#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

Starting Over.

Tennille’s brave decision to move her son interstate to find friends.

Today I’m speaking with Tennille about discovering her son is gifted and moving interstate to find like-minded friends and a school that worked for him.

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • Tennille’s journey of figuring out her son was gifted.
  • The challenge of figuring out your first/only child is gifted.
  • Her decision to move interstate to find the right school.
  • The challenges of finding friends and peers for gifted kids.
  • A gifted child who actually sleeps! They do exist!
  • The challenges of getting emotional and social needs met.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“I always thought he was pretty special, he just got things very quickly, but I didn’t think it was any different, certainly not outstanding in any way.” – Tennille

“I started thinking about it [gifted] on his second birthday when he picked up a board book but just sat on my nan’s lap and read the board book to her.” – Tennille

“He couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid and he was regulating his own social [situation] so there was never any complaints, he was managing it,  but he wasn’t getting what he needed and we just hadn’t seen the affects yet. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social, emotional, problem.” – Tennille

“He said to me “these guys get me” and I’m like, what, I didn’t even noticed that he had known the difference but he saw some of these other Dara kids saying stuff and he understood them and they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know he felt.” – Tennille

“I had my car shipped across, and we each had two suitcases, and that was all we brought with us. We started fresh and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, it was massive. We have no family here, we’d never visited the school.” – Tennille


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 00:00:00               Today, I’m talking to, to Neil about discovering that her son is gifted and then moving into state to find the best school for him. 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.

00:00:27               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. Hi Neil. Thanks so much for coming in and talk to us today. Very welcome. Safier I’m glad to be here. Excellent. So it’s lovely to take this time to talk about your journey with your son.

00:00:55               Your son is gifted. Yes. And you know, with hindsight looking back, were there little things in those early years that just kind of made you think that you might be gifted? Or how did it all come about from pretty early on? I was, I always thought he was pretty special. He just got things very quickly. Yeah. But I didn’t think it was anything very different,

00:01:26               certainly not outstanding in any way or anything like that. But I thought he was going to be pretty clearly. So he was, Barry is one of those kids where, when he finally gets something, you can actually see the light bulb go on. So little things like his playing with the DVD covers when I think he was three months old, just pushing them around or something.

00:01:53               Now I must have been a bit older five or six months. And he figured out that the picture on the front of the place called DVD was the same. It actually related to what he’d seen on the TV. And the first time he’d figured that out and you saw this light bulb go off. So he’s just one of those kids you just saw when he learned something.

00:02:16               And it was an instantaneous thing. So I was spotted lots of these little things over time. He was very talkative little kid. Yeah. So did he talk early? No, he wasn’t. He didn’t talk particularly early. Think he was about nine months. I don’t. Yeah. Some might say that’s a tad. This is what happens when you have a first child.

00:02:45               Yes. Or in my case, only child that’s gifted. You don’t have, and you haven’t had a lot of exposure to other kids. Absolutely. I was the same. I, and I had no nieces or nephews, cousins. Like I just, I didn’t think I’d held a baby, you know, and I saw it. It was clueless.

00:03:05               And similarly I thought, you know, yeah, he’s pretty sharp. And, and we had just no expectation Of, you know, what that Actually was when we figured that out. So yeah. Blows you away a bit. I think I I’ve found Angus Very, very teachable from very early on. I suppose that was, that was the big thing that seemed different.

