#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

In this episode, I talk about my own story discovering my children are gifted and how that ended in the creation of Our Gifted Kids and the community we’re building!

“Parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers… you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is.” – Sophia

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Sophia: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome  I’m absolutely delighted to be starting this podcast. My name is Sophia Elliot, and I am a parent of three gifted children. And the whole reason behind this podcast is that I want to talk to other parents like yourself or, educators or policy makers about gifted kids.

[00:00:20] And I think it’s really important because I think there’s a lot of myths and taboo’s and misunderstandings about what it is to be gifted and what it’s like to parent a gifted child and how gifted children learn and what are the consequences of their different way of learning for education. And a lot of what I’ll be talking about will be based on my own experiences as a parent and also the experiences of the many other parents that I’ve met and the challenges and journeys that they’ve had with their children.

[00:00:54] And I think that it can be a very, very  isolating experience being a parent of a gifted child, because you feel, disconnected or you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is, and part of this podcast and a part of our website is all about bringing that community together so that we can support each other.

[00:01:24] I want to be able to help parents to access resources. Online and people and conversations and other parents so that together we can support our children to be happy to get the education that they need, and we can support each other in parenting and along the way, hopefully we can improve the education options for our children and we can help even policy makers make better policies around gifted education.

[00:01:59] So today I just want to tell you a little bit about myself. I want to tell you about how I’ve ended up on this journey and just talk about what’s coming in the future. As I said, my husband and I have three gifted children. We didn’t know that we were going to have three gifted children. It was very much unexpected.

[00:02:21] Like I think it is for a lot of people. My oldest son was five when he was assessed and we found out that he was gifted. Despite having been engaged with a school through toddler, class and preschool, and then reception at no point had an educator at any point said to us he’s a little bit different or he’s particularly good at these areas or indicated in any way that he was different from his peers.

[00:02:56] Which made things a lot harder, because I think as a parent, you rely on your children’s educators to help you fill in some gaps ,  I know my own kids, but  I don’t teach. I’m not surrounded by  kids of similar ages.  To understand what normal looks like. For me, my kids are normal. They’re my normal kids. But within the scheme of things, they are different from their peers. And so I think as a parent, I was relying on their educators to maybe indicate that something was a little bit outside the box.

[00:03:35] And so. My son had started reception early just due to his date of birth for no other reason. The school had mid-year entry and he was accepted for mid-year entry because he was born earlier in the year. So he was five and a half when he started reception or no five. He was five. And he just dove into it.

[00:04:02] He was obviously ready for it. He couldn’t read before he went into reception. But within six months he was really smashing it within nine months. He was reading at like a grade two level, I think within 12 to 15 months he was reading at grade three or four level and I think shortly after that, he was just considered an independent reader and, I don’t have an education background.

[00:04:34] So initially, none of that made a whole lot of sense to me or not then to make sense, but I really didn’t understand the significance. He would get sent home with readers. There was numbers. It was only after. A few months that another parent had said to me, all those numbers are the reading level they’re at.

[00:04:56] And by the end of the reception, they should be, I think it was at level eight by the end of 12 months. And it was only, must’ve been termed two and he was already at level 12 and I thought, Oh, that’s interesting. And he just kind of shot up from there. But that wasn’t the big kicker for us. It wasn’t the big red flag.

[00:05:19]What happened after his first two terms at reception was he got depressed. He had always been he’s an extrovert and he had always been delightful, just delightful, describes him to a T just a delightful kid. And all of a sudden, he lost his joy for life. And when I say that, I mean, it, he like for weeks he could not find joy in life.

[00:05:48] He was not laughing. He was not smiling. He was not being silly. Like five-year-olds do, he was depressed. He was unhappy. He had no joy and that scared the hell out of me. It was incredibly frightening. And around the same time, what we also saw of course, was some behavior changes from our delightful, happy boy to angry, frustrated short tempered, hounding on his sibling.

[00:06:19]It just was not a pretty place to be. But on top of that, he would come home from school. And he would read and not just read, he would devour books. He would like just absorb them, inhale them. And he would come home from school and he would just read flat strap for four or five hours and then go to bed late.

[00:06:40]And obviously as a parent, you’re like, okay, number one, we don’t want you to go to bed that late, but. But it was just, there was no fighting it. He needed this. It was like he was at school all day. And I think he learned at school just to play. So what he got from school was playing and then he would come home to learn.

[00:07:00]And he was into space by this stage. He’d had some other loves earlier on, he was into the human body and he was into maps for a while and different things. But at this point he was really into space and. And the periodic table and planets and all that sort of stuff. And so he would just come home and devour books.

