In this episode we’re talking to Dr Gail Post about how to tell your child they are gifted and do we need to modify our expectations for our gifted kids?
“If you don’t someone else will, and someone else will put information in their head that maybe you’re not thrilled with or will overinflate the importance of it or confuse them. So, it’s up to us to explain it to them and what I think is really important to consider…is, you need to take into account their age, their maturity, their developmental level, because what you say to a five-year-old is different from a 10-year-old or a 15 year old.
You have to think about what they can take in and really to talk to them about it as it’s no big deal, just be as matter of fact as possible because it’s just part of who they are.
It’s not an accomplishment, they didn’t accomplish anything. It’s just who they are.
And just letting them know it’s no different than your eye colour or your height. Or the fact that maybe you need glasses or the fact that you love peanut butter. I mean, these are all parts of who you are, and it’s really important just to be as matter of fact as possible.” – Dr Gail Post
Gail Post, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, parenting consultant, workshop leader, and writer. In practice for over 35 years, she provides psychotherapy with a focus on the needs of the intellectually and musically gifted, parenting consultation and workshops, and consultation with educators and psychotherapists.
She is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Dr. Post is the parent of two gifted young adults and served as co-chair of a gifted parents advocacy group when her children were in school. Her writing includes online articles, several book chapters, and a long-standing blog, Gifted Challenges.
Her upcoming book through Gifted Unlimited Press, “The Gifted Parenting Journey: A Guide to Self-discovery and Support for Families of Gifted Children” extends her advocacy efforts to address the needs of parents of gifted children.
Hit play and let’s get started!
[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: Hello and welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m very excited today to be getting into the topic of how do we tell our children. They are gifted. It can seem incredibly. Big overwhelming, tricky to booboo. Like, how do we have that conversation? So it delights me to introduce Dr. Gale post.
[00:00:23] She’s a clinical psychologist, a parent consultant and writer she’s been in practice for over 35 years, providing psychotherapy with a focus on the needs of the intellectually and musically gifted. She’s a parenting consultant and does many workshops and consultations with educators and psychotherapists.
[00:00:45] She’s also an associate professor of psychiatry at the university of Pennsylvania school of medicine. And the parent of two gifted young adults herself.
[00:00:55] She served as co-chair of a gifted parents advocacy group. When her children were in school.
[00:01:02] And her writing includes online articles, book chapters, and a long-standing blog called gifted challenges. She also mentioned in this podcast, her upcoming book, but we will. Hopefully be getting her back to talk more about that when the book comes out. So that is super exciting.
[00:01:20] And it was an absolute delight to get into this topic of how do we have this conversation with our children? How do we tell them that they gifted?
[00:01:29] So let me know that. You think, let me know if it’s helpful, you can find us on Instagram. Facebook in our Facebook group, or you can subscribe at our gifted Dot com and not miss out.
[00:01:42] . So let’s get going. I’m I’m very excited today to be talking to Gail post. Now Gale’s a clinical psychologist and has been working with gifted children for many, many years and has an absolute wealth of information. She’s got a wonderful blog and lots of resources available for people. And so I’m really excited today to be getting into this conversation in Gale.
[00:02:41] But welcome. Thank you so much for joining us.
[00:02:44] Gail Post: Well, thanks for having me here. This is so exciting. I mean, it it’s so impressive. This podcast series that you’ve developed to support families because as we know, families who have gifted children often feel kind of left out on their own and don’t feel like they have connections and the more we can have opportunities like this, I think the better.
[00:03:05] So thank you.
[00:03:06] Sophia Elliott: Oh, absolutely. And thank you. And I, uh, love meeting people like yourself from all over the world who just have this absolute wealth of knowledge and experience. And so generously willing to share that because, you know, we have so much to learn and, uh, and so I’m really excited to be getting into a few things today, but first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do and how you got into the whole gifted thing.
[00:03:36] Gail Post: Okay, good, good questions about how I got into this because people often wonder how do you get into that? But while I’m a clinical psychologist, I’ve been in practice for over 35 years, long time doings, uh, and now I also do parent consulting work with parents on helping support them. With ideas about raising their gifted kids, which is a little bit different than psychotherapy.
[00:04:00] And I write and how I got interested. I, you know, I noticed for a while, when, after I had my kids, I kind of went on the mommy track, you know, so I didn’t wanna continue working at agencies and hospitals and organizations wanted to have a private practice and consult, so I’d have more flexibility. So that was a while ago cuz my kids are well into their twenties, uh, late twenties now.
[00:04:21] But I, um, I noticed when I worked in private practice, a lot of my clients were really super bright, high achieving all of that. And their take on the world was really different than some other folks, just very, you know, driven and high achieving and sometimes impatient. Um, sometimes frustrated that they, you know, had 20 different directions they wanted to go in and they couldn’t figure it out.
[00:04:44] So there were all these things and at the same time, my kids ended up being gifted and. Got involved in the school system with an, an advocacy group that a bunch of parents had put together to advocate for better gifted education. And it wasn’t even so much about our own kids’ education, but how do we change how things are handled in the schools?
[00:05:06] And it actually was a great, very supportive, very, um, motivated group of, of parents. And we, at least at that point affected some changes, things like making sure there was universal screening that kids weren’t just nominated to get tested for gifted that, that there was at least some pre-screening tools, things like that.
[00:05:26] So it was a great, a great opportunity, great experience. And when my kids were, uh, approaching graduation, I wanted to continue to. And continue to do that in some way. And I really like to write, so I started this blog, it’s called gifted challenges and it’s not really personal experiences of my own or my kids, although some stuff about them seeps in undercover, but, uh, mostly it’s about social and emotional issues that gifted people face, both children and adults advocacy, how parents can advocate parenting issues and, uh, so on.