00:03:31               Was he understood more, even though he couldn’t say it, I’d just give him instructions and he’d just do it. Yeah. He only I could teach him no, don’t come in the kitchen and it was almost an instantaneous thing. And then he’d play on it and try and wait till you’re watching and then pretend to do it, to see your reaction,

00:03:52               talking with the big cheeky grin on his face, just testing those boundaries. And did he just picked up on things really quickly. And he was just very open as far as instruction went, which my, my life an awful amount easier. But when he was eight months old, I put my back out. I wasn’t allowed to pick him up. So yeah,

00:04:16               that must have been hard. I’d have to, okay. Angus it’s time for your bottle. Come over to the couch and he’d just crawl over just a couch total over hade Toby. When he needed his nappy changed, she’d just Crow it, cruise over to the change table and read all the change table. And he was one of those kids who,

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:04:36               when it was bedtime and behold, if you do not put him to bed immediately, he would be at the car, shaking the car, put me to bed. Oh my God. I thought those children were a myth. No, no. I had one. I have no personal experience of knowing my friend, friends, Very jealous. Cause he he’d sleep 11 hours a night.

00:05:00               You just you’re just teasing me. And then three, two hour Napster. That’s just rude. It’s just, it is horrible. That’s interesting because one of those characteristics they talk about gifted kids is they can be very, what’s the word I’m looking for. They don’t have much sleep that. So, you know, and I love that. Just reinforces it.

00:05:23               They’re all different. They are all different. Right. And for me, I, because Angus was such a good sleeper when I finally met other gifted Families, it didn’t say expected them To say, yeah, my kid was a good sleeper. I mean, we all know Anyone else who said that. No, that does not surprise to me. It made sense because you use sleep to reinforce your memory as children.

00:05:51               I’m going to tell my kids that. Yeah. I just, I just read it. I saw a documentary on it just recently Netflix from babies and how those naps, they need more naps to reinforce what they’ve learned in between. Yeah. Wow. And so to me it always just made sense and I was just like, Whoa, he slept a lot.

00:06:13               And he learned very quickly and I just thought the two went together since then. I’m like, well, no, that’s not necessarily the case. No, everyone is jealous. My first wasn’t too bad. But then you don’t know because it’s your first that there could be worse until you have your second. And yeah, my second would 30 minute nap,

00:06:38               couple of times a day. And that was, it just would not nap and was a nightmare for sleep right up until she was almost three and something just flicked. And now it’s the opposite. My, my oldest really struggles to, to wind down at night, but my younger, but the middle child she’s just made up for it. She just goes to bed and I’m like,

00:07:07               Oh, bless your child making up for it now. Nice. Yeah. When he, when he was little, there was, yeah. So there were little things I’m going to say the child health nurse when he was 18 months. Yeah. Did other people pick up on that as well? No. The child health. No, certainly do them.

00:07:25               Yeah. I was really surprised when they gave you the sheet and said, that was your job, 10 words, 20 words or two 50 words. And I was like, Oh, it’s definitely got more than 50, but I hadn’t counted. And child health nurse rolled her eyes. Yeah, sure, sure, sure, sure. Or, and I actually listed the map in one of Angus’s crayons to do,

00:07:55               and it was well over a hundred before I stopped counting and, and I’m like, okay, so that’s in Tucson. Yeah. On the highest height. Yeah. But it still didn’t click. Yeah. So at what point did it click? When did it all kind of come to get started Talking about it on his second birthday when he just picked up a board book,

00:08:16               sat on my Nan’s lap and read the board book to my Nana, my pot. Wow. Simple single words. Nothing flashy, nothing flashy, but he’s seen over and over, but he was too. And he was reading it and we’re looking at it online. Is he remembering it? Is he just, is, he is parroting. Yes. There are pictures there it’s quite clear.

00:08:40               Nothing too drastic. So I had three days later, we were walking down the street. We lived opposite a small country school and all the cars were parked out the front. We walked past and he counted 17 cars. Oh 17 at two. Yeah. Okay. And I was like, no, that’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s definitely a stain.

00:09:05               And he’s like, no, there’s 17. And so I counted it for him and noticed that he, from his perspective, he could see one part behind it. Now you couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see. And I’m like, Oh yes, you’ve got that. And then he just started going 1920 and then he just stopped 20. And I’m like,

00:09:30               yeah. 20 thinking that’s good enough. And he’s like, no. And he just looks at me and goes 11. Oh. Is figuring it’s that I know where it’s supposed to go. I don’t know what it’s called. Like you’ve kind of gotten the pattern. Yeah. But Anna’s like, Oh, okay. So it goes 21 and then 22.