[00:07:19] And of course the books got more and more sophisticated. They started off being like flip books about planets and things, but they ended up being just books on space that

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you might read yourself as an adult. And so one of our friends. Who was a teacher, although not, she was doing something else.

[00:07:40] She wasn’t actually teaching at that time, but she’d been trained in the UK. And apparently in the UK, they do a bit more work around training teachers to identify gifted kids. And so it was actually her who said to us you know, he’s gifted. Right. And we were kind of like, no, really? What does that mean?

[00:08:00] And really you think so we were kind of pulling our hair out by this point anyway. So we made the investment to get a psychological assessment and it is an investment. It was like $800 – $900, which is a lot of money for any family to, to pull together. So we went through the assessment process and I will never forget.

[00:08:22] I’m sitting down with that psych and my husband and getting the news that. He’s not just gifted. He was like super high. And, and it was kind of like when you get news that you actually can’t comprehend, you don’t, can’t comprehend it and you don’t really know what it means, and it’s quite overwhelming.

[00:08:40] And, and we just sat there trying to take it in from the psych, but really not knowing what the hell it meant. And we drove home. And at various times we were both laughing and crying because it was quite overwhelming. And we were like, what the hell do we do now? And the report from the psychologist had been really great because there were various recommendations with, okay, next step must be that we take that back to the school and they help us. Except we took it back to the school and the school. Were just not interested, despite having this document from a professional, an expert in identifying gifted children, that would just not interested. My grandmother may as well have written that for all they cared.

[00:09:30]And so part of the recommendations was acceleration. He was obviously ready. And capable of much more than reception. And as a parent, I was thinking he’s actually done 12 months of reception because he started early it’s midway through the year. And this particular school did midway entry.

[00:09:50] So some of his classmates because of their age had already, we’re moving up to grade one. And so we thought he’s already turned six. It seems reasonable that he would be accelerated into grade one now. And it was actually a grade one to three composite class which made it even better because I thought at least then whether he’s doing grade one work, grade two work or grade three work, you’re, they’re all in the same class.

[00:10:18] Surely that’s just going to make it easier for the teachers and better for him. Like it, to me, it just seemed like this great result. And it was clearly what he needed because he was not in a good place. Except when we spoke to the school, they refuse to accelerate him. And this is by six months. It’s not like I was asking for a whole grade skip or two grade skips.

[00:10:42]This was a six month shift within a framework where that already,a mid year shift was already happening with other kids and they refused it on the basis that his handwriting was only age appropriate. And they were concerned about his social, emotional wellbeing of not being with his classmates, which just dumbfounded me because.

[00:11:10] A, his classmates, some of them were moving up, so as far as he was concerned. He was going with them. He didn’t, he was like, I’m six, I’m going to go with them now. Right. And I had to explain to him that he wasn’t, he didn’t get it. And frankly, I didn’t get it either. And like, okay, his handwriting might be age appropriate, but he’s reading at like grade three level, what are you going to do for that?

[00:11:34] And, the best they could come up with was one hour a week. He could go sit with the other class, and the teacher had even said to me, prior to this, we’re struggling to find books for him that are appropriate because he’s young, but he’s reading at this advanced level and they just refuse to work with us.

[00:11:53] And even in that process, the deputy actually said, look, maybe you need to look around at other schools that will be a better fit for you. She actually said to me, at this school we really value our students experiencing life. We want them to, and I will never forget this. We want them to hold a rock and feel the rock can experience the rock and know that it’s a rock.

[00:12:17] And I’m just feeling like I’m in the Twilight zone. And I didn’t say this, but I’m thinking my son could probably tell you what elements are in that rock. Cause he loves the periodic table. Last week my son had said to me, he wanted to go to the sun and with two buckets of hydrogen, to collect hydrogen so he could bring it back with mixed with the oxygen to make water. I’m like he was well beyond holding a rock and understanding it was a rock he’s got that he needs to move on to something else. So the psychologist, what she said to us was. He learns really quickly. He, she described it as this funnel like we know a bottle, so we’ve all we all got this bottle and all the information goes in the top of the bottle.

[00:13:03] And some people have a really wide top and they can take a lot of information very quickly and retain it. And everyone’s a bit different. Some people their, the bottle’s hole is smaller. So they’re going to learn a little bit slower than the other person with the bigger hole or opening. I hope that makes sense.

[00:13:29] Well, that’s how she described it. And so for him, he’s opening his, is this, this big open bottle and everything’s pouring in, but he’s cool with that. He’s like, yep. Got it. Got it. No worries. Let’s move on to the next thing. He’s got this amazing memory. He’s going to learn fast. He’s going to remember.

