Mother Teaching ChildParents of gifted kids are often accused of being pushy parents. That’s not always a bad thing since there are times we need to push – not our kids, but teachers and other school officials. We need to push them to give our children the kinds of challenges they need. That’s an argument for another day, however. While parents do worry about being seen as pushy parents in the school environment, they are also sometimes sensitive to accusations that they are pushing their child at home. It is sometimes a fine line between pushing our kids and nurturing them, but it can help to know how to tell the difference between pushing and nuturing.

The easiest way to think about nurturing and pushing is to consider the source and motivation for the learning or teaching. When we nurture our children, we consider their interests, their abilities, and their desires. If my child is interested in dinosaurs and he likes to read, then I will take him to the library and show him all the books about dinosaurs. We will most likely check out a number of dinosaur books.

If my child is interested in music, I will get him involved in music activities.  I might buy a music computer program, like Music Ace, or I might take him to a place that gives lessons for various musical instruments, hoping that they can help him decide on an instrument. I might also introduce him to a community choir.

If my child is interested in art, I will look for community resources that help children explore art. I might even look for someone who can teach drawing or painting. Or on a more basic level, I might just invest in art supplies and allow my child to explore on his own. It would depend on his age and level of interest.

Those are all examples of nurturing. That means that the interest comes from my child, not from me. It’s not what *I* want, but what I see my child interested in. I might see that my child has an ability in some area, but maybe no real interest in it — yet. In that case, I might look for resources that will help my child explore the area. For example, if I see that my child is verbally gifted, but not terribly interested in verbal activities, I might introduce him to poetry or even elementary linguistics. If my efforts spark an interest, fine. If not, fine.

We push when we decide what it is our child should learn and explore and it’s often because it’s what we *want* them to do – for whatever reason. If I decide, for example, that because my child is verbally gifted, he *must* engage in verbal activities even though he’s not interested, that’s pushing. If I want him to excel so that I can tell people how exceptional he is, that’s pushing.

It does get tricky, however, when we know that there are some things that our child needs to learn or that we know will be beneficial, but he’s not interested. For example, our kids really do need to know how to do math. But what if your child isn’t interested? If you do all you can to make it fun and interesting – and relevant — are you pushing? Maybe. But is it a bad thing? No.

If your child is your motivating factor in teaching him or exposing him to a particular topic, it’s unlikely that you are pushing. There is no question that kids need to know math, so “pushing” him to learn really isn’t a negative behavior. However, if you think it’s in your child’s best interest to get into the best preschool in the area, so you drill him incessantly when he’s not interesting, that’s without a doubt pushing. Children grow up to be happy, productive, and successful members of society¬† regardless of the preschool they have attended. Not getting into the “right” preschool won’t hold him back. Not being able to understand math is much more limiting.

So essentially, nurturing is child-centered. What we do for our children comes from what they are able and are interested in doing. Pushing is adult-centered. It doesn’t consider what the child wants or is interested in, but what the parent wants the child to do. The fine line comes when we have to consider skills that are absolutely essential and skills that we’d like our kid to have because¬† it’s what we want.

http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mother-teaching-child-Fotolia_70010343_XS.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mother-teaching-child-Fotolia_70010343_XS-150x150.jpgCarol BainbridgeNurturing Gifts and TalentsAdvice for Parents,Definitions
Parents of gifted kids are often accused of being pushy parents. That's not always a bad thing since there are times we need to push - not our kids, but teachers and other school officials. We need to push them to give our children the kinds of challenges they...