00:09:50               And then he went up to 29th, straight away 11, But I know what the next one. I remember my old school teacher who had become the principal of this small country school was sitting out front and she was actually sitting on the steps of the entrance to the school because she knew we would do to come back from playgroup or something. And she goes,

00:10:17               I’d heard about this little boy, this stage he’s about two and a half. Yeah. Not quite three. And, and so she has a chat with him and there’s certainly other about Mike the night. Oh yes. Yep. And at one point she goes, he was really looking for the right word to use then I’m like, yeah. That’s course.

00:10:38               Yeah. I ha and she takes him inside and she starts giving him these little tests. Oh yeah. New lineup please. Yeah. And counting the animals in the fish tank. And then you’ve got all these receptionists and other teachers coming out or Hey, check this kid out. And he said, he’s counting how many fish? Ah, yeah. I remember one of the polling of our teachers.

00:11:02               And he was like, Oh yeah, well, it’s not really doing it type thing. And I remember that teacher first time he was in their class and he was doing a little reading test. He was so I’ll start before or in a few months. And he was doing this ABC reading eggs test on thing. And the word castle came up now,

00:11:25               Angus red castle. And this same teacher went just George dropped. Yeah. And cause I was in the classroom as a parent teacher helper. And he’s like, he actually read that, but there’s no other indicator he read word. And I’m like, Yeah, yeah. All that sort of stuff. But the big, big clue was when we went to the doctor and Angus who has had renal issues.

00:11:52               And he was in out of hospital quite a bit when he was younger, started telling the doctor what everything did, this is the blood pressure cough. And this is how you use it. And this is a thermometer and this is this, and this is for taking your temperature. And if you get too hot, then you’re sick. Yeah. In three-year-old language.

00:12:13               Yeah. Yeah. It was three at the time. It was, is actually a three-year-old checkup. Yeah. He’d just gotten these immunizations and he’d just had a lovely discussion if the nurse outside, when he’d gotten his immunizations about the difference between live and dead vaccines. Oh, okay, great. I should do. Yeah. Because it’s very nice to seeing the chicken pox.

00:12:33               Yeah. Yeah. You want to know all about it. And so we went in with the darken and they’re chatting away and all this sort of stuff and he gives him his usual development tests and that sort of thing. And as we’re leaving, the doctor goes, Oh, he’s, he’s pretty forward. And I’m like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,

00:12:53               yeah, yeah. I know. And I went to turn the knob to the door as I was leaving and he stopped me and he actually said, no, he is very forward and you’ll need to consider getting him tested. Oh wow. That, that was, that was the moment it’s like, no, no, no, no. And it’s a hard thing,

00:13:17               isn’t it? Because when it’s your first or when you’ve not got the experience of kids, you just don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve got no comparisons. Yeah. You don’t really imagine that your kid is like, you know, it’s like, yeah, they’re pretty sharp, but that’s just normal. That’s just, that’s just nowadays. Yeah. And I remember one terrible time Angus was at a play group.

00:13:43               He was talking about the different animals on the table and that sort of thing. And this other cake came in and he hadn’t started speaking yet. And then around two and a half, I’m not sure. And Hey, he wasn’t verbalizing and Angus was verbose. Yes. And, and I remember talking with this mom and she started getting really worried had she was the first time mum as well.

00:14:10               So she hadn’t had a lot of yep. Exposure with her child to other children remembering very small country town living out on. Yeah, absolutely. She’s probably freaking out. This is kind of first foray to that. Yeah. And so straight off the bat, she freaks. Yeah. She’s like really worried that I’m wrong with her kid and I was being ever so consent encouraging.

