Suggestions for Parents of Gifted Children

  1. They are still children. They need love but controls; attention but discipline; parental involvement, yet training in self-dependence and responsibility.
  2. Don't compare your gifted child with other children. That places on the gifted one the responsibility to live up to that image all the time. All children are unique and special in their own ways.
  3. Listen to your gifted child. Dinner may be about to burn, and the telephone is ringing, but listen because the question may be important. If ignored, the curiosity to ask may disappear.
  4. Take the initiative in taking your child to museums, art galleries, educational institutions, and other historical places where collections of various sorts may enhance background learning.
  5. The role of good books, magazines, and other aids to home learning such as encyclopedias, charts, collections should be stressed within the home.
  6. Let the gifted child specialise early if that is his wish. There are fringe benefits to living with dinosaurs; they may be learning to do research, knowing how to keep notes and records, and discovering the Dewey Decimal System together with Tyrannosaurus rex.
  7. The gifted child usually has a wide and versatile range of interests, but he may be somewhat less able to concentrate on one area for a long time. Parents should encourage children who have hobbies to follow through on them, to plan and strive for creditable performance and for real mastery, rather than going through a lot of hobbies or collections in a short time.
  8. Children don't have to be gainfully employed every waking minute. There should be time to day dream, to be silly, to watch T.V., read comics, and to lie on an unmade bed to contemplate the ceiling. Gifted children are usually creative children and it is difficult to be creative on schedule.
  9. Praise your gifted child for his efforts. Praise him for the wonderful things he does, and, if his great experiment does not work out as hoped, praise him for trying. Inquiring minds must take intellectual risks, and risk-taking needs to be encouraged and supported.
  10. Discipline is necessary for harmonious family life and comes in the same shape for all sisters and brothers. Giftedness is not an excuse for unacceptable behaviour. Whenever possible talk things out with him where there has been a disciplinary lapse. He is much more amenable to rational argument than are many children and usually has a well developed sense of duty.
  11. Don't expect your gifted child to live up to your unfulfilled aspirations. You may dream of "my son, the doctor", but he may have other heroes.
  12. Let your gifted child do what she says she can, because she probably knows. If her judgment is faulty, that is learning too.
  13. Encourage originality. Help them to do their thing and praise them for producing "the only one in the whole world". Develop pride in original and creative work.
  14. Remember the fine line between encouraging and pushing may make the difference between a happy and productive youngster and an unfulfilled, underachieving child.
  15. Respect the child and his knowledge, which at times may be better than your own. Assume he means to do right and the deviations are not intentional. Do not presume on your authority as a parent except in a crisis. Allow much liberty on unimportant matters.
  16. Gifted children are sometimes impatient of conventions. Have a frank talk about the importance of conventions such as driving on the left where he can see the social advantages, and then point out that other conventions of politeness, manners courtesy, and respect for others have similar bases in experiences.
  17. Gifted children often have acute awareness of adult problems such as sex, death, sickness, finances, war, future which their lack of experience makes them unable to solve. They may need reassurance in these areas.
  18. Help them with their study skills Help them plan not only their schoolwork but also their own projects and responsibilities at home and in the community.
  19. Parents of gifted children are people too. They need help and guidance in understanding and appreciating the special needs of their gifted children without feeling inferior or jealous. Hostile feelings may lead to over protection, domination or exploitation.

Enjoy your gifted child. Of all the problems children have, giftedness is surely the best one. Gifted children are curious, enthusiastic, excited about new things, and able to communicate early. Take vitamins for stamina and enjoy them.

QAGTC inc. 1984


Based on a set of criteria developed by Gina Ginsberg, Gifted Child Society, Inc. Printed in "North Dakota Handbook: Guide VI Education of Gifted Talented Students".

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