I remember when I first started out on my journey of being the parent of a gifted child. That was a long time ago, but the memories are still quite vivid. One thing I remember is the feeling of being so alone. I don’t feel that way anymore, but then the Internet offers so many more ways for parents of gifted kids to connect and support one another. And since my child is now a young adult, I don’t face the kinds of issues I once faced. But 23 years ago, I was just starting out and definitely felt like I was alone in a strange new world. Like many parents of gifted kids, I had good reasons for feeling isolated and alone.
What can help when we feel so alone and isolated is to find other parents like us – “our tribe.” As parents, we understand how important it is for our kids to find their tribe, other kids who are like them, other kids who will understand them, will “get” them. But we forget that it is just as important for us, the parents. We, too, need to find “our tribe.” We need other adults who are like us, who will understand us, who will “get” us.
Just as it may not be easy for our kids to find their tribe, it’s not easy for us either, and for some of the same reasons. For one thing, if the gifted population makes up only 3-5% of the population, that limits the number of people in our tribe. But even if we find that small tribe, not everyone in it will be sympathetic. For example, if most of the other tribe members have kids who are high achievers while ours is an underachiever, chances are they are not going to understand us.
Unless we can find our tribe and that tribe contains parents of gifted kids with similar issues that our gifted kid has, it will be hard to get the support and understanding that we need. We have to face criticism, misunderstanding, and sometimes downright hostility from those who don’t understand our children – or us. And we have to face it alone.
We aren’t really alone, of course. There are plenty of other parents who feel as we do. The problem is that when a parent is just starting out on their journey of gifted parenting, they may not know where to look for support. And it is probably those early days that we are most in need of support and understanding. I know that was true for me.
I am forever grateful to Prodigy, AOL, and other early online services that helped me connect with other parents of gifted kids from across the country. These days we can find parents from across the globe who understand us and are willing to support one another thanks to the World Wide Web.
We may have good reasons for feeling isolated and alone, but it is no longer so difficult to find others who will understand and support us – our tribe.
Here are a few resources to help you find other parents of gifted kids:
- Resources for Parents of Gifted Children
- 48 Essential Links for the Parents of Gifted Children
- About Gifted Children Facebook Page
- Gifted Homeschoolers Forum