I lost count of the number of times I heard someone complain about parents of gifted kids “bragging” about their children, not that I was actually counting, but it really does seem to be a never-ending complaint. What makes such complaints worse than most other complaints is that they tend to be rather unkind – and that is putting it mildly. Some people aren’t shy about coming right out and saying they hate to hear about our kids. It never occurs to them that we may not be bragging. There just might be other reasons we talk about our kids.
I can remember when my son was quite young and I didn’t even know about giftedness. I talked about what he could do, not because I was bragging, but because I was rather puzzled by his behavior. It didn’t match anything I read in the parenting books I was reading. For instance, when he was two years old, he still wasn’t talking. There was no mimicking of words, no “moo” in response to “What does a cow say?”
But just after his second birthday, as we were walking down down our street, he pointed to a bird and said, “bird.” It was quite a relief as I had been worried that he perhaps had a hearing problem. Then about a month after that, he read his first word, “bank,” on a sign in front of a building he’d never seen before in a neighborhood we’d never been in before. What was going on?
For a few years after that, I continued to be puzzled by my son’s development. He had been born six weeks early, so it had been tricky to track when he reached developmental milestones. On top of that, though, his development was what I later learned was asynchronous development. So yeah, I talked to other parents about my son and what he could do. But I wasn’t bragging; I was trying to understand my child’s development. I treated everything about him as natural because it was natural – for him.
Later when I met near-fierce resistance to getting my son’s academic needs met in school, I talked to both teachers and other parents about my son’s abilities. Again, I wasn’t bragging; I was looking for much needed support, support I rarely found. It was heartbreaking to watch my once happy, eager-to-learn child become a depressed underachiever. But then to get those looks that said either “Your kid probably isn’t gifted” or “Let him be a kid. Stop pushing him!” Of course, it didn’t always stop at the looks. Some people weren’t at all shy about laying it all out there for me. That was even more hurtful.
Many parents are proud of their child’s abilities and accomplishments, and I won’t deny that some are perhaps a little over the top proud, but that is not a trait exclusive to parents of gifted kids. In fact, I know very very few parents of gifted kids who are the “shove it in your face” kind of parent. I’ve known parents who *want* their kid to be gifted and brag that way, but their kids are the high achievers, who are most likely smart, but not gifted. I also know parents of sports stars and head cheerleaders who excel in bragging.
So to those of you who are tired of hearing parents of gifted kids “brag” about their kids, rest assured that we are just as tired of you thinking we are bragging. Next time you hear a parent of a gifted child talk about her child, try listening with an open mind as another parent and see if you can lay aside your hostility long enough to actually hear what she is saying.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/do-parents-of-gifted-kids-really-brag/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Are-We-Bragging2.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Are-We-Bragging2-150x150.jpgFor ParentsRants and ResponsesDevelopment,Support for Parents of Gifted Kids