00:14:38               Yeah. Trying to be encouraging, trying to be helpful and not trying to compare kids or anything. Yeah. But I did turn to her and I go, well, if you’re really worried, maybe you should get him checked out. Yeah. Well not Realizing my checked out. I’m not always, I just remember that. And from that moment, yeah.

00:15:02               Well, once I realized that Angus was so far ahead that comparing kids is just not the way to go. No, you get yourself into real trouble. And I think that’s the tricky thing about the gifted label is I don’t know, there’s something about that term gifted that I feel just implies comparison in, in a way that prevents us from really seeing these kids as individuals and just as they are and,

00:15:36               and both their strengths and weaknesses and the challenges and, and yeah, it’s a hard conversation. And I, and a lot of parents, I talk to just feel that taboo, Oh my kid’s gifted, but God wouldn’t tell anyone, you know, like, because it just feels implied even though it’s really hard and it’s not what people imagine. I was lucky.

00:16:02               I was lucky being in such a small country, town and Angus growing up and teachers around were already familiar with him and we’re expecting certain things of him and just the way he was with shop owners and that sort of thing. And everybody knew him and everybody commented that how clever he was and that sort of thing. And so it was kind of just a given.

00:16:29               So when I actually, and then I did get him tested and initially I only told a couple of really, really close friends that he, he had gone through the testing and, and then it was okay now I got to talk to the school. Yeah. And I remember the kindie teacher who I spoke to and I brought in a stack of stuff that I hadn’t shown her,

00:16:55               that he had been doing at home after I’d gotten this report. And I given to report, which had freaked her out. And then I showed her what he was doing at home. And I was trying to figure out just where he was supposed to be and Shay all of a sudden, and I’ll never forget. She’s just like, I am so relieved.

00:17:21               And I’m like, Oh, That wasn’t, that wasn’t the response. I was expecting. A lot of parents get pushback if they stop kids from dentures and that sort of thing, I think because she’d seen him since he was two. Yeah. She was his daycare worker a little bit differently. And, and she was also our, now I love small towns.

00:17:45               That’s beautiful. It sounds great. But she was like, I have no idea what to do with him. Oh. But thankfully Be asleep. Thankfully someone does. And I know her honesty if I’m missing something. Yeah. She’s looking at this stack of stuff he’s doing at home and she’s like, okay. So at least he’s getting it. He’s going to get it somewhere.

00:18:08               Yeah. He’s going to be okay. And thank goodness, you’re not expecting me to do everything because I don’t have a clue. Yeah. So that was really good. Yeah. You do get a lot of information from that. And I remember one teacher having gotten this report and going, I just don’t have time to, And there was, there was a lot of information in that,

00:18:33               but yeah, so the school was, and the kindie where Angus was at the time was really responsive. And so that’s quite actually really positive. I know that you moved from, was Western Australia to South Australia to attend Dara, which is the Australia is currently only school for gifted children. And so What prompted that move? Where did you end up?

00:18:58               Because that’s a big move. It is, it is this school that we were in. They were very responsive, which is all, he went from kindergarten at three and a half to ye pre-primary at five to grade one at five and a half for full year of grade one before I left now he was actually doing well. Yeah. And we really had no complaints.

00:19:24               My issue was how things were going to progress in the future. One of the big things was looking for some a like-mind just one. Yeah. So someone, so did he have friends that he could, he had friends, He had friends that he had basically grown up with the same three kids in the daycare that he had. He had been with every day,

00:19:48               for years. So he had friends and he was well-liked. Yeah. That was to my mind a non-issue yeah. The biggest thing I found was seeing the differences cropping up. Yeah. He really wanted to be friends with this particular eight year old boy and he was four. Right. Okay. And this boy was super kind. He was just lovely and inclusive and invite him around to play and stuff.

00:20:16               And I was good friends with his mom, but Angus really wanted a closer relationship. And this eight year old boys, like, you’re really sweet, but not Thank you like for like four. So that was, that was never not going to happen. And the ones he’d grown up with, he was fine with outside. Yeah. So basically, yeah.

