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. (Read about our experiences with sports)
  • 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

gifted children

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?

217 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.

    • So that’s where I been needlessly stressing myself,over the sleep issues.Ever since preschool mine would not go to bed before 11 and I’d ask other parents (non gifted kids)what time they’re children went to bed.All or most said 8 or 9 pm.Guess I will drop that issue now after reading your take on it.Thanks

    • Kathy Williams says

      I think the question I have repeated like a broken record is “I don’t know what to do with him.” Most teachers don’t get him. You are right the farther on the bell curve the harder it is. My son is highly gifted and a musical prodigy and nothing is right. We have tried public school, mutliple charter schools, even boarding school – nothing really fits. Now we are doing cyber school and just doing all the private lessons. Parenting a child like my son is the loneliest thing ever. Other parents think you’re crazy trying to find that thing that will truly challenge him and actually have him learn. It is magic when it happens. When a teacher understands him, he soars. It’s just that most don’t. I have shed many, many tears. I thought because he was so bright, school would be easy but it’s just the opposite. He got so bored in class because he learned the material quickly and would get in trouble when he tried to make efficient use of his time and do homework or read instead of paying attention to repeated review that he didn’t need. In his first year of middle school he ended up in detention because of this. His private music teacher – who does get him – says none of the schools in our area will challenge him and that is tough as I try to decide what to do with him for high school next year.

  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.

    • Ginny Barrett says

      We made the decision to home school. I have been purchasing things at garage sales and thrift stores to compile a pile of things to interest her. I have slowly been transforming half of her room to be her ‘school’. We have also been using language to set her up that she will be homeschooled and we can study any thing she wants. Right now we are ‘battling’ that she thinks she is smarter than us already and that we don’t have anything to teach her…ha ha…. she will surpass me I think but not yet at least. I wish you luck in making your decision. Remember there are virtual schools that give you a curriculum but we usually let your child progress at a faster rate.

      • The Common Mom says

        I can completely understand the decision of many families to homeschool their gifted kids. It’s a topic that comes up regularly in our home. I wish you the best on your journey!

      • As a parent of two PG/2E kids, I can relate and also wanted to add. Don’t give up and don’t give in to believing that your kids,are smarter than you. Part of our adult intelligence is based on wisdom that we have gained from experience. Something the younger ones will never outdo us in. We can play the experience card as needed to remain on top for as long as needed. It’s also a wonderful lesson in patience and tolerance for gifted kids to realize and understand that everyone has different wisdom and experiences to share. Just because our kids are geniuses doesn’t mean they know everything! ♡

  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.

          • If you do find a Gifted Town, please invite me. My children are in 2nd grade (girl, 7) & 4th grade (boy, 9), and it is quite lonely as a parent. Our public elementary school does not offer ANY advanced classes until 6th grade, and then it’s just math. Our gifted program is awesome, but it’s just a few hours per week. I’m just so overwhelmed, and gifted myself, so I see a lot of myself (for better and worse) in my kids.

          • The Common Mom says

            I promise that if I do find Gifted Town you’ll get an invite!

      • Suzanne, I am in the same situation. I never thought it would be so lonely being a parent with an advanced child. No one, friends or family, want to talk about our daughter’s abilities. She was doing things at 2 years old that most kids don’t do until 5. My husband and I thought at the time that all 2 year old’s did what she did because not a single parenting person in our friends/family circle told us that kids her age don’t know the things she knows. It was very hurtful that the relatives that are supposed to love her, didn’t want to call attention to her advanced learning. We have even noticed that our daughter actually tries to dumb herself down a bit around family and won’t let on all the stuff that she knows because she can already sense that she’s not really getting the support she needs with the rest of the family. Behind closed doors with her mom and dad though, she radiates with pride of the things she learns and she’s always thirsty to learn more. With even my closest friends, every time I even mention that she’s learning something new (which I bring up less and less all the time), the subject is changed at lightning speed. They do all see it as bragging, and I get it, I do. But, I want to be just as proud of my child as any other mother. I want to talk about my child’s accomplishments like any other mother, but once your child starts to advance farther and faster than those around you, the less it’s acceptable to talk about it. My husband and I have even been accused of forcing her to learn, like we’re making her be this way, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. She tells us what she wants to learn and then we explore those subjects as far as she wants to take it. If she loses interest and moves on to something else, we move with her.

        • Suzanne Lanzon says

          Thank you for sharing your story, Carrie. It can be really hard. I’d like to think that as with most things it gets easier but I’m afraid that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now that little gifted one is reaching school age and starting to confidently speak out in public, she’s a little more like a sore thumb now – albeit a very cute, big-eyed sore thumb!

          “What can Felicity count to?” A fellow mum asked the other day. Ok, so how do I answer that?
          Lie: ” Oh you know, about 20 I think.”
          Truth: “She can count to infinity because she knows the pattern of counting.”

          So, caught off guard but getting very good at being honest because I owe that to Felicity and I need to show her that I am proud of her regardless of whether she is behind or ahead of the norm, I played things down just a little. I said “about 100, I think.” She looked at me like, why are you lying? – kids can’t count to 100 when they are 3. Lucky I didn’t tell the truth, hey?

          Well actually…no.

          I told my sister how I am finding it really hard to be honest about my daughter’s achievements and she gave me these pearls of wisdom:

          Be proud!

          Show people how amazed you are at her!

          Smile when you’re telling them: “Oh I just can’t believe how much she looooves counting. She enjoys it that much that she just picked up how to count indefinitely. Man…I’ve never bothered to count that high! But then, I’m more into music than maths. What’s your daughter in to?

