In 1989 my son was born. I had waited a long time to become a mother and looked forward to every bit of motherhood, from staying up late to changing dirty diapers to helping with homework and beyond. Although I had spent a great deal of time babysitting for nephews and nieces and had read a few parenting books, it turns out that my expectations of parenting were way off. What I had not expected were the kinds of problems that parents of gifted children face. My life as a parent would have been much easier if my son had arrived with a manual, one for parents of gifted children. Ideally, it would have been one for the “make and model” of my son’s giftedness.
My goal with this blog is to help other parents of gifted children navigate the world of gifted parenting and make sure they don’t feel alone as I often did.
My Entry in Gifted Parenting
My son was born 6 weeks early and because he was a “preemie,” it was hard to keep track of developmental milestones. I was so concerned about developmental delays that I didn’t give much thought to advances. I was just happy my son was healthy and seemed to be on target with development – mostly. I was rather concerned when at two years old my son still was not speaking.
But then at age two years and three months, my son read his first word – “bank.” We were in the car waiting for the light to change 50 miles from our home where we had never been before. As we sat waiting, we heard my son say “bank.” We’re not a high finance family, so that’s not a word we use often. I looked around and there on a billboard was an ad for a bank. A bank not available near our home. A bank not familiar to us. This was not a case of recognizing a word from a familiar ad or building.
Just to be sure, though, I started “testing” my son when we got home. I wrote simple words on a piece of paper and asked him if he knew what they were. He did! How did he know those words? We weren’t a “flashcard family,” trying to teach the kid how to read with flashcards. The only thing I could figure out was Sesame Street. My son loved that show and he must have seen some words on it and remembered them. At that time I didn’t realize the complexity involved in learning to read.
Meeting Resistance to the Concept of Giftedness
By the time my son was three, he was reading, and by age four, he was a fluent reader. I thought life would be easy! Unfortunately, I met with a great deal of resistance, as well as some pretty negative attitudes towards me. Apparently I was some kind of “pushy” parent who forced her child to learn and deprived him of a happy childhood.
It was very difficult. Back then we didn’t have the World Wide Web. I couldn’t get on the computer and google “gifted children” to find some answers. I couldn’t easily find other parents who had children like mine. By the time my son was in third grade, I was getting desperate for help. I finally discovered the Indiana Association for the Gifted (IAG) and learned that they would be having a conference soon. I signed up.
From Needing Help to Helping Others
That conference changed my life. I talked to everyone I could, asking the same questions and hoping for a definitive answer. I met some wonderful people on the IAG board and kept in touch with them. In 1999, I became a board member myself and helped with the conferences that had once helped me so very much.
I have been trying to help parents of gifted children ever since and eventually became the Guide to Gifted Children at About.com. You can find lots of information about gifted children there as well as some tips on parenting gifted kids. You can also find more about my journey as the mother of a gifted child. You may recognize yourself and your experiences in some of those stories. And there are many stories yet to be told.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/the-story-of-my-commitment-to-gifted-children/For ParentsRants and ResponsesParenting