A Long-Range View of Parenting a Gifted Child      

       Maybe teachers, pediatricians, and others who you look to for wisdom in your life won't tell you that your smart, intense, and energetic child will always be a "handful" at times. But this exciting and daunting reality is true. And so the sooner you develop a set of strategies to deal with your precocious child the better!
       When I talk to parents about developing strategies to deal with their gifted son or daughter, I always think back on my now-adult children's childhood struggles and triumphs. And I remind myself that their little quirky behaviors are still apparent in their adult lives. I am still being the mother of my gifted kids. Thank goodness they are still compassionate, bright, curious and intense.
       I often wonder do moms and dads who seek out my advice care about my ramblings about my adult children? Do they wish I would stay focused on their child's issues? But in the end of my musings, I always agree with myself. Some aspects of giftedness such as emotional intensity and passion vs. despair live on way past the teenage years. Parents seeking my advice deserve to have the insight of my lifetime of experiences watching gifted kids grow up. Parents deserve to understand the reality of raising a gifted child. You definitely need to prepare yourself for the roller coaster aspect of dealing with a gifted kid.
       So if you know that you are confronting a parenting problem that is long-standing does this knowledge and wisdom help? It should ground the parent into developing long-range strategies, not just looking for easy answers. Investing in understanding and applying the following ideas will help you to be a more effective parent.
       1. Stop wishing that your gifted child will just be normal because it is impossible. Intense children need a different owner's manual than children who are less intense by nature.
       2. Accept that you will need advice on how to advocate for your child with experts who work specifically with gifted children.
       3. Understand your child's strengths and challenges, and work on both aspects of their development. For example, if your child reads easily but has problems making friends, keep up on the reading but help your child find their peer group.
       4. Gifted children are perfectionistic and will use their astute problem-solving capabilities to get their way. Manipulative behaviors are often used to avoid confronting their fear of failure. Be wise and just set limits on their infuriating attempts to avoid their inner demons.
       5. There is no one-size-fits-all school for gifted children. Anyone who is advertising this platitude is surely going to have difficulty with your child.