[00:13:48] He doesn’t need to learn things over and over again. He’s probably good at the first time. So what he’d been experiencing reception was, and someone had described this to me at the time when you’re learning, particularly how to read, a teacher might go over something up to 30 times within that journey of learning that particular content and in different ways, but they said your son probably got it the second time. Maybe even the first time. So those other 28 times he’s bored out his brain. So that’s why he is feeling so disconnected and unhappy because he he’s. He’s just being asked to repeat content over and over again.

[00:14:43] And he’s not able to learn at the pace in which he needs to learn at all. He can learn it. So that was hugely devastating for us. We’d been a part of that school community for a number of years at that point already. My son had been to toddlers there and preschool there. My daughter at the time she’d been to baby steps and toddlers.

[00:15:03]She was. In preschool, I think at the time. And it just felt a huge betrayal that they were completely unwilling to work with us. And they were, they were completely unwilling to work with us.  We were saying, well, we’re having these huge issues with sleep and he comes home and he’s reading all this stuff, but they just looked as like, we were making this up and and it was like, we were doing something wrong and it’s like, well, why don’t you make your child go to bed? And I was like, it’s not like we don’t want him to go to bed. He’s, he’s obsessed. He needs this knowledge. He’s, he’s driven for it. And at one point they even put it back onto him and they said, well, he doesn’t go and get the hard stuff off the shelf and bring it to us.

[00:15:55] And I just thought, . Figure it out. He is obviously capable of more and he’s not happy. So go and get the hard stuff -he’s not engaging. Maybe it’s not hard enough. I don’t know. I’m not the teacher. I’m the parent telling you, I’ve got this report and I’ve got these problems and I need to be working with you in partnership to try and solve them and address them and support my son.

[00:16:19] But they were. Utterly unwilling. And we were very lucky. We live in Adelaide, in South Australia and we were very lucky that in Adelaide, South Australia, there is Australia’s only school for gifted kids. It’s called Dara School. And at this point it had only been opened a year or two. I think it may have even just been the second year of opening.

[00:16:44] So when we got absolutely nowhere with. The school we were at and not even nowhere, but we were all feeling very traumatized and devastated by the response that we’d got from the leadership and teachers. We applied to Dara and we went and had a look at a few other schools in the area. There was another school with a gifted program, but it wasn’t quite the right fit for us. So we applied to Dara and we were very lucky to get a place there. And within two weeks of him being at Dara, we suddenly realized he was happy. I think it was the end of week two. I suddenly looked at my husband and went, hang on. He’s. He has not been grumpy, like sad, picking fights, angry, frustrated this past little while.

[00:17:44] He’s actually been happy. He’s been tired when he gets home from school and going to bed, it happened so quickly at first. We didn’t even pick up on it. It was this sort of end of week two, we realized that he had changed and it was that quick. He had gone from this very disgruntled, frustrated, angry kid, to just the delightful boy that we knew and loved. And it really confirmed our decision to, to move him to this school and helped us to understand that how important it is. Not just important, but essential and integral. It is. For gifted kids, like our son to be able to learn at the pace in which they need to learn and and how connected that was to who they are.

[00:18:37]They’re just these massive sponges. But of course, being gifted, gifted kids, it’s not even a one size fits all. All kids are different. And they may share some characteristics. So gifted kids may learn more quickly. They may be, have a keen sense of social justice. They may have hypersensitivities and, be very sensitive kids.

[00:19:03]There are a number of characteristics that they can have, but. They don’t have to have all of these big lists. They’re all different as well. And they don’t have to be gifted across all areas. They may be gifted in one or two areas. It’s quite rare. I think for people to be gifted in every single area tested, and as, some people may be creative or it might be music, or it might be maths, or it might be science or English, writing.

[00:19:33] So everyone’s different, and so we went through this journey with our son and then. We were going through a different journey with our daughter. So my middle child is my daughter and she didn’t start talking until she was two and a half. And when she did start talking quickly realized all was not quite right.

[00:19:59] And she was assessed as having a severe speech impairment. And we. Of course put a lot of energy into getting help for that. And speech therapy. And we went through that process of, are there any other developmental issues or anything else going on? And so we undertook a few years of speech therapy and when it came to going into kind y  the speech therapist recommended a speech and language kindergarten that South Australia has. So within Adelaide, I think there are four kindergardens that within the state system that offer an intensive speech and language program. And so we applied for that and she got in and I mean, that’s probably another story, but. That was amazing. It was just an amazing program and an amazing experience for her.

[00:21:00] But as a part of the application process, she had to undertake a cognitive assessment. So she had to be assessed to ensure that the developmental issues were only around speech because this program was only for kids who just had that speech impairment. Not other developmental delays so that assessment actually indicated as well that she was gifted and obviously, because she was not verbal as such they didn’t test the verbal components, but they tested a range of other components and she scored exceptionally high in those areas.