          I rehearsed this and I pop it out whenever it’s needed. It works.

          I am proud of my beautiful girl and I will talk about her in the same way other mummies talk about their treasures. This seems to be weeding out those who need to compare their children to others from those who have confidence in themselves and their children. Frankly, they’re the only people I want to be friends with anyway. There may not be as many people around us, but the few who can accept us as we are, are true friends.

  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!

      • 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.

      • Ooo, are the Michael Crichton books “ok”? I haven’t read them in years, but have this problem with our 11yo daughter. She tried Sherlock Holmes, but didn’t care for him, though she loves mysteries. Agatha Christie is next on our list.

        • The Common Mom says

          It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Michael Crichton but it probably depends on the age/maturity of the kids. I remember really liking Sphere and, of course, Jurassic Park. My daughter tried Sherlock Holmes and couldn’t get into it either but I’m thinking it might’ve been the edition she tried to tackle. You’ll have to let me know if she likes Crichton.

        • My boy read all the Crichton books other than Disclosure in 5th grade. They’re fine for 10-11 year olds. Except, again, for Disclosure. He was also schooling me on Quantum physics that year. He’s now 22, and although we had to throw on the towel on school, he got himself into community college at 16, went on to a prestigious University, learned Russian for fun, and graduated at 20.
          Soooooo challenging to educate! Fortunately, he had a personality that kept him rolling right along…

          • Thanks so much Zoe! She saw some of my Robin Cook books recently and I said “no”, so I will revisit Crichton. She isn’t to quantum physics yet 🙂 , but has an insatiable appetite for books and loves medicine, mythology, time travel and mystery. We have just about exhausted our wonderful librarians’ expertise for her situation. I have to remind myself often that it’s a good “problem”!

            P.S. I’m thinking about letting her try the Flavia de Luce Series, but I’ve only read a couple. I’d love input if you have any!

    • 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.

    • I’m thankful someone else understands. I asked our daughters teacher when she was in 1st grade how to get her to do something other than read. The other parents and the teacher all joked about it saying how lucky we are to have that “problem” since they couldn’t get their kids to read. I just quit asking questions of her teacher. Thankfully there was another mom in the class who knew her well and understood (our girls would have play dates and sit and read for hours).

  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.

      • Oh, and I didn’t mention above, but we are homeschooling. 🙂

  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 😀

  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!

  37. 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 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.

  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 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 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 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


    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 ( 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). As a curtesy we add you to our Pinterest Parenting Gifted Pin Party Board. Thank you for writing and contributing for gifted children.
    Catherine Gruener

  60. 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.

    • Crimson Wife says

      A high IQ does not rule out the possibility of Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Many people “on the spectrum” are also gifted. I highly recommend reading the book “Bright, Not Broken” by Dr. Temple Grandin (who is “twice exceptional” herself).

  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. I’m still struggling to find books my 9yo can read at his HS reading level and only about trains/model trains/train history/train engineering. One of my children would love to participate in team sports if they’d just follow his more efficient and logical rules. Until then we’ll stick to kayaking in the marshes around our house. The other expense we have is library fines. These are starting to need a separate line item in the family budget. Yes, we can get them renewed up to 3 times but it’s so hard to actually give them back. Tears are usually involved. Thankfully, our favorite librarian is our neighbor so we’ve worked out a code (if there is a yellow paper under your windshield, check your mailbox) so I can sneak books out at night while the kids are asleep. (Please tell me other parents do this.)

    • The Common Mom says

      I always said I would’ve made a mint if I had started a series of Tinkerbell books written at the HS level. So hard to find reading material for the young guys. I’d recommend speaking with your local librarian but it seems you have a pretty good relationship there! It may be just me but I think kayaking in my neighborhood marsh sounds more fun than team sports. Especially when they won’t follow the obviously more efficient rules 🙂

  65. Love this.
    Love the library/books aspect in particular. And re the library – ours are allowed to sit on the desk (or go behind it) and check their own books out…
    And for those of us who seem to score stupidly high on the verbal gifted side of things..- never mind the first name terms for the librarians – our kids are clearly copying what (some see) as our own little odd quirks…. first name terms with the postman….know the names of the bus driver’s grandchildren…have learned the entire script for every episode of ‘Fawlty Towers’ off by heart (plus a lot of ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ for when we fancy an american programme!)….and may be dyslexic… but still have a reading age 2 years ahead of their peers.
    Plus did I mention that both they and us go to sleep at night with ‘voices chattering in my head….’ (and no – don’t worry – we are just talking about a very verbose noggin here!)

    • The Common Mom says

      Ohhh…I think I want to visit your library! We’ve not seen Fawlty Towers but will have to check it out on Netflix. My daughter thinks all the good TV comes from Britain thanks to Dr. Who and Sherlock 🙂

      • A discerning child you seem to have there! Humour in particular (esp British humour – ha!) is the best way of keeping sane when you have kids like ours/ are like them yourselve…
        For kids aged upto 12 I would recommend the classics – Last of the Summer Wine (filmed where I live – gentle humour) Fawlty Towers of course, Dad’s Army and Allo Allo. For above 12 (and depending on your tolerance of swearing or ‘cussing’ as you americans say – Trigger Happy TV is so typically surreal-British, all of the Monty Python stuff (and if you have a kid who is gifted verbally you HAVE to get them to watch MP and the ‘argument sketch’ on youtube -my 6 yr old now knows this off by heart!) Father Ted …(please note that the word ‘feck’ in Ireland is NOT a swear word!! kids of any age are allowed to say it) and the dark-comedy ‘League of Gentlemen’ (again – filmed near us.)
        Enjoy …

