snakeWhen my son was in first grade, I was having a terrible time getting his academic needs met, and because they weren’t being met, he was becoming very unhappy and frustrated. Kindergarten hadn’t been much better, and I spent quite a bit of time helping him adjust to the frustrations he felt there. Here I was doing it again. But then someone asked me what I would do if my son were sitting on a nest of snakes. Would I help him adjust or take him out of the nest? Good question.

It is a question I pondered and never forgot. The snake’s nest in question was the first grade situation. It was not a good place for my son. The teacher did not accept that he was advanced and frustrated by the repetition and lack of challenge, telling me instead that he probably had ADHD and was probably severely emotionally disturbed. Rather than take the snakes out of the nest, she was essentially telling me that his behavior was his problem and he needed help. In other words, he needed to accept his place in the snake’s nest.

Many parents of gifted children encounter the same problem. They work with the “nest keepers” to get an appropriate academic environment for their child, but are often told that it’s their child who is the problem because he just can’t adjust to the snake’s nest. The nest keepers will point to the other children who are happily adjusted to the snakes. In fact, some of the kids are downright thriving.  The “real” gifted kids, they tell you, certainly are.

So these parents, as I did, continue to work with their child, trying to get him to do that tedious, boring homework – and then turn it in once it’s done, getting him to understand that he must behave in class, that life is sometimes boring, that school is like their job and no job is perfect, and any number of other things we tell our kids as we try to get them to adjust to that snake’s nest they find themselves in.

At some point, we need to reconsider this approach. If our child were sitting on a real nest of snakes, we wouldn’t think twice about getting him out. We would be horrified that someone would even suggest that we work to get our child adjusted to sitting in that nest. Yes, I know that a classroom is not a real nest of snakes and teachers aren’t really nest keepers. In fact, some teachers are wonderful. But the emotional damage that can be done to our children in that metaphorical nest of snakes can be real.

http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/snake.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/snake-150x150.jpgCarol BainbridgeEducationSocial Emotional IssuesAdvice for Parents,Support for Parents of Gifted Kids
When my son was in first grade, I was having a terrible time getting his academic needs met, and because they weren't being met, he was becoming very unhappy and frustrated. Kindergarten hadn't been much better, and I spent quite a bit of time helping him adjust to the...