[00:06:01] So I’ve been doing that for a while now. I’m only posting maybe once a month, but I have been doing more in the past. So it’s about almost 10 years now. I’ve been doing it and started writing in other formats, medium other places, articles online, uh, that newsletters. Have a few book chapters and recently actually this fall, it should be coming out.
[00:06:24] Recently. I wrote a book about the parents’ experience, what parents need to know about themselves, so they can parent at their best how to take care of themselves. So they feel comfortable with what they’re doing and noticing things about their kids and their interactions with their kids. So it’s really about knowing yourself first so that you can then be there for your kids.
[00:06:44] It’s called the gifted parenting journey. It’s through gifted, unlimited press, and I’m excited about it. So anyway, that that’s kind of how I got into it. And, uh, even though my kids have grown and flown, I, uh, you know, you’re always a parent, even when you have older kids. And I, you know, it’s just an area of, of interest of mine that I just continue to really think is so important because so many parents struggle to get their needs met as, as parents.
[00:07:16] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. That’s so true. And we’re very excited to get you back at a future date when the book is out to talk about the book, because thank you, the parent journey and what parents need to know,
[00:07:28] Gail Post: just
[00:07:29] Sophia Elliott: huge, you know, like I’m really excited to read that and, and have you back and have a chat about that.
[00:07:35] And thank you. I just love that like so many people working within the gifted community, you have come from that very parenting lived experience, um, place, because I think the reality is unless you’ve been touched by it personally, You don’t kind of know it’s out there. You don’t really know the true impacts of it.
[00:07:56] And I, you know, which is part of the struggle of parenting gifted kids and, and being gifted is just that kind of lack of general awareness. So it’s, uh, it’s always interesting to hear how people have come into this and it’s sort of, uh, fairly unsurprising now when, when people come and think, well, , you know, the, I was on this journey, um, which links us to the topic today.
[00:08:21] So one of the things that we’re gonna talk about today is, well, what is the best way for parents to explain giftedness to their child? Uh, because I know that you have, you know, you’ve done a lot of writing in this particular area as well. So, so what is your advice for parents on.
[00:08:43] Gail Post: Well, you know, I, I think, I think it’s a tough one for parents because most parents of gifted kids are very humble and they don’t want their kids to get a big head and think they’re like super, you know, smart and better than everyone else.
[00:08:56] And so, I mean, I’ve seen situations where some parents are like, I’m not telling my kid they’re gifted. You know, I don’t want them to think too highly of themselves. We’ll just keep it under wraps here. But even if they don’t have the label, they know, they know they’re different. They sense it, they see it, they notice their differences between themselves and their peers early on.
[00:09:19] You know, they get impatient, you know, some kids are accused of being bossy because they’re, you know, at four years old, they’re, they’re mad because their play partner doesn’t pick things up as quickly and they, and they get frustrated. They notice that they grasp information more quickly or with more intensity in depth, they, they seal that and they don’t know what to do with that information.
[00:09:38] You know, they wonder why am I so different? What what’s wrong with me? Uh, they, so if you, as a parent, if we, as parents, don’t explain it to our children, who will, I mean, who knows them better? Who knows what, how, how they respond to situations and what they’ll do with that information, because if you don’t someone else will, and someone else will put information in their head that maybe you’re not thrilled with, or will overinflate the importance of it or, uh, confuse them.
[00:10:09] So again, it’s, it’s up to us to explain, explain it to them. And, um, what I think is really important to consider if, if I might go into this a little bit, is. You need to take into account their age, their maturity, their developmental level, because what you say to a five year old is different from a 10 year old or a 15 year old, you have to think about what they can take in and really to talk to them about it as it’s no big deal, just be as matter of fact as possible because it’s, it’s just part of who they are.
[00:10:45] It’s not an accomplishment, they didn’t accomplish anything. It’s just who they are. And just letting them know it’s, it’s no different than your eye color or your height. I mean, this is, or, or the fact that maybe you need glasses or the fact that, uh, you love peanut butter. I mean, these are all parts of who you are, and it’s really important just to be as matter of fact as possible.
[00:11:11] So again, you wanna be there to explain to them what it’s about and to use words that they can understand and grasp and put it in context and. You don’t wanna wait until your child asks about it. So in a lot of situations, for example, they’re getting tested for a gifted program at school. And certainly, you know, you wanna talk to them about what that means, but overall you wanna first think about the fact that they’ve got questions going on in their heads, and they’re probably not gonna say those questions there.
[00:11:45] Those questions are there and it’s our job to anticipate what they might be thinking. So when you think about what a gifted kid might feel and think they might wonder, you know, will other kids think I’m weird or different or unlikeable or somehow better than them? Um, do others only like me because I’m smart, uh, will, uh, my parents and teachers expect more of me.
[00:12:09] Oh my gosh, I better not work too hard because they’re gonna expect too much from me. Uh, will I stop being gifted if I don’t do well in school? Does that mean I’m not gifted? If I come home with a bad grade, uh, can I stop being gifted if I want to. Maybe I don’t like all the gifted stuff and all that’s involved.
[00:12:24] Maybe I don’t wanna work so hard in school, so maybe I can just stop. Um, they may wonder, well, how can I be gifted if I don’t do well in a particular class? Like if I’m not good in math or I’m not good in art or something, does that mean I’m not gifted? So these are questions that are, are going through their heads.
[00:12:42] And our job is to anticipate those and bring them up. So to bring up things about, you know, you just found out, you’ve got labeled this word, what do you, what do you think about it? What does that mean to you? And let’s talk about it because I don’t think any differently of you because of this. It’s just a word that is a label that’s given that should help you get maybe some better, more interesting fun classes.