[00:21:41] So we. It wasn’t that we were surprised because she was obviously a bright kid. She had always been a very keen problem solver and why she couldn’t speak until, two and a half. We always said she didn’t need to, because there was no problem communicating, she could always communicate with exactly what she needed to.

[00:22:03]But, but it kind of was a surprise. Or I’m not really sure what the word is, but. I dunno, it’s just not something you expect, even though we had been through it with our son, it’s just not something you expect. And so it was a surprise, but not a surprise. And what that meant for us was it actually made a whole lot of sense because while she had been having these challenges with speech, we could see, she was a very frustrated kid.

[00:22:35] She obviously had a lot going on in her brain and she wasn’t able to communicate it. Whilst at the same age, my son was probably. Talking nonstop because he’s, he just was born talking and communicating and talking about his ideas. Well, she didn’t have that. She wasn’t able to communicate her ideas and express her interests.

[00:22:59] And in very early on, when she was able to, she actually said, I’ve got a different voice in my head than what comes out of my mouth. She indicated she had stuff going on. And so for her, I think she pushed all of that cognitive ability into the only thing that she could control was being independent.

[00:23:20] So she is a very strong-willed determined, independent child because all of that ability highly abledness got pushed into doing it myself. Which isn’t to say that was easy because if she was unable to do it herself, she would get frustrated, but she would persist. But if you dared help her, even now, she totally, melt down because she had to do it herself because it was so important because she had nothing else that she could control.

[00:23:55] And now yeah. She’s now going to reception at Darra, and we’re very grateful for that opportunity for her. And we know that this is actually going to be the first time that she will experience, just that stretching of her abilities. Just that brain stretch, where she’s going to be in a place where.

[00:24:22] They know who she is and that she’s, she’s, she’s outside of the box. Her kindergarten was brilliant, they were lovely. But it was a very focused around the speech.  And she’s just desperate to do more. She’s desperate to read. She’s fallen in love with numbers and it’s just.

[00:24:44] A huge relief to see that all coming together. But they’re very different people. My son, I would say is in your face, gifted, he opens his mouth and he’ll talk to anyone. And adults in variably say like, how old are you? What grade are you in? And more recently he just kind of goes, well, I’m not really in a grade I’m seven, but I do some grade four maths or grade three maths and grade four science or grade two, we just do what we need to do at my school.  But there, but that compared to my daughter, I think because her speech has been such a and a challenge. Most people have seen the speech challenge first.

[00:25:35] So when they’ve seen her The first, she’s in this, Oh, your, the speech delay box. And she’s more subtle, and she’s, at home, she’s an extrovert. She doesn’t talk any less than my son given the opportunity. But in public she has had to problem solve and she’s problem solved by just not talking.

[00:25:55] And so she’s unlearning that. She’s it’s lovely to see her come out of that shell in public, and that people have seen this delay. First. They’ve seen the, the challenge first rather than see actually there’s this little girl, who’s an incredible problem solver and very thoughtful and sensitive. And.

[00:26:22] And yeah, they’re very different kids. And so I also have a third child now he’s only three, so we have not had him assessed in any way. But he is just like his brother and sister and developmentally in some ways is actually hit some milestones earlier, which is a little bit scary. And he’s actually a bit of both his.

[00:26:44] Yeah, my, my oldest son loves rules. My daughter is very much like rules are optional. She sees them more as guidelines. And if you give her two options, she’ll come up with a third. Whereas my oldest son, if you explain the reasoning behind something, he’ll  even if he doesn’t want to do it, he’ll begrudgingly accept. It’s reasonable to ask him to do it. Whereas my daughter’s like, I don’t care if it’s reasonable and not, if I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to do it. They’re very different people. And my youngest is it’s a mix of both. I don’t know. He’s still unfolding.

[00:27:17] We’re still getting, he’s still, we’re still discovering the kind of person who’s just got. There’s a wicked sense of humor and he. He loves to get into mischief. He’s he? He’s you give him a 60 seconds un supervise. He’ll have that bag of flour on the floor or the whole hummus tin. He is, he loves to explore is pulled something apart or he’s yeah, he just is a bit intense.

[00:27:52] And. And different again. So what I’ve learned as a parent and even in meeting a lot of other parents and gifted kids is this giftedness expresses itself in very different ways from child to child. And so I think that can make it more challenging to understand and and perhaps to identify children and.

[00:28:19] And my motivation behind doing this podcast and website is through that whole journey. We’re in a place now where we’re on top of it. I went and  sussed out a new  preschool for my youngest recently. And it was just right, this is third time round.

[00:28:39] I’m not pulling any punches. I walked in and like, it’s like this, he’s got two older siblings. They’re gifted. He is most likely gifted.