  66. I looks like this was written a while ago but I’m so glad it has come back around!! As a fairly new-to-gifted-mom I can relate to most everything in the article, especially the “tired look of terror”!!! This is mostly when I go to pick my son up from school every day. He’s in 1st grade and we already know we will be homeschooling next year. He has serious behavior/authority challenges in that he is anti-group learning and very much a solo learner. Whenever it’s ‘group rug’ time for anything other than reading or a story he reverts to his desk or the back of the room to read or just leaves the class altogether. He’s also had physical confrontations with friends (who are now dropping him as a friend) because he either can’t control his emotions and hits or thinks of something (animal or ninja related) he thinks would be cool to try on the playground and it is not welcomed. Groups sports have also been hilarious so we pretty much stay away but we did try swimming and he really took to it so for anyone looking for a sport, maybe try swimming? Anyway, I also have a 21month old little girl who is pretty verbal and we are just going to assume she’s gifted until she proves us otherwise because I think it would be easier to go from gifted to not….if you know what I mean? Oh, and yes, the whole weirdness talking to people. The attitudey look that they get on their face, even close friends, even educators, when you try to explain anything to them. I really kind of hate it. I can only only talk to parents of gifted, and even then I only feel comfortable talking to parents who have had the behavior type problems I do because it’s so painful and my son is not a mean kid but parents who don’t “get it” won’t want their kids to play with my kid because they’ll be afraid of him. And if you saw him, seriously, there’s nothing to be afraid of! So, in conclusion… THANK YOU for breath of fresh air! I can relate, to say the least!!

    • The Common Mom says

      I’m very familiar with that ‘attitudey’ look! Like you, I find it’s usually only with other parents of gifted kids that can I share my parenting experiences. And that’s why we’re here. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I understand exactly how you feel..I have a HG 10 year old son and an HG 7 year old daughter, and I hate that I have to “edit” what I say about my children, to make sure it doesn’t appear that I’m bragging…even to my mother-in-law, who is a teacher. And especially with teachers in general. It’s quite sad, actually. I feel alone in this struggle a lot. I’m glad to find others in the same boat!

  67. I would only add that there are projects some in process, some completed finding homes in corners…wires and string collections twirled around bedposts and parts of all sorts nestled in bookshelves. And…we do have soccer games and snowboarding equipment stored up in our car. We started it but they love it now,..lots of energy to focus.
    I love the tired eyes comparison to triplets bc it sometimes feels like that.

    • The Common Mom says

      Yes to the projects in various stages of completion! Soccer and snowboarding – a combo to keep you busy all year 🙂

  68. Oh my goodness. I just stumbled upon this gem tonight, via Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. As the parent to a PG 6 year old who I am now suddenly homeschooling, I would offter a resounding yes to all points and add that these kids are PRICEY.

    • The Common Mom says

      Glad you found me! I recently found your blog (Twitter I think) and look forward to following your homeschooling journey. You’re right, these kiddos are a little on the expensive side. I went investigating summer camps and had sticker shock on some of them! Looking forward to the conversation 🙂

  69. We’re usually the one’s off to ourselves in social activities, because we have no idea what to say to other parents! Luckily, my son (almost 13, 7th grade split between secondary school/homeschool) has found his “tribe” amongst the local Pokémon/Magic leagues in the area! He’s also very involved in soccer (outdoor and indoor), scouts, and youth group at our church. He’s too social (get’s that from me) to be completely “himself” w/o those outside interactions. I’m lucky to have found other parents of HG/PG kids, and we attend a local parent support group to share our successes, and struggles… The love is boundless, but the energy usually in not!

  70. yes, yes, yes!

    Except that the 50 mile radius grows…my DD’s current science mentor is at a college 3 hours away, and we have two trips planned this summer-one to a conference in Kansas (we live in Tennessee) and one to a summer program pretty much at the other side of the country. When I grew up, most of our family trips were because of a chemistry meeting or guest lecture spot my dad was doing. By age 8, our family trips have tended to be picked so that DD can go to a science camp, conference, or get a behind the scenes lab tour.

    We also regularly drive an hour or more (sometimes MUCH more) to get her with other similarly-minded kids. It’s not that she doesn’t love her local friends, but that she only fully relaxes and settles in when she’s with other kids who think the way she does. That level of relaxation is worth the effort-but when I see other kids who have that same level of relaxation with their classmates and sports teammates locally that my DD only gets rarely, I feel for her.

  71. I love this! Was laughing out loud at the books everywhere. They are! Even in the bath tub… I walked out to the loving room to join the kids (up at 6 I think) to find not a square inch of couch to sit on. Books. Everywhere. The eldest decided to re-read all the Life of Fred math books. On Saturday morning. (Those books cost a cool $160 btw 😉

    • Here in the UK it can also be expensive to bring up a ‘gifted’ kid (esp if they are TE as mine are.) But it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared to do the 2nd hand clothes, books, games and other learning materials… we save an absolute fortune – which we can then spend on the stuff you cannot get 2nd hand (fees for theatre school, music/sports classes, theatre tickets, the odd book that you can’t get 2nd hand.)

      I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but here we have an abundance of charity shops where you get 2nd hand stuff and the £ goes to the charity. Some people get sniffy about their kids having 2nd hand things but we tend to think of those people as being the ones who have the problem! 😉

      I think that nothing perks up the parent of a gifted kid than realising they have gotten a bargain AND been able to use the £ effectively to nurture a child’s brain and talents.

