So you hate hearing about my “gifted” child…

It was just a few days ago that I was talking about all of the reasons I don’t say the “Gifted” word very often.    Joyce Slaton over at BabyCenter apparently hates hearing about our gifted children, so she probably appreciates me keeping the gifted thing on the down low.   I read her post, rolled my eyes and moved on.  However after reading the amazing and spot on post by Laughing At Chaos in response to Joyce’s post,  I figured I’d work through some of my thoughts about Joyce’s post.  As a parent to a gifted child and a parent to a special needs child, I have a few opinions on this subject.

Joyce says that she “prayed for better than normal” and apparently doesn’t feel as though she got that.   Looking back, I don’t remember praying for that.  I also don’t recall praying for a child who was stubborn, argumentative, sensitive, intense, emotional, exhausting, bossy, overwhelming, easily frustrated, loud and sometimes just plain hard to figure out.   Did I mention exhausting?   Somehow I got all of those anyways – and it was in the form of, dare I say it, a gifted child.   Is that the “amazing super child” you were picturing?    Are those the things you hear people bragging about?   Because at least in my experience, those are a big part of what being gifted is about.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that when I do hear someone bragging about their “gifted” kid and the amazing things that they do, more often than not I’m hearing someone who has worked very hard and invested time and resources into pushing their child into what they see as the “gifted” category.   Maybe those are the ones who Joyce sees that are excited and proud.   The parents of gifted children that I know fall a bit more into the exhausted and concerned category.   Not all gifted kids are created equal, and neither are their parents.  And a word to the wise, that one you hear so loud and so proud, dropping the gifted word here there and everywhere, that’s not the gifted parent spokesperson, just so you know.

Joyce says she feels like crap when someone brags about the “advanced-aheadedness of her kid”.   Let me put some perspective on the table for you, Joyce.   Do you have any idea how you talking about your child doing average things, mundane things, everyday things, makes parents of special needs kids feel?   I’m not sure that “crap” covers what I feel like when someone is talking about the things their toddler says and does, when my sweet little daughter is severely delayed.    I feel deflated, I feel depressed, I feel heartbroken, I feel confused and I feel absolutely positively terrified for her future.  I hope that I can hold back the tears that are always right at the surface and that if I can’t, that my sunglasses can hide them.  I’m guessing that your “conflicting emotions” when moms talk about their gifted kids probably don’t add up to the conflicting emotions that special needs parent feels when you talk about your average kid.

Let’s be honest, you didn’t do anything wrong by talking about the totally average and normal things you child does.  It’s who your kid is, right?  It’s her normal, right?   You aren’t one upping or trying to be superior or show off or make anyone feel bad.  You are just sharing your day to day life, trying to connect with other parents.  Well just know that your normal can make that other mom at the park feel like crap and feel like you are bragging.   But it’s your NORMAL.  It’s not bragging, it’s a matter of fact – it’s your experience of your child.   Just as my one daughter’s giftedness is her NORMAL.  Just as my other child’s special needs are her NORMAL.   

If you talk about what your child did, it’s just talking.  If a gifted parent does the same, it’s bragging.   As a parent of a gifted child, I’ve found it’s a lonely road and a hard one, and god forbid we talk about it, because someone is sure to think we are bragging.  Most of us go out of our way to not talk about it, I know I do.   If I learn someone has a gifted child, I NEVER think “wow, they must be so proud”.  My first thought is more along the lines of “I wonder how tired they are?”.

I wish people would quit seeing giftedness as something it is not.  It’s not better or worse, it’s DIFFERENT.   If my gifted kid is better than your average kid, by the same logic that means my special needs kid is worse than your average kid.  They are children and they are all amazing, and all different.   I have a child who falls into what they consider “profoundly gifted” and a child who falls into “severely delayed”.  They are both awesome individuals who light up my life.   One is not better and one is not worse.

So to Joyce, and those out there who share her views, step back and remember we are all parents.  We are all doing the best we can.  Maybe there are some braggers out there who are trying to one up you, but please, don’t lump them in with gifted parents, lump them in with annoying people.   Know that there are special needs parents out there who fight back tears when hearing about the average things your kids do.   I’m not saying that to make you feel like you do anything wrong or should change what you do, but just to let you see another perspective.