[00:13:10] Uh that’s the only reason we got you tested was you were complaining about being a little bit bored in school. So we thought, well, let’s see if we can. Get some way to get you involved in classes. That might be a little more fun. So again, to bring it to their level, to point out that it’s, it’s just a word it’s not the best word in the world because it’s, it’s kind of loaded with meaning and thought, but it doesn’t mean you are more of a gift to the world than any other child.
[00:13:39] All parents see their children as a gift. And it just is a word that says that you have different learning needs and they might be different than your friend next door, but it doesn’t make you any better than that. That it’s just about the learning needs. So it’s a part of you. You can’t pretend it’s not there.
[00:14:04] Um, it doesn’t go away. If you don’t work hard, it’s up to you to decide what you wanna do with, with these abilities that you have. But we wouldn’t care if you were label gifted or not, we would still love you no matter what. So again, to, to talk to kids with, with those kinds of words, just to really reassure them that it’s okay, they are who they are and we’ll work with it.
[00:14:31] Sophia Elliott: So a few things that you’ve said there, first of all, that question of, do I tell them don’t I tell them and the reality is they already know something’s going on. Like they’re gifted kids. They’ve figured out that something is different, right? Ironically. And so it’s an opportunity for us to help them create a narrative around that and, and, and have some new words and understanding for that, that difference.
[00:15:03] Um, Because a lot of our gifted kids who are gifted plus, you know, or twice exceptional, any, you know, all sorts of other things going on may very well feel like, like they’re not good enough or broken or not fitting in or behaving poorly or, or whatever, or can’t do it as well as others. So there might be all sorts of things loaded there.
[00:15:27] Uh, so I think what you said there was really great. And the other thing I love that you are addressing is this idea of accomplishment. So, you know, being gifted, it’s not something that you have accomplished. It’s just who you are. And it’s not about what you accomplish at school either or in life. It’s just who you are.
[00:15:53] It’s how your brain works. It’s how you learn how you experience the world and whether you get an a or a C. That doesn’t define who you are. And so I love that you’re talking about accomplishment just straight up there and those
[00:16:10] Gail Post: questions. Yeah. I really like what you said about the I’m sorry.
[00:16:13] I, I just wanna say, I really like what you just said. I think it’s really important that people hear that it’s about how your brain works and how you experience. Yeah.
[00:16:21] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, definitely. And I love that. You’ve kind of raised those questions around, you know, our kids much like adults, I know who have sort of recently discovered their gifted because they’ve recently discovered their kids are, are kind of like, well, if I don’t do well at school or in life or at work, does it mean I’m not gifted?
[00:16:43] Does it mean I’m not smart anymore? And it’s that kind of, um, inevitable, but incredibly unhelpful link between giftedness and accomplishment. Um, right, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Which can be. Uh, like the bane of so much mental health challenges. Right, right.
[00:17:06] Gail Post: Exactly. Exactly. Um, just exactly,
[00:17:10] Sophia Elliott: because that cycle is like, alright, I, I need to do better than everyone else because that’s the expectation because I’m gifted and if I’m not, what does that say about me?
[00:17:22] I’m failing everyone, myself, this identity, and it’s like cue perfectionism, cue, anxiety, cue, depression, cue dropping outta school. And just kind of, yeah,
[00:17:38] Gail Post: just lots of hard stuff. Yeah. I mean, it is so much pressure that a lot of kids feel and you know, one of the things in talking to them is, again, like what you said, it’s about how they experience the world, how their brain works.
[00:17:51] So even though some people link it to accomplishments, If your child can understand, okay, that’s totally separate. I have choices in that realm. I can choose to push myself or not. That’s my choice, but I can’t change the fact that I see the world with all this complexity and that’s that’s, you know, and some can say that’s truly, you know, a gift, but it’s also, it, it can also be really hard because it’s like turning the radio, dial up too high.
[00:18:20] Everything is so intense and overwhelming and powerful and emotional and, and overwhelming. It’s it it’s a lot. And so what comes with that is being able to manage those feelings and reactions. One of the things I just wanna say, one of the things that parents often struggle with is when they, they do have their child get tested IQ tested with a psychologist or neuropsychologist or school psychologist.
[00:18:46] That it, it, the testing in itself. And one thing, I mean, I don’t do IQ testing anymore. It’s been a long time, but one thing I loved about it was that it, isn’t just a number. People get fixated on a number it’s about looking at strengths and weaknesses and areas of struggle. And one of the great things with the one-on-one testing, which is different than the paper and pencil testing that some, some schools do.
[00:19:10] That’s really more of a pre-screening, but that the psychologists can really look at well, what’s their frustration tolerance. Are they rigid about things? Are they perfectionistic? Are they impulsive? Like looking at some of the behaviors that come out of it? And if you get your child tested, you’ll get a list of all this information about strengths and weaknesses.
[00:19:30] And just to be really clear with them, you know, like, yeah. You know, it seems like you love spatial skills. You love those Lego Legos. You’re, you know, that really comes naturally to you, but sometimes you struggle with, uh, I don’t know, you know, sometimes you struggle with remembering. Things go in and out in one ear and out the other.
[00:19:49] So that’s something we’re gonna work on, you know, you’re gonna work on this. So it’s really more of a, a template of, of strengths and weaknesses that for anyone who takes the testing. But I think it’s really important for them just to see, like it’s not a big deal that they got tested. It’s just because we needed a little more information to help you along.