00:20:43               Hey, it wasn’t an issue. He was on path and everybody was around the same. I mean, these kids were kids would do my mountain biking competitions through the forest. They would they’re country kids in trees. They they’re out there. They’re very physical. And so he had a ball with them. Problem was when you got them inside and on a rainy day and you noticed,

00:21:13               but they only want to watch baby shows or they only want to bored or they don’t know how to play, guess who properly. And then the anger you’re cheating. It doesn’t understand the rules yet. You need to give him some time to learn or play something else. And it was like, I don’t want to play baby games. Oh, well how about you watch something on TV,

00:21:36               fine. Put on a DVD. He chose a documentary on swamp tigers and should do. And so one of these little boys sits in front of things and he’s mesmerized and he’s watching this documentary, which is great, except Angus doesn’t want to watch the documentary. He wants to discuss the documentary and this and that. And what do you think of this?

00:22:03               And this kid’s just glued to the TV. First time he’s watched it took French in that. Whereas I guess is what she’s 15 times. Yeah. So, but he wasn’t getting that feedback that he was yeah. Desiring. And I get that. My eldest very sociable. He had lots of friends. He was the type of kid who he’d known someone for two minutes and he’d be like,

00:22:27               Oh, I love you to come over and play, you know, telling people our address. It’s like, Oh, direction stuff to your front door, to the lady at the hospital. Absolutely. And, but, but I, and you know, I’d never actually thought about it before, but it was the same when he was outside playing rough and tumble,

00:22:49               it was fine. But when he tried to Connect about something that was, he was really thinking about, you could see that he just would, he just would bounce off people. Then he’d try someone else need bounce off. It was really sad to watch. But at that same time, him and a few other boys in the class had this real rough and tumble gain that used to play in the sand pit.

00:23:13               And as parents, you know, they’d be playing up to school and we’d be watching them going, Oh, like, they’re all right. They’re not hurting each other or anything, but it’s like, something’s going on? They weren’t going through something. But as long as they were playing, it was okay. Yeah. It was just that connection. Isn’t it,

00:23:31               it’s really hard. It’s just, they, a lot of the times I find people think that they’re gifted kids in particular, especially when you look at stereotypes in think Sheldon that’s right. It’s yeah. And they’re not, they don’t have that social capacity. Yeah. What I’ve actually found, at least in my experience is that they’re actually emotionally, socially,

00:24:03               probably not emotionally, but socially advanced. And at four years old, they’re looking for these connections that they shouldn’t be looking for till they’re. Right. Exactly. And they can’t find anyone to reciprocate. And without that reciprocation, then they’ve got four years, another four years or half of their life. Yeah. Not getting what they need. So it’s not surprising that by then they’re socially stunted.

00:24:32               They haven’t had that four years of that’s. It’s a really interesting, yeah. That’s my personal opinion. Yeah. That’s interesting. But, and I could, I was worried about that happening with Angus. I didn’t want him to turn into a Sheldon. I wanted him to be very well-rounded and that was my goal. I wasn’t looking for someone who was going to be the next rocket scientist or Nobel prize winner.

00:25:00               When I found out he was gifted, it was more, I’m worried about his emotional wellbeing. Yeah. And how, how is this going to affect him? So when he was, we were at this tiny little school and we joined mincer and I went on the website and I’m trying to find out who he can connect with. And this is Mensa group in Perth,

00:25:21               which is great. We were five hours from Perth. Oh, wow. That’s okay. We can try during school holidays, maybe when you’re a bit older and you can join in the programs. Yeah. That would be great. But I’m just looking for one person outside of that area. The closest one we found was three hour drive away. Wow.