We are all in this parenting thing together.  And it’s tough.  They used to say it takes a village to raise a child, but it seems that these days the villagers have no time left to support each other as they are far too busy comparing themselves and their kids, competing with each other and worrying about who is better or worse.   It’s truly a tragedy and I wonder where it’s going and if it will ever turn around.   As parents we should support each other.  We should respect that while we may not always do or say the right things, most of time our hearts are in the right places and we are trying out best.   Let’s show our kids what it’s like to build each other up, not tear each other down.

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you Christi. You’ve summed up my feelings on this very well. I admit, I was hurt by Joyce’s article. Giftedness and special needs is something we struggle with daily here. I can often talk about my kids disabilities but the minute I mention an accomplishment that is way out of the norm, the eye rolls begin. It’s infuriating. I am so tired of living my life with what often feels like a dirty secret about my kids.

  2. joyoflearning says

    Wow! So insightful and well-written. I was frustrated by the other blog that you mentioned, and you summarized my feelings perfectly. We are all in this together, this crazy parenting thing. We need to support each other. Bragging sucks, and so does hating. Thanks for giving voice to this perspective.

  3. Mama2 says

    Thanks for writing this! Most people don’t even know I have a PG kid because I learned early on not to “share” due to the backlash and disbelief.

  4. says

    Christi, do you find it harder to talk to other parents about your gifted kid or your delayed kid? A friend of mine (who has a developmentally delayed son) once said that she had it easier in many ways, because interventions and accommodations were more easily available for them, and that society was more accepting of a DD kid than someone the same distance from the norm on the other side of the bell curve.
    You have a very unique perspective here, with daughters who both need intense but very different needs. Keep shouting. Your voice needs to be heard.

  5. says

    Wonderful post. I’m a teacher of kids with special needs… at the other end of the “normal curve” from what I have at home. Some days I think I’m going to get whiplash, some days I see so many similarities.

  6. christi says

    Jen, you are correct – I do find it much easier to talk to people about the issues my child with delays has. And I usually think of it based on the bell curve, they both fall a few standard deviations from the norm, they are just in opposite directions. It does boggle my mind a bit when I think of how many services and accommodations there are for those with developmental delays, when my gifted child is every bit as different from the norm, and thus has just as special of needs. It’s still fairly new territory for us and honestly I find the reactions of others quite fascinating.

    I’m not sure if it’s because society is more accepting of DDs that make people more comfortable or if it’s because frankly, it’s not threatening. My child having a DD doesn’t imply that their child is any “less than” if that makes sense (not that my gifted child should either, but I can’t account for how people perceive that). I think a blog post is brewing from this. :)

  7. Von says

    Found you from LAC. Love how honest and thoughtful you are. I agree that dealing with kids who are delayed (6 yo twins, preemie, etc.) is easier than “gifted”. Especially since people always confused “gifted” with straight A high achievers ignoring all the special wiring that comes with it. Cheers and hang in there!

  8. Lauren says

    Thanks for sharing. It DOES seem like we have similar experiences. In my experience the road gets easier as you get further, because perspective creeps in and frees you to enjoy more and hurt less. It seems like you’ve already reached some of the same conclusions I have as a mother of both a “gifted” and a “special needs” kid. (Can you think of any worse terminology? Aren’t they all gifted AND special needs?) As mother’s it’s most important that we support each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Sure there are “braggarts” out there, but for the most part people are just trying to deal with their lives in the best way that they can. We should make time to listen to each other and empathize with each other, then we won’t have to waste so much time feeling sorry for ourselves and dealing with loneliness. Here’s my response to that same article… http://laurenocean.com/?p=418

  9. Jaymi says

    SO glad I found your blog. I too am a mother of a “gifted” child and a “special needs” child. I also have another in the middle who is “typical”. I do find it so much easier to talk about and advocate for my special needs daughter. It is only recently that I have even mentioned to anyone the struggles and exhaustion that comes with parenting my oldest gifted son. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Thank you.

