Raising any child is a big responsibility and can be quite challenging, but raising a gifted child can feel like a much harder experience because you feel pressure to ensure that the child lives up to their full potential.
It is normal to not want to hold a child back, and gifted children will soar ahead of their peers quite quickly in some fields. However, they will probably also have some other areas where their gifted abilities might hinder them and you will need to learn to support your child in all areas.
It is important that you learn about your child’s strengths and their weaknesses so that you can be the best possible advocate for them. The better you understand your child the easier it will be for you to help them get the best possible education.
Parenting Gifted Children
The authoritarian parenting model rarely works well with a gifted child. Children that are gifted often challenge authority figures, or at least seem to do so.
This is not because they want to be badly behaved, but just because they always want to know why things are a certain way, and how that relates to them.
Their constant desire for knowledge and understanding is not born out of defiance, but simply curiosity. If you want to nurture that, use their inquisitive nature to teach them; do not shut them down when they ask :Why?
Support Your Child
Gifted children are often frustrated when they are at school, especially if they are in a mixed ability class.
They may have conflicts with the teacher or other children, and they may find that the work that is being set is too easy for them.
They may be bullied by other children who come to resent your child’s ability in the classroom.
They may find it hard to make friends with children their age, because they see them as immature.
Be a non-judgemental listening ear for your child, and when necessary, be the adult that stands up for their needs.
Nurture Their Interests
Since gifted children cannot get the stimulation they need in a mixed ability classroom, they need other things to do. Encourage your child to delve into subjects that interest them and support them as they develop their own interests.
Do not force them to specialize in a given area even if they show an interest in it. pushing them too hard could make them decide that learning is not fun. Simply let them explore things at their own pace.
Consider Other Learning Options
Some children do well in normal schools, others need to enroll on a gifted and talented program or even attend a special school for gifted children in order to thrive. For some families, homeschooling is a good option.
In some areas, online programs or part-time study at a college can be suitable for a teenager. Look at all of these options and if your child is old enough to understand what is going on talk to them as well and see what they would like to do.
Remember that a gifted child is still a child, and you are still the parent in charge. Your child has unique needs and you must remember that they are still young.
Let them enjoy their childhood, but give them the best start that you can.