[00:28:47] I need you just to see where this goes and run with it and give him opportunities and know that he might not be engaged with something because it’s too easy. Not because it’s too hard. So you may have to go harder or find a different way to really see where he’s at with things. But my gut feeling right now is he’s really ready for more. He’s really ready for more and I need some help from you as an educator too, to help me give him more because he comes up with stuff all the time and I’m just like, Oh my God, I should be used to this by now, but there’s never getting any used to this. My kids are always saying stuff and I’m just like, Oh my, Oh, well, what, what was that?

[00:29:32] Where did that come from? So parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers. We even tried at one point and, getting my oldest son a mentor at one point a tutor. And I was like, this seems weird, but let’s get a high school science teacher.

[00:29:59] To do some tutoring in science, let’s start at grade eight, and he was like six or something at the time and let’s see what happens. And so I found this lovely teacher who came to our house and the first time they came over, I was in the kitchen and they’re sitting at the table and I’m kind of thinking to myself, what am I doing?

[00:30:23] This is ridiculous. What is this teacher thinking? Oh, I hope I’m not wasting his time, but I just had this gut feeling that my son was just desperate to engage with more, he’s either got all this space content in his head and he was desperate to do something for it. And so the teacher says to him, okay, so we’re going to talk about States of matter.

[00:30:50] Can you name the States of matter for me? And my son’s like, Oh yeah, sure. So you’ve got gas, you’ve got solid. You’ve got liquid, you’ve got plasma and you’ve got, and now I can’t remember what the fifth one was. But he said it was this kind of molecular atom thing. Now demonstrating my ignorance for the fifth state of matter there.

[00:31:15]But it was well beyond me and the teacher kind of went, ah, okay, well, let’s just focus on the first three for now. And I thought, no, he’s going to be fine. And sure enough, they did a number of months of tutoring. And at no point did I see my, my son break a sweat? He just loved it and he was all over it.

[00:31:32] I mean, there are a few new things he learnt, but nothing was a challenge or particularly difficult. And as a parent of the gifted kid, I don’t say that to brag about my kids. Or to make anyone else feel inadequate about their kids. It’s like, this is the challenge and this is the asynchronous development of gifted kids.

[00:31:51] So that means so he is totally age appropriate for his handwriting and for English. Because they’re his least favorite subjects, but when it comes to all things space, I don’t even know where he is at because we have taken him to like lectures at universities and stuff, and he’ll sit there and absorb it.

[00:32:12] And I’m not saying he understands absolutely everything, but he can walk away and have a conversation and  demonstrate the understanding of connections. And that just blows me away. And it’s like, this is one of the challenges that we have is how do you help him as this young person engage with content at this much older level, but it’s still in an age appropriate way.

[00:32:37] It’s really tricky. And so you find yourself doing wacky things like getting a tutor to do grade eight science  and these are just, that’s just one of the many challenges. The they’re very sensitive kids and they’ve got a real compassion and empathy for the world and others, and they need to be around people that they can connect with.

[00:33:03] So that’s a little bit of a story about our family and our kids. And. And hopefully just sharing a bit of understanding about why, it’s a couple of years later, I’ve met a lot more parents and gifted kids and over and over again, I hear these stories that just devastate me. Like they just break me like this, so sad.

[00:33:30] And I just feel like we need to talk about this. There needs to be a narrative around. Gifted kids and we need the community to understand them. So we don’t have this taboo about talking about them because there is absolutely a taboo and there’s a lot of misunderstanding. And I hear that all the time from parents or that a lot of educators just don’t know enough.

[00:33:57] Recently I was talking to someone and their four year old had, was at a very prestigious expensive school. And yet they had just broken him. They treated them as though he was naughty.  And the thing that I struggle with is this idea that kids even at this young age, don’t know that they’re different because they do, my son at five, I was observing him one day in the playground and. I could see him desperate to engage with his peers. And at the time it was all about Googleplex and planet nine, and he was trying to talk to them about these topics.

[00:34:40] But of course, no one else was interested. And I was just watching him bounce around the playground from one kid to another desperate, to connect, but unable to connect and no wonder he was sad, and he was a popular kid. Like lots of people liked him, but no one could. Engage with him on those things.

[00:34:59]Which why now at Dara, I, you know, I love, I love hearing the stories. And another mum was saying I think there’s a couple of weeks after her son had started  and. He’d come home. And he was talking about black holes. He’d learned all about black holes that day. And the mom was like, Oh, that’s awesome. What class did you hear? Did you learn about black holes in he’s like, Oh, no, it was one of my friends. It was at lunchtime and she was just like, that’s brilliant. And they do, they they’re in this little community of like-minded peers.

