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Parenting A Profoundly Gifted Child!

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by nuss, May 27, 2021.

  1. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Hey all: Hope the IL community is doing well!

    I would like some tips from fellow parents/educators of gifted children. My 8 yo is at the profoundly gifted level. He is an amazing kid who loves his little sister and is well-read for his age. The school did its best up until now (2nd grade). We and his teachers recognized his giftedness early on and he has been getting more challenging tasks at school so that he doesn't get bored (not extra homework but advanced tasks than his peers). We have no issues with academics. He will be going to a School Within A School (SWAS) program in 3rd grade and in the future, his teachers/evaluators are suggesting Davidson academy. He is already accepted in the Davidson Academy's junior scholar program. That's all good!

    We don't talk about giftedness or special needs at home. We provide constant encouragement with books, discussion, new NASA videos (he is a huge Space enthusiast), and more complex concepts (kids are raising tadpoles so we talk about development, evolution, etc.). We go on hikes every weekend and he is very much into Martial Arts. He is also teaching Martial Arts via Zoom to my friend's daughter in India. He loves being a teacher/instructor.

    My question is- as a parent how can we help him more? Are there any tips that have worked with your kids? The biggest challenge is to keep him motivated. He does not like repetitive tasks and can get frustrated with same-age kids. He works well with younger kids (where he can be in charge) or older kids (where he can argue/discuss a topic beyond his years). At home, he has the built-in audience in his younger sister (kindergartener who absolutely adores her brother) and his older cousin (college freshman who has been with us since the spring semester). He doesn't make friends easily. In fact, he doesn't have any friends that he has stayed in touch with during the pandemic. He is a happy child otherwise! I do hope he makes some good friends with who he can connect (My husband and I also have only a few friends, friendships that we have maintained from high school/ college).


    Any word of wisdom will be appreciated!
     
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  2. deepthyanoop

    deepthyanoop Gold IL'ite

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    Thank you for this thread :) I am not sure if my son is profoundly gifted or not, but he is doing too good for his age as per his teachers .He is seven and in first grade now .As per his teachers, his map scores are very high and they indicated about his giftedness so many times to us. He goes to a public charter school and they don’t have any special programs now for gifted students. I don’t want to move him from the current school now as he has some wonderful friends here. And teachers are very nice too !

    I am very new to this. I was not a gifted student or anything :) Will be reading the replies here. Sorry, my post is more of a query than a reply !
     
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  3. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    By tagging @sokanasanah : )

    Not words of wisdom from me, rather words of experience as a parent of a gifted child though definitely not at the giftedness level you have described.

    1. "The biggest challenge is to keep him motivated." "as a parent how can we help him more?"
    Tweak this slightly. Look for how you can help him keep himself motivated when a new topic gets too challenging or easy. If the motivation is achieved from external measures such as parental approval or someone always available to alleviate boredom, it will wane away as he grows older.

    2. "I do hope he makes some good friends with who he can connect."
    I am going to speak generally here, not specific to any child. If a child is happy and seems perfectly fine with zero friends, leave it be. Unless the child asks for help, don't try to teach her things like different social skills. Distinguish between connections and friendships. The child can be happy when his interactions are limited to parents, sibling, and teachers in an online program for the gifted. As a parent we naturally want to see our child have friends and stay in touch with them. But we need to also recognize and accept that this not happening is totally fine.

    3. It is too early at 8 yrs old but keep "meditation apps for kids" in mind. If neither parent is into meditation, it is worth slowly investigating it.
     
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  4. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Nuss,
    So nice to see this thread! You’re an awesome parent for sure.

    No personal experience with profoundly giftedness parenting. Please feel free to disregard suggestions.

    If it’s possible you should go to AZ and send him to Davidson. It’s the only school that I know of it’s kind. With only 100 odd kids, they do personalize their curriculum to fit the needs of their students best. I’m sure your son will fit in, otherwise he wouldn’t have been accepted.