[00:20:08] And that doesn’t mean you go around and tell other kids you’re gifted because that won’t when you were friends. Uh, but that is just, it’s just a word that it just means I learn differently. You know, I, I need some learning support essentially. And one last thing about that has a lot of controversy on, on a lot of forums online about whether you should tell your child, their IQ, and as a psychologist and, and parent, I, I have a lot of strong feelings about that and would really recommend not giving your child a number because it’s hard enough for us as adults to put all that in perspective.
[00:20:42] What does that mean? To expect a child to understand it. It’s almost like, would you tell your child every ins and out of your, of your financial portfolio or would you tell them, you know, detailed medical stuff? I mean, there’s things that you just don’t tell a young child and when they get that number, then it defines them in a way that is just very unhealthy.
[00:21:03] And again, that number is just a cutoff to get into a program. And it’s, what’s really important is they understand that they are who they are, the number doesn’t matter.
[00:21:14] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more about the number. Uh, and it’s kind of like, uh, and I have never told my children, uh, any numbers in those terms, because I don’t want them to ever feel defined by a number or stuck with a number or, yeah, just that heavy weight of.
[00:21:39] Exactly. This is who I am in some way. Like it’s a part of identity because it’s really not. And in my experience with IQ tests, so I have three children and we’ve done four, um, for various reasons, uh, including my, my, I, I actually did one last year as a part of an ASD diagnosis to kind of better understand so five within the family.
[00:22:07] And I can honestly say that one of those I believe is probably, you know, the most accurate picture of that person. Uh, another one was probably fairly close, but there was illness and. The other three, all had challenges because of either illness or, uh, some sort of, um, challenges with the child in terms of that performance.
[00:22:47] So it’s, and it’s really important. I think to note that, you know, so much stress expectation, uh, goes into this kind of like, right. We’re here at the psychologist, we’re getting the assessment, we’ve been waiting for months. The, like how life’s been in crisis. This is going to give us answers. Like there’s so much, that’s so heavy, you know, and depending what’s been going on, it can be so heavy, but it’s kind of like, we really gotta do our best, just not, not to have that expectation because if they’re not feeling well, they don’t like the.
[00:23:27] You know, they just don’t wanna perform on the day. Like there’s so many reasons why that isn’t necessarily going to be the clearest picture. It might be clear enough and get you what you need to know. But I look at those and kind of go, that’s a, a good indication of what we’re dealing with, but it’s not everything, you know, it’s kind of like, that’s where we’re at or better.
[00:23:52] Um, and that’s kind of what we are dealing with because just acknowledging, and even the one that was a really good, probably the best picture of a person that we’ve done, the psychologist was like, yeah, in this subsection, I think actually they’re a lot stronger because of the way they approached it and this and that.
[00:24:10] So, yeah, I think it’s really important to know that when we’re talking to our kids about it, when we are taking that on ourselves, just remembering, it’s like a picture of where they were on the day. And I think that’s why I think that number is potentially dangerous territory to know. Um,
[00:24:34] Gail Post: I really appreciate your perspective when you said a picture.
[00:24:38] I mean, a lot of psychologists refer to it as just a snapshot in time. Yeah. Because it, it really is. And so much, like you said, can affect a child, just, um, you know, that a scratchy tag on the back of their shirt can, and like, there’s so many things we don’t even know that here. I know for myself years and years ago in high school, when I took the SATs, which I don’t know if they have that, something like that in Australia, but in the us, it’s basically, it has to take, to get into college and your scores matter.
[00:25:09] And it was a really hot day and I was next to this big window, you know, they place you wherever. And the sun was beating in really intensely. And I was so distracted because it was almost like an, a sauna or something. And I’m sure that. Affected my performance. Yeah. And it’s, it’s so anything really with these tests, but a good psychologist will, you know, like you said, explain more of that.
[00:25:34] And the other thing you brought up about ASD that twice exceptional issues. Oh my gosh, they have a huge impact on what’s going on. And ideally whoever does an evaluation can take that into account, but even if a child does not have a diagnosed twice exceptional issue, they still bring all the other gifted quirky stuff to the table.
[00:25:55] Right. You know, the asynchronous development and the intensity and the hyperfocus, all that stuff that goes on. So there’s a lot, a lot to work with.
[00:26:04] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. And I think that’s why it’s really important. Like you said earlier, uh, it’s the strengths and weaknesses. And I think the problem with giftedness and its general understanding is that people focus on that strength being.
[00:26:23] You know, learning quickly and therefore high IQ and they don’t see actually there’s a lot of challenges, uh, with even just within a just gifted kind of profile without the twice exceptional stuff going on, that’s sensitivity and sensory. And like you say, all those different things going on. So if we can have these conversations with our kids, it helps them better understand themselves and why they are feeling different to those kids around them.
[00:26:52] Um, because if you’ve yeah, yeah, because if you’ve particularly, yeah, yeah. Like in, if you child is gifted or highly gifted or profoundly diff gifted, you know, the more extreme it gets, the more extreme they’re probably going to feel in terms of their difference between their peers. Um,
[00:27:13] Gail Post: exactly. Exactly. And it’s, it’s up to us to really help them navigate that and explain, you know, it’s hard for you sometimes fitting in with some of those kids at that birthday party, because I mean, you’re, you’re wanting to talk about, you know, the, you know, the, the geology of some rocks you found and they just wanna play, you know, you wanna talk about, uh, some novel, you read that’s five years ahead of their, where they are.
[00:27:38] And they they’re like what, you know, so it’s that it makes it hard. So you have to figure out how you wanna fit in and, and what you wanna do about that. Um, and, and the other thing is just, um, when they do ask, well, what’s my IQ score. So, and so said their score is blah, blah, blah, to explain to them why you won’t tell.