[00:35:34] So they’re not all the same age. They’re all. Lower primary or upper primary, but they’re all interested in the same things, within reason. But they’re able to connect and if they weren’t talking about black holes or talking about black holes, or my son will often say, Oh, the human body, Oh, that’s such and such as a topic.

[00:35:55] Go talk. Yeah, I’ll need, let’s talk to such and such about that, and they recognize each other’s. Deep interests in things. And he’ll be like, Oh, I’m, The all about space and such as such as a space person too. And it’s just accepting of each other’s passions and intense, interests in things.

[00:36:15] And may obviously talk about Dara a bit because it have been a big part of our experience, but I think there’s also, I’ve learnt a lot from that experience. And I’ve learned a lot about the necessity to find your tribe. Find that community of people where you can safely tell the stories and someone gets it and they’re not going to be offended because they’re feeling like you’re bragging about your kids or anything like that.

[00:36:41] And so these are some of the challenges.

[00:36:42] Our challenges are different than no less hard. It’s not all sunshine and daisies because your kid is gifted. It’s parenting is hard, full stop parenting and gifted kid is also hard.  And it’s not a competition, it’s not saying parenting gifted kids is harder than parenting a kid who isn’t, it’s not about that.

[00:37:03] It’s just parenting is hard, full stop. And it’s important for us to have a safe place to talk about parenting gifted kids, because there are some quirks and characteristics that mean that there are. Particular challenges with this group of people, with these group of children and as parents, I think we need that support of each other.

[00:37:28] And we need to be able to talk to the experts who work with gifted kids to get that help. And so what I want to do in this podcast and website, and it’s going to develop over the next 12 months is to bring those resources together for parents. So I look forward to talking to you more in future podcasts.

[00:37:48] So we’re going to talk to some experts about all things gifted and provide insights into gifted kids and some support and ideas for parents. And also just have that narrative with the general population about when it used to be gifted so that we can have those conversations more.

[00:38:10] I don’t want to say safely, but more easily without fear of repercussion, we don’t want to be that tall poppy that constantly gets chopped down and we can’t even talk about how difficult it is or get help because we feel like there’s not that place for us, that safe space to have those conversations.

[00:38:29]Thank you very much for your time today. If you’re someone who works with gifted kids and you want to get in touch, please do I’d love to talk to you and share what you have with our community. If you’re a parent, you’ve got particular questions or a story that you would like to share, get in touch because, I want to see what the big issues are.

[00:38:52] For us, so we can talk about them and connect with people who can provide us with some insight and some advice. So thank you very much for your time today. And I look forward to talking to you more next week.


#008 Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

#008 Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

Top Secret Parent Talk About Santa

In our final episode of the year, let’s talk about Santa!

All those questions! How does Santa fly around the world in one night? Where do all the gifts come from?

As parents, it is hard to know what to say about Santa so in this episode we share one way of having the ‘Santa’ conversation that is sure to work!

Hit play and let’s get started!

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00:00:00               Hello, and welcome to this week’s podcast. I’m delighted to be having a chat with you today because today we’re talking top secret parent, talk about Santa. 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.

00:00:30               This podcast is about sharing that journey, 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. Hello, and welcome to the Christmas edition of our gifted kids podcast. Today, we’re talking top secret parent, talk about Santa. So if you have little ears nearby,

00:01:01               I’m going to pause for a moment. So you can slip on some headphones and listen to the podcast in absolute secrecy and confidence. Okay, go do it now. That’s it right. Are we ready? Parents? Let’s talk. Santa’s if you’re like me and you’ve got three or gifted children or children, then inevitably you get questions about Santa. And so as parents,

00:01:28               how do we deal with this? I know with our kids, like many parents of gifted kids, you get lots of questions, lots of questions over and over again, all day, you get questions. And we always try to answer those questions. Truthfully, honestly, we deal with the information and facts and figures because we can get very deep in some of the questions that we have,

00:01:54               but when it comes to Santa, it can be a bit tricky for parents. So I don’t want to lie to my children, but how do we deal with Santa? I know that when we had our first child, my husband and I sat down, had a conversation about Santa, how are we going to approach the whole Santa thing? Eventually we,

00:02:15               we were like, yeah, okay, we’re going to do Santa. We’re going to do the magic of Christmas, the spirit of Santa. And so we have three children who I think still believe in Santa. There was a period a couple of years ago where our eldest asked them lots of questions. And sometimes I get a sense that he’s going along for the ride is very science based to child,

00:02:45               into rockets and space travel. So I’m sure that the questions he has about how Santa delivers gifts around the entire world in one single night would be deep. But I think at the moment he’s going from the flow because we have a younger four year old who just, he’s just really getting into the groove of Christmas. And it’s still very, very exciting.