  72. My three gifted boys are teens now, but I recognize all of the points in your summary, and they made me laugh, out of relief. The weekends without soccer resonate the most. Other parents can’t understand that I have three boys and they don’t do sports… It’s my fault, of course, I am too lazy to make them do it… I won’t forget the tears and battles from trying when they were young. I wish I knew as much about gifted children then so I wouldn’t have tried so hard.
    Now the books… I am a librarian mom of gifted, so you can imagine. Yes, there are books in every room of the house, including bathrooms, and now on every electronic device too. And I can take as many as I want and renew indefinitely if I want too! 🙂
    It is very lonely (thank goodness for books again) and more so if you are gifted yourself. When my twins were reading before turning three, a friend wanted me to take them to Oprah! After a few years she got tired of the ” novelty” and I overheard not being invited to a girls night out because I was too “smart” and they just wanted to have fun.
    Thanks for posting this, I hope it helps new parents not to feel bad, and not try to make their kids match the mold that society tries to force in them.

    • The Common Mom says

      So, your boys have their own private librarian – do they know how lucky they are?? Yes, I agree that it can be an isolating thing raising gifted kids particularly when you don’t have peers/friends that don’t understand that it’s a novelty. It’s the way they are and it doesn’t just stop. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • oh my goodness. Libraries are our lifeblood here in the UK but still under huge threat of closure thanks to right-wing govt here.
      And we are working so hard as family-to get simple books and comics and such… to the street kids that my daughter grew up with in Namibia and who we spent a month with last year.
      Don’t want to do the ‘band waggon’ thing – but anyone who can help us to get reading material – stuff out to these street kids who are nearly all orphans – but OH SO SMART – reading wise wee nippers -please have a nosey at my site and esp. under ‘May’.

      (Brilliant blog – been telling loads about it here in the UK!!)

  73. Team sports is vital for kids. Especially gifted kids and kids with ADHD.

  74. I am the gifted (cursed) parent of two gifted children. My non-gifted husband has left me, as the tiredness and terror of raising two gifted children has turned me into an over-excitable nightmare of a wife and mother. I have often felt like having children has been like having an open wound that will not heal… I feel their sadness, pain, and fears so intensely, and overthink their futures (and pasts) so profoundly, I often think it will completely overwhelm me. With three over-excitable “smarty-pants”es in our household, you can’t even imagine what nonsense we go through each week. I am fascinated that there isn’t more written about how parents who are in the top 1% of the curve deal with being a parent, even to normal children. It’s HARD!!!

    • The Common Mom says

      I’m glad you found me and hopefully you’ll find some support here. It is a tough thing raising these kiddos and I’m sure even more so on your own. Stay strong!!

  75. Love this. From one tired mumma to another, I salute you. I kind of want to write more about how much I love this, but, serious sleep dep. here and I prefer to remain coherent :).

  76. My two cents… the difficulty also stems between the disparity between the parents’ apparent IQ (by which I mean what they let themselves be – so if they were/are gifted but hid it till it as a kid till nobody could tell, this could really be average)… and how childlike the parent is willing to remain.

    So far, my best “weapon” is my ability to regain my childlike wonder (not as much as I’d like). It helps with the never-ending string of whys and hows.

    I see in our little circle of gifted families that the closer the parents and kids seem to be, the less stressed everyone is. I think it stems from being more confident in what you are seeing and having some experiences with what will/won’t work (from one’s own childhood). This is better than the parents who completely have to wing it!

    • The Common Mom says

      Interesting thoughts. I love the idea of regaining childlike wonder. We’ve definitely enjoyed learning things together, it helps when we’re all asking “why”.

  77. My child is gifted in mathematics. He likes to think about stuff much more than a lot of kids. He likes to question everything. He can guess to the closest amount how many bubblegums are in a jar. He can learn math faster than any kid in any class he’s been in. He is obsessed w/ minecraft (of course) BUT he is also gifted AT SOCCER!! He’s a gifted athlete and can’t sit still. He is on the travel soccer team. Pretty judgmental to say he is not on the soccer team, DON’T YOU THINK?

  78. I can’t find your blog post about what a 7 year old reads at a 10th grade level. But my child is exactly the same so I would love to hear your book ideas. Even the librarians have run out of ideas because he gets scared easily by lots of the themes in older books.

    • The Common Mom says

      Appropriate reading material can be so hard to so find! If I had more talent I’d write a series about Tinkerbell but at a high school level. Maybe I’ll add that to my To Do list 🙂

  79. I’m the mom of a (*just* turned) 3-year old who is currently in the process of teaching himself to read. I am amazed at this process, and I feel a little nervous, when I let it sink in that he is not typical. He is gifted. Long attention span, loads of questions, pointing out words and getting it figured out. I am fairly certain that public school is NOT going to be good for him, even now. I have no idea what I’m going to do with him for school! Homeschool seems probable.

    • The Common Mom says

      Welcome to the tribe 🙂
      I know the feeling when you start to realize that things may be going down an atypical path. I think the pre-school years can be some of the toughest because there really are very few resources available. And most of us, at least if it’s your first child, are just getting used to the parenting thing and not thinking about the gifted thing. Stay vigilant!

    • My little one has just turned 3 also. For me, the hardest part was the not understanding why everything was happening differently for us. We worked out she was gifted when she was about 2. Once we worked that out, it took about 6 months of accepting and adjusting.

      But we still have no idea what to do about schooling – we’re planning on EVERYTHING and then we’ll choose when we cross that bridge. I do feel that starting her later (children start at 4 here) will be best. I’m waiting till she shows signs (or tells me) of wanting to go.

      The options we have available:
      * home-school – certainly a good option. My daughter does plenty of group activities, but there is that social element to schooling that I would like for her to have. She’s already atypical and so I might be adding to that if I educate her in an atypical way. For me, this will be a back up plan if or when things don’t go as well as we’d hoped at a school. We might also use it on/off. Two years at a school, 2 years home-schooling and so on depending on what is on offer for us at the time.

      * the local school – only if she can skip a year, or 3! Only if she can start at about 6 years of age, only if she has a teacher who is willing to work with me (I’m a primary teacher so heaven help the poor teacher!) and only if, after a few months, my daughter says she is enjoying it.

      * Steiner school – where they learn the 3 R’s much later (about 7 or 8 years of age). At the moment, the Steiner option seems best to us. She can read and do basic maths already so she doesn’t need that from schooling. We can guide her in that at home. That no-one in her class will be learning that anyway means she won’t stand out as different. She is only gifted academically (we think) so, she needs friends, art, music and fun from school and when her class starts learning to read and write, it’s likely she’ll be so ridiculously far ahead, we’ll have to pull her out of there and plan for the next chapter.

      Like all of parenting, bite sized chunks seem to work best for us. We try not to worry and plan too far into the future but instead take 6 months at a time. Often I find that I am worrying about what could happen to her because she is gifted rather than waiting and seeing if anything crops up that needs my intervention. Once I started ‘going with the flow’ just a little more and taking the time to enjoy listening to my baby girl telling me about the metamorphosis of caterpillars, tadpoles and maggots, it made parenting my gifted child so much more fun!

      • The Common Mom says

        It sounds like you’re on the right track! I’m a firm believer in making the best decisions you can at the time because things change. And most importantly – you’re enjoying your child. So glad you stopped by!

  80. I am a mother of 3 gifted daughters-my smart cookies! I have to laugh and agree! It is exhausting! I do know all of the librarians in our town. My children don’t do sports except for my middle daughter who likes cross country and track. My oldest did marching band and my youngest did do little league soccer once. She didn’t like it. She said it wasn’t nice taking the ball away from people. She said this when she was 4! I have sent my oldest to France and Spain in her Sophomore year of high school, my middle daughter to a STEM program in 2014, and my youngest to a camp invention program in 2014 as well. I am lucky to have a wonderful school district that supports the gifted population! I am always finding ways to enrich my girls. Thank you for this post!

    • The Common Mom says

      Wow – sounds like you have three amazing daughters!! Thank you for sharing – love stories like this 🙂

  81. Thank you for this! It is exactly my life. We have a PG 6 year old and have gone through all of this in a very short time. She gives such joy to us, but we feel like we can’t share it as it seems like bragging. Likewise, our struggles become magnified since other parents have no idea what we go through. Sometimes the intensity just wears you out. So glad I found your site.

    • The Common Mom says

      The intensity can be…intense. And exhausting. 🙂

    • I know exactly what you mean, about not being able to talk about it. My son is now four, has a mild ASD/ADHD diagnosis, and he has taught himself various alphabets and is reading a lot. In addition to the English alphabet, both cursive and print, he can read, write, and pronounce the characters in the following languages: Greek, Russian, the “extra” German and French characters, Arabic, and now Thai.

      • Also want to add that he also teaches himself songs on the piano… He taught himself the ABC song first, and will sit and figure out various songs that he likes. It’s really something to see.

  82. I just want to say thank you for this article. I first found it almost a year ago googling (no word of a lie) “gifted kid doesn’t sleep.” I come back to it often whenever I’m needing a little reassurance that there are others like me, walking around in an exhausted fog of terror. Some days I feel I can’t even have a comprehensive conversation with anyone but my kid because I’m too exhausted to change gears! Right now, my 2.5 year old is only sleeping about 9 hours (which leaves mom 6 hours tops!). His sleep tanks whenever he’s acquiring a new skill which right now is learning to play the piano. He learned Mary had a Little Lamb in 3 days with no help from me, just good children’s sheet music with letters in the notes, which I then taped on the keys.

    He reads constantly. The librarian let him sign up for the summer book club even though he’s too young. He wakes me up in the middle of the night to tell me math equations. He knows hundreds of songs by not only name and artist, but track number as well. Right now, we’re in the space and dinosaurs phase. And butterflies. We had to get a book from the library because he wanted to know what kind of butterflies were in our garden as he only knew owl and monarch butterflies. Now he says, “mom can we go look for the painted lady?” It’s when people point out something “amazing” that he does, like skip counting, and I inform him he’s been doing it for almost a year, that I realize just how much trouble I’m in.

    But anyways, the point of the rambling (do all gifted parents ramble? I like to think we do) is that I’m extremely grateful for this article. Thank you!

    • The Common Mom says

      I’m so glad this resonated with you! Sounds like your little guy is keeping you on your toes. I wish I could say it gets easier but I think you know that it probably doesn’t – just more interesting! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  83. Confused dad says

    I came across this article when searching for information about a five year old who is too focused in anything he does. My wife and I were very high achievers when from lower grades until we finished high school, at which point we became friends. College was a bit of a challenge for both of us relatively since we were forced to pursue fields we were not so passionate about. Nevertheless, we graduated with good grades – one of us of course with distinction. In less than three years after graduation we both started grad school and completed our studies again in good grades. One of us completed a second graduate program – with great distinction and now half way through a Ph.D program. Looking back to our history, I would like to think our 5 year old is or will be at least a decent learner. We hear some comments from his daycare that he is intelligent. He finished learning numbers, letters, shapes, colours etc around 18months and he thaught himself by watching YouTube. He was too conscious about getting heart and did not start walking until he was 2. He does not enjoy anything that is physical like playing soccer and when he does he is kind of clumsy. He likes talking about some abstract concepts like the black hole, and theorize why dinosaurs became extinct. That said, I am a bit concerned about some of his behaviours, especially his excessive attention to things he seems to enjoy. Just today I bought him an iPad and he was so into a game he was playing that he didn’t even remember to use the washroom. After I had given him a bath, changed his clothes I gave him the iPad again. Guess what? Yes, he did it again while having fun building a fancy house on his minecraft game. Another concern is his verbal skill. To me he seems to have difficulty making well articulated sentences as his peers. He also tends to create his own verb tenses. For example, he says “I sawed” when he wants to tell something about he saw . English is not our mother tongue but we speak good English and that is the only language our son knows. I know a lot of families who have similar language background as ours but their kids who are quite younger than five express themselves in a fluent English. I also know that if I wait and see I will find out whether our son is really intelligent or has some sort of learning disability. In the latter case, I just thought listening to others who might have gone through the same situation will help our son.


    • The Common Mom says

      Minecraft! My kiddo is the same way once she gets involved with that game – she forgets everything else. Sounds like your son, like many gifted kids, might have some asynchronous development. Meaning that he may be advanced in some areas but not in others. These kiddos definitely keep us on our toes!

      • Confused dad says

        It’s been five months since I left a comment here and my still five year old is already in school and a grade ahead of his peers. I and anyone who contacted him can now tell he is gifted, especially in Math. Also, my confusions I mentioned in the old post about his development are fading by the day.
        It is time to worry about how to meet his hyper curiosity. He already started challenging his teachers and I only wish the teachers enjoy that. The other day I picked him up from school he told me he had an amazing day as they talked about the different states of matter in class. As we walked to our car he kept quiet for a bit and suddenly said “wait a minute… there must be more than three states of matter. I said, ” well, those are all you need to know for now” as I drive him home. Once we were home, he grabbed his ipad, as he always does, and screamed “there is a fourth one there’s a fourth one, dady” . He kept shouting, “Do you know plasma? It is a state of matter. Lightning, lightsaber. They are in plasma state. Even fire is plasma”. The next day he unsuccessfully brought up the topic in class. He told me his teacher (Mr. x) did not believe him and he would tell Mrs. x (his other teacher). He thought they forgot to teach them all the states of matter. He is now literally making me read more. A few days ago when he brought up the same discussion, I told him “buddy, relax. There is also a fifth state of matter… You will know them all when the time comes” Honestly, I am not sure if I am handling him well but this is what I am dealing with.

        Best of luck to everyone and happy holidays.

  84. This article (and the various comments) so describes our lives with our 4 year old son Alex. He was recently evaluated and determined to be at the 99th percentile for his age with an intellectual/language skill level in the range of a 7-9 year old. My wife especially is mentally exhausted and drained every day because of his mental intensity. Next year he will begin Kindergarten and we are very worried he simply won’t be challenged and will either be bored or get in trouble. Our dining room table is littered with school books, some rated for the 5-7 year old range, along with various other books for even older ages and he can’t get enough. He WANTS to do school work books and yes, i am an expert at dinosaurs and various other creatures now thanks to him! I don’t think we can afford private schooling for him so any advice on how to keep him challenged in a public school environment would be appreciated.

  85. I am so glad to come across this post while goggling for information about gifted children. The tears I shed were simply silent tears of exasperation and tiredness. My family blamed me for introducing my 7 year old son to profound topics but they had no idea that he was the one who questioned and asked for the material… In fact, I had to read on topics which held no interest for me to understand his questions. After knowing that he is gifted, I read a lot to understand him and realised the need to provide materials to quench their thirst for knowledge. After doing that, my son is much happier. Now he has diverted his attention to Chess which does not mean only the simple game. He requested for private coaching to accelerate his development.. all at the expense of a heavier price tag. These are stuffs the parents here would understand.. thanks for letting me let out my fustrations

  86. Vikki Connor Eagen says

    Wow! For many years, my friends have told me to write a blog, write a book, etc about being a parent of two profoundly gifted children. This article was, is, and probably always will be a perfect description of our family; we have been living this for 17 years and plan on many more. It brought tears to my eyes. My oldest began college at 15 and the challenges don’t stop … however, with age and maturity the path does become a bit easier to navigate. Im still exhausted, cry when no one is looking, and get frustrated when I have to advocate for my youngest, who is 13, with people who just don’t get it. On the bright side, I say, “Our problems, no matter the challenges, are good problems.” We have been blessed with two beautiful, profoundly gifted (99.9%) boys. I look forward to one day finding the time to write “Our Story”.

  87. Hello Everyone
    I can fully relate to your joy and (sufferings). I have a 6 1/2 yo boy and a 41/2 yo girl. My boy is in grade one ( we have decided not to accelerate him – after school psychologist’s report and recommendations). He knew lots of maths and science when he was 5 1/2 yo (ie times tables 1-10, Roman numbers for any numbers – such as 1159 and lots more). He can now do a substantial amount of year 5 maths and his English is not as advanced but still pretty impressive for a grade one. He knew more than 2500 sight words(high frequency) when he was still in his third term in Prep last year.

    My little girl started to read simple books at 3 years and 10 months. Her carer have spoken to the day care director about her reading ability and they will be testing her from now until the end of the year (with progressively harder reading materials). She is reading at least a few years above her peers. She can do year one maths as she often do her brother’s homework.

    I totally agreed with all and it is very lonely as nobody really understands (not even close friends and relatives).

    Please keep up with good work!

  88. This is an old article I shared on FB that popped up again! You know what I don’t see here ? Answers !!
    I can’t afford Private school or private music lesson or private technology lessons . All that my school doesn’t offer . My son is bored and developed anxiety . I do what every parent with a gifted child does at home and provide enrichment . I’m even a teacher . However it’s not enough . If it was the opposite and he needed special education his needs would be filled . But it NY we are on our own
    I wish there were answers

  89. Wow! i have been on the google for months now trying to figure out just whats ” wrong “with my child/myself….why is he so difficult and exhausting?! My two y/o is easier to handle with all the tantrums, time outs, and potty training, than my 6 y/o. Everything on google suggested that he’s adhd, odd , or something else negative that requires medication. But thats not the case…My son was fine in school in fact the teachers loved him, however after a few short months i pulled him out becuase he was losing his thirst for knowlege, and it was painful to watch my brilliant child slipping away!
    This is the first time i have ever read anything that described my life perfectly! I laughed out loud and then started to cry…out of relief.
    I was begining to think there was something wrong with me, because his constant presence causes me such anxiety….
    Im not sure i have the stamina to continue homeschooling, and yet i am terrified to put him back in pbs!!
    This article has saved my life, i feel so vindicated!!!! This is us to a T…i just dont know what to do next….he exhauts everyone in our lives….its so peacful when hes not around, yet i love learning beside him and watching him grow.
    Thank you sommuch for writing this!
    Thank you thank you

    • The Common Mom says

      Those early days can be tough with all those questions! It’s a rough ride but so worth it – glad you found me!

  90. Oh my, so glad I found this post! I have a 4 year old….but I’m the one who has to take a nap everyday to keep up with him! He started reading on his own just after his 2nd birthday. Unfortunately the school system told me that “he will even out with the rest of the students eventually”….makes me so mad. Thank you so much for your post and the other comments to read.

  91. My 5 year old son just went to kindergarten. I don’t know if he is gifted. All I know is that he can read books easily, & can multiply..& asks questions non stop…& is behind socially & can’t seem to follow directions. And that I am completely exhausted. The teacher asked us to come in for a meeting regarding him on Friday…says that she can tell he is very bright but that he has a very hard time following directions.Help!

  92. Looking for advice please..
    I’m came across this article trying to search for information articles, books, anything on how to parent a gifted toddler. I did find one article that said there really isn’t much information out there on how to parent gifted children, as there has not been much research done on the subject. What little is known is from other parents of gifted children. I don’t know yet hope gifted my granddaughter is. She is only going on 13 months old. However even if I don’t knew yet that she will have a genius IQ she’s very advanced. She’s using multuple word sentences, she pretent plays and has been doing so shove she was about 9 months old. Things like picking up a play phone and calling mommy or grandma. She plays pretend with baby dolls picking them up patting their back, feeding then bottles, etc. She already has great problem solving skills if she’s in her play pen and wants to reach something of interest outside of her playpen she moves toys to the side she wants and climbs on them to reach the item. At about 10 months old she used said skills to escape her play yard in the living room, get outside and off the back deck to try to get to her much loved swing! The list goes on.
    My daughter (her mother) has already taken several parenting classes wanting to be a good mother. The problem we’re discovering is the things that would normally work for a child her age don’t really work in her case. She is throwing tantrums you would see in an older toddler. She quickly gets bored of her baby toys, but more advanced toys are not always safe and my daughter doesn’t have the income to buy her a lot of the more expensive learning toys that sometimes hold her interest. She’s not really old enough, even if she is advanced, to be patented the same as you would maybe an older toddler. You can’t put her in time out or take away privileges the way you would a two or three year old.
    At this point even if she doesn’t fully understand we try explaining we don’t do that it hurts people. Or if your going to throw a tantrum you can’t do such and such. Or if she’s really throwing a fit a time out in the play pen.
    I’m hoping maybe some of the other moms commenting on here can recall back to when their gifted children were this age and any suggestions of what worked with your children. Or ideas of toys and such that were safe and held their interest. Basically any ideas you found helpful in the toddler years would be appreciated!

    Thank you!

    • My little cherub is starting school next month, so I have a few suggestions that helped me up to now. I too knew that my daughter was gifted by the time she was 18 months. I stressed and worried and even cried wondering how I could support a gifted child. Accepting her giftedness was the hardest part, though. Once I’d done that and learnt how to deal with other parents and the loneliness that having a gifted child can bring, it became easier.

      Find a support group. This blog has been wonderful for me and I have found a group in my area (in Australia) that runs activities; it has helped us to meet parents of other gifted children and for my daughter to meet other children whom have a similar way of looking at the world.

      Do not ‘play down’ what your grand/child can do. It is not fair on her. She has her strengths and her weaknesses like any other person and she deserves for her parents to be proud of her just as she is.

      Let your granddaughter cry. This is probably helpful for any child but for my daughter, she is extremely aware of how adults behave and she strives to behave the same way. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to be grown up and sensible despite my efforts to allow her to be a baby for as long as she wants. She can take all the skin off one knee, get up, dust herself down and hobble all the way home before she will allow herself to cry. The book: Tears and Tantrums by Dr. Aletha Solter helped me a lot! We allowed (and in fact, encouraged) our daughter to rage at home and release pent up feelings; when she is in public, she has always managed to hold it all together because she is smart enough to know that she is safe to scream, cry and release when mum and dad can be there for her, in private, at home.

      Listen to her opinions and suggestions. Apart from actually receiving excellent suggestions from our daughter when decisions need to be made, we have given her a voice; a way to express herself at her own level. Her friends at kindy did not always know what she was talking about, but her parents do. And they listen. We have found it very important to give our daughter clear boundaries. She ‘tests’ the boundaries often because she needs to be sure we are ‘clever enough’ for her and that she can’t pull the wool over our eyes. When we are firm and consistent, she knows we are in control and she doesn’t have to be the clever one, she can simply be ‘the kid’.

      Be an advocate for her. I had to make plenty of phonecalls to get my daughter into groups that were meant for children older than her. Don’t be afraid to explain why you need to get your 3 year old into a group that is meant for 5 year olds. Those that say ‘no’ are not meant for her. Those that are willing to give her a try are gold.

      I always chose toys that were meant for children older than my daughter. I still do. As a general rule: +2yrs. When she was one, I would give her toys that said +3yrs. She is now 4 and +6/7yrs seem to be about right. I always sat with her to be sure she was safe with them. I made a lot of resources too. She thrived on fun learning games and because I offered her letters and numbers, she could read before she was 2.

      Don’t expect anyone to offer your child anything different because she is gifted. Sadly, giftedness is not given the attention it should be. Therefore, it will be your job (and her mummy’s job) to give her what childcare, kindergarten and school will not be able to give. School is going to be a place to play with friends for my daughter; home is where we build the solar system, write a book about the peregrine falcon and solve maths problems – just because it’s what my daughter asks to do and sometimes because I suggest it and she thinks I’m great for thinking of it!

      I hope this helps a little and to sum it all up, we now know that our daughter’s giftedness is a beautiful blessing and even with all the challenges we face, we wouldn’t change a thing. All the best.

  93. I’ll add a slightly different angle to that. Fathers who are at home with their gifted learner children go through all of the aforementioned experiences in addition to the social exclusions many primary caregiver dads must endure. If there is little support for mothers of gifted learners, there seems to be absolutely none for fathers. Teachers view fathers with suspicion when they try to advocate for their gifted children at school, mothers on the playground engage in polite conversation, but shy away if you suggest your child learns differently. Other fathers certainly don’t wish to speak about your gifted learner and rather than support you on a particularly tough or emotional day, they view it as a sign of weakness if you show fatigue for any other reason than a hard work day or tough work out. As with mothers, you begin to withdraw from your social group because you find there is little in common to discuss and you don’t want to talk about your child reading philosophy while their child is reading Captain Underpants. Your families start to back away when they realize your child doesn’t quite fit their expectations of what ‘normal’ is and all of their parenting suggestions don’t work. Your unorthodox methods of getting through the day with your child seem peculiar to everyone but parents of other gifted learners and you desperately try to establish friendships with those parents only to discover that the kids may not get along. It becomes an incredibly isolating experience for Dads and it is often compounded when you seek advice on gifted websites only to discover a Mums only club there, too. Still, we muddle through and do find other Dads in a similar boat from time to time, but the preferred method of engagement still seems to be to suffer in silence.

  94. Wow, I enjoyed reading this article, but am sad that soo many parents and their gifted kids get pushed away from their friends. I have never had a problem hearing about my friend’s kids advancements, I just go back and google the milestones to make sure my guy is in the normal range. Haha.

    As far as I know my oldest is not ‘gifted’, although my bro in law thinks he is. He does seem a touch advanced compared to his cousins who are close to his age. And when I filled out his last asq for his ped, there was a question of whether or not he uses 4-5 word sentences, and just the other day I realized he used a 9 word sentence. Still, he is getting very close to 3 years old, so I am sure this is normal. It’s not like he is reading or doing math or physical science lol. Unless you can count throwing just about everything he can all around the room an experiment in physical science… He does seem to have leadership qualities, and tends to wander off away from other kids randomly. I figure this is a sign of being a bit of an introvert and he is socially fatigued at those times. Oh, and as the parent of a ‘normal’ intelligence child, I would like to share how freaked out he has had me on a few occassions where it seemed he knew things that he shouldn’t. Like the time he pointed at his elmos potty time poster and said, ‘Mommy, look, it’s elmos potty time!’ Me: Yes it is! While in my head I’m wracking my brain wondering how long ago he saw the video, and how he picked that up when he was running around not paying attention to it. Then thinking, did he just read that? That’s nonesense he doesn’t know how to read! Then more freak out cuz if he didn’t get it from the video, and he didn’t read it, where the heck did he get it from? Imagine twilight zone music.

    Anyway, I would not like to imagine what it is like to be one of you parents with amazingly gifted kids. Just thinking ‘did he just read!?’ (Twilight zone) and getting freaked out, I can only imagine how freaked out I would be if he actually did read it. Heehee. That said, my heart goes out to you all, and I wish you and your kids the very best on this incredibly journey you are on. Hang in there, and don’t give up, there are others like me out there who would enjoy hearing your kids stories, just because.

  95. 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.


  1. […] well – that most of my friends, family, and teachers I know  don’t really want to hear about the struggles I have with my gifted daughter who gets straight A’s. They don’t appreciate how hard it is to find appropriate reading material […]

  2. URL says:

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  3. […] to see them spend a 24 hour period alone with our well-behaved but energetic kids without getting completely worn out.  Even my super-fit little sister can’t handle […]

  4. […] while back I wrote about how to recognize a parent of a gifted child and said you wouldn’t find them at soccer […]

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