[00:28:00] You know that it’s basically just a number it’s only on that particular day. It could be different on another day. And we don’t want you defined by a number. We don’t want you to think, oh, well, I’m not that smart because so, and so has scored two points higher than me. And we certainly, if you have siblings, you don’t want your sister and your brother to, for both of you to compete with each other and, and define yourself differently.
[00:28:24] As a result, I, I never told, I never told my kids their IQ score. And when they asked, I explained to them, I said, look, you know, this, this is just a number and I don’t want you defining who you are and what you can do with your life based on this. And they stopped asking. They’ve never asked as adults. Yep.
[00:28:42] Sophia Elliott: I, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And even as a parent, to be honest, I rarely ever think about the IQ number. I have found more helpful is that understanding around percentiles. Um, and in terms of helping me understand where they’re at and therefore, you know, the, in terms of those accommodations and particularly in education, helping me understand what they might need.
[00:29:15] Um, whereas I, I, I just felt like the number lacks that depth, um, right, exactly. Yeah. So a really important conversation for us to be having with our kids, helping them understand themselves and how they fit into the world, that experience of the world. So we’re definitely advocating for you to absolutely have a conversation with your kids.
[00:29:42] And I think what may feel uncomfortable is, uh, Research shows that if one, if you’ve tested one child in the family, there’s a very good chance that siblings are also gifted and within, I think it’s five or 10 points. Like it’s pretty generally pretty close. And, and I can certainly say within my kids, they are all very different people.
[00:30:07] So it wasn’t like, oh, you don’t look like that child. You mustn’t be gifted. They’re all very different. But also that it probably goes wider. And so many parents, I know, starting on this journey, like much like myself, and it’s kind of like, oh, I’ve got a gifted kid. Oh, I’ve got more than one. Oops. And that’s kind of like, actually, this really resonates for me.
[00:30:30] And that acknowledgement that, you know, it, it’s quite likely to be parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts. And I think there’s an opportunity for us to have that conversation with our children, because I know that, um, You know, so I had never, never, ever intended to do an IQ test when all this sort of stuff came up with my kids.
[00:30:56] I was like, I don’t need to be defined by a number , uh, you know, I, I probably don’t wanna know. Um, but I did end up doing it, uh, last year and I needed to have that understanding to kind of, as I said before, understand myself in terms of autism and it was, and I absolutely the right thing to do. And it really helped.
[00:31:21] Uh, but the interesting thing and with, or without that was that, um, because one of my kids in particular would say, well, mommy, are you gifted? And so previously I would say, look, mommy and daddy are quite likely gifted. Um, just like. N and grandpa are quite likely to be gifted as well. Uh, and when I did that, I was kind of like, yeah, look, I, I did the thing too.
[00:31:47] I did the test too. And yeah, it did show that I am and that actually I could really see in my child that kind of like, oh, I’m like my mom do, , it’s kind of like, oh, you know, and it’s just that reassurance that they’re not this kind of outlier within the family, but actually this is, , as a family, we’re kind of like our brains work a little bit different and, and we think a bit different.
[00:32:18] We experience the world a bit different and that’s just who we are. We’re not better than anyone else. Uh, we just have different strengths and weaknesses and, and that’s just who we are. And as a family we can kind of, because it’s that inherent sense of wanting to belong. Isn’t it.
[00:32:35] Gail Post: Right. Really good points.
[00:32:37] The points.
[00:32:39] Sophia Elliott: And so I think that leads onto what we’re also gonna talk about in terms of expectations. Uh, so having this conversation with our kids can help them to adjust their expectations of themselves and others, but also as parents, certainly in my experience, we need to adjust our expectations as well.
[00:33:00] So any advice on parents on how this sort of giftedness news might lead us to needing to adjust our expectations?
[00:33:12] Gail Post: It’s a really great point, getting the news that, that your child has gifted and, and what you need to do. So when, when you think about it, all parents have expectations. You know, you want your child to be happy.
[00:33:24] You want them to be successful. You want them to be, you know, reasonably polite with a company, you know? I mean, you just, you will have certain things for them. And most families have some basic expectations. There might be certain rules in the family of things that are okay. There, there might be this sense that we want you to be truthful.
[00:33:44] We want you to stay connected to family and be loyal. We want you to do your chores. We want you to be respectful of other adults, just some basic things. So we all come to the table with these and, you know, I don’t know how it was for you before you had your first child, but I think parents go into.
[00:34:01] Having a baby with expectations that are completely thrown by the wayside. Right. You know? Oh my goodness. When my child is, is quietly sleeping, I will, you know, take an online class. It’s like, no, no, no. So you I’ll never do this. I’ll
[00:34:16] Sophia Elliott: always do that. Yeah. Right. Whatever
[00:34:19] Gail Post: my kids or I can take them anywhere without them raising any fuss, you know?
[00:34:24] So yeah. So you have all parents have to learn to adjust their expectations, but giftedness creates this added pressure, this sense of this daunting responsibility that, oh my gosh, my child has all this potential. I have to nourish it. You know, like an orchid that has to just have the right amount of light and water.
[00:34:42] I have to really take care of it. And it’s precious. And that is overwhelming. It creates anxiety and it it’s, you know, one of the biggest questions parents have is like, how much do I push my child? Should I be like a tiger mom and really push them? Or should I hold back and just say, Hey, they’re, they’re their own person.
[00:34:59] They’re on their own. When I, when I was writing this book, for example, I, I did a, I put an online survey up on my website, my blog site on some of the parenting sites, gifted sites online. And I left it up for six weeks, this past winter, and got a lot of responses. People who completed it like 428 responses.
[00:35:19] So lots of responses. Yeah. It was about the parenting experience and what they experienced. And one of the questions was, uh, how much do they feel concerned or worried about how much to push their child. And over 50% indicated that either a lot or always they’re concerned about it. It was like, one of it was the huge dilemma for them.