00:25:40               Yeah. That’s hard to found a couple of other medicines in area two or three towns away, but they were adults. Yeah. Not children. So that was my big thing. He’s never going to find someone, one person is all I was after that he can connect with. And not long after I had joined Mensa, I actually got an email from Alan Thompson,

00:26:07               welcoming me and so forth. And sending me, I little video that some of the teachers at Dara had produced to the conference. Oh, I can show it at a conference. And he suggested that after having looked at Angus’s report, he suggested I considered R yeah. And so I had a look at it and I’m like, no way I can do this,

00:26:36               but it’s really interesting. And I went onto the dire website and found out the applications were closing in two days. So I went, well, let’s just do it. Nothing’s going to come of it. Nothing’s going to come up. So why did you think nothing would come with it? The application process. Okay. You just didn’t think you’d get through that or not smart Things you expect.

00:27:00               I mean, Particularly with older kids, school reports, Nat plan. Sure. Results and all that sort of stuff. We haven’t gotten there yet. So, and I knew Angus was going to be youngest of the kids type thing and all that sort of stuff. So I didn’t expect it, but I thought, you know what? Let’s just give it a,

00:27:18               go see what comes of it. Yeah. Two weeks later I was asked for an interview and then straight away I was, he was offered a place. Yeah. And I had two weeks to get the bone together, pay it and decide whether we were going, yeah, sorry. This all happened over a four week period Christmas that I had no idea how I was going to do this.

00:27:43               And I’m a single mum. Yeah. In this tiny little country town, five hours outside of hours outside of Paris, You don’t get more remote. So that’s not 500 kilometers away from where the nearest capital<inaudible> The serious, low socioeconomic area. I, I did have a part time job, but really like high and all the rest. And so it was basically,

00:28:08               we did a big garage sale and just said, everybody buy whatever you can. Yeah. Whatever you need. And everything’s going into flight to get us over there. And we started fresh when we came, I had my car shipped across. Yeah. And I, we H had two suitcases. Wow. And that was all we bought with us and we started fresh and it was the scariest thing I have ever done.

00:28:33               That’s huge. It was, it was massive. And we have no family here. We’d never visited the school. Yeah. I swear if I had seen this, Well, I wouldn’t have kept no Dara Having to start as it has in amongst it. A bigger public school. Yes. Yes. It’s it’s small. It’s small. Yeah. So for context,

00:28:56               Dara is, or was when Angus has started about 30 students in basically two rooms on the site of another primary school and then not glamorous rooms. It’s not, it’s not a new primary school. So when you, and I know what you mean. Cause when we went there for the interview, you’ve kind of got the meeting table in the admin. It’s just one room,

00:29:24               there’s a room for students and teaching and there’s a room for admin and that’s the school and Yeah. And it’s, and you definitely go there for the teaching. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s, I have to say though, delightful that next term, the school is moving into its forever home. We are sorting through it and it’s just this awesome,

00:29:48               like 19, early 1900 dimension. I just can’t see it. I can’t teach building. It’s going to be, it’s so amazing. I know. I can’t wait. It’s all this space and it’s just so awesome. So yeah. But, but nonetheless at the time it’s pretty underwhelming in terms of the looks, it wasn’t, this isn’t some fancy smancy private school with all the facilities,

00:30:13               but because it would have only been in its second year, was it? Yeah. Anger. Anger came in at the start of the second year and We accepted The position and I had then had to grow and tell yes, as teachers, it was in the middle of school holidays, we already finished. And there was changes being made at the school.

00:30:36               Principal had gone on long service life. There were other tapes, a new principal was coming in. They were mixing things up and teachers were making crosses and it was all for the teachers. It was a very uncertain time. And Angus was very well liked. And he, I had one teacher who had been the primary school teacher and she said, I missed out on having him.

00:30:59               She had been on long service leave pre-primary in that. And she’s like, and army out. And not only that, but she was one of the members of our church as well. And so we spent a lot of time with her. She taught Sunday school In there and all the rest Of it. So then I went to Leap of faith for you.

00:31:21               Wasn’t here. But I, I went to her and I said, look, we’ve decided we’re going elsewhere. And you could just see her face drop. Like she was going to cry. And I said, it’s not the school was in part of the school, given that it was such a small school and that we’re going to have a lot of resources and that sort of thing.

