Perfectionism & Heavy Expectations – Podcast

by | Oct 22, 2020

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Perfectionism & Heavy Expectations 

Sharing Samantha’s Story

Today I’m speaking with Samantha about her gifted kids who are now all grown up.

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • Going from primary through to high school as gifted with her, now grown up, gifted kids
  • How giftedness expresses itself differently in her three children
  • The crippling effects of perfectionism
  • Different challenges of each child
  • Mental health issues and challenges of high school
  • Wanting to drop out of school
  • Hiding at school and not wanting to stand out
  • Living up to expectations of themselves and others
  • Being crippled by testing and schooling
  • Changing direction to find their happy place
  • The importance of finding peers to connect with

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quotes

“The worst moment is when you can’t help them because they are feeling do desperate and disappointed in themselves. The perfectionism is so destructive. The depression and the anxiety that goes along with this; that’s the thing that as parents we need help with the most.” – Samantha

“It was always a pleasant surprise, the things they achieved… it was lovely to be excited about what they did do.” – Samantha

“You don’t have to be what people expect you {to be} I just want you to be happy.” – Samantha

“Take each child as an individual and do what works for them.” – Samantha

Resources

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Transcript

00:00:00               I’m delighted to talk to Samantha today about her gifted girls who are all grown up and hear her story. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community. This podcast is about sharing that journey,

00:00:28               actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. It’s absolutely lovely to have you here and have a chat about you and your family. Thank you for having me. It’s really exciting.

00:00:54               As I mentioned earlier, I’m super excited to have a chat because now adult children who are gifted, a lot of the people I know closely, we’re all still in those younger years. So tell us about your family. Oh gosh. Well, I have five children in total, but the oldest one is 22 and they range in age down to nine.

...continue reading transcript here...

00:00:00               I’m delighted to talk to Samantha today about her gifted girls who are all grown up and hear her story. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community. This podcast is about sharing that journey,

00:00:28               actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. It’s absolutely lovely to have you here and have a chat about you and your family. Thank you for having me. It’s really exciting.

00:00:54               As I mentioned earlier, I’m super excited to have a chat because now adult children who are gifted, a lot of the people I know closely, we’re all still in those younger years. So tell us about your family. Oh gosh. Well, I have five children in total, but the oldest one is 22 and they range in age down to nine.

00:01:25               And my three older girls, they all showed a lot of potential quite early on as they all do. And I suppose for me with my eldest, um, when it was time for her to go to school because she wasn’t there, she wasn’t the stereotypical child that, you know, was crying and clinging to my leg and all that sort of thing.

00:01:54               She was highly independent and we turned up at school and she walked into the classrooms that Dan and said, thank you, mom, you can go now because it was almost like I wanted to clean on her hair and crying. They don’t leave me. I remember when my oldest went to school and it was, I think it was harder on me than him.

00:02:25               I’m like, okay, you can get through this without crying. I’m like talking to myself. Yeah, definitely. Um, she, she actually started school in new South Wales and you know, every state has a different, um, education system. So in new South Wales, she she’s a June baby. She was fine to start school up there,

00:02:47               but she only did one term up there, prep. And then we moved to Victoria and the age cutoff was different. So I didn’t think about that. I just thought, Oh, I’ve just got to move her into a different school. First sort of educational battle I had was actually getting her into school. Um, I had to get reports from her other school.

00:03:07               I had to go through a whole heck of rigmarole because she was younger than the age cuddle. Anyway, she, she finished prep and at the start of grade one, I was called into the school and was advised that they felt she was highly intelligent. And I actually wanted to test her to just see what sort of capabilities she had. And they’re actually wanting to take action to understand her better.

00:03:42               I must’ve been great. Look, it was, but it was also a bit scary because I never, I mean, she was always very good and she was very smart, but I had her and then I had the next one, two years later and then the next one, two years later, so I had three children, but she was the first child I had.