[00:35:40] How much do we push our child? So it, it’s, it’s really quite, quite a concern that I think most parents feel, but the bottom one is most gifted kids want to Excel, you know, they wanna do. They, they grab onto what they’re interested in. They have all this intensity about it. They wanna explore it. A lot of it’s curiosity driven and energy driven.
[00:36:03] And then when they get into school, a lot of times they wanna do well at things that are important to them. What holds them back a lot of times are other things fear or perfectionism or wanting to fit in because of social pressure and not wanting to look like a nerdy kid or, um, just, you know, or it could be that they’re bored in school and they’ve given up hope of trial.
[00:36:26] Like what’s the point of doing this boring worksheet doesn’t mean anything. So there’s reasons that hold them back and aren’t challenges to figure out what those reasons are, but holding appropriately high expectations in a way that doesn’t put pressure on them, shows that we respect them. We, we respect their abilities.
[00:36:45] It’s kind of a groundwork that will help them develop a sense of responsibility for later achievement. So one of the keys is, and I can talk about various aspects of this, but one of the keys is remaining attuned to your child, again, age maturity, developmental level, and what, what their, you know, what, how they respond to encouragement.
[00:37:08] They may sometimes really need you to give ’em a little bit of a push or set some goals with them. And other times it’s important to back off because it’s too overwhelming. They, they just, you know, they feel anxious or they might rebel. So understanding their frustration, tolerance, understanding, uh, what drives them, what motivates them is, is really important.
[00:37:30] Sophia Elliott: I’m so glad that you mentioned the P word potential, uh, because I think I, you know, and there’s really interesting results from your survey and it certainly backs up my experience as a parent and also parents that I talk to. And in those, I remember vividly in those early days, feeling incredibly overwhelmed with this information that my child was very gifted.
[00:38:02] And it was like all of a sudden I had this weight of responsibility on me that I did not have before. And I was like, oh my God, I’m gonna mess this parent thing up. um, I’m like, oh, there’s this potential factor, which sometimes is explicitly kind of send, sometimes it’s not explicitly said, it’s just there lurking this kind of gifted and potential thing.
[00:38:31] And, and it took us a while as parents to kind of get our, find our groove, get our head around. What that meant. And I, I love that you’re talking about just being in tune with your child, because that was, that was definitely something that we, it’s almost like a, uh, a post gifted assessment and you have this shakeup as a parent and then you kind of have to go, okay, it’s still my kid.
[00:39:06] uh, let’s just tune back in there. okay. We have this extra info. Oh my goodness. Potential pressure, uh, responsibility, right? Yeah. And it’s really hard. And so what, let’s talk about academic achievement. What does it look like now that we have a gifted kid? How does that shift, you know, from that they’re not gifted to, oh my God.
[00:39:31] They’re gift.
[00:39:32] Gail Post: Right. Well, I think again, it’s, it’s that potential that you see these abilities and skills that you probably saw early on anyway, but now suddenly it’s like, well, how do I direct them? And what direction do they go in? And then how to take into account other twice exceptional issues or a synchronous development or emotional maturity issues or all of that.
[00:39:52] And the whole person, people, I mean, parents often struggle with that about, do I have my child skip a grade or do I have them, do I homeschool them? There’s a lot of pressure, I think on what, what is possible for me to do as a parent. In terms of helping them flourish, what can I afford financially? What am I willing to do?
[00:40:14] You know, you hear stories of parents who actually move, you know, they pick up the whole household and move somewhere to find a better school or child who has a special talent will hear about this. A lot of times with the Olympics every four years, right. Where parents have like picked up and moved to where the training center is and what a difficult choice that is.
[00:40:33] I, I talk about that in the book a lot. Like what, what a choice you have to make, and what does that say to your child? The pressure it puts on them, how the other siblings react, what, and, and also their, the child’s sense of, oh my gosh, my parents did this for me. I, and feeling guilty. And I have to always go in this direction because of this and.
[00:40:54] But then if you don’t do it, then what, you know, then what if your child is stuck in a situation that’s miserable for them. And it’s, it’s re these are the tough choices that parents face, that a lot of other parents don’t, they send their kids off to school unless they have a, a teacher who’s not working out with them.
[00:41:09] They just kind of stand back and, and let it happen. So it’s, it’s really challenging. But one thing I think so that these kids don’t feel overly pressured is to really create room for failure. That it’s okay. If they feel that we all grow from failure and disappointments, and as a parent, you can even share some of yours.
[00:41:29] Like, oh, look, I, you know, I was so disappointed that I didn’t do well in, I don’t know, in math, but then that opened the door for me for, uh, studying creative writing or art or something that it, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. And it also shows that you trust your child, that you believe they’ll rebound from failure.
[00:41:49] That they’re not so fragile. That they can’t take a bad grade or something that it’s, it’s all a learning process. And we need to encourage them to look at everything as a learning process. I think about, you know, some teachers who, especially in the younger grades where kids are not, grades are not as important in terms of getting into college will sometimes with these kids have them build a portfolio so they can see their progress over time rather than worry about a grade.
[00:42:20] Yeah. I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen who are like, I only got a 97 on the test and I was like, oh my gosh, you know, they’re, they’re upset about it. So yeah, it’s, you know, in terms of numbers, grades are really tough. So, you know, you wanna help them understand that failure’s okay. And that there are other ways of looking at success outside of academics.
[00:42:42] Success could be overcoming social anxiety and, you know, going to that party, even though it seems scary for them or calling a friend, even though it was scary or pushing themselves to do something that’s difficult for them, that’s not easy. That’s not an automatic skill or improving their organizational skills or staying focused when they’re bored or, or, um, being kind to, uh, the neighbor down the street.