  10. says

    Geez … would I hate being the child of Joyce Slaton! To think your mother prayed for a child she feels she didn’t get and then shares it with the world. Sad. Hopefully her child won’t read her post later. All children may not be academically gifted, but parents should rejoice and seek to help their child discover their own unique gifts.

  11. says

    Hi Christy! Very well said! I used to be a high school teacher, and one of my “things” was just trying to get the kids to be nice to each, and to accept differences! We all have something to offer and we all value different things, so let’s just give each other a break and look through our “nice” goggles!

  12. says

    Joyce Slaton’s blog post angered me, but the responses to her post from mothers of gifted children have been wonderful. I have found that I’m not so alone in all of this. I can totally relate to the way you describe your daughter as “stubborn, argumentative, sensitive, intense, emotional, exhausting, bossy, overwhelming, easily frustrated, loud and sometimes just plain hard to figure out.” You could have easily be describing my son. Thank you for your response. So glad I found your blog.

  13. Lorel Shea says

    Well said, Christi! All parents want to share their children’s ups and downs and to connect with others who (hopefully) can relate.

  14. Tara says

    THANK YOU!!!!! For years (let’s see my daughter is in 4th grade and was IDed gifted in Kindergarten) we have taught her to not brag about learning coming easy to her. This is how we put it to her – she has friends that our gifted in sports and she is not gifted on the field but give her academics or music and watch out. I want to know how is is okay for a parent to “brag” about their child being a great “sports” kids but not a gifted kid. I love my daughter more than life itself.

    I work with kiddos all day that function at the other end of the bell curve from my daughter, they are just as special and every single child I have taught has a special place in my heart. One school I taught in had a gifted center and the classroom I taught in for students with moderate and severe disabilities. I remember thinking how easy it must be to teach and parent those gifted kids…well I found out it isn’t.

    Everyday I need to fight for what she needs. We just found out that my daughter is 2e (add ADHD and Axiety) to the giffedness. It is hard to find help even from the school, She is doing just fine they tell us…what they don’t know is she holds herself together during the school day and comes home and cries and jumps off the wall because she is not given accomadations during the day to assist her!

    BRAGGING MY BUTT!!!! I am just trying to make it through the day and feel like I have done a good job!!!!
    Thank you for posting this. I think I could go on forever!!!

  15. Betty says

    VERY well said! I have three gifted children. And one of those children is also special needs. They all three frustrate the heck out of me in addition to filling me with pride. Exhausted is the right word. When I brag about my children, it’s not because they are gifted but because they deserve my pride regardless. I don’t say “Look at my awesome gifted child!” Instead I say “Hey, my eldest did awesome in a band competition!” or “My son brought up his grades this quarter!” (trust me, the latter is a huge thing with him *sigh*) Parents are allowed to brag about their children regardless. Just as I get excited when my preschooler reads a book to her class, you are excited when your DD child reaches a milestone. We are all parents and we should all take joy in every positive step that our children take, nevermind their labels.

    To feel bad because your child isn’t gifted to the point that others can’t talk proudly of their own kids? That’s a flaw in YOU (er. you being the person who resents another child’s intelligence). Because just as there are ways in which my children excel, there are ways in which your children excel. I happen to teach classes full of “mainstreamed” children with learning disabilities. They are great kids, and I take just as much pride in their incredible successes as I do in my own kids’. And I get furious when I hear about the negative comments from their parents that make them feel not good enough. GRRR

    And I’ve ranted enough.

    Just… thank you

  16. says

    thank you for a wonderful post! as a parent of three beautiful children – two of whom are gifted and another who has learning disabilities (who i suspect beneath that learning barrier is really, truly gifted) i can say not one of my children is better than the other. they’re all beautiful. aside from their physical appearance that signifies they came from the same parents, they truly couldn’t be any more different. and that makes them oh so very special.