00:04:01               So I didn’t sort of know that she was exceptional because she was just my child. And I just thought, Oh, you know, children learn at different speeds and they all have their own abilities. So to me, she was normal, you know? Um, but anyways, so the school wanted to test her and I said, yeah, that’s fine.

00:04:29               But this is where I still didn’t feel like it, it wasn’t managed well at all because the testing I wasn’t notified of when she was being tested, I wasn’t told who was testing her house. She was being tested. They just asked me if I could. I said yes, but once again, my own ignorance of not knowing what to do or anything about this,

00:04:56               um, the test results came back. They called me into the school and the test results came back and they said it was highly unusual that they tested her in. Now this was a long time ago, so you’ll have to bear with me, but they tested her in two different areas. And one was language skills and one was mathematical reasoning. Now she tested about the 97th percentile in both areas.

00:05:23               They said, this is highly unusual. So if they, if they said we will get gifted children in one and not the other, it’s very unusual for someone to test in both. They’ve been handed me an I four yellow envelope full of brochures. And they said, read through all those brushes and they will explain your child to you. That was it.

00:05:50               That was, Oh, wow. A double whammy And a bunch of information. So were, was there ongoing conversations with the school? Did they have a plan or is it just kind of like, here you go off you go. Yeah, there was nothing, there was nothing. So, well, I, I think at the time I was in shock and so I did go home and I’ve got all this information.

00:06:26               They’ve given me all these brochures and I read through, you know, like there was information there on personality traits of gifted children. I think about that. And I was like, Oh yes, she’s ticking all those boxes, you know, the way her personalities and all that sort of thing. I think I relied a lot on the school to just do what needed to be done for her,

00:06:52               because I didn’t know any difference. Certainly didn’t know anybody else in this situation. And, um, and cause, cause I’m old, there was no internet or anything. Oh my goodness. Ah, okay. Now I’m really feeling your pain because obviously the first thing you do these days is you get on the internet and you Google like to all hours of the morning and then there’s at least more information out there rather than just a handful of brochures in an envelope.

00:07:20               So it must’ve been really isolating. You must have felt really alertness. Well, it is because it was like, you know, you’re friends with other moms and this is just no Mary public promise school, you know that and everyday school and it’s very difficult because I didn’t want to make it hard for her. So I never spoke to anybody about it because I had these preconceived ideas about what other parents would say,

00:07:51               what they would think. I didn’t want her treated differently In that initial moment. So did the school then cater for what she needed or because I’m, I’m looking at this now because you know, we’re talking about an older child, you’ve obviously been through your educational journey in terms of primary school and high school. So over those years, um, did she get the support she needed?

00:08:19               Was she able to learn the way that she needed to learn? She, she went through primary school pretty well. The frustrating thing is that that list of personality traits, because I had two more children after that, the personality traits, I would have to say with the biggest stereotype about, because two children don’t fit into what they say the child fits into,

00:08:53               But it was that express itself Differently. Yes. The personalities are all different. They’re all highly individual. So I think, I think that because she fitted neatly into what they said, she was, I think that’s where I sort of thought, Oh, okay. They know what they’re talking about. And they’ll just do with her, what needs to be done?

00:09:16               It wasn’t until a couple of years later, I moved to a different location and changed schools that was when the introduction of a little bit of the individual learning plans and things like that started to come along. But for the first few years she was just, you know, normal class, normal work, normal everything. So, okay. So she wasn’t sort of accelerated,

00:09:45               she was just in amongst with her peers. Yes. Yes, she was. She did, but I think that was helped, uh, because I was, I encouraged her into, um, to do other things and we did extracurriculars. So, you know, she wanted to try dancing. She did that. She, um, she was very much into music and did singing and folk.

00:10:13               She had these other outlets outside of school and I think it might have been different if she didn’t have that. So she was able to sort of dive deep in the outside of school hours and things that really interest her. And she’s kind of got by in terms of what she was learning at school and sort of filling those needs. Yeah. Yeah. But,

00:10:37               um, yeah, the next primary school she went to, you know, and as she got into the second half of primary school, it was a bit different, you know, a couple of years have gone by and, you know, cause the first school she was at with a smaller country school and now we’ve moved into a suburban school. So I don’t know how much of a difference that made,

00:10:58               you know, in terms of what it’s like generally for country schools. But yes, it was, um, like a said, they’d started doing individual learning plans for her and things like that and sort of concentrated a little bit more on her abilities as she went through this next climb with school. And did that continue when she moved to high school, luckily the primary school that she went to fit into a high school that was running the government high achievers program.

00:11:32               So she, she set the entrance for that and got into that. And I’m not confident. I don’t know. I think I felt a little bit guilty because I was always a bit surprised. She always surprise me about how well she did and she shouldn’t have really, but I don’t know, I suppose in trying to keep it grounded, always keep myself grounded as a parent and never tried to expect too much from her.

00:11:57               Cause I felt like there was already enough people sort of doing that for her. Do you think that there was expectations on her that maybe wouldn’t weren’t on other kids? I think there was, I think because the teachers knew that she was quite smart, so there wasn’t an expectation that she would always do things very, very well. Yeah. And how did that go?

00:12:21               That, that was a positive thing for her. Like it could have been treated as a negative thing, but for her it was a positive experience. It wasn’t. Yeah. Right. So out of that, she actually got the stretch that she needed. Yes. Yeah, yeah. It could have gone the other way if it had been, if,

00:12:40               if the teachers that she had had been negative towards her being smart, because, you know, she has a very, very well developed sense of right. And wrong always has done and will stand up. And if she doesn’t think someone’s right, including a teacher, As you can imagine the promise school, you know, there are teachers that don’t like that.

00:13:08               Yeah. I certainly know in my family that, yeah, it can be an interesting place for an adult to be and how people respond to that is always interesting as well. And sometimes not always great. Yes. Yeah. So, um, so I think she was lucky that she didn’t have people that push that doubt, you know, they accepted it.

00:13:32               And so she went, she went on and did the high achievers program at high school for a couple of years. And then where we look here in Victoria, uh, they built a secondary school for higher education and give to children. So it was, uh, if I call them, I don’t know what they call them elsewhere, but in Victoria they select entry school.

00:13:57               So you go and sit and entrance tests and you’re offered a place at this school. So there was one built locally. So she, you know, and hidden merit. She was the one that came, came home. She was the one that got all the information and found out what she had to do. And she came home and she said, you know,

00:14:15               she was wanting to go and sit the test for this school when I really didn’t know anything about it, but she did. And she got accepted there. So in year nine she went off and she went to Knoxville high school and, and that was the best thing she could have done, I think. Yeah, absolutely. It sounds amazing that you’ve had that on your doorstep available to her and,

00:14:36               and I love her motivation. She, you know, she’d sort of sussed it out. Was she always very motivated and independent in that way? Yes. Yes. She’s uh, she knows what she wants and she goes looking for what she wants and what she needs and finds it for. So You mentioned your other two are also gifted, but in a different way or it looks different for you.

00:15:00               It does look different because then the next child is the problem we had with her all through primary school. Is that her sense of perfectionism was so, and, and still is to be honest, she’s 20 now, but it’s still is. So she has to get things so perfect that she often doesn’t complete things. So all through primary school, I’d go in for my parent teacher interviews and they would say,

00:15:30               we know your daughter is very, very smart, but we can’t assist her because she doesn’t finish anything. That’s okay. Yeah. So that, that was, was hard. And it’s the same at that’s been assigned to her. I mean, she’s in university now, but, um, it’s been long, constant battle, but turtle, totally different personality type,

00:15:53               very quiet, very introverted. Um, I mean she has her, she has, her group has people that she socializes with, but, um, but yeah, she’s not outspoken and forthright or anything like that. She does not, she’s almost like the first ones opposite in personality. And I think this is the thing, certainly that I find like,

00:16:17               uh, I’ve got three children as well, and they’re all very different. And honestly, if my first is a very kind of interface gifted, he ticks all the boxes, uh, you know, in terms of the stereotypes. But my second is far more subtle. And I, I honestly think that had my first not gone through that process and been so easily just kind of spot,

00:16:41               uh, she may never have got picked up, like, because the, it doesn’t express itself in the extroverted way that it expresses itself in my son, you know, it’s far more subtle. Yeah, Absolutely. And I feel bad for all the children, lucky faith that they, they, the ones that will fall between the cracks, because this is why I think it’s so important to talk about this packet of information that I got that said your child is gifted and they will accept exhibit X,

00:17:11               Y said, personality traits. And this is how we recognize them and how wrong is that. That’s not what they look like. Yeah. It’s far more complicated than that. Isn’t it? It is absolutely. And then learn differently and yeah, it’s, it’s certainly not a one size fits all situation. Absolutely not. And I think that makes it even more challenging to communicate with the rest of the world about what is gifted,

00:17:39               what does it look like? How do we know, what do they need? How do we support them when it’s well, it’s, you know, it’s like any other group of children, well, they’re all different, you know? Yeah. Learn in a different way and they need certain support. And there are some, some threads like perfectionism is,

00:17:56               can be very crippling for, for gifted kids that fear of failure because they are so bright, they things come easily to them. And so when they have to actually confront something, that’s hard, they’re just not used to it. They don’t have that toolbox of, I dunno, is it resilience that they can turn to, or just maybe practice of doing things that are hard That really manifests itself when they get to high school,

00:18:28               because on top of everything else that teenagers deal with, um, a lot of them haven’t had to face anything very much. Like you say, at the, you know, the learning, unless the challenge, the learnings come easily to them. They’ve, um, you know, they’ve, they’ve been okay all through primary school that haven’t been challenged intellectually,

00:18:50               then they get to high school and, you know, even the, the way you mix socially and everything sort of changes in high school. And then people are a lot more aware in high school. So then you start to face, well, actually it happens in primary school now where the kids are facing the bullying, if they’re being too smart and all that sort of things.

00:19:12               So When your children went through that high school phase, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s sort of not an option, not to turn things in. So they’ve got to do, was your daughter able to learn how to manage that perfectionism or did she always struggle with that? Well, it was actually the third one that has absolutely struggled with that the most.

00:19:35               Um, and she, she went from primary school into, um, a high treatise program. And I remember actually when she set the test for entrance into the program at the secondary school that she was. So to I, when I went in for the interview with the principal, they actually said they had never had anybody test so highly. And they were really excited to get her into the school.

00:19:59               You know? So that was, that was, that felt pretty good, you know, to be told, Oh, it’s really sad. And tell you that the next 18 months with her would have to be the absolute worst experience as a parent I’ve ever had. Well, she did not transition to high school. Well at all, she did not perform at all.

00:20:27               She wasn’t doing work. She was disruptive. She really, really, you know, applied up in call, did not do any work. She would call me from school. Let’s just say, it’s I, I’m not exaggerating. When I say four out of five days a week, I would get a phone call from school, um, me to come and pick her up because she was not,

00:20:52               well, this is her calling me. I’m not, well, I have a headache, constant anxiety. Um, you know, and, and it started with phone calls after getting to school to the point where then I couldn’t get her out of bed to get her to go to school. And it was, it was just a constant battle with her.

00:21:12               She hated it so much. She did not want to be in the program. She did not want to be under any sort of spotlight at all, where that was coming from. I mean, it sounds absolutely awful for her and it must have been really, really difficult for you. It was an awful experience. And what made it worse? I spoke to the school numerous times.

00:21:39               I said, can I get her to see Capitola, anything at the school when no help. Um, once it was difficult, they just, they didn’t know what to do or they just, I look, I really don’t know. I was so frustrated with the way it was all managed. She was just, she was literally just too hard, too much work.

00:22:09               Um, the school didn’t offer any sort of counseling or anything. So they’re like, no, that’s not our problem. You go and see your GP, you go and find a counselor yourself. Um, and then, you know, so I tried to do the right thing and I did go to the GP and I got a mental health plan. And,

00:22:31               you know, I took her to a couple of different counselors over the years. Um, but she refused to talk. Um, our member are calling kids helplines and all sorts of depression, hotlines everything, and bringing people, anyone I could think of to say, what can I do to help this child? And nobody could give me any answers. And all I was told was you cannot force her to do anything.

00:23:03               If she does not want to go to a counselor, you cannot force her. I’m like, so what do you do with somebody? Like, am I supposed as a parent? You’re telling me I’m powerless, do anything until, you know, she becomes suicidal or attempt suicide or something like that. And then I will get some sort of help. And until then I can’t make her do anything.

00:23:28               And she’s a teenager who doesn’t know what’s best for her. Yeah. It was immensely frustrating. Let my stomach’s churning just thinking about that situation, force someone to talk and Hear, you know, you can’t force someone to kind of do anything that I don’t want to do. So how did it, did it get better since school get better? So,

00:23:58               So, um, I ended up, I moved her to a different school and it was, it was just an ordinary high school. She was not in any conduct program. Um, she became so overwhelmed constantly. If she could not do something 100%, if she was trying to do anything less than perfection, she would not attempt it Well. So Boiled down to I’m down to just absolute crippling perfectionism.

00:24:33               Yes, absolutely. So The head of the new school go, I went to this school, I had an interview with the principal and I said, look, this is what’s happening with my daughter. I was very upfront. And I said, you know, she’s, she’s not behaving the way she should. She doesn’t participate. I told her, I said,

00:24:55               she’s very intelligent, but this is just isn’t working for her. But I’ll move to, to a school that had ink in house canceling or said, you know, she doesn’t, she doesn’t want to stand out in class. She is going to hide. So she needs a lot of nurturing and everything, and a lot of encouragement to try things, you know,

00:25:17               because you get to the point in high school where like, everything is new, everything is learning. So we do debilitated by if I can’t do that a hundred percent perfectly the first time, then I’m not going to do it. That makes it really, really hard. We, yeah, absolutely. You don’t even get to put your foot in the water really.

00:25:39               Do. He sort of stopped right from the beginning. So how did they end up going, how did the school respond? The school has been really, really good. And she, she just finished year 12 last year, um, Like a very long hop. Right. And you know what, she did not even want to do your 12, you know,

00:25:59               in, in your 11th. She’s like, I want to drop out of school, drop out of school. I can’t do it. She, um, yeah. At an age yet that she’s reflecting on that or is she still very much in the thick of it just having finished grade 12? Like does she, I don’t know. I’m just trying to imagine what it’s like to be.

00:26:21               So, so bright, like off the chance, bright and yet, so unable to participate in the world. Yeah. Well, she, um, it’s difficult because I feel like with her being so unable to open yourself up to experience and looking a bit silly or, or not looking, you know, totally intelligent because you aren’t good at something or you potentially might,

00:26:55               and this is a thing it’s not that she’s not good at things, but in her head potentially, she might not be as good as to what she wants to be. So don’t go near that. But couple that we’ve a person who doesn’t know what they want to be, and you spend your whole entire education being told, you’re really smart. You can do this,

00:27:18               you can do that. You can be anything you want like that in belt. It’s overwhelming. So it’s is that sense of expectation being really overwhelming and, and having to live up to that. So you don’t even want to try it cause you might make a mistake and let yourself down or let other people’s expectations down. It’s hard. Isn’t it Very,

00:27:42               very, very hot. Yeah. And so she’s finished grade 12 that must’ve fell on that thing. And does she have some direction she’s just taking a bit of time out. Where, how is she going now Taking a little bit of Tom and, um, you know, she, um, it was a big thing for her to even apply to university and particularly because she was adamant,

00:28:09               she didn’t want to go, she was done with being educated. She, she, she feels, it feels like the whole process of learning and then being tested that, that testing part crippled her. Um, yeah, very, very difficult. But no, she, um, she’s taking the time she needs now to just figure out who she is and what she wants for herself.