00:03:08               And a six year old who is still very much in love with Christmas, but I feel as though there is a conversation coming, it hasn’t happened this year, but I have a feeling it might be soon. So what are we going to say to him when we talk about Christmas? Well, I remember reading this post on Facebook quite a few years ago and I really loved it.

00:03:35               And at the time I told my husband all about it and he’s like, yeah, okay, let’s do that. So I did a bit of digging today to find, see if I could find that post, which is like a needle in a haystack on Facebook, but I did actually manage to find reference to it in an article online. And I would love to credit this post to someone,

00:03:56               but the best I can do is in a non notice parents, even the article had no idea where it came from originally, but it’s beautiful. And it talks about the idea of Santa. So without children, we have lots of conversations about facts and figures, and they’re very much true, but I think what’s interesting is there, there is a truth based on fact,

00:04:24               and there is also a truth based on legend. And I think of course, Santa comes into this category. Santa himself is based on a real person, Saint Nicholas, who gave presents to children and, and cared for those who are less fortunate. And there’s a real history around that person. And then of course, the legend grew from that ACO.

00:04:48               And we can think a certain soft drink provider for the current form of Santa in his Jolie, red coat, and a bit of clever marketing for the Santa that we have today. But nonetheless, the truth of that legend grew from a truth based in fact, a long time ago. And I think that that explanation in part is one that gifted children will understand and appreciate.

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:05:17               So a part of this conversation that I read about on Facebook is based in the idea of Santa as truth and Santa as legend, and I was able to find it. So I’m going to actually read it out because it’s a bit lovely. So this particular parent says when your child is of an appropriate age, whenever you see that dawning suspicion, that Santa may not be a material being that means a child is ready,

00:05:49               ready for this conversation. And she says, I don’t know, I’m saying she might not be a mum, could be a dad. She says, I take them out for coffee at the local cafe or wherever we get a booth. We order our drinks. And the following pronouncement is made. You shall have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller,

00:06:13               but I can see that your heart has grown too. You are a very generous and thoughtful sibling. You’ve been very caring with your friends and you’ve been very helpful with mom and dad around the house. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you’re ready to become a Santa Claus. You have probably noticed that most of the centers, you see a people dressed up like him,

00:06:44               some of your friends might even have told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that because they aren’t ready to be Santa yet, but you are. And it says, we then have a conversation with our child to choose someone they know, and to be Santa for that person. The child’s admission is to secretly, deviously find out something that the person needs and then provide it,

00:07:13               wrap it, deliver it, and never reveal to the target where it came from being center or being a center. Isn’t about getting credit. You see it’s unselfish giving. And I love this idea. I love this idea of sitting down with my child and explaining that Santa came from a real person who did a beautiful act of giving and caring. And it was so beautiful that the community held onto that act of giving.

00:07:46               It became a legend and the reason why Santa lives and the reason why Santa is real because Santa is within all of this. We make him real. We make him real by continuing those acts of giving kindness and caring to one another. So Santa is real. Santa is in us. And now that you are old enough, you too can be Santa.

00:08:15               You can be responsible for giving, loving and caring. You can be responsible for bringing that joy to someone else who still believes in Santa. And I look forward to having this conversation. I think soon with my oldest child, because as a very thoughtful, sensitive individual, as many gifted children are, I think he will really recognize what that legend brings to us as a society honoring,

00:08:49               caring, giving, loving in this way. And I think that he will really revel in having that responsibility of bringing that joy to someone else. I can see us getting him involved in making that happen for his younger siblings. I imagine when we ask them in the future, what do you want from Santa this year that he will enjoy being a part of that you may even ask them himself.

00:09:20               So what are you going to ask Centre to bring you this year? And I think that’s going to be a very special moment for us and for him. And then as each child gets a bit older to have that very special moment with them as a family and also bring them in on that bigger conversation of what does Christmas mean to us? What does Christmas mean to our family and think even for yourself as a parent,

00:09:52               why do you do it? What does it mean to you? Certainly it’s about spending time with family. It’s about showing them. We care. One of the traditions that we have had as a family at Christmas is a game that we play. It’s a fabulous game and it’s a game about gifts, but there’s a twist at the end, which makes it actually not about the gifts,

00:10:20               not about the thing. So I’ll explain it to you. Imagine you’re all gathered on Christmas day and you’ve got all your family over and you’re all sitting down. You’ve had your Christmas mail and then everyone brings out little gifts that they have bought in preparation for this game. Now, the idea is everyone brings half a dozen little gifts. Now it’s not about the value of the gift.