    Intellectual frustration is real. He probably doesn’t connect with his peers because his intellectual level is three to four grade levels above them. Which is why he loves hanging out with the freshman cousin. He gets his stimulation from him. Similarly younger kids look up to him and that helps him. I’m assuming it’s not because he doesn’t want to. It’s because he can’t. At Davidson he will probably not be the smartest kid in the class and it will help him make friends. He’ll thrive there. It’s a school made for kids like him.

    Parenting is hard. Be it a typical child, gifted, twice exceptional or profoundly gifted. It’s harder for kids who are more sensitive than typical children. I would say a positive emotional environment would be my single most goal if I were parenting a kid like yours. It’s hard to parent highly sensitive kids. Maybe Davidson will have resources for you guys also. It’s a good idea to see a counselor who counsels parents of extremely exceptional kids. In my experience, counselors who know the ins and outs of non typical parenting help a lot. That’s my personal opinion. DH thinks he’s above counseling and has it all!
    Good Luck Nuss! I’d like to wish the little one a bright future. He may be the scientist helping us thrive on the moon someday!
     
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  5. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Nuss,
    We have a gifted niece in the family....my sister's daughter. My sister treated her like a normal child and encouraged her when needed. Did not put any undue pressure on her or too much praising or boasting. That kid was a mathematical genius. Enjoyed it like a plaything. Which people think is a big complicated maths she used to do as if it is a routine. So..treat your son like a normal child, encouraging when needed and let him define his pleasures or have friends. I wish him a very very bright future.
    Now my niece is a prof. in maths in Bombay ....umpteen number of papers to her credit.
    Did you read the book "Class" by Erich Segal? Try to read it.
    Syamala
     
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  6. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I think if you talk to people around you, you will get a lot of inputs about gifted kids. What everyone doesn’t understand is that there is gifted and then there is profoundly gifted. A gifted child will still be able to thrive in a regular school environment with like aged peers with some pull out programs for academics here and there. Profoundly gifted kids are way ahead of even the gifted kids and it’s hard to keep them motivated but not pressured. It’s also hard to teach them because they truly have splinter skills. They are highly accomplished in one area whereas not so much in others while still being ahead globally.
    Gifted kids rarely suffer from the kind of intellectual frustration that the profoundly gifted kids seem to face. It’s definitely not the same thing.
    From my limited knowledge, almost all of them seem to have some affinity to music. Maybe because of the way their neurons are wired. If you haven’t tried some sort of music lessons for him, it’s a good idea to try it.
     
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  7. DDream

    DDream Platinum IL'ite

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    Nuss, its a great topic.
    My son is in gifted program and is already taking advanced classes in his ( 4th grade) elemetary school. He is also quite reserved. But i want him to have a normal childhood with all kinds of fun he want. He likes problem solving, challenges(also likes lego, robotics etc, adanced books on maths ) , but his intersts keep on changing. He is very reserved, but I observed that he enjoys well with friends( they too are in gifted program ) of similar interests. He is good in crafts and drawing, but i try to explore his other interests like in music, still no clue. But recently we added kittens and dog to our family. That indicated another side his loving personality. I just watch what he explores and try to encourage, but by the end of the day he is the one who determines where to go.

    I know a case where parents pushed their sons (very gifted, home schooling) too much and they end up having great research career but not very successful in personal/ social life. Having good EQ is also important to lead a happy and successful life.

    Dont worry about friends now, he is happy with current situation. Let him enjoy what he likes. I am an introvert( but very happy in my own world), I got great friends during my PhD time and later. (I remember well how much my parents were worried on how I survive in this society, I was also worried earlier about ds, as he talks well with dd,not with others) . I noticed that I can connect with schoolmates or classmates now. So it can be a case with others too.

    My daughter is a social butterfly, but she too ended up in gifted program, which I never expected. So I think it all depend on the child. I also noticed that most of the Indian kids I know are in gifted program.