00:28:32               So she’s deferred genie, which is absolutely fun. And also to hear, you know, if you need not the right place for you, then don’t go, you’ve got to make decisions feel locked now. So I understand one of your other girls. I mean, when they finished school were on a particular direction and then actually shift and ended up doing something creative,

00:28:58               That was my eldest. Um, I kind of feel like she went to primary school and they had career day. She came to be, if it’s morning. And she says to me, mom, we have to dress up like what we want to be when we grow up. And I’m like, excellent. What do you want to be? And she said,

00:29:17               well, what does the director where I don’t know. I said, what’s made the movie director. What do they wear? Anything that you would have mentioned your child would sound like, honestly, I don’t know. I’m sure it’s going high school. I think she sort of, she had that expectation on her that, you know, all you’re very smart.

00:29:47               You could go into law and all this sort of stuff. So, and honestly, she was so good at arguing her point. She could be a brilliant lawyer and she would understand that not only are they good at arguing the point, but they’ve actually got the facts and the knowledge to back it all up. Oh, absolutely. If they choose to,

00:30:10               they can run rings around. It’s very, very challenging to just say, because I said, sorry. Yeah. When I, yes. When I have those conversations, particularly with my eldest, cause he is very reasonable. It usually goes along the lines of like, I need you to do this thing. This is why I need you to do it.

00:30:32               Um, and just to map out that it’s a completely reasonable request and you know, and it’s helped me because I, you know, I’ve got to do this and that, and I’ve got to kind of unpack it. And, but to be fair, even if it’s something he really doesn’t want to do, if I unpack it like that and he can see that it’s completely reasonable,

00:30:51               he’ll be like, Oh, all right then, because I’ve managed to, you know, um, but yeah, because their brains just work differently. I don’t know. I don’t get away with, um, you know, because it just doesn’t work. I know. But when you, when that’s all you’ve got left and it, Yeah. Oh yeah.

00:31:13               For me, it’s usually all mommies in the red approaching the red zone. I’m in the orange zone. I’m feeling quite frustrated. I’m tired and I need your help. I need you just to do this for me, but it’s just like, okay, this is where we’re at, but okay. So, Oh, let, you’ve just had this amazing journey with your three beautiful kids and,

00:31:37               and you know, it’s still, you know, you obviously still you still on that journey. And so I don’t know as a parent, if you, if he kind of looking that, what were the highs and lows for you? Goodness, may I think there are, there are a lot of highs because like I say, I don’t, even though I knew that they weren’t very intelligent.

00:32:09               Um, it was always a pleasant surprise, the things that they achieved. So I don’t think I ever put my own eyes, they might feel differently. I don’t feel like I ever had these great, impossible expectations of them because the education system was saying to me, your child is this, your child should be doing that. I don’t think I ever did that.

00:32:36               So it was lovely to just, you know, be excited about what they do. I think for me, those highs, you know, on a daily basis, it’s just the stuff they come out with. It’s just this turn of phrase or observations, kind of look at them, what’s going on in their brain amazed. Cause I think there’s a big difference between being intelligent and being wise.

00:33:06               And I think when they’re gifted, they, it comes with this wisdom, you know, the way that they can interpret observations and things like that. So yeah, Yeah. That must be what makes it really hard, I think as well. Yeah. Yeah. I remember when my eldest probably was only about five, which would have made my middle child three and I think I must’ve had,

00:33:35               you know, the youngest is a one year old trying to get, get them off to school. You know, school and preschool in the morning was always fun out the door at that age. And one morning I was just kinda like, Oh, you know, it’s been a hard morning. I probably haven’t slept, I didn’t sleep for like seven years.