00:10:49               And you’ll see why in a minute, but everyone puts the gifts on the table. So you have this table over overflowing with little gifts. Then you get out a set of dice and you roll the dice and you each take turns going around the table, rolling the dice. And if you’re a particularly big family, as we have been some Christmases with everyone making it,

00:11:10               we have had two sets of dice going around the table. It’s as pure carnage. So you roll the dice. And if you get a double, so two twos, two threes to fours, you’ve got to get two of the same thing. If you’re all to of the same thing, you get to pick a present off the table and put it in front of you.

00:11:28               But you do not open it. You pass the dice on to the next person. They roll the dice. Sometimes you get to, sometimes you don’t and you pass it on to the next person. You’ve got to do it quickly. And so the next person may get a double. And if they get a double, they get to pick a present from the middle of the table.

00:11:47               So the dice goes around the table like this, and you keep rolling the dice, picking gifts. Every time you get double. Now, eventually the gifts run out, but you do not stop rolling the dice at any time in the game. Even before the gifts have run out, it is perfectly acceptable. Nah, absolutely encouraged to take a gift from someone else.

00:12:12               Now, if you’ve got little people at the table, of course you do have to gauge this a little. If they’re in on the game, it’s a lot of fun. If they’re a little bit like don’t take my presence, they can be tears. So a word of caution there. However, the idea is you roll the dice, you get a double,

00:12:29               you take a gift either from the table or from someone else. Now, as you can imagine, if you took a gift from someone else and they rolled a double will, they may well want that gift back. And then someone else on the table might decide, well, actually I won’t get, get that gift. And so we have had years where we have had one or two particular gifts that have gone from one end of the table to the other end of the table in a bit of a game to see who could get that particular gift.

00:12:58               And we have had years when it’s been quite funny to actually everyone takes, say grandpa’s gifts or often if you take someone’s gift, then they’ll take one off you. And it becomes a very funny game of stealing gifts, as awful as that sounds out loud, I’m sorry. It does work. And it’s a brilliant so that you keep rolling the dice.

00:13:29               You’ve got no gifts left. We will often put a timer or say right, 15 more minutes of dice rolling. And then you get to open. Whatever is in front of you. At the end of that time, after 15 minutes of rolling the dice and taking a gift from someone, someone else, and then take them maybe taking it back, or maybe they might get it from,

00:13:50               from somewhere else on the table. And because sometimes people end up with a big pile and, and people at the table like, hang on, you’ve got too many gifts and I’ll take one from you or, or all sorts of shenanigans can occur. But the funny thing about this game is at the end, when you finished rolling the dice, now this is gone on for some 20 or 30 minutes.

00:14:11               By this point, often you get to the end of the game and everyone opens their gifts only to find out that the one gift that has gone back and forth across the table for like 10 or 15 minutes being stolen from one person. And then the next ends up being a roll of toilet paper. And it’s hilarious because it’s not about the gift it’s about the game and the gifts are often silly.

00:14:35               Things like that. A roll of toilet paper, a box of tissues, maybe a few chocolates, maybe a little kit. There’s usually some nice gifts as in something that’s a little bit cool. And then a whole bunch of funny gifts or just something that’s very unexpected and not anticipated. And of course that just becomes the next joke is because you’ve been spending all this time,

00:15:02               fighting over a roll of toilet paper. And it’s a great opportunity on Christmas day to laugh, to join in the game of, of giving and taking. And that is Christmas, I guess, but at the end, realizing it’s not about the gift. It’s about sitting at the table together, laughing and playing because for me, that’s what makes Christmas,

00:15:27               it’s that sitting at the table, laughing and playing, hanging around. Yes, eating lots. I’m definitely a food loving person, but also just Moochie and watching that Christmas movie or this year, we’ve got hot weather here in Australia. We’ll be having a swim on Christmas day. So whatever your traditions are and whatever conversations you have with your children about Santa,

00:15:56               as they get older, as they ask those questions, it’s an opportunity for us to let them in, to move from believing in Santa, to being Santa, from being a child. And to some extent, being swept along on Christmas day, to becoming a young person and having a sense of input around some of our traditions and what we do on Christmas day and being a part of that preparation,

00:16:29               because now they’re a center too. So I hope that you have a lovely Christmas after what has been a very intense year. And I hope that you get a lot of laughter and joy on your Christmas day, because I know that Christmas can also be a very challenging time for some people. So thank you very much for joining our gifted kids this year.

00:16:55               It has been incredibly exciting to start the conversation about giftedness. And I greatly appreciate everyone who has come on the podcast so far. We’ve got some wonderful guests lined up already for next year, and I’m very excited to be bringing them to you. So have a wonderful Christmas, have a wonderful holidays. And I look forward to continuing the conversation next year.

00:17:19               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, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources@ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.