If you’re like most people, you start out the new year by making one or more resolutions to do better than you did the last year. The new year offers us an opportunity to get something of a fresh start. Common resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise. Why not try some other resolutions? Here are four resolutions that can help you be a better parent to your gifted child.

  1. I will make an effort to let my child know I not only love her, I also like her.
    This may seem like a pointless resolution. After all, if you love your child and show it, what more do you need to do? Your goal isn’t to be your child’s best friend. Your job is to be a parent. However, many gifted children are emotionally sensitive, which can lead them to misinterpret what a parent says or does. For instance, if mommie shows a lack of interest in or even distaste for some interest of little Jennie, Jennie may not understand that it’s the interest mommie doesn’t like; she may think it’s her. Sensitive Jennie may take it a step farther and believe that this sign of dislike means that mommie doesn’t love her. Resolve to take an interest in what your child is interested in. It doesn’t mean you have to love it as much as she does. But avoid being negative.
  2. I will not argue with my child.
    Because some gifted children are so good at logical reasoning and debate, it can be easy to get entangled in an argument with them. However, remember that you are the parent, not a debate coach or sparring partner. Engaging in an argument when discipline or rules are involved is not a good way to foster or nurture a talent for debate. It undermines your authority as a parent and isn’t going to improve behavior. In fact, it can easily create problems for your child by setting up expectations that if one can create a good enough argument, there will be no consequences for breaking rules. This doesn’t mean, though, that your child can’t discuss rules and the consequences for breaking them. It means that rules and consequences should be clear to begin with. Any discussion should take place when the rules are mentioned, not after they have been broken in an attempt to avoid the consequences.
  3. I will try to understand my child’s temperament
    It isn’t unusual for parents to have certain expectations of their child should be like. It’s probably less common today than it once was when little girls were expected to be made of sugar and spice and everything nice, while little boys were expected to be made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. But even without those kinds of gender-related expectations, parents can still expect their child to be a certain way. They may expect the child to be friendly and outgoing. When a child is gifted, there are additional expectations that crop up. For example, a child might be expected to be highly motivated, to excel at everything, and to be interested in careers in law, medicine, or perhaps science. However, some children are introverts and prefer to spend time alone with their thoughts. They may also be interested in less conventional career paths, such as performing at Renaissance Faires. Understanding your child’s temperament can go a long way in understanding your child and helping him be the best he can be.
  4. I will spend time with my child
    These days everyone seems to be busy, so busy that it’s hard to find time to spend with family. Not only are parents busy, but so are the kids, who may be enrolled in numerous extracurricular activities, such as sports or music lessons. However, it’s important to spend time with our children, and that time can pay off. Parents can sit with their child and read together or color together. Another great option is for a parent to share her child’s interests. For example, if your child is obsessed with dinosaurs, learn something about dinosaurs together. Go to the library and check out a good book about dinosaurs and read it together. Ask you child to tell you about his favorite dinosaur. Or if your child enjoys playing videogames, play some together. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t just go through the motions. That is, you need to genuinely show you are interested. Sharing your child’s interests is a great way to get to know your child.

These four resolutions will go a long way in helping you be a better parent for your gifted child. Of course, you may already do these things. If so, great! You can resolve to continue doing them. If you don’t already do these things, resolve to at least try them. You’ll find they will help your child and might even make life with a gifted child a little smoother.

Carol BainbridgeFor ParentsHolidaysJanuary Holidays,New Year's
If you're like most people, you start out the new year by making one or more resolutions to do better than you did the last year. The new year offers us an opportunity to get something of a fresh start. Common resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting...