How to Recognize a Parent of a Gifted Child

Parents learning how to live with a gifted child have a few tell-tale signs. Just like you can usually spot parents of multiples (all those same-size car seats in the minivan are the usual giveaway) there are clues to recognizing these parents.

  • They’re on a first name basis with all the librarians in their lives. I say all librarians because these kids usually have books checked out from the school and the community library.
  • Books are scattered everywhere. Cars, bedrooms, home libraries (yes, I mean the bathroom), dining room table, homework spot, school locker, and stacked near every comfy chair they come across.
  • You know way too much about dinosaurs, Lego robotics, black holes, or whatever the topic of the week is that has captured 99% of your child’s attention.
  • There are no soccer games to attend on the weekends.
  • They know every summer camp, enrichment opportunity, and robot workshop available in a 50 mile radius.
  • When they talk about Hoagies, they don’t mean the sandwich.

But the number one way I’ve found to tell the difference is that the parent of a highly gifted or profoundly gifted child has a unique look of tired terror when discussing their child.

The Tiredness

Having a child on the far right of the bell curve can be exhausting. It’s tiring just keeping up with all of those questions, especially when they’re

How to recognize parent of a gifted child

Courtesy D. Sharon Pruitt

young. Thank goodness when they’re old enough to Google things themselves.

The Terror

The terror sets in when you realize schools usually don’t have a good game plan for how to effectively educate your child. If you’re like me, you thought that once Kindergarten started everything would be fine. Wrong!

In most cases that’s when the real work of parent advocacy begins – and doesn’t end until you pack them off to college.

Finding ways to keep your child interested and engaged in learning can take up more time than many parents realize. We’ve had to visit libraries and used book stores more than I ever thought possible just to keep a steady supply of reading material available.

But what reading material? What does a seven-year old at a 10th grade reading level read? That’s another blog post – stay tuned.

The Tears

I’ve had the honor to meet with several parents starting on this wonderful, terror-filled journey of raising gifted kids. Almost always the higher the child’s IQ, the less bragging there is, the more questions are asked, and the more tears are shed.

What’s your experience been with parents of gifted kids?

134 Responses

  1. I have never read an article like this – that truly expresses what every day is like. I soon learnt to be very quiet in gifted groups as our experience was like that of no-one else! You just missed one thing out: these kids are incredibly expensive! Musical instruments soon become advanced models, rather than starter instruments; robotics kits and electronics kits come with a larger price tag, you spend money in the pharmacy buying the dust covered bottle in the back corner that no-one knew about because you need it for the science experiment.

    But the tiredness… These children never sleep! Which means you don’t. And as you hear how everyone else’s children sleep in, your own get up earlier and earlier, and go to bed later and later…

    • The Common Mom says:

      I’m so glad this spoke to you! Yes, even among gifted the experiences can be so different. The farther to the right of the bell curve you go the lonelier it gets. And you’re right – they are expensive!

      Luckily, mine is pretty self sufficient now so I get to sleep in on weekends. Sometimes.

    • Kimberley says:

      Really enjoyed this! We have a profoundly gifted 7 year old and a PG 5 year old. It is exhausting and expensive. I spend $1500 a month on music lessons/instruments ALONE…. and then there’s private school tuition because public schools didn’t know what to do with our oldest (we didn’t bother to even try public school for our younger child)… chess… legos….books….and everything else. We encourage and try to support physical activity, so we do play soccer and practice martial arts. Those come a little less easily to them, but they enjoy both and benefit a lot from both.

      Glad that we are able to do all this, though, because our parents couldn’t when we were younger. My kids are delightful, but I definitely related to the comment about tiredness. And it’s not my job (university professor) that exhausts me most! Going to my office is usually when I relax and take a breath.

  2. I am so glad to see someone write about the tired, tears and look or terror! People think it must be soooo fun having a kid who is “so interested” in things. Its is, but its exhausting. At 1 i used to wonder when his interests would outpace my knowledge. At 2 we were both learning a lot!!. Now that we are getting closer to kindergarden my husband and i have realized that public school may not be right for him. I had been thinking it would be getting easier then too! Not in the cards as they say

    • The Common Mom says:

      People who don’t know all the challenges that come with these kids just have a hard time getting it. I wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything but it’s certainly a challenging path. Deciding on schools is one of the toughest you’ll make. Our plan has been to make the best, informed decisions we can for our child right now. So right now public school is working for us – but we reserve the right to change course as necessary. Good luck on whichever educational path you choose.

  3. Except in our case, our gifted child is also athletically gifted, so we had soccer games, too. Now it’s fencing, but the drill is similar.

    And yes. I hardly even talk about my kids, let alone brag. People find that odd, but when I do talk about my kids, people get all, you know, WEIRD. And you know what I mean..

    • The Common Mom says:

      I love that your kiddo fences! Mine’s set on archery but I haven’t found lessons yet. Nope, no bragging here either (at least I try not to). And I know that look ALL too well. Feel free to come back here or visit on Facebook to brag – I love hearing those stories!

    • Suzanne Lanzon says:

      ‘…people get all, you know, WEIRD.’ That brought tears to my eyes. I’m very new to all this. My little gifted one has just turned 2 and I’m getting sadder and lonelier by the day (in a sharing mummy-stories kind of way). I can’t share her milestones.

      How can I say how wonderful it was to see her making words with her foam letters in the bath? And telling me that she’d like to get a rocket and take it up to the sky so that she can touch the aeroplane flying above us – it’s too far to touch otherwise!

      The only reason I talked (bragged) about what she could do was that I was fishing around in my own head for a reason she could do such things. Now I understand. Having the label of ‘giftedness’ means I no longer share what she does. She does it because she can and nobody else wants to hear about it because that’s not a part of their parenting world.

      • I’m wondering if my 3 yr old is gifted, she did a test when she was 2, and the result was normal, I was so relieved! But now she is even farther ahead of her peers, and driving me crazy! People think they want their child to be smart, but only because they don’t realise what it means. I can never share what she does because it sounds like boasting! But in the first couple of years I just thought everybody’s baby would be doing the same kind of thing, then people got Weird! One mum said “that can’t be true” and when she saw my daughter actually do it she just stopped talking to us altogether. It’s lonely!

        • Yes, I know what you mean, Felicity – about other people wanting their child to be smart…and there we are ‘complaining’ about the hardships of having a ‘smart’ kid and ‘bragging’ all the time!

          People have slowly moved away from us. One person said to me, “I hate the term gifted – what does that make the rest of us?” Being with us reminds them that their child is not as smart as they would like – and they never will be. My daughter does everything before their children do and I guess that gets downright annoying for them.

          Be lovely if there was such a place as Gifted Town where I could move to…where we would be normal.

  4. So, so true. You just described me :/

  5. tardis_blue says:

    Mostly right. My husband and I think sports are good for you, though, so soccer is on for us. =) Plus the chitlin loves it.
    It sounds like we have had somewhat opposite experiences–just when it started to get easier for me, it got harder for you! I homeschool my boy, so I don’t have to deal with schools (mostly–he attends the gifted program at our local public school one day a week) which makes my life easier. Once he got past the toddler/preschool stage, he got a TON easier to deal with. But yes, I am intimately familiar with the tired terror. =)
    I haven’t had many opportunities to meet up with other parents of gifted kids. One mom seems utterly overwhelmed, another family is so cooly together (apparently, anyway) they scare me–and they have 4 kids, either all or most of whom are gifted. O.o I could barely do my one!

    • The Common Mom says:

      I think your husband’s right – would love for my girl to be involved with a sport. My husband would love it even more! We’ve tried basketball (never touched the ball), ballet (no coordination), t-ball (oh, the stories I could tell), and now we’re on to martial arts (this may stick!).

      I’ve often felt the same way – apparently someone knew I could only handle one gifted girl and no more. My hats off to parents with more on their plate – I stand in awe!

  6. I remember the joy when I finally found another parent who understood how problematic it was to have a child who read ALL the TIME! We were really struggling with my oldest as he was reading when he was supposed to be getting ready for school, eating meals, doing homework, getting ready for bed, sleeping, having a shower….anything! My husband threatened to take away all his books. Other parents would tell us how lucky we were that our son liked to read.

    • The Common Mom says:

      Of course we’re lucky to have kids that love to read! BUT, when you have to say “no reading while walking”, you wonder sometimes.

      • Hahaha ! So funny but true. It terrifies me everytime I catch my daughter reading a book while coming down the stairs. I had to remind her again and again that it doesn’t hurt to put down the book a couple of seconds just so she can get downstairs safely.

      • Beverley O'Flynn says:

        Or no reading while brushing your teeth!

        • Oh, no, please don’t enforce that! I love brushing my teeth (yup, sensual overexitement, along with the other four), so doing it thoroughly takes a long time. I enhance the experience by reading while I brush. Easier with an electronic toothbrush, but it is feasible with a normal toothbrush as well, and I really cannot see why it should be problematic to do so. Actually, reading while brushing might just prolong the brushing long enough to make the teeth extra cleen, every time ;)

      • LOL This made me laugh. We say this to one son and ‘Absolutely NO more maths and no you can’t sleep with your maths book!’ to the other.

      • GinevraCat says:

        I’ve given up on that. But she’s not allowed to read while crossing roads!

        • Our son sleeps with 8-10 books every night. They’re like stuffed animals to him. I don’t know how he does it, but he manages to curl around them somehow. It’s a pretty great photo.

          • The Common Mom says:

            Love this! Sounds like a great photo op!

          • It’s funny that even now, as an adult, I still sleep with a pile of books next to my side of the bed. It drives my husband crazy! Guess some things never change.

      • Books, books, EVERYWHERE!!! I literally have to drag my 3 gifted children out of the library every time. You would think I was trying to drag them off to get their teeth pulled, lol! Yes, we are on a first name basis with the librarians, and we are very lucky to have a librarian that will pull books from the shelves and have them set aside for my children, just because she knows that they will enjoy them. I am a SAHM (and current Nursing Student myself) of 3 highly gifted children, my 10 year old son is 2e, my 7 year old daughter was just classified last year, and even though my 5 year old son has not yet been tested, I have been through this enough times to recognize the signs. Very exhausting but also a blessing. I love to be able to have intelligent conversations with my children, but once in a while I would love to watch SpongeBob instead of Mythbusters, lol!

      • Glamerousg says:

        Ha ha, and here’s me thinking I was the only person to have ever said to a 5 year old boy “no, you can’t scoot home from school while reading”. He also has books in his bed like stuffed toys:-)

    • I’ve felt *so* alone in this with my oldest daughter who reads as you said *ALL* the time! I laughed so hard at each and every point made, because they were so true for us!! I do shop at all the thrift stores I can to buy children’s books just to keep up with her!! She’s 11 and just started reading Michael Crichton books. It is so hard to find challenging reading material that keeps their interests that still age appropriate for them! Wow, thanks for sharing your insight. It’s so true and so wonderful to see there’s others that know *exactly* what we’re faced with!!

      • The Common Mom says:

        Thanks for the kind comments! Finding age appropriate reading material is a big challenge for these kids – at least mine. I’ve been working on reading lists, I’ll have to share when I’ve got them organized. And I love Michael Crichton books!

        • Are you on LibraryThing? I’ve been struggling to compile reading lists and read-aloud lists for my own 3y.o. PG boy, and have had the darndest time, as he is also highly sensitive, and even playground tussles and name-calling in a story send him to tears, let alone anything more modern and “dramatic.” I’ve been going back to 1930s and even earlier to find appropriate stories with rich language. If other gifted families got together, we could build shared lists of recommended, family-vetted reading materials. I’ve already started a list for Third Culture Kid Literature there. Could do the same for Asynchronous Kid Lit. Just a thought.

    • Here Here! It didn’t take my now 8 year old daughter long to figure out she could ‘pretend’ to be in the bathroom so she could sit and read for an hour. She’s only shed blood one time from tripping while reading, though ;-).

      Books perched on the sink,
      piled on the couch,
      covering the school desk,
      tucked in the pillow case pouch.

      Age appropriate reading is definitely a tough one, and even more so if you are a Christian and care a little more about how the presentation of relationships (10 year olds falling in love are not my idea presentation), myth, science and such are handled. A friend just recommended the book ‘Books are Some of My Best Friends’ a resource for finding age appropriate materials for gifted kids.

      A great ‘reading replacement’ for my gifted children has been reading classics aloud to them while they color or draw (the rule is they have to be quiet and stay in the room even if they aren’t drawing). We did Ben Franklin’s bio and The Hobbit recently and my kids really enjoy this new way to have family time.

  7. Lolly Var Lachland says:

    homeschooling adds a whole other element here. tired ain’t a strong enough word. but, whenever i consider my asynchronous child in school i get panicky (as does he), so we keep at it at home, where he explores everything, pushes boundaries, and can never be satisfied with “enough.” *sigh* on my knees in regular humble prayer. no. it isn’t easy to talk about him–the unique child & situation make me feel awfully alone sometimes. but, we’re blessed with other TAG kids & TAG mommas in the local homeschooling world. Even there, though, each child from a different cookie cutter; each with high levels of need & intensity. hard to have my other kiddos in this boy’s shadow!! he does overtake his environment.

    • The Common Mom says:

      Homeschooling these kids I know is sometimes the best solution. Honestly, it scares me but it’s something that keeps popping up in the back of mind. I think you make the best decisions you can for that moment in time. We’re blessed with amazing teachers but I reserve the right to change my mind and homeschool. Thanks for sharing!

      • Homeschooling is an option, but it also adds to the tiredness, the tears, etc. I’ve been homeschooling mine for a few years and I’m starting to suffer from burnout. I think what most people don’t realize about gifted kids (and especially 2e kids) is that they aren’t all that self-sufficient. Some of them need a lot more direction from parents, because they themselves don’t know what to feed their hungry brains.

  8. Great article!!Sums it up perfectly!

  9. Thank you for this article. Although it is a privilege to raise gifted children, it takes a lot of work and is a lonely path. Other parents who has same-age children as ours cannot understand nor sympathize with what we’re going through. Worse, they think we are pushing our kids too much and we are not entitled to any ‘bragging rights’. As Melissa M. mentioned above, they get weird when we start taking about what our kids accomplishments (I think it’s more about envy). So, I just keep quiet most of the time :-(

  10. Beverley O'Flynn says:

    I remember when my son was 5, I looked at him and thought, oh my goodness, I am sure this child is smarter then me! How am I going to cope? Then I realized, it was not about me, it was about him and all I had to be was me! I am the mom who gets him, who understands and that was all he needed from me. :) Oh and of course all the things above too!

  11. Exhausted. Tearful. Shocked. Lost. Now home educating. Kids who ask questions in their sleep. Kids who are never satisfied with ‘let’s find out later.’ We’ve got Potential Plus UK (formerly NAGC) thankfully because this is the stuff that we understand about each other that is so alien to the educators who just didn’t understand and didn’t want to understand.

  12. Interesting comments. In our experience schooling in the UK is a total let down for G&T children which has led to us being considered adversarial because we dare to question the education being provided. We thought once our son got into secondary school things would improve – despite getting into what is considered one of the best grammar schools in the country things have if anything got worse. Most parents are so happy their kids have got in they are willing to overlook (or at least accept) the bullying, racism and all but invisible pastoral care. Now looking at private school from year 9 onwards (if we can afford it) – academically probably not as good but G&T kids will thrive in the right environment wherever they are. We looked at home-schooling but have seen many G&T home schooled kids at the NAGC and unfortunately many show signs of social ineptness around other kids from being on their own a lot of the time so would be wary unless you can connect with a local group and have group lessons etc.
    Our son is an extremely able martial artist and we find the structure and discipline suits his mentality perfectly – certainly balances his schooling and gives an environment he feels at home in – would certainly recommend on the proviso you find a good club / instructor (the hard part).

  13. Sarah Hestres says:

    It is so wonderful to find others that “get it.” We have great schools and even a charter school for the highly gifted and those teachers “get it” but since all kids are so different even on the right end of the bell curve, it’s hard for them to really “get it.” Then again, I’m not sure that I really “get it!” And as far as the tired terror look, I hadn’t realized we’ve met.

  14. Yes, yes, yes – on the verge of tears and terrified that my child’s needs are not being adequately met. My husband and son just left to buy rockets pieces and engine parts for their rockets, my son is 8. He is so far to the right and is so board by school, he has become the class clown, we get more notes home for his “excessive talking” then I am able to keep track of. I have been telling the teachers and staff for 5 years now, give him more and harder work. I cannot seem to get through to them, he is in the gifted program, the gifted teachers get it, but the rest don’t. I’ve tried explaining gifted children to them, printed out information for them, all to no avail! I hear over and over he isn’t staying focused and is disrupting the class, what can we do – “Give him more work, give him another project, get him to help you with the children who need help” I might as well be talking to a wall. My husband and I are going to solicit the help of the gifted teachers now to see if they will give him extra projects to do during regular class time so he does not interrupt the others so much. We hope this might be the solution we need, as I am feeling at the end is my rope and do not want my son continuing down his current path as he is becoming labeled a bit of a trouble maker and he is an awesome kid, he just happens to be on a level with adults, not most other 8 year olds. I am not sure home schooling would be the solution for my own sanity, but temping for the different (and costly) things we’d do. Oh yes and the questions never stop, not for me or anyone else. When he was small, I used to go through the Dairy Queen drive through and pick up an extra thick chocolate shake – just for a little peace and quiet. Doesn’t work as well now that he is older. I have a friend whose son is not gifted and is having trouble staying on track, she said to me once that I had nothing to worry about. I let her know that we are both in the same boat, just for different reasons. I want to thank all if you for listening and offering any words of wisdom.

    • I am so glad to have read your post, My son is also very gifted 8 and very chatty, he is in a fulltime gifted class in public school. However, I don’t think his gifted teachers get it, I voiced my concerns that he is bored and not challenged, one teacher who has never thought gifted tried to tell me yes he was being challenged, so why does he still get straight A’s?? and is now becoming the class clown, starting to make silly mistakes because the work is so easy and he feels he’s SOOO smart he doesn’t have to work at it. I’m kinda at my wits end and not sure what to do next, Just worried he’s starting to lose interest and completely switch off :-(
      My friends totally don’t get it, they think I’m boasting (which I’m clearly not) when I’m trying to share my concerns.

  15. Love the article! We’ve got five gifted kids so I relate to the exhaustion. And our oldest is starting college early so I don’t know if the advocating will end with that big step. But thanks for letting us all feel a little less alone…

  16. My gifted daughter is only 3.5 but is already EXHAUSTING. While friends’ kids of the same age are playing dress-up and having tea parties, mine is playing that she’s pregnant with multiples and has to be induced with Pitocin and then her water breaks and the doctor doesn’t make it to the room on time so the nurse has to deliver the babies. And asking how regular ovens and microwave ovens cook differently. All moms are tired but being mentally exhausted by our gifted kids is a different kind of tired!

  17. I greatly appreciate this. We have 2 gifted sons. They are both amazing, but we are always worried they’re not getting enough of what they need.

  18. I love this so much I don’t even have the words. No one will ever truly understand what it’s like for our children or for us parents.
    For years I’ve been struggling to come up with something pithy to say when someone comments on how fun it must be to be the mom of such fascinating children. “Never a dull moment” is what I now say in reply. I think it manages to cover all the bases ;-)

  19. Yes, My daughter is gifted at music, taking piano lessons for one year now, she has already been playing in our church’s worship band for 6 months, also plays electric guitar, bass guitar, and wants vocal lessons too. I am glad my husband and I are in a cover band to keep up with her. The nice guitar my husband got her quickly become not good enough, she requires the best, wants to know what are the best amps, pedals, brands etc. Won’t sing in front of anyone until she has practiced for years and has had vocal training. Must practice piano on the grand piano at church, not our middle of the road donated piano. She is also an avid reader, constantly reading on top of all the music in our house. It drives us crazy but also makes us proud. She’ll be teaching her dad how to play guitar in 2 years because she will have already surpassed his knowledge of the guitar. On piano she has learned to transpose very quickly only after 4 months of lessons. Amazes me.

  20. My first thought was: I’m super glad we don’t do any sports! LOL! My second thought was, “No one knows how much other parents resent us because of our child’s abilities. I’m not allowed to brag on dd’s accomplishments academically, but have to endure one more “winning goal” soccer story from YOU!?!?” Get a grip, other parents! Y’all totally nailed this article. Kudos to the author and thanks for sharing it.

  21. midwest dad says:

    Yep… We know about the weird look from people … It is a unique journey… And sometimes lonely until you read a post like this. There are five books on the table right now plus a newspaper. We have to take a deep breath and enjoy the kids whenever possible.

  22. Wow. You completely described my life. Thank you for validating my experience. My son is in
    5th grade and our journey has been long! I cannot even express how humbled I have become in parenting my son.

  23. Well as a gifted child .. I salute you common but good mums! When I was small my mum did none of these things…she took from me and made look after her and so did almost everybody else…because I was smart and able…there are a lot of average people out there…

  24. Great article. I have three gifted so expensive is correct. They all do sports which has changed over the years until they found what they liked. We mostly had them do sports to keep them around the mainstream kids. it has gotten easier as they have gotten older.

  25. This article totally hit home! A lot of parents just don’t realize how intense it is to raise a gifted child. Yes, we also know the librarians by name. If we’re not visiting all the libraries, bookstores and museums within 50 miles of out house, my son is keeping us busy with soccer, baseball and swimming practices. Even though he’s not even 5 yet, it seems like he’s working off a checklist: once he masters (rather quickly) a subject, he dives right into his next interest leaving me and his teachers with whiplash. I wouldn’t trade my little smarty pants for anything in the whole world, but I’m bracing myself for when he starts kindergarten since I don’t think any of our public schools are ready for kids like him.

  26. Yup. That about sums it up – though I disagree about the soccer games. Some highly and/ or profoundly gifted children DO enjoy sports – even competitive ones. They’re rare, but they do exist. I know, as I have them – in a way it’s no different tham robotics or mathematical competitions. So add “sports bag and equipment piles” to the list of places to find books (because we HAVE to read on the way there, during breaks, and immediately afterwards…!) And talking to other parents at those games? SO hard, SO difficult…at least we have several friends in our homeschool community who provide acceptance and support. And I can’t wait to see if you have any new-to-me suggestions for a high-comprehension, low-social/age reader!

  27. I don’t know… I think terror is overstating it. Yes, we worry; I’m not sure we actually worry more than any other parents, although we might worry about a different set of issues.

    Here are some positive attributes I’ve seen in many parents of gifted kids (who are often gifted themselves!)

    1. They are lifelong learners and have communicated their excitement about learning to their kids.

    2. They enjoy interacting with their kids and love hearing about the fantastic, creative, amazing things their kids come up with.

    3. They are fascinated by the process of human development they see unfolding in their own kids, and are often rediscovering their own gifts and passions at the same time.

    4. They want to read and talk about all this cool stuff, and love finding like-minded parents who have shared some of their experiences raising unusual kids :D

  28. As the mom of gifted girls and teacher of a self-contained 6th grade GT class, YES, my life is extremely exhausting! (Try dealing with 30 of these darlings at a time!!) I am just happy that our district has a great GT program that I feel that my girls get the right amount of interest and rigor. My oldest is also musically gifted… This year we have piano lessons, Jazz band, orchestra, and rock band; next week, she has rehearsal every night and three performances as she’s in the orchestra pit for their Jr High musical. As a family, we’ve done karate, geocaching, and most recently, we are into archery. Whew!
    I’ve finally figured out that the only way I can keep up and avoid getting completely frazzled is by getting to bed by 9 and maintaing a joint family/work calendar on Google: My husband, girls, and I are on the same page and we’re no longer overwhelmed by the “last minute” things that come up. I love technology!!!!!

  29. I agree. I am still finding it difficult to meet my sons needs. He loves books, but more than that he LOVES to work with his hands. I can’t seem to keep him stimulated, he gets bored and super grumpy!!! I homeschool him, and once a week he goes to a homeschool program, where he does ‘school’ for a day. I have NEVER seen a kid exasperate so many people all at once….Am I in tears often?? – oh, that is an understatement…lol!!! Thank you for the article, I feel like it gives me a glimpse that I am not the only one at my whit’s end. And not with my kid, so much as with the people that don’t know what to do with my kid, particularly myself…ha!

  30. Thanks for putting in writing how we feel everyday….what about not getting birthday invites or play dates?…like other kids….

  31. JoAnna from Idaho says:

    yes yes and yes! Many thanks for this article and your blog! IT is a wonderful scary frightening thing to have children who are gifted. I don’t know how to be “enough” for them. We went throughK-12 homeschooling with my kids and they are in the advanced learner program, so they can go at the pace the want or need, which is wonderful. I tried public schooling with my highly gifted child, when I tried to tell the teachers just how smart she was I was told all parents think their child is smart. At semesters end she knew less than when she had entered that class. When I approached the teachers about my concerns I got the very definite idea from them that she was a problematic child she asked to many questions, they teachers were annoyed by her enthusiasm. I promptly took her out. Best thing I ever did.

  32. JoAnna from Idaho says:

    Please I have a question to ask all of you Mom’s. Do any of you have children who are twice exceptional? We are finding out both of my highly intelligent GT kids have learning disabilities. I am struggling so much to figure out how to let them fly and crawl at the same time. My daughter for example can at times do a unit of math in 2-3 days so she is doing 3,4,5 lessons at time. Yet she struggles to remember multiplication facts. I was told her brain has processing issues. IT files things in wrong places. So she takes things in and knows the info but retrieving them back out causes issues. So she flies through math and at other times sits in front of the computer crying because she can’t remember her facts.
    Do any of you have suggestions or books on how to deal with a gifted child who still has learning disabilities. I don’t know how to fly and crawl at the same time to meet both of those needs. I feel as if I meet her learning disability needs her GT needs aren’t being met and visa versa. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Tired_so_tired says:

      Hi, I’ve just found this blog and saw your comment. I have two gifted children both 2e (one has sensory processing disorder and the other dysgraphia, a learning disability). My oldest is HG, the youngest is still to be tested. We have a fantastic school that has put great plans in place. Resourcing hasn’t been an issue at all, pretty straight forward. My oldest also struggles with recall of basic facts, but does complex maths, and the school is accomodating that. Feel free to make contact if you need ideas. It’s a tough road!

    • Oh my goodness! You just described my childhood! I can remember almost everything back to when I was a baby but I can’t retrieve the information when I want it! It just pops into my head, or not. I hated school because it was so easy and boring, couldn’t make friends my own age. I was an extremely anxious, highly strung child, I DID NOT “DO” fingerpainting, or sand, or dirt or holding hands or rolling on the grass or noisy crowds or cutting my fingernails or showers or anything sticky, or anything too soft, or the wrong kind of hand soap, or gloves, or sun cream. And I still don’t…can’t. Could that be the sensory processing disorder you were talking about? I also can’t hear people talking if there is any other noise, I hear everything -even the ticking clock and humming fridge- so I must be looking at their mouth so I can lip read. People were worried something was wrong with my hearing.
      Math was the worst at school, because I would look at the equation and simply “see” the answer, and I would call it out or just write it down (with no working out) and the teacher would get really annoyed! I’d just say, yeah, but I’m right. Once I told her that the way she solved it was less efficient than the way I solved it, and refused to ‘go back’ and do it again. I was 12. I gave up on math the year after because I like just doing it in my head and seeing the numbers like music and keeping it written as you go spoils it. I wish I had been home schooled because now I wish I new way more advanced math but I don’t have time to start from eighth grade. I’m just praying that I can cope with my “gifted” & neurotic 3 year going on 22yr old, my baby, my studies and my job…I’m a single mum.

  33. From England says:

    No sports? Please, just because our children are gifted does not mean that they are not physically active or athletically competitive. To me, this definition defines parents who create giftedness – rather than support their children as whole beings. Moving and being healthy is important – in addition to reading and enrichment. Am I the only one who has well-rounded, exceptionally gifted kids?

    • The Common Mom says:

      I absolutely agree that moving and being healthy is important! The comment about no soccer games was meant to reflect that sports don’t tend to be the number one focus of the gifted kids I know. In no way do I mean to imply that athletics aren’t important or that no gifted kids are interested in them. Of course there are! The parents I know, of gifted kids or not, work very hard on ensuring their kids are well-rounded. Thanks for your comments – I truly appreciate them!

  34. Oh wow, people who get it! Mr 6 (today!) worries me enormously, and we seem to spend a lot of time trying to figure out just how to keep him happy and fulfilled. We’re homeschooling too, and tired just does not cover it! I laughed at the comments about books… yes, books EVERYWHERE! Thank you for this post… maybe one more person will understand.

  35. Wow, awesome article. I am not overly gifted but always wished I was. I think my IQ is normal but I still showed some of these traits to my Mom as I was always a voracious reader way above my level.

  36. Thank you for summing this up! We have four gifted children (all are differently gifted from each other) and the intensities are so… INTENSE! lol

    We’ve recently started blogging about our experiences raising them, and the ups and downs of it and it’s been so cathartic!

    • The Common Mom says:

      I agree about the intensities, they can be quite, um…intense. Looking forward to following your story a LivingTheLifeFantastic.com!

  37. Gabrielle says:

    I read this thinking yes, yes, yes, yes. And yes my son rejects soccer as pointless, but he wouldn’t have time anyway amongst the many dance classes, choirs, various instrument and drama lessons, band, eisteddfods, concerts, musicals …….

    • The Common Mom says:

      My daughter feels the same way about soccer and the same way about choir and drama! Too bad we can’t arrange a play date!

  38. Love this post. You could not have described our life more perfectly. Now, back to Doctor Who–I still have a lot to learn!

  39. Kennia Brenner says:

    Great article ! Imagine that in a country with babysteps laws or education sistems …

  40. Yes, I have to disagree about the sport. We live at the ice rink… I would like to add that most of us probable also have the school counsellor and grade coordinator on speed dial…..

  41. Wow! Was it ever nice to read a post I could relate to. Thank you so much for posting, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are other parents out there who just get it.

  42. Yes, yes, yes. My son sleeps, eats, lives books. Thank God but we cannot keep up with his thirst. He HATES soccer but excels at swimming. He is always the youngest and feels uncomfortable at times. He is so negative about school and we cry together regularly about how unjustly he can be treated at times. I never say he is gifted to other parents. They don’t understand what this means. They answer by saying that their child is gifted or that all kids are gifted…true but just not the same!!! Thanks for the article and the responses!!

  43. hello all, this is a really brilliant article.
    Channel 4 are looking for bright young sparks to take part in a new show called Child Genius. Try our fun brain busters at http://www.childgenius2013.co.uk Thank you!

  44. We have a saying in Boy Scouts: “A boy who earns his Eagle at 14-year old has dedicated parents. A young man who earns his Eagle right before his 18th birthday has dedication.”

    So many parents want to believe their child is gifted when so few children truly are. From where I sit, the problem is that most children fail to live up to their potential, not that many children are gifted. Show me a gifted child and I’ll show you engaged parents. From where I sit, genius is rare. I’ve met at most three people I would consider “genius”, and I’ve studied under many brilliant people, including seven Nobel Prize winners. In my ten years interviewing candidates for Harvard College, I have only met one WOW candidate. I’ve met many “gifted” students, but only the one WOW. Perhaps my vision is cloudy, but I don’t see where all of you are seeing “gifted children” or geniuses everywhere.

    All children are gifts. It’s what we do with them that makes the difference.

    http://www.iahp.org

  45. Catharine Alvarez says:

    Jesus. Four Nobel Laureates don’t meet your standard for genius?

    As for gifted vs genius, they are not the same thing. Academically gifted kids need the opportunity to learn at the level and rate that is best for them whether or not they grow up to be Nobel Laureates (or geniuses).

    Most kids fail to live up to their potential!? My god, I can’t imagine how you treat those poor students in your interviews!

    • It would appear that Karen hasn’t done much research on the characteristics of giftedness if her barometer is Nobel Laureates. Giftedness is a whole host of other traits above and beyond advanced intellectual age.

    • How should I treat students who claim they are “the best and brightest in the world”? Should I coddle them or should I allow them to prove it? I interview children who win international science/art/mathematics/music competitions. I deal with kids who have published books or ran successful companies. I have one kid with a successful acting career who drives a car that costs more than my annual income, and he paid cash. Exactly how much of a break should I give these kids, when I won’t even give my legally blind cerebral palsied brain damaged child a break. Life is unfair, even more so when you are stupid, lazy, weak or dishonest.

      I deal with kids who want to get into Harvard, MIT or Carnegie Mellon. If they can’t get pass me, they still have a shot.

      f.y.i: I also help children who want to attend Fullerton College, Cypress College, or any other college or university. There is a place for anyone who wants to learn. Usually that place is NOT at one of our top ten universities, no matter how much the parents or child want it. I also help homeless children, women, veterans, and the elderly.

      I give EVERYONE my permission to be GREAT. I stand by my assertion that most kids fail to live up to their potential. Anyone who thinks their kid can’t do better is welcome to send him/her to me for a week. I guarantee they will do better, and I don’t harm children. I just love them into doing well.

      (This is my way of chewing all of you out for hurting my feelings. Good day and goodbye.)

    • To be fair, I have met several Nobel Laureates who have not at all impressed me with their overall intelligence. (See, “The Bell Curve” for example, as proof that at least some Nobel Laureates are really just good at stealing other folks work.)

      Still, the comment above hits a nerve… raising a gifted child is not all sunshine and roses and achievement not the same as giftedness. Gifted kids are at greater risk of dropping out of school. They are special needs kids. And yes, we want all kids to work at their full potential, but denying that gifted kids have special challenges (that are similar to the challenges of other kids) is not going to help get to that point. Accusations of hot-housing are incredibly irritating. You do not know what it is *like* trying to keep a wonderful kid who wants to do right but has too much energy from bouncing off the walls (or getting stuck in chair slats). Mental exercises help, even if they lead to people like Karen accusing a person of hot-housing.

      • I’ve never heard the expression “hot-housing”. I lost a lot of sleep over my comments and the negative reaction. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. Thanks for the lesson though. This weekend when I was out and about in my small town for our Christmas carnival, I cheered everyone’s efforts. I saw the beauty in everyone’s effort. It’s been a while since I have been able to do that, too long.

        • I’m sorry that my comment upset you. My response was emotional because your original comment upset me as well. I’m a mom of two gifted kids, but I was a gifted kid, too. Let me give you an example (there are many more) of what that was like for me:

          In 5th grade, I attended a 5/6 combo class that allowed students to work at their own pace. I finished the 5th grade math book within a couple of months. When I wanted to move on to the 6th grade math book, I was told I would not be allowed to do that because it would make the 6th grade boys feel bad. My parents did not work with me in order for me get ahead; I worked ahead during math time in class and progressed quickly because the work was easy for me. Do you see that my giftedness presented a problem for me and for the school?

          When you refer to the Boy Scouts with “dedicated parents”, that invalidates the experiences of so many gifted people and refreshes the pain of not being understood and not having their talents recognized. There really are young scouts capable of doing an Eagle project on their own, but by saying what you said, you invalidate their existence and imply that any young child who is high achieving is doing so only because of their parents’ efforts.

          Giftedness is real. Human abilities of all kinds are distributed across a spectrum, and intellectual abilities are no different. They are not solely the result of parental involvement. Gifted people often had unusual abilities as babies. My son started reading at two-and-a-half. I didn’t teach him to read because it never occurred to me to teach a toddler to read! He picked it up on his own. When it came time for Kindergarten, the curriculum in Kindergarten was ridiculously easy for him. He was not interested in spending his time learning the sounds of the letters that he had learned on his own two years earlier.

          Who knows if he will ever be a Nobel winner or eminent in any way? Who knows if he will be judged by people like you to be a “genius”? The problem of how to educate him in a way that will serve his intellectual needs and give him opportunities to experience challenge and grow as a person still remains.

          • Thanks again. I’m working on me. I’ll try better to keep things in perspective. Here in Orange County, California, “gifted” doesn’t mean much. [I deleted my 600-word comment on the lame OC Frontier District Eagle Scout projects.]

            About a decade ago (I am getting old), someone did a study (don’t they always) on the common factor that define students admitted into the Ivy League. Tops of the list was (1) time spent at museums and (2) places visited. While some of that is tied to wealth, not all of it is. We were barely Middle Class growing up, but we spent many afternoons at our local art gallery.

            According to the geniuses at MIT, technology doesn’t matter as much as (1) good parents and (2) good teachers. Here are my suggestions for keeping kids engaged:

            1. Art Museums
            2. Symphonies
            3. Outdoors [unless you have an indoor kid!] Gardens, beaches, etc. Enjoy the scenery and follow your kid’s lead.
            4. Freedom to learn from mistakes. We love open ended questions.
            5. Writing. Harvard taught me that. Many times gifted children live in their heads, because let’s face it. We don’t encounter a lot of smart people daily. Writing helps get thoughts out of our head onto paper. [I hear Dragon is nice, but editing is such a pain.]
            6. Financial support! C-students tend to do better in business. (smile)

          • The Common Mom says:

            Karen – We’re all working on ourselves! I’m so appreciative of all the comments surrounding this post – conversation is good. Thank you for sharing your suggestion on keeping kids engaged – I agree with them all. Thanks again for your all your comments.

      • Correction (I must not have been getting much sleep on Dec 2nd… not that I remember leaving that comment to begin with… in any case): Not The Bell Curve, which is another ridiculous book, but The Double Helix, in which the author gleefully brags that he and his fellow Nobel Prize winner willfully stole Rosalind Franklin’s research. (Also contains discussion how she would look so much prettier if she’d just wear make-up and do something with her hair. Disgusting.)

        • Hi everyone! Been reading the emotional posts, and wanted to say that, in my understanding, what people now call “gifted” isn’t the same, just as you say, as high achievement. I will be happy if my “gifted” toddler manages to make it to adulthood without imploding. I doubt she will ever do well on tests, or even go to university, “that’s too boring” she would say. But if she creates a light speed capable space ship in our back shed using spare parts from the tv she just disassembled, I won’t be surprised. My mum says, “don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.” :)
          We are all of equal Value, regardless of talent, skill, personality or… Anything. Different isn’t better or worse, it’s just, different. Life would be so dull if we were all the same!

  46. Oh my, reading this lets me know we are not alone! Thank you
    We were told our son was gifted before he started Kindergarten, but we just brushed it off. Once he started school @ 4yrs old, it came up again and was confirmed. Every since then, it has been a real challenge to keep him engaged. At 8 years old, he reads 200+ page books in a day or two, reads on a 10/11th grade level, converses with our family practitioner about very relevant topics and in detail, his parent/teacher conferences are all the same: ” he is not challenged by anything, may we suggest seeking out supplemental resources to do so?”
    It’s difficult for us and a bit scary because we have 3 more children coming up behind him & at 2 yrs old, the twins are following in his footsteps. As a parent of a gifted child, you always want to ensure that you are doing your very best by your child and when they are gifted, it stretches you, causing you to work harder to do so…… Everyday introduces a new challenge for us and a new opportunity for him.

    • The Common Mom says:

      Trying to figure out what exactly is the best for a gifted child is a challenge – can’t imagine four of them! I’d be curious to know what books he likes to read, sounds like my daughter is on the same level and I’ve struggled to find appropriate material for her. Hmmmm…may have to start a reading list.

  47. Thank you for this article. I don’t truly know if my child is gifted but I recognise him in how others here described their child and how I tired I feel. He is begging me to home educate him and I don’t know what to do, except that I want him to be “happy”. His teachers are tired of his questions and his wanting to do his own thing and his meltdowns if he feels he has made a mistake, however small.

    • The Common Mom says:

      It is confusing, isn’t it? I certainly understand why some parents choose to homeschool and although we don’t, I’ve not ruled out the possibility. You might check out http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/. I’ve found the site very helpful and if you do explore homeschooling they could prove very useful. I can relate to the meltdowns when things don’t go right. Perfectionism is very common among gifted children :)

    • We are dealing with a gifted 4 year old (just turned 4 last month) and have really been leaning toward homeschooling because of the same issues already occurring in preschool and fears they will “get worse” once she hits elementary. She is learning to read very rapidly and we have been told she is ready for kindergarten BUT isn’t old enough AND is extremely petite. Home education feels like the only suitable option for a lot of parents of the gifted from what I hear. My husband’s advice which I will pass on to you is to take this summer and do a mini homeschool and see how it goes. If you and he work well together and both like it, give it a try for the actual school year. If not, find a better fit for him. Montessori charter schools are often a great fit for the gifted student since they learn at their own pace, don’t have to sit still at a desk doing worksheets all day and are placed in mixed-age classrooms (which helps the gifted since they see older children as intellectual peers).

      • The Common Mom says:

        I think that’s probably a good plan. I do think there are valuable skills learned in kindergarten and you may see if the school will subject accelerate her. This is the path we took, our daughter went to 2nd grade for reading and got differentiated math work. However, if that’s not an option, homeschool certainly works well for many gifted kids. I would recommend checking out http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ for information. Check them out even if you don’t homeschool, they have terrific resources for gifted kids. Best of luck – let me know how it goes!

        • LookSeeTry says:

          My daughter’s school has a third grade level reading group for kindergarteners. We are very fortunate. There are two other girls in the group. It is still below her level but she and I are both very happy with her experience. Plus they share social-emotional interests ( like stuffed animals and dress-up)

  48. This site almost made me cry! So nice to have validation that felt like you were speaking right from my own heart and experiences! Thank you for the shared insights. While it was “normal” to remove my child’s books from dining chairs and the backseat of other people’s cars, I never thought I’d have to gather them from atop the extra toilet paper rolls in the bathroom or find them lurking under the top layer of laundry in the hamper. They are EVERYWHERE! I frequently have to answer questions, “Honey, I’m going to have to get back to you on that.” Why? Because my child speaks to me of Greek and Roman mythology – in Latin no less! I don’t know any Latin, never took Greek or Roman mythology either! There is a Hydra sculpture that stares at me now whenever I enter my daughter’s bedroom! Yet, many think I’m a “Tiger Mom”! Truly, I’m running as fast I can to keep up with a gifted mind!

    • The Common Mom says:

      Ha – a Hydra staring at me would absolutely freak me out! I’ve been accused of being a Tiger Mom as well and I didn’t take it as the insult as it was intended but I’m certainly not in that category. I don’t think :) You’re not alone and please join me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecommonmom. I’m usually there more frequently than here – at least until the end of the school year. Thanks for the comments!

  49. I was told that my son was gifted when he was 6. He has disliked school his entire life. He is now 15 and ranked second in his class without much effort at all and yes he takes all AP courses and works 1 to 2 grade levels ahead in math and spanish. He is making an A in Pre Cal and I have never seen him do any homework. This year he scored high enough to be a National Merit Scholar but since he is only a sophomore, he could not qualify. He was too young. So now we are getting letters, phone calls, t shirts from some very good schools such as Duke and Columbia, Stanford the list goes on….This sounds great you might say, but it all comes at a cost. His intelligence as been a hinderance to his ability to socialize. He has never had many friends and has over time developed a lack of empathy toward others. He has trouble relating to his peers although he is great with adults and younger kids. It has been hard to watch as he is left out socially in our small community. I worry about him when he goes away to school for fear that he will be alone too much. Sometimes I wish I could trade a few of his IQ points for a more normal social life for him. So when I read that some of you are worried about your child being challenged academically, I chuckle to myself and wish that was all I had to worry about. (no disrespect, I am just saying it can get more complicated as they get into their teen years)

    • The Common Mom says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. You’re right, friendships and the social side of giftedness can be difficult territory. I’ve heard from others who’ve had similar experiences as yours that college is where some of these kids finally find their true peers and people who “get” them and friendships finally blossom. Another anecdote, from my own family, is when students haven’t ever been challenged and then get into a rigorous university (like the ones you mentioned) they’re unable to cope since they’ve never actually been academically challenged. You’re not alone in wishing to trade a few IQ points for stronger social ties.

  50. lookseetry says:

    Hey.

    Just hoping for some tips for dealing with other parents. My daughter is in kindergarten. How do you weasel out of conversations like “Hey is your little one reading?”. I just wanted some fresh ideas for avoiding the answer. Usually I say “yes” and change the subject by asking them more about their kid. Sometimes it isn’t that easy. When I answer honestly, it almost always leads down a comparison path and like other people have mentioned…people get weird. She can pretty much read anything.

    I love the premise of this article. As someone else mentioned, I figured we’d be all set when we got to kinder. I was wrong. Any ideas? Do parents kind of fall off of having those kinds of conversations as the kids age?

    • The Common Mom says:

      Ugh, that’s a tough one and I’m still not sure I’m doing it right. One thing I tried not to do was downplay my daughter’s achievement, I didn’t brag or bring attention, but neither did I shy away if someone asked. Especially if my daughter was within earshot – how awful if your child should hear you make light of her achievement. The tactic of redirecting the conversation back to the other child is what I would resort to as well because every parent likes talking about their own child. Your question is one of the reasons I started blogging and am on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thecommonmom) so I can talk with other parents on the same journey. Thanks for the comments and let’s continue the conversation!

  51. Thank you for this post and the comments. I am not gifted and nor are my beautiful children. But my childhood best friend has a beautiful and gifted daughter the same age as my son. I have no idea how to navigate the pang of fear I have for my son each time we spend time together and be a supportive friend. This conversation opened my eyes. I had no idea it was so tiring, anxiety producing and isolating. I had assumed quite the opposite.

    • The Common Mom says:

      It’s a common misconception that life is a breeze living with a gifted child, of course the reality is usually far different. The best thing you and your son can do is just what you said – be a friend and accept the girl (and her mom) just as they are. Navigating friendships can be tough for gifted kids so have patience! Thank you for your comments.

  52. I didn’t have time to read all of the comments, but the ones I did read were interesting. I’m the mother of three gifted children and I find it extremely fun. I was in the same boat as them when I was a child and it was frustrating. I felt like I had been landed in an alien world and waited year after year for someone to find me and take me home. I had supportive parents, but felt left alone despite their willingness to let me find my own mentors and drive me to universities to work with people on whatever my current interests were. Eventually I resolved my angst and found my ‘people’–some within my family, most outside of it. College was the first time that I was surrounded by ‘peers’. I did not choose a high achieving life. I did choose psychological balance, joy, friendship, family life, rich intellectual interests and embracing the wide variety of options available to me as possibilities after I’ve guided my children into their own great lives outside the family. My husband and I chose to home school and create an environment for our kids that lets them have a ‘normal’ childhood that doesn’t leave them feeling alienated. It’s not ‘normal’ for children to be bored and unchallenged in their classrooms. It’s not ‘normal’ for them to realize that they learn more quickly and think so differently than their teachers who simply don’t understand them. It’s not ‘normal’ for a child to struggle to find someone who understands enough of what they’re saying to engage in conversation with them. It’s not ‘normal’ for a child to come home from school and curl into a ball in a corner, adamantly refusing to go to school anymore because of the mind-numbing monotony of not learning anything new. It’s not normal for a child to sit in a classroom reading their own books in their lap while going through the motions of paying attention. So, instead, our kids are bopping around acting like normal kids while they jabber on about prehensile toungues and white blood cells (at 6, 3 and 19 months). They have many friends who they build with, engage in imaginary play, run races, play outside, and argue with. They’re themselves and learn the important skill of engaging challenge with creativity and perseverance because they are not unintentionally taught that they know it all in the classroom.

    • The Common Mom says:

      Thank you for your spot-on comments about what’s not ‘normal’ behavior. hope is that all gifted kids (really, ALL kids) find a loving and supportive environment where they can flourish as your children are. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to the conversation!

  53. Wow, am I ever glad to read this! My older two (3rd and 5th grade) have tested as gifted, and we decided to wait to test our 1st grader. The comment about the books everywhere…yep! That’s us! I never know what to say when my friends ask me how I get my kids to read. My problem is getting them to stop reading…and not a lot of other parents relate with that one! (Can’t wait to read the post about the 7 year old with the 10th grade reading level…that’s us, too.) Thanks for writing and I can’t wait to read more!

  54. I am still advocating for my musically and intellectually gifted child although when I do it, it feels like bragging and yet I have to help my child who is a senior this year get the type of curriculum he needs and the extra activities he needs to keep him interested and ready for applying to the highly competetive colleges HE has chosen. He is one the first (I think) to do a music senior recital, and idea which came up outside of school. When I went to enquire about the school venue (which the principal ok’ed) the music teacher never responded to my email, and up to now has not responded. It feels awful but I cannot give up and stay quiet in the corner. My gifted high school senior is a quiet unassuming kid who does not flaunt his abilities, its only when he scores top marks and get called out in school assemblies that people know of his high academic achievements. Thank you for having this space to share these experiences.

  55. Domici Merchant says:

    I Was a gifted child when I was young (I’m 43)!! My mother was 48 when I was born as my dad was 50!! By the time I was 6 months old I was talking I went to a very good private school from kindergarten until 2nd grade!!!! That’s when the scene went awry!!! Upon entering the second grade my mom put me in public school!! Now that I look back on my first day, I didn’t know wether I was on a school yard, or the Serengeti!!! I had never seen or been around such uncouthed, & bearish peers in my little life at the time!!! I distinctly remember a girl named “Carletha (now I know she was jealous, bcuz she was in the Educationally Mentally Retarted class) asking me “are you a Fag???? It seemed like from that day forward the teasing began to no end!!!! During my time in elementary school (public) I think I focused my attention on forming social relationships with the “public school children” & partake in some of the silliness I exhibited to get attention!!!!! The gay stuff subsided from 6th grade to 9th!!!! When physical Education time came, I was on the bench having an Adult Conversation with the teacher!!!!(nothing sexual))!! That’s where I felt comfortable!!! I was never interested in children’s games, my mother gave me piano lessons & I wasn’t interested because I was being taught!!!! However now I think I could learn if I could watch closely and listen!! For some reason I seem to learn better that way!!!!! In high school I was teased incessantly & called gay!!!!! It was so bad that I would get invthe bus and ride tobthe airport and read books until time to go home from school!!! Finally I dropped out bcuz I couldn’t take the teasing!!!! This affects my self esteem to this day!!!! My point is, if there is any one who has a gifted child out there,if your child is gifted, keep them around others with the same intellect & values that you have instilled in them!!! Also if your gifted child says they are gay, check at school to see if they are being bullied bcuz they are not as “caustic” & uncouthed as the other children!!! I don’t think it ever was that I was gay,, it’s that it was said so much to me in school, that I believed it!!! Plus I’m a pretty guy, so when I felt empty that’s when I started sleeping with men!!! I feel like I’m just coming into my manhood at 43 yrs old!!! It makes me sad and cry when I’m alone but I bear it,

  56. Hi all , I am a mother to a 2.5 yr old baby girl and i dont want to brag here but she started speaking clear words by 8 months (a good 80 wrds)and by 1.3 yrs she was speaking ..she spoke really well before she started to walk ….we spk tamil at home and the little lady can converse with us intelligently,(Literally) she can remember things that happened very long ago relate to it and converse very very clearly … here in india ,esp the southern part there is tons and tons of filmy music ..and she knows around 100 songs with the lyric and the tune …(clearly)when others children are just learining to say nursery rhymes ..this one passed the mile stone when she was 1.5…but there is a catch here …she gets extremely frustrated and throws tantrums if things dont go her way …she is a fussy and a picky eater .. (which for now i am terribly concerned about )…can some one tell me if these are signs of a gifted child …i dont know how to go about iq tests ….and for got to mention …she can play a good rhythm on the drums ..and likes the ukulele..

    • She could very well be gifted. I don’t know the cultural norms in India about women and body image, but as a Canadian mom, I don’t push the food issue. I provide a healthy variety, she decides how much. I don’t want food to ever be something that she is torn about, nor do I want her to eat for comfort If she eats when she’s hungry and stops when she’s not hungry, I will be happy with the values I instilled in her about food.
      My daughter was suspected of being gifted in infancy also. I guess what it boiled down to in determining whether my daughter was gifted or not, was not exactly how much she knew or memorized, but a lot of it was how quickly she could understand and utilize new information. How many different ways she could prove her answer correct. How easily she could spot a flaw in her own work or someone elses. The ease in which she can regroup and refocus on an unrelated task. A big part of giftedness is listening. Following directions. She got on of those huge tests once in Grade 3 and it was several pages long. They were given a time frame to do this huge test. The first question was “read all the questions before beginning to write”. Pages later, the last question was “Write you name on the top and do not answer any of the questions”. Quite a few of the children did it correctly. It was telling about who follows directions and who doesn’t. No matter how smart you are, when you are an adult and enter the real world, you will have to follow directions. Intelligence doesn’t exempt anybody from starting at the bottom in a job, or being on a committee, or volunteering, or anything.
      Your daughter sounds a lot like my daughter when she was younger. I only thought it was an artistic gift, but once she started school, it spanned everything. She excels at everything. For now, don’t fight with her about food, and listen to the lovely music she makes. My daughter’s earliest real paintings of my dog are among my most precious possessions.

  57. Tired_so_tired says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! Oh, THAT look sucks! I have two gifted kids, both 2e, oldest is HG, youngest most likely is HG or EG but too young to be tested. We’re having to consider grade skips, acceleration etc. People seem to think it’s glory for the parents (look at my AMAZING genes!), but in reality, it’s terrifying. As a mum, I want to get a photo of my boy with his partner before prom, but who will go with a boy two or three years younger? Will he even go? I hate that that is being taken from me as a mummy experience, but what sort of mother would I be if I held him back just for that?
    I envy those mums who get to go watch their kids play sports, but it’s just not an option for our kids. It goes against everything I believe in to not have them play sports, but it’s torture for them (socially, physically and sensory).
    The “stop pushing your child” brigade, who obviously don’t realise that I am not a linguistic person, other than English, so it’s definitely not pushing that has my boy learning three different languages while developing his own (including symbols, a phrase book etc). And that’s not bragging – that’s exhaustion at having to carry around FOUR phrase books in my handbag at all times so that we can make sure that when we find an interesting sign/word ‘we’ can learn it not only in English, but in Italian, French, Spanish and document it in his language. Lets not start on the astronomy, computer programming,molecular chemistry and maths! lol
    And oh yes, the look of terror, eg when you think “what, that’s just xxxxx”, then have one of the moments when you realise just how far ahead s/he is, and that you really have no idea how to deal with it long term. What will the future hold? How will you get them an education (not an advanced one, just keep them in school long enough for them to have the choice to go to university if they want to). Because the biggest waste would be for a bright kid to give up and check out, not having the high school qualifications to open doors.
    i wouldn’t change my boys for the world – we get to see the world in an amazing way, they point out things we take for granted, ask questions that get us thinking about things we never even considered, they are funny, kind, loving boys who one day will be men their mummy can be proud of. But for now, it would be awesome to just be able to laugh at a loud fart! ;)

  58. I love this! And I’ve shared this, too!

    So many people don’t understand how hard it is to parent a gifted child. I especially love your statement, “Almost always the higher the child’s IQ, the less bragging there is, the more questions are asked, and the more tears are shed.” This is so true. The further they are from average, the less they fit it, the less they find true peers and they more difficult their lives are. And the parents’ job becomes more difficult, too.

    Thank you for supporting our gifted children and their parents!

    • The Common Mom says:

      Thank you for the kind words ~ they mean a lot to me! I’ve just recently discovered your blog and love your perspective. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to future conversations. You’re an inspiration!

  59. Your article was included in the Parenting Gifted Children Party (blog hop). http://www.positivedisciplineandgiftedchildren.com/2014/02/february-parenting-gifted-children-party.html As a curtesy we add you to our Pinterest Parenting Gifted Pin Party Board. http://www.pinterest.com/gruenerconsults/parenting-gifted-pin-parties/. Thank you for writing and contributing for gifted children.
    Catherine Gruener
    gruenerconsulting.com

  60. ezsrivers says:

    I’m a parent of 3 gifted children (possibly highly gifted, we don’t need test scores until there’s a program that requires them)and one foster daughter who is at least well above average. They are all young, the oldest is 6 1/2. We have another daughter who will be born in a few weeks. We homeschool and have a great time. I’ve read through these comments as well as the post and so many of them seem…borderline negative to completely negative. It’s a complaint list. Is this because the parents are not themselves gifted and aren’t familiar with the experience? My kids are fun, intelligent, well adjusted, interesting, interested in everything, etc. We don’t spend a ton of money (yet, but we won’t ever HAVE to, it’s always a choice). We purposely avoided sending them to school because we knew that the schools would never be able to meet their needs. We spend a lot of time on teaching manners, following directions, etc. They’re in bed between 8 and 8:30 and wake up around 7. We don’t let them manipulate us! They’re children and we’re the parents! Perhaps the difference is that both of us as parents know what to do for them as we had similar experiences as children. To me, it feels typical though I know it’s certainly NOT typical. I know to avoid the busy work, I know to teach my son algebra before he’s had time to memorize math facts, I know to have him read A Wrinkle in Time but not require a written book report–his hands are 6 years old and would be injured by that much writing. We discuss the social experiences that he’s too young to have encountered. We do real chemistry, not elementary chemistry as there’s not enough content in elementary chemistry for it to really make sense and provide enough information for deeper problem solving. No one’s testing him on this so he just explores it in the way that he can, given the short amount of time he’s had to accumulate knowledge. It doesn’t have to be difficult as a parent! However, sending gifted kids to standard schools can cause endless issues that DO tire families. They can land a family, particularly the child, in regular counseling, shut the child down, cause serious family conflicts, trigger mental illness, etc. I remember from junior high on, shutting my mouth as I walked up the steps to school until I left at the end of the day. I was miserable. There were other bright children, but they were not the same. As an adult, I’m not doing anything flashy, but I LOVE MY LIFE. My CHILDREN love their lives and we will work to keep it that way. Having gifted children does not need to be a panic inducing experience, but there are things that can and should be done to protect their experience. They’re not aliens, but unfortunately, they are often made to feel that way, even in their own families. Being a bit more than average in their ability to put ideas and experiences together, some will quickly figure out that their families are a bit in awe of them, that their parents find their natural state to be challenging enough to be a regular frustration and that a lot of their parents continue to send them off close to every day to a place (school) that systematically stifles and demeans them.

    • With all due respect come talk to me in 10 to 12 years. While home school can be an amazing experience not everyone can afford to be at home not to mention I could never provide things such as debate tournaments and full science labs to my kids. My kids want to go to Ivy ‘ s so I felt it was best to send them to a rigorous school where they work ahead a grade level. Yes it can be mind numbing but college will not be much better. To be a successful doctor or engineer (their chosen professions) requires more school, so they might as well learn the game early.Being around others who excel in other areas such as sports and band is also important for my kids.One last note, both of my kids will go to college for free due to their academic achievements so that is worth a little boredom along the way. Just being realistic about things that you probably have not had a reason to worry about. Enjoy those kids while they are young!

  61. I found this blog because I was researching about gifted children. I am looking for answers and unfortunately, I could not get it from the doctors that we visit.

    To give you an overview, my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder because at the age of 2, he has not talked yet. When something gets his attention, he is fixated on that and tunes out everything around him. When he gets a new toy, he looks at it from all angles and figures out how each part is moving.

    Because of the diagnosis, we had him go through OT. His therapist always tell me that my kid is smart and the other therapists sometimes comment the same thing about him too. His pediatrician also wants me to have my baby’s IQ checked.

    Funny thing was, a week after he was diagnosed with ASD, he started talking! And in one day, we found out that he knows 7 colors already. It was then followed by shapes, animals and their sounds, different types of vehicles (dump truck, bulldozer, rocket ship, submarine, fire truck, mobile home, tank in addition to the most common ones we use). He could count from 1-20 and backwards from 10-0. Alphabet from A-Z and he could give you different objects that start with each letter of the alphabet. And he is just 2 years and 4 months old.

    A few days ago, I saw a TV show wherein one mom said that for years, the doctors thought that his son was autistic and turns out, he was gifted! So now, I was wondering if my child is gifted and not autist.

    My question is, how did you know that your child was gifted and how early did you find out about it. I am in the dark and frustrated because I could not get the answers I need from his developmental pedia.

    Thank you in advance. And I apologize for this lengthy comment.

  62. the real struggle is to see your gifted kid growing up with few friends and not having a sense of belonging.

  63. We have just completed testing for our 4 year old. She has an IQ of 145, reading 2nd Grade 9th month, Math reasoning 2nd Grade. This article speaks to me. I feel exhausted all of the time. The 1000 questions a day that half of I can not answer, non-stop chatter about anything and everything, worrying about keeping her stimulated, worrying about if the school is doing what is best for her, struggles getting her to sleep every night. I don’t think people understand that being the parent of a highly gifted child can be just as challenging and exhausting as being a parent of and child with learning disabilities. Her mind never stops. I have instilled good manners, kindness and a charitable attitude. I just can’t seem to figure out how to keep her from interrupting constantly and to not dominate conversations.

  64. Get used to it. (lol) … When our son was born with major health problems (1 pound 8 ounces), my friends and family were not overly concerned because they “knew” I could handle it. I didn’t think we could, but our 14.5 yr old child is proof otherwise.

    Folks are paying you a tremendous complement when they “don’t want to hear about your struggles.” What they are telling you (in their own fashion) is that your child has all the necessary skills to succeed. If you don’t find your child appropriate reading material she is likely to go … find it herself!

    One summer, we read biographies. Each week we would go select a theme (musicians, mathematicians, politicians, etc) and then we’d select a biography or two related to that theme. It opens an entirely new world of possibilities for children, plus it lets them know that most famous people started out ordinary. Kids need to hear that.

    Good luck.

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