[00:43:07] I mean, these are all things that are success. It’s not just academics. So you wanna encourage that. Well, roundedness that that’s so important. And the other thing is being aware of your own motivations. So when you have a gifted child, it brings up a lot of issues about what does this mean? And will I parent appropriately and be effective and.
[00:43:30] There’s not a lot of information out there. I mean, there certainly is a lot more out there now than there was like when my kids were young, but yeah. But there, you know, there’s all these influences, you know, there’s social media, there’s friends, there’s neighbors. There’s the community. There’s your, your family of origin.
[00:43:44] There’s your memories from your own childhood. And it’s really hard to separate out. Well, okay. There’s all these influences. How do I define, what are my values? What are my goals as a parent? And how do I stick to that? Which will include, how much do I push my child to succeed? Or how much do I give them space to.
[00:44:04] So really just being as ATTD as possible to yourself,
[00:44:09] Sophia Elliott: I love that you talking about like how hard it is for parents to make these decisions, because it really is. And I think it’s just kind of, I don’t know. I think I just wanna validate that for anyone listening. It’s like, you know, we have a school.
[00:44:26] That’s probably a five minute walk away. we drive past it every single day, twice a day, as we drive 30 minutes to the school. Wow. Where our kids go and, and it’s like, you know, so those options shrink and shrink and shrink, depending on how, you know, just, you know, each kid’s different. Right. And yeah, and I just kind of wanna acknowledge for parents.
[00:44:55] That’s really hard. And, and like you say, I, I also, I know parents who have moved into state to find a school that will better fit. And, and sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t, you know, and it’s kind of that pressure and expectation, and it’s just really damn hard and, um,
[00:45:17] Gail Post: And it’s especially hard when other people are like, what are you doing?
[00:45:20] You know, like, yeah. Why is your kids so special that you have to drive them 30 minutes as opposed to no, it’s not that they’re so special. It’s they need this to survive. Yeah. They’re not gonna thrive without
[00:45:31] Sophia Elliott: it. Yeah, absolutely. And the reality is we can’t just get that anywhere. You know, there are not enough options because it would be great not to have to drive that far, not to have to move, but that’s just those options just aren’t out there for parents and for kids, which it can only hope improve and continue to improve and yes, yes.
[00:45:57] So a really hard situation to be in and.
[00:46:01] There was something else that you’d said. And to, to be honest, I didn’t get much sleep last night talking about kids. I’ve got, oh gosh, yeah. Two sick kids and a kind of poorly, you know, so they’re all three at home today. And, uh, yeah. And so my talking about parenting, my brain is a bit like,
[00:46:20] Gail Post: uh, you’re doing great for lack of sleep.
[00:46:22] I’ll tell you, you must be used to it or something. So
[00:46:26] Sophia Elliott: yeah. No, thank you. Thank you for your patience. um, but certainly, uh, not clicking over as quickly as usual. Um, so we’re also gonna have a chat about what we might expect or how we might need to change our expectations in terms of what our child’s behavior looks like.
[00:46:49] Um, and I know, uh, like we, we stopped going out for a dinner for a very long time when we realized you did too. You
[00:47:00] Gail Post: did too,
[00:47:01] Sophia Elliott: you know, there are certain expectations, like you said earlier, when I be, you know, before I was a parent, even when I was pregnant, that first time, those kind of dreams of having family dinners and taking my kids wherever, you know, uh,
[00:47:19] Gail Post: yeah,
[00:47:20] Sophia Elliott: yeah.
[00:47:20] Throw out the window, reassess and skylight. Right. What can I expect? So how, how and why do you think it’s important that as parents now that we know we have this gifted child that we reassess those
[00:47:33] Gail Post: expectations? Well, you know, I think that in terms of behavior, certainly, and, and this is true for all children, right?
[00:47:43] I mean, some kids are just more, you know, are more energetic or more distractable or, or, uh, are more intense, but gifted kids often come with all of that, uh, in, in play. I mean, they’re, you know, they’re more, um, Intense about things. They, uh, may be rigid about things. They go by their own schedule. Their mind is distracted with what they’re most interested in.
[00:48:07] So you have to kinda work with that where you’re gonna be miserable. Right. I mean, I mean, yeah, there’s certain times when, you know, we have to go to that family dinner with your relatives, and I know you’re not looking forward to it, but you gotta just tough it out and find something to keep you occupied and get through it and, and, and deal with it because that’s what happens in life.
[00:48:28] But then there are other things that are more of an option. Like you said, going out to dinner where it’s like, well, if you know, if my kids are really young and intense and. Don’t like the color of the room, or, you know, if it’s too noisy, sensory issues, all that, like why put ourselves through that? It’s just not worth it.
[00:48:49] We’re just gonna be battling with them the whole time they’re gonna be miserable. We’re gonna be miserable. Like what can we do to make our lives easier? Cuz like when you said, you know, driving your children 30 minutes back and forth twice a day, that’s, that’s an imposition on your life. Those are two hours that you don’t have to do other things.
[00:49:09] So if that’s something that’s an additional burden, why not make other things easier. So you wanna try to make things a little bit easier and take into account there’s schedules, their distractibility, uh, Planning ahead for what’s gonna happen on, on a trip or going to an event, making sure, especially with young children, if they slept okay, if they, they have enough to eat, uh, you wanna be clear about your expectations.
[00:49:35] You wanna encourage them to, you know, if they need something to play with while they’re there or a book to read, or even if you wanna let them get on screens or something, you know, just something to keep them busy, uh, setting goals with them. And then also not forcing them to do something that’s really aversive.