  17. says

    well, I disagree…based on the behavior I’ve seen, we are NOT all in this together. Other than the fact that we have all given birth…Joyce is absolutely NOT like me…in fact, people (parents, teachers and administrators) like her are the reason we are currently homeschooling and I’m pushing my husband to try to get a job on the other corner of the country so we can escape and start over.
    Exhausted doesn’t BEGIN to cover it…try confused, sad, angry…sometimes leaning towards hopeless and even depressed. And no one would ever suggest we should take resources away from the “lower” 2-5% of children, yet HOW DARE we suggest that the 2% on the other end of the curver should also get additional resources.
    When I got probably the 100th phone call or note home from Butter’s school and I talked about it on FB, that wasn’t BRAGGING. When I finally broke down and told my friends how I was crying EVERY DAY dropping her off at school, wondering if I would get a phone call that day? That wasn’t BRAGGING either :( When we paid what we did to have her privately evaluated because the school wouldn’t test further and we need answers, when I FINALLY got that developmental behavior appointment and when I made the decision to put her in the District’s home study program (yes I, because DH was out of town for 4 1/2 months and I had to bear that whole burden myself)…that’s NOT bragging.
    I want to be able to be proud of my children and happy and talk about their accomplishments without someone else’s judgements. If someone else thinks that is bragging, that is their baggage, not mine.
    Maybe I should “brag” about how she got the most referral notices, even in Kindergarden…or how the teacher caught her reading behind some other book, also in Kinder…should I BRAG about how she has few friends because they don’t understand her? Should I brag about how she cried when she told me she “feels different”.
    I think you are right, it’s ok to speak of your special needs child because it’s not threatening…to be honest, I do feel like the “average” kids and parents ARE a threat to my child…if she doesn’t learn early to NOT listen to them, they will KILL her self esteem and make her forever second guess herself…yeah, sure, call that bragging if you want…

  18. Kerri says

    Thank you for saying all of this, and for saying it in a respectful manner (as opposed to LAC’s profanity-laden response). Best of luck with both of your precious children.

  19. Deb says

    THANK YOU. You put my feelings into words! I had one of those days to day with my “gifted” girl. Couldn’t even manage to buy her new underwear. It ended with a screaming tantrum in her room. She’s 12. So much fun! She’s amazing until she isn’t :<)

  20. Monica says

    Thank you, Thank you. It is amazingly difficult raising a gifted child. I love him, but oh my gosh the fights and headbutting we have is like nothing I have ever exspirenced with a child before. I have 3 other NT kids and not that they don’t have their moments, they are nothing like my Gifted kid. We are constantly making contracts and deals and face it he is smarter than me sometimes and can manipulate a situation very well to his advantage. I am so grateful to read that I am not the only one. I am cinstantly blaming myself for his behavior as I am sure other people are too.. Thank you again.

  21. says

    Thanks for this. I responded to Joyce and one of the other responders got nasty over the use of “highly gifted”, as if I picked that stupid label. I feel like they ought to be called blurgleshnirt or something equally nonsensical, since their development defies logic. I tried to explain that my “brags” are how I force myself to keep things positive — something that’s hard when my HG kid has spent the day arguing/defying/debating and basically being a sucking black-hole of attention seeking, while my quiet baby ends up with hardly any attention. I actually put the eight-year-old to bed an hour before the one-year-old so that he can have some one-on-one attention.

    I’m so sorry that Joyce and her cheerleaders’ thoughtlessness makes you feel wrong on two fronts when you are obviously such a wonderful mom. Feel free to vent or brag to me anytime. I’d love to celebrate with you when there are reasons to celebrate, and offer my sympathies when you feel you’re at the end of your rope. I’m going to add your page to my favorites.

    -Beth

  22. says

    Thank you for your post! I am (or was) an annoying grandparent of a “gifted” child! You just described her parents to a tee! Exhausted!!!! I will never throw th “word” around again and will think twice before speaking about her again. . . .
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    And on another note we also have one that we thought would never speak or grow, and now she is doing much, much better!
    So i will pray for your little one.

  23. says

    2PG daughters over here – so am exhausted : ) and very impressed you managed to put such a reasoned passionate argument while living your busy life!
    It isn’t like we have a choice – we have the kids we have, let us love them and support them in being themselves (as compared to wanting to go shopping for a “better” model).
    Great stuff.

