I read a lot about how we shouldn’t tell our gifted children about their giftedness.  The thinking expressed in many of the pieces I’ve read consists of one variation or another of the idea that by telling gifted kids that they are gifted, we are creating little monsters, arrogant kids who think they are better than everyone else, kids who think they don’t need to put forth any effort to succeed, that it’s ability, not effort that matters.  I whole heartedly disagree with this thinking. I believe it is important to tell our children they are gifted.

It’s important to stress here that you shouldn’t tell your child he’s gifted just to make him think he’s special. That approach ranks right up there with overpraising children and isn’t going to end well.  The real issue isn’t whether you should tell your child he’s gifted, but why and how you do it.

Gifted children often feel “different.” They feel like misfits. You don’t have to tell them they’re gifted before they feel that way. There are good reasons they feel different without knowing a thing about giftedness. Feeling different isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be quite hard on kids who internalize those feelings and believe there is something wrong with them. Why aren’t they like the other kids? Why can’t they fit in?  If your child is suffering like this, why would you not talk to him about giftedness? That can help him understand his feelings.

There are other reasons to tell your child he’s gifted as well.  If he is frustrated by the lack of progress exhibited by other kids in his class, mainly because he has to sit and wait for them to catch up, he can develop feelings of disdain for those kids and even a sense of superiority.  No one needs to tell him he’s gifted for him to develop those feelings. However, a good talk with a child who’s starting to feel this way about gifted can help him understand not only himself, but the other kids as well.

The purpose of telling a gifted child he’s gifted then is to help him understand himself and others. It is not to make him feel special or better than anyone else, someone deserving of some kind of special treatment. And when we talk to our gifted children about their giftedness, we should provide them with the same perspective that Professor Dumbledore provided for Harry Potter in The Chamber of Secrets: “”It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/father-daughter-talk.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/father-daughter-talk-150x150.jpgCarol BainbridgeFor ParentsSocial Emotional IssuesAdvice for Parents
I read a lot about how we shouldn't tell our gifted children about their giftedness.  The thinking expressed in many of the pieces I've read consists of one variation or another of the idea that by telling gifted kids that they are gifted, we are creating little monsters, arrogant...