00:33:53               And I just, as I pulled the car door close, it’s one of those ones, you know, roll the door. I probably just closed it, not quite slim, but just a bit more forceful than necessary just to kind of get that, you know, out of my system, my five year old turned to my three year old and go,

00:34:18               she does that in that moment. I just have like, I feel like he’s fumbling and he’s only five. Yes, yes. They do call you out. Don’t they? So how are you girls going now? But I think What was that about some artists and look the most important thing for me as their mother was always trying to say to them that whatever you choose to do and you need to,

00:35:02               as long as you’re happy, then that’s okay. You don’t have to be what people expect you to. I just want you to be happy. So when she mentioned the oldest one went to university, but then, um, started that she was gonna pursue a different career. Cause she was doing a vertical degree in Canberra. So she was doing, I kind of remember it was economics in two other majors.

00:35:27               So there were three majors in this degree, but no, she’s, um, she’s gone down the path of the creative now and she’s exceptionally talented. So, but the thing is that that’s what makes her happy. She wouldn’t have been happy. She’d done what was expected of society and being a lawyer or something like that. She wouldn’t have been the same person.

00:35:52               Yeah. And that’s the thing, it’s an, um, it’s just, you just want them to be happy. Yeah. So what were the, we kind of glossed over there? What were some of the challenges, you know, of, um, having gifted kids and getting through those years? Oh look, the worst moments when you can’t help them because they start feeling so desperate and they get so disappointed in themselves that perfection they feel is so disruptive.

00:36:32               It really? Um, so yes, the depression and the anxiety that goes along with this, that’s the thing that I think as parents, we need help with the most. Yeah. I completely agree. I mean, thankfully I think, you know, my kids now are in a school that understands them. And so I feel very much that academically they’re looked after and they’re going to get what they need.

00:37:03               But so for me, it’s how do I help them navigate, you know, good mental health, you know, we’ve already had, my son was for a short period, thankfully, but very much depressed. And he was only five and that scared the life out of me. And, and so it’s like, how can I help them understand that?

00:37:29               Yeah. I just, all they need to do in life is be happy and love what they’re doing and happy with themselves. And that’s a challenge cause we didn’t even as, as adults, without those extra challenges of being highly profoundly gifted and you know, that’s a hard enough thing for us all to do on an everyday basis. Isn’t it? You know?

00:37:51               Yeah. Yeah. Because I think true particularly when they’re younger, when they’re in primary school, um, there’s a great sense of frustration in finding somebody that they can communicate with in the way they need to communicate and to talk about the things that they need to talk about, to have peers that I can have those conversations with and feel normal about it is really,

00:38:17               really important. Yeah. And then that can be really challenging. It can bake because if they’re, if the education system isn’t facilitating things, hubs where these children can congregate, then yeah. That’s, that’s where they feeling like they’re different and they’re sending out and they’re potentially getting ostracized and bullied and yeah. Yeah. I’m really interested in this idea and I’ve come across it a few times in my own journey with my kids that,

00:38:48               um, like a school has said to me, you know, we don’t want to accelerate them because we’re concerned about their social, emotional wellbeing. And um, and I was like, have you not looked at my son? He’s trying to connect any connect. Like, you know, he might be in a classroom with kids one or two years older or whatever,

00:39:09               but you might be able to connect with them. You know, the lots of point of being with his same age peers, if he can’t connect, you know, if he can’t find someone there who speaks the same language. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. You know, and just, and an example of that is my son who was able to speak quite well when he was quite young and he was in daycare when I was at work.

00:39:36               And I was very thankful that the coordinator at the daycare center recognized his language abilities. And she kept saying to me, I’m putting him up into the next age bracket because his sense of frustration with little ones and we’re talking, I mean, this is a stake here. So we’re talking like when he was in the room with under two year olds, he’s this little boy who is getting really frustrated and he started pushing other kids.

00:40:07               And during that sort of thing, you know, because he was not two yet himself didn’t know how to deal with it. But his frustration was that he could verbally communicate. And these other children that were the same age as him, 18 months to two years, they weren’t able to communicate with him in the same way. So I have to put him with the older ones because he needs to be able to communicate.

00:40:35               Absolutely. I mean, then that’s an extreme example because the younger ones in that situation, aren’t, you know, aren’t even probably quite talking and he’s obviously capable of more sophisticated language, but, but that just carries through, I think, you know, and, and just because you know, your five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10,

00:40:56               you may still have a different language to the kids around you. You know, if you’re wanted, if you want to deep dive and talk to someone about the periodic table and someone else has never heard of it, well, then you’re gonna struggle to connect aren’t you? Absolutely. Absolutely. I, um, I find it fascinating. I’m like hates this system that we have in this country that is purely age based average because there are so many fantastic education models over overseas in places like Europe that will focus on ability and rather than age and,

00:41:31               and focus on different learning rather than HR. I think we, you know, we make a huge mistake, just putting people in this you’re five that meant you’re in this grade. And you’re 12. That means you now have to go to high school and, and DBS it’s wrong. It’s very wrong Example that the principal at my son’s school always uses is,

00:41:53               um, you know, we may as well group kids by this, you know, in groups by the size of their shoe because, you know, they’re all so different. It needs to be about where they’re at. And they might be at different places all over the place, you know, but you know, they need, some kids are going to be more extreme examples than others,

00:42:11               but they need to be able to learn in the way they need to be able to learn. I feel very lucky that we’ve found the school where my kids go to Dara, where they do understand that and differentiate in that way. But, but yeah, it is, you know, it is an exception, not the rule. And I think it,

00:42:30               yeah, it needs to shift. Doesn’t it worry about where my kids will go when it comes to high school, I’m doing high school by then. Have you got any advice for parents who have yet to enter the teenage years? Goodness, me, I’ve been asked a lot about why I sent my kids to all different schools. Cause people thought I was insane of five children,

00:42:57               all going to five different places every day. And you’re insane, but yeah, I think take each child as an individual and, and work with what’s going to work for them because do you know what the hard work I did was just driving around all the time, but that’s what you’ll do as a parent. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I certainly feel that like last year we were doing through three different drop-offs because that’s what we needed to do.

00:43:34               Yeah. But you just get on with it and do it for them because they can always fight for themselves. You know, if you think you’ve got to push your child to getting to one place or another, then you should do that. But I think I’m very good at accepting things I’m told if it doesn’t sit right. Yep. Yep. Yep.

00:44:00               And I’m going to find it. Yeah. So thank you so much for that conversation today. It’s been really interesting to listen to you talk about your kids and in particularly those teenage years and, and just to have that conversation around perfectionism, because I feel like, you know, and I was, I was at a, was it a doctor with one with my son,

00:44:25               my youngest and I was talking about this particular issue. And I said, look is most likely, which means he may be accommodating. And you know, we might not be seeing it as bad as it might be. You know, he might be accommodating to that because he could be capable of that. So I just want to bear that in mind.

00:44:44               And the doctor’s response was, Oh, well, you know, gifted kids, I wish my kids are gifted and I didn’t kind of respond to that because I’m never quite sure because what I want to say to that is first of all, they just are who they are. And secondly, our idea of as a community about or gifted ears is so narrow.

00:45:05               I think people understand it just to be these high achieving kids who never have a worry in life and you don’t need to worry about them going to be fine. They’re going to achieve, they’re going to be, do whatever they’re going to do. They don’t need help. Then the reality is far from that, you know, they’re, they’ve got real challenges and there are real challenges in parenting.

00:45:28               And, you know, and I think perfectionism is a classic example of how debilitating it can be and challenging for themselves. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s fair enough. It’s hard enough figuring out what you want. Well, I, you know, I really do wish your, your daughters all the best in all your kids and, um, and yeah,

00:46:01               just happiness in the future, whatever they choose to do. So thank you so much for that. I really appreciate the chat. Yeah. And just sharing your story. So that’s lovely. Thanks. Cheers. Bye. If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes.

Written By OurGiftedKids

We want to provide a space where parents of gifted kids can talk freely about the challenges of parenting and their child's issues and achievements. We want to celebrate our community as well as prop each other up.

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