  24. lisa says

    Great article and so many great comments! I am still in awe of how the description of Christi’s daughter as “stubborn, argumentative, sensitive, intense, emotional, exhausting, bossy, overwhelming, easily frustrated, loud and sometimes just plain hard to figure out” fits my son so perfectly. It seems a little different in boys than in girls though, my daughter was hpersensitve and extremely emotional, but less bossy and loud in the early teen years (it is better now that she is 18 and in college).

    As for people with developmental disabilities, with whom I have worked for 30 years, they teach me and inspire me every day. Most people with developmental disabilities are loving, giving, proud and passionate about whatever they do.

  25. tammyCA says

    I somehow stumbled upon your blog tonight in tears once again searching for answers…I also have two children, one who is non-verbal autistic and another who is gifted…I feel like I live in a constant volcano with both of them. You described my gifted girl to a tee but with an emotional intensity that has now blown over into anxiety problems, of which I have to seek out help for. Exhausted is right, I don’t know what peace is.

  26. Dan says

    Yes, it’s no picnic. We just had a frustrating IEP meeting to figure out how to get my child to fit in with the -1 to +1 standard deviations. The gifted teacher did not show up because I guess he’s not yet in first grade yet. I went out on a limb to show work samples that showed advanced cognition. They are more concerned about his bossy behavior and outbursts–understandable. They didn’t say much about the gifted qualities that the preschool teacher had to share. They acted like something weird is going on in our home and the creepy social worker said that we could contact her if there is anything she could do. He’s truly brilliant, but yes, at least we know.

  27. Klemense says

    I myself am a teenager, yes so before you laugh at your “adult supremacy” and casually dismiss what I’m going to say, read it. It’s interesting because no-one’s talked about this form a kids perspective. It feels 100% CRAP when one of my Mom’s friends come over and start talking about how amazing her daughter is. People like this take no liberty, does she care I’m sitting right in front of her? I think Joyce was 100% right to complain; it makes me feel small and insignificant. “Oh Megan got 100% on this test AND she’s such a good artist, does your son do art, how did he do on his test.” That really makes me want to tell the lady to get out of my face, what really bothers me is my Mom doesn’t understand what’s wrong with it, she likes to brag about me as well and my only thought is to feel how the other kid feels exactly like I do. The Straits Times(famous Singaporean newspaper), recently published a report, which says that telling a child that another child is better can affect a child emotionally. I myself am smart (I hate to use the word gifted) but everytime my mom talks to her friend it becomes “extremely gifted” “too smart for his level”, that annoys me. So think about it from our perspective, how us kids feel.

  28. christi says

    Klemense – I completely agree. I actually think it would be great to hear more about this topic from children themselves. Unfortunately many adults pay no attention to how they make anyone feel, but I think that exists everywhere, not just with parents of gifted kids.

  29. Surprised says

    I remember praying that my child would not have attachment issues or have been sexually abused. Yes, I’m an adoptive parent. I never dreamt of ‘better than normal’ or perfect, just a child who could attach and love me as a parent, and in truth, one who perhaps not like my first son who came with both of the dreaded above exceptionalities along with a slew of others — traumatic brain injury, loyalty to birth family. Imagine my surprise when my second son was so ‘easy’ (to bond, to discipline, to speak with, to hear about at parent teacher conferences…). Boy, did I feel like a fraud out there in the adoption world with my internationally adopted older child without some dreaded diagnosis or at least developmental delay! But, I still looked for problems: too active, too long to learn English, flunking out of Kindergarten! but he was so ‘smart’, etc… Now in his 3rd school in 4 years: how was pre-school/daycare/pre-k such a breeze? As he started 4th grade, I couldn’t wait to finally get a neuropsych evaluation done: he can’t read –well he can struggle through the first set of ‘BOB Books’ but it is torture. He just barely passes ever grade and is a behavior nightmare in school but never was in preschool or at home. The results: an IQ of over 145 (checked with another test that is more accurate that garnered him a 160). So, now I am hitting the web and hiding his gifted ‘diagnosis’. Oh, one recommendation I had was provide a more enriched learning environment–perhaps hiring mentors and tutors who are more academically inclined (which I take to mean: somebody smarter than you–haha).

  30. Rachel says

    Hi! I’m happy to have found your blog! I also have a ‘profoundly delayed’ child (adopted) and a gifted child (bio). It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with this unique mix!

  31. Jill says

    My daughter is gifted and came across your blog post. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for such an insightful post.

  32. says

    Love love love this! This is my son too – stubborn, argumentative, sensitive, intense, emotional, exhausting, bossy, overwhelming, easily frustrated, loud and sometimes just plain hard to figure out. And when J is in a good mood, the sun shines, birds sing and everything in my life feels good. When he’s in one of his downers, not so much. And I always feels like a pushy mum when I’m talking to the school about anything to do with him – and they always bring it back to his behaviour :-(

  33. says

    Hi. I know I’m late to the game in reading this post, but I really appreciate your candor in describing the reactions you receive and your reluctance to share your child’s accomplishments. Thanks for the great article.

  34. Heather says

    I just found your post, but I wanted to say thank you. I never prayed for a gifted child. I prayed for a healthy one. (Funny how it seems that these parents who pray for gifted children don’t get them…)

    My son is “gifted,” but he also has a moderate language delay. I don’t “brag” about his “gifted-ness.” It’s not a parlor trick. I never made him study. It’s just something he does/has. It’s who he is and I never run around touting his accomplishments because I don’t see it as something “extra” he has. It’s just who he is.

    But yes, when I see his cousin who is the same age having full on conversations, telling wild stories of things she did over the weekend… It’s hard and it makes me want to cry. My son has come so far with his language in the past year. So far and I’m so proud of him! But I still have dreams at night that he’s talking to me, explaining what’s going on in his head.

    Sometimes I do wish he was “normal,” but only for the fact that I want him to be happy. And I know that the road ahead won’t always be easy. A three year old shouldn’t feel like a failure because of the expectations they hold themselves too. But harder still is that with his language delay, he can’t verbalize how he’s feeling. He get’s even more frustrated. And even more still, I’m not sure if he understands what I’m explaining.

    When you tell your two-and-a-half year old that it was a good try, and he get’s upset with you because he, essentially, feels you are patronizing him because he knows he didn’t succeed at the task… It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone involved.

    This Joyce woman may not feel like her child is special enough. But it’s not all rainbows, sunshine, and intricate original piano music over here. She should feel blessed that her and her daughter are on the same page. There are times when I can not relate to my son. And one of my fears is that those little gaps will only get wider as he grows older.

    I love my son, and I think he is wonderful. Very few people, even some family members, know what we’ve been through this past year with getting him started in his therapies and being evaluated (which let me tell you, some of them were very, very bad experiences!). We are just trying to figure out the best way to help our son, because we could tell he was a little different. I want to make sure *I* know the best way to teach him things, a way that he will understand. And we have these “specialists” telling us that our son is mentally retarded and will never understand the world around him. But that’s a whole other topic…

    Anyway… No one wants their child to struggle. Gifted doesn’t mean life is easy, quite the opposite. Gifted doesn’t mean better/smarter. Delayed/Special Needs doesn’t mean worse/stupid. It’s just who we are, who we are compared to a universal measuring stick that the majority just happens to fall in line with. When you get right down to it, it’s all arbitrary anyway.

  35. momandmore says

    I just ran across this article and wanted to thank you for sharing it. My daughter was recently identified as gifted, and it has connected so many dots for me. Finally, I realize that I wasn’t just a tired, terrible mother. All along, she really has been THAT challenging and exhausting! It has given me great clarity and a newfound empathy for her. But it has also left me with an overwhelming feeling of responsibility to ensure the proper care and feeding of this gifted child. So like the other mothers, I have talked openly about my stress in this regard, seeking some advice or a bit of commisserating. On the contrary, I have more often than not received some pretty chilly reactions. I’ve just started seeking out parents of other gifted kids to find some support–versus just immersing myself in the many books and websites that albeit are great resources, but just not the same. Thanks for being the first person to say what I’ve been feeling. It made a difference for me.