[00:49:51] I think many people have had this experience and you go to some family gathering you’re expected to play with your cousin, which you can’t stand each other. Right. And your cousins mean to you. And it’s like, oh, why did you make me do that? So just being again, really attuned to your child and what they, what they might need.
[00:50:09] Sophia Elliott: absolutely. And I, and I can certainly, you know, share. Like I said before, I always had these lovely visions of family dinners. And I think growing up, you know, my life wasn’t always, uh, you know, it was just somewhat dysfunctional at time. So I had this lovely vision of my kids and we would have these family dinners and we’d sit down and eat dinner and be awesome.
[00:50:33] and it was kinda, kinda like, okay, reality check, um, what is a realistic expectation? Right. And so what family dinners look like for us at this point in time with my kids at their various ages that they are now is we sit down, I kind of have a deconstructed dinner because everyone has different sensory kind of quirks and we’ll eat this or won’t eat that.
[00:51:00] So, and then I. One child who will sit for most of the, the meal, but the other two, like every five minutes, they’re running to the lounge to jump on the huge bean bag. It’s kinda like movement break, dive on the Bean’s back to the table, then they’re back to the table and they’ll last a little bit longer.
[00:51:23] And occasionally someone will just be sitting there and suddenly fall off their chair. I’m like happen. Are you OK? So is this moving kind
[00:51:39] Gail Post: beast?
[00:51:40] Sophia Elliott: We, the goal is actually to get through dinner calmly. So we get to the end of dinner and it’s not like. Ah, and, and, but it’s just that calm, consistent. Okay.
[00:51:55] You’ve, you’ve jumped or one more jump back to the table because it’s adjusting my expectation of what is reasonable. And it’s not reasonable for me to expect those two in particular, to sit there for 20 minutes and eat what’s in front of them, regardless of what I put down there. And yeah. And I just think that’s worth sharing because it’s like
[00:52:19] Gail Post: very, I’m sure most people listening can relate to what you’re talking about.
[00:52:22] It’s really appreciate. Cause I’m sure if you’re like, oh my gosh, that’s my household. Yeah,
[00:52:27] Sophia Elliott: absolutely. Um, and it’s like, no, don’t put that on my plate, so, oh yeah, we get it all. And yeah. And I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned is. That work I have to do on myself to shift my mindset, my expectations.
[00:52:46] And I, I have to say all of my big parenting moments with my kids when things have gotten easier is not something that they’ve changed or done finally, or it’s always been when I’ve kind of shifted an expectation or a mindset, um, and approached something in a different way, uh, to, you know, in response to like you say, being attuned to my kids.
[00:53:19] And so I just wanna thank you very much for today because people are always asking, how do I have this conversation about being gifted with my child and as parents, I think we’re always doubting ourselves cuz you know that we can get judgment from other people. And I just kind of wanna give parents permission that if their child needs a movement break in the middle of dinner, that’s okay.
[00:53:48] You know, if we do go to a cafe when we don’t, we go to cafes, but we don’t tend to go out to dinner, but we will have a, we call them cafe manners or, and we’ll say, well, what’s a, what are our, we’re at a cafe? Or we’re driving to the, what are our cafe manners? And we’ll talk about what are reasonable expectations at a cafe or at a dinner or wherever we are going.
[00:54:11] We’ll just kind of name that and label it just to help set everyone’s expectations, including my own, you know? And, um, and then we know, so thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been a
[00:54:24] Gail Post: lovely, thank you for having me. I really appreciate
[00:54:26] Sophia Elliott: it. Yeah. And I look forward to. Reading your book and having you back on to talk about the book.
[00:54:33] that’s super exciting. Thank
[00:54:34] Gail Post: you. Thank you. I, I would love to, it’s very close to my heart. Uh, it’s not about my own experience, but it’s a lot of it certainly seeps in, but it’s, it’s a lot of it’s based on research. That’s out there and theories and parenting skills, but, uh, mostly about our, again, understanding ourselves so we can be there for our kids.
[00:54:56] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. And so I, before you go, I just wanna say, how do people find you get in touch with you? You’ve got a website and I will put that in the show notes. And so I know you’ve got lots of blogs there, but I have to ask, do you work over zoom or is it just in person?
[00:55:15] Gail Post: Yes, I do. So I don’t do psychotherapy internationally at this point.
[00:55:20] Um, and I, but I can, uh, see people in the United States, uh, if they’re in certain states that we have authorization to, to do that. Yep. I do parent consulting though, which is like coaching, um, internationally as well. So that’s really just helping parents kind of pull things together to figure stuff out.
[00:55:40] Uh, so I have a, my, I have my own website, which is just my name, Gale post.com. Gifted challenges is my blog site. There’s information on both of them. I also have, uh, Facebook gifted challenges page. So if you wanted to look me up, I wouldn’t recommend looking me up under my name, but under just under gifted challenges.
[00:55:59] And what I post on there are all the interesting articles I stumble across, not just my own stuff, but things I’m parenting and psychology and education and gifted ed, and just put up whatever I think is sort of interesting. And, um, I have a Twitter account also. Um, that’s gifted challenges. It’s um, gifted and C H L, and GEs.
[00:56:20] So again, I post things there as well, so, uh, feel free to reach out. Uh, and I, you know, again, I wanna thank you so much. So Sophia for having me on, on this lovely podcast, it was great talking to you. I feel like I could chat with you all day, so thank you.
[00:56:35] Sophia Elliott: thank you. I really appreciate it. And I will put all those links in the show notes so everyone can find them easily.
[00:56:41] And I thank you so much. I just love finding more people that parents have out there to draw on in terms of, you know, getting help and, and knowledge. And thank you so much for sharing so much of your wisdom today. It’s been wonderful. Thanks.