00:31:40               Certainly not. Yeah, no, it sounds like you have teachers, But I just it’s too good. An opportunity and that sort of thing. But I had shown Angus, this video that Alan had sent me and Angus, his face had changed. He watched it and he spiced lit up and he says to me, get me. And I’m like,

00:32:06               what? You act? I didn’t even notice no. That he had noticed a difference. Yeah. But he saw some of these other direct kids saying stuff and he understood them. And they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know, he felt. And I’m like, Oh, okay. And I was telling his teacher this and she had said to me,

00:32:31               and so I had said, it’s not, not the teaching. And we’re really happy and we’re leaving our family. So this is a huge, it’s not, it’s not exactly something we want to do, but we feel we can’t pass up the opportunity. And I asked her, but how has he socially? Because I haven’t had any complaints. She’s like,

00:32:50               not everybody loves him. He gets along with everybody. And she goes into, describe her at lunchtime. She sees him with the kindies and then I, and then she sees him with the pre prom, primary kids. And then she’s playing, he’s playing with this grade one, it and all the way up to grade five. And I think, and that’s when the penny dropped for me.

00:33:08               Yeah. And that’s when it sensed that yes, we are definitely going, there’s no taking this back because speaking with her through it and going through it, we both realized that every lunchtime he’s playing with a kindie kid and getting bored, playing with the pre-primary kid, getting bored, playing with a grade one kid and getting bored right up until he gets to the grade five girls.

00:33:29               I think he’s so sweet because he is, But he couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid. And he was actually regulating his own social things. So there was never any compliance. No, but he was getting it, but he wasn’t getting what he needed. And we just hadn’t seen the effects here. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social,

00:33:53               emotional problem. Yeah. This is not what I want. Yeah. We are definitely going. Yeah. And that was when, and coming to Dara and him seeing these other kids and they do get him, They do speak the same language. Don’t they? It’s beautiful. Ah, and I just, and I don’t always like the same stuff. No,

00:34:12               not all spice nuts. I don’t know. Yeah. My son. Yep. Hey human body. That’s him. Okay. That’s him. And it’s funny now because my son will be like, Oh yeah, we’ll be talking about something. He’ll be like, Hm. I’m not sure. We’ll have to ask such and such. That’s his area of expertise.

00:34:32               No, I’m not allowed to, my answers are never, ever accepted. His mom’s answers are never accepted. Not good enough. No, no. So yeah. So you got to Dara, he, he started day one. And so How, How instant was that kind of okay. We’ve done the right thing. When did that come for you?

00:34:54               The first week was deriding. Absolutely draining drain it. Yeah. That was, I have never seen him so tired. Yeah. Emotions. We didn’t even have house yet. Yeah. I mean, you guys were in the thick of it. Yeah. We, Our housing that we had planned on had fallen through. So we weren’t meeting from, we had housing OSI moving us from a hotel to caravan park to this and we’re catching buses for the first week.

00:35:25               Yeah. Until the cargo came over, came over on it. It was a mess. Yeah. But so yes, he was, he was utterly exhausted when we finally got our unit finally had a home and settled in, it was about a week after that. Yeah. And he’s lying in bed and he looks up at me and he says to me,

00:35:54               we made the right decision to come and that’s Yes, The right decision to come. And it hasn’t been easy. He is two years on. He is still struggling with not having his family around. His father is still in WWI, aunts and uncles that he’s really close to grandparents. He’s very close to. That is still really hard. So there’s that emotional thing that he’s dealing with.

00:36:27               And this has me wanting a completely emotionally well-rounded young boy and I’ve gone. Okay. So I bet the needs on one end, but the other ends really struggling. Yeah. I have to admit he is struggling on that end and we’re working through that. Yeah. But as far as being with other kids, being able to be challenged without being pushed.

00:36:51               Yes. Yeah. That was a big thing for me, because it’s so easy for me to try and push him, especially in math. I have a degree in math, so I would love to sit there and just push him in maths, just do math all day long, Which would not be his cup of tea. So even though you’ve still,

00:37:09               you’ve obviously he misses his family very much. You still think it was very much worth. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Even he will say that we made the right decision, but it is hard it’s time. Yeah. And you know what, we can’t protect them from everything in life, Kim North, you know, and let’s face it, a big move into state for whatever reason is something that a lot of kids have to deal with.

00:37:31               And it just is. Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. But now he seems to be going really well now and all settled in. He is he’s settled in his, he’s doing well in all aspects really is he’s having a grand old time for the most part. And it’s not just school. It’s sport. Yeah. It’s, he’s big into sport and he’s doing well there and he’s going to his violin lessons back,

00:37:59               which we quit when we left. So we’ve finally been able to give him those. So that’s, that’s been good. And yeah. So he’s, he’s settled. He’s doing well. He’s generally happy in that regard. CYA things have been, things have been great for us and it worked out really well for me too. So that was, that was fine.

00:38:21               I, I love being in Adelaide today. Oh, me too. We’d just, yeah. We didn’t never thought we would end up here, but we feel very lucky to be here. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to no worries. It’s been A pleasure. I do Like to end though. And hopefully something comes to mind,

00:38:42               but just looking back and thinking about, if you can think of one of those moments Where Just one of those gifted moments where they just totally surprised you, or you would just watch them do something. And they’ll like, Oh my God, what have I got here? What comes to mind? The one that comes Mine was after we got here and I’m sitting with a group of Dara moms yeah.

00:39:13               From during the school holidays and the kids are off playing, having a bit of a play date and that that’s all great. And, and we’re just sitting there having afternoon tea and all lovely bit of a chat and a laugh. And all of a sudden I hear the piano playing and it’s a familiar tune because Angus used to play it on the violin.

00:39:33               He’d only had six months on the violin. And so he was playing that and we heard this playing and I asked the host, mum, your daughter, is it your daughter or your son that plays piano. And she stops and gives me an odd look. And then she lanes back and looks around lanes around the wall to look at the piano. And she goes,

00:39:54               Oh no, that’s Angus. And I’m just like, what? And she goes, that’s Angus playing. The other mom goes to me. So how long has he been playing piano? And I’m like, He doesn’t. He does. And, and the third mum love it laughed. And I’m like, he Does, he did six months a piano and he Yeah,

00:40:20               six months of violin. And he did that Piece, but he’s never played piano. And he had transferred. Yeah. Worked it out onto the piano. Wow. Which he’d never played before. I mean, I’ve never played a violin, but they don’t say they don’t seem very similar. And I’m sitting here, They gobsmacked and these three mums just Burst out,

00:40:47               laughing The host hostesses. That’s just one of those weed things our kids do. And that was just the extent of it. And everybody else is just having a great laugh in their, like, This is so cool to watch somebody else have one of these, your drops. Oh, now I got to work out on the music as well. I had the intellectual,

00:41:16               I got the music is doing really, really well in gymnastics. I, sorry. I’ve been told his physically his gifted, advanced whatever. However, we’re going to put it and took him to the dentist. Right. Folk Christmas, dentist him for x-rays I think because his dental advanced, done. How can you be dental?<inaudible> I’m out. That’s the last of it.

00:41:49               I’m not listening any, that’s hilarious. Yeah. There’s a few, he’s one of a client. That’s for sure. I love it. I love it. Well, we’ll end on that note thing. Dentally advanced, beautiful quite of the day. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story. I really appreciate your time. Love it. Enjoy this episode.

00:42:17               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 at ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.

#003 Perfectionism & Heavy Expectations – Podcast

#003 Perfectionism & Heavy Expectations – Podcast

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


Subscribe & Review

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 at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


Connect with me on LinkedIn Instagram & Facebook!



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.