  36. Christine says

    Amen! I have gifted children, and I do find it a very lonely road at times. Gifted children do pose many challenges for those of us that have them. I do feel like people think I might be bragging when I speak of them, but mainly I just need a friend to vent to. It would be so nice to be able to connect with other parents of gifted children, so it didn’t feel like that. Parents who don’t have gifted children don’t understand. You made a valid point as well that parents who do not have a special needs child don’t understand those that do. I also find that the majority of people assume your’e using the term “gifted” just because your child is ahead, rather than understanding what the word really means.

  37. Don't talk about it says

    I am so happy to have read this article, although knowing that other people experience this loneliness doesn’t change the fact that we still can’t talk about it. People who don’t want to hear about a PG kid aren’t reading this article, or for that matter, any article about gifted children. They’re busy reading about and wondering whether their average child is doing something that is normal or average. There’s nothing wrong with that. Having a normal and/or average child is a blessing. Any child is a blessing!!! It just so happens that having a child that doesn’t fit in anywhere – intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, etc., brings in a host of problems that those with average children will likely never experience. Therefore, we, parents of gifted children, can only discuss our issues with other parents of gifted children otherwise, we are social outcasts ourselves because we BRAG (that’s how the outside world sees it) about our children. In a group of mothers, when I am the only mother of a gifted child – I can only listen. I cannot participate in conversations unless I simply talk about their children and their experiences. They don’t want to hear about mine. One “friend” actually made the comment that I “needed” to have a gifted child, and another commented that I had a strong-willed child, thus suggesting that I get a hold of this before it became a problem. Parents of average children have no idea how lonely I feel. I feel like an island. I have no one I can talk to about the issues surrounding a gifted child. I have to sit in front of my computer researching the social issues. I have to rely on books and online articles such as these, to try to understand how to deal with the plethora of problems that plague a gifted child and the parents of a gifted child. We are social outcasts because the other parents perceive our child as a show off, or outspoken, or whatever. They label our child everything BUT gifted. They’re annoying, they’re obnoxious, they’re know-it-alls, they’re difficult, they’re strong willed – they’re anything and everything except gifted because people don’t understand gifted and don’t care enough to try to know more about GIFTED. My friend with an autistic child will talk all day long about her struggles but I can’t discuss mine. If I do – the conversation suddenly comes to a strange silence.

    I feel as if no one knows the struggles I have dealing with a child who never asks how do you make purple – he asks why scientists would want to make something as destructive as the atom bomb when they could foresee the consequences. This is the type of questions my seven-year-old asks and it wears me out. I feel emotionally exhausted at the end of each day from the constant barrage of difficult questions, difficult emotional situations that I have to help him understand, and that I, too, must research to understand before I can help him. So the parents of a gifted child are profoundly isolated and lonely. We feel cheated out of conversations and relationships because our child doesn’t fit in. We sit and watch as others talk amongst themselves about their average children while we sit alone, watching our child play alone, on a playground full of other children and other parents.

  38. Ginan says

    Hi Christi, I am a Masters student at the University of Ottawa in Canada, conducting a small research study on gifted students. Would you be able to help me out by participating in the study? Please let me know! I could conduct the interview via email and you could type your answers and send them back to me. I would truly appreciate your help as I do not know anyone who has gifted children. Thanks a lot!

  39. says

    I love this. My son is gifted in maths with emotional and sensual overexcitability, a bully magnet and I suspect dyslexic too though he performs to his year group in spelling and English. I Am tired!!! really, really tired! Thanks for knowing that!
    From time to time another parent will come up to me telling me of this amazing interaction they had with my child or that their child says my kid is so, so clever and I just don’t know what to say so I play surprised and dumb. oh wow? really? how funny they should think that.
    How funny the other parent doesn’t realise what it takes to live every day with a gifted child, the agony and the joy.

Trackbacks

  1. […] their kids, or playing the “my kid is better than your kid” game. I suggest reading Christi at Away from the Oven, to get an idea of what it’s like from both outlying ends of the bell curve. Or Mona at Life […]

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