of them, you might need to use a different parenting playbook. Read on to see the top six things all parents raising gifted children should know.
Explain grades aren't everything
Intellectually gifted children are likely already pressuring themselves to excel, so don't add to that stress. Instead, focus on communicating why the learning process is more important than just achieving a high score. вЂњRather than focus upon the grade, prompt your child's response with: Tell me about what you learned doing this? Draw a star by something you did well or liked doing,вЂќ suggests Bertie Kingore, PhD, an international education consultant.
Consider homeschooling or special programs
Although it can be costly, homeschooling or specialized tutors may be a great way to engage your childВ (the last thing you want is for them to become bored because they're lacking challenges). "It is especially helpful if there is a group of parents who can work together pooling talents, skills and learning and social opportunities," says Trevor Tebbs, PhD, aВ consultant who works with families raising gifted children. Which brings us toвЂ¦
Socialize with gifted families
If sharing tutors with other "gifted" familiesВ isn't an option, it's still crucial for your child to interact with like-minded children. Spending time with peers communicating on a similar level will increase your child's feeling of belonging.В Tebbs explains, вЂњThis is not always easy or comfortable for the 'introverted' individual but even for the introvert there are benefits in being able to 'extravert' in the context of a shared interest!вЂќВ
Communicate that different isn't bad
вЂњGifted children can feel disconnected from age peers who interpret so differently,вЂќ Kingore says. It's important to stress that there is beauty in being different-allow your child to find itВ in himself or herself and others. Be open, honest, and willing to listen.В
Treat your child as an equal
You don't need to treat your 7-year-old like an adult, but you shouldВ consult your child in decisions directly affecting them, says Nancy Delano Moore, the mother of a gifted child. Are you thinking of trying a new school? A new private French tutor? See if this is exciting news to your child and talk it through calmly.В
Focus on their interests-not yours
It's easy to become wrapped up in the excitementВ thatВ you forget your child has their own passions. "Our goals may not be their goals," Kingore asserts. It's crucial to keep checking in with your child to see which areas they'd like to pursue.В
What do you think of these tips for raising gifted children? Be sure to tell us in the comments.