    I don't know anything about Davidson academy program. If you have any concerns, they may be able to guide you. Also talking to teachers or parents of other kids may help too. Your kid may be well above the gifted level of kids I mentioned here. I feel that you are already doing the best. Just be there for him, listen to him and see if he has any other interests ( like music or others arts) too in addition academics. That will be add balance to his mindset. No need to push much, he will find his own path as he is very gifted. He will find ways by himself how to motivate himself. If one has passion for doing something , motivation will comes naturally. So enjoy these precious time with them, be supportive and encouraging.
    Wish your son a happy and successful life ahead, you too.

    I wish to get more information on this topic. As my kids are still in elemetary school, my knowledge on this topic is limited. Just shared my experience.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
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  8. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Thank you, D! I am new to all this too. I have taught a few profoundly gifted teens in my university classes but don't have any parenting experience. I wish my in-laws lived nearby. They have raised two gifted boys and my MIL started the gifted program back in the 80s in their small-town school in Ohio. However, as @Laks09 said- profoundly gifted are "gifted among gifted" and pose unique challenges.

    If your child's teacher thinks he is on the gifted spectrum, you might want to check resources so he doesn't get frustrated with the repetitive work that usually goes on in elementary classrooms. My son went to public school in Kindergarten and first grade. Kindergarten was challenging for us. He knew everything already from preschool and was throwing tantrums. Once his teacher recognized his abilities, there was no looking back. He thrived with an advanced curriculum which continued in the first grade too. Last year, we moved both kids (my daughter started kindergarten) to a public-charter school which is 5 min. walk from my office and is well-recognized in the area for its STEM focus. Again, he was getting bored in the class (no tantrums though) and I had to talk to his teacher. I sent some of his previous work from the first grade so she could see where he was the year before. They moved him into the 3rd-grade honors program which he loved! Now, we are moving him again to SWAS school for 3rd grade.

    Even though Charter schools don't have gifted programs like public schools, they do have Honors programs which are similar to the GATE or SWAS programs depending on the level of giftedness. Check with your principal. I don't know about other states but in our state, all public school kids get tested for GATE in 2nd grade and get placed in 3rd grade. Because my son was in Charter school, I had to ask the principal to get him tested. For profoundly gifted kids, the district also asks for an additional evaluation from a psychologist to test both intellectual and emotional readiness. Since these kids are very young they need to be emotionally ready to take the rigor of the program.

    Good luck and please keep posted as we tread these waters!
     
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  9. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    Thank you, @Rihana! I totally agree that motivation comes from within! However, I believe that when kids are so young they need a little encouragement from parents and teachers. Fortunately, we don't have to motivate him much because he loves learning but there are areas where he definitely needs encouragement. For instance, he doesn't like writing if he thinks the topic is boring but present him the same topic in a different and fun way and he will write pages! I can see him being an amazing teacher--he loves writing assignments for his little sister!

    Thank you for helping me see that it's fine to not have best friends. Last year and a half have been different with pandemic and we ourselves didn't have many interactions with friends. I hope he will find like-minded peers and will make friends.
     
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  10. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

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    @Laks09 - I had you in mind when I started this thread! So, thank you so much for taking the time to write! I value your advice! I look up to you as a parent!

    You totally get me and my son! Parenting is hard and even harder when there are special needs! His evaluator explained to me that we will need patience, a lot of patience with him. His mind just can't slow down and there will be frustrations but the best thing for him is to be in a program that has kids with similar abilities. She explained that while he is extremely accomplished in one area, he will still be an average kid in another area, that's how their brains work! He is too young for the Davidson Academy but I am hoping that the Jr. Scholar program will help us be a part of the community and learn from other parents. I think we will be assigned a counselor/mentor through the program who will work with our son and us. I am looking forward to that!

    Since Davidson Academy campus is in Northern Nevada, it is fairly close to us. We still have 4 years before he can join the Academy. If he gets accepted into the program, we can commute easily to our work from NV. One of my colleague's daughter is a Davidson Academy graduate and I got to talk to him this morning. He said the same thing- at DA, there will be kids profoundly gifted in different areas so they all just fit in and no one is the smartest.

    Thank you again for your words of wisdom!
     
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