Are your kids gifted?
Do you find yourself in awkward conversations where you just don’t want to admit it?
Well, you’re not alone.
It’s not an easy conversation because there is a real taboo about having gifted kids.
All children are without a doubt, a gift but not all kids are gifted.
The taboo I feel is that somehow by saying that my child is gifted, it devalues someone else’s child who is not gifted; that comes from a misunderstanding about what giftedness is.
Giftedness is being neurologically different and experiencing the world in a different more intense way, with many challenges, and yes this typically means learning quickly and excelling in some areas. However, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, whether you are typical or atypical, and it certainly doesn’t make us more or less than someone else.
By not talking about it we’re admitting the shame and unfortunately, our kids feel that shame, that’s it’s not ok to be gifted, we shouldn’t talk about it, there’s something about me that is not ok to talk about with others. ☹
The problem is that we are putting other people’s discomfort over being proud and confident about our kids and openly accepting of who they are.
And don’t get me wrong, our discomfort in having those conversations as well!
But what message is that sending to our kids?
So what can you say in those awkward moments?
Over the last year I’ve had to fess up to having gifted kids many times throughout the journey of building Our Gifted Kids, and believe me, I wasn’t immune to feeling the shame, I just had to do it, I had no other choice. But what I learned was really interesting…
Every time I opened my mouth and said, “Hi, I’m Sophia, I have three gifted kids and I’m creating a support network for parents of gifted kids” (as I sunk into my chair and tried to hide behind someone!!) just about every time there was someone there who said…
“Oh, my grandson’s gifted.” That was at a lunch that my folks had.
“My child is gifted.” That was at a workshop – from the presenter.
“My kids are gifted, they’re grown up now.” That was at a leadership program.
“I recently found this old school report, I think I’m gifted – can we talk?”
Gifted people statistically make up 10% of the population, they are out there, we just don’t talk about it.
And we need to talk about it.
So, try some of these alternatives, put your toes into the water as you build the bravery muscle (took me about a year – now I don’t care what other people think):
My kids are atypical, their strengths are…
My kids are asynchronous, that means in some things they are age appropriate and in others they are not.
My kids are neuro diverse, their brains are wired a bit differently, so they learn quickly in some areas and are age appropriate in others.
My kids are gifted, which means their brains are wired differently, gifted kids often learn really quickly but also process the world quickly, so they can get overwhelmed by their senses and emotions. My kids love… and we work on…
My kids are not typical, they are gifted, which probably makes you think of Sheldon Cooper or Dougie Howser but that’s a stereotype, in reality, their brains are wired differently so they process the world faster, this can mean they learn quickly but also can get overwhelmed by emotions and senses.
Or just… My kids are gifted. (We’re not always responsible for educating the world, let them think what they want to think).
The trick is doing it in a way that builds your child up and doesn’t tear them down, we often end with… “but they’re really crap at…” and inserting whatever their weaknesses are because of the taboo about their strengths.
It can be hard to feel like you don’t need to do that. The misunderstanding is that gifted kids don’t have weaknesses and us parents know they do!
I balance the need to educate people that gifted kids have weaknesses with not tearing my children down in the eyes of others by being generic, “we all have strengths and weaknesses, my kids are no exception to that.”
You got this!
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