Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Giftedness: Why does it Matter?

"What do you expect with two overexcited, overtired gifted kids?" said my DH at the end of a long evening as we sheltered from the noise of our two as they raced up and down the hallway playing a complicated game with a pram, some cards with numbers on them, and two baby dolls.



For my DH, it was acknowledgement of the reality of living with gifted kids. A way of staying sane when the chaos threatens to overwhelm us. And for both of us, it was a way of letting go of frustration - our kids are gifted, and sometimes they need to express their overexcitability. They weren't being destructive, or bad. They were creatively playing happily together. It was just noisy.

In many ways, the gifted label has enabled us as a family to learn to live with ourselves and each other. My kids will struggle with being able to regulate their emotions - whether it's J's sadness at watching the Mythbusters crash another car, or C's enthusiasm when he discovers another awesome game, or discusses how ramps work. Everything is big, and loud.

For us, the gifted label matters, because it has helped us understand our children. To accept them and not try to judge and criticize them for expressing a part of themselves. We can't wish it away, we can't discipline it away. It's their wiring. And in time, they may learn how to be more socially acceptable in their expression of extreme OEs. Or not. But because we know in our house that giftedness is more than just academics - that it affects everything about how they think, feel and see the world, we try to create an environment where they feel safe. Where they can be their true selves.

That is why gifted matters. Not the academics, though that is a large part of it. But that with the label and the acknowledgement of what it means, our kids don't have to pretend to be something they are not. They can be their authentic self - rough edges and all. It's not wrong, it's not better, it's not less, it's different.

Giftedness matters because kids need to know that they are OK. Giftedness matters because their parents need to know their kids are OK. Giftedness matters because their instructors and teachers need to know that they are OK.

Knowing not just that they are different, but how they are different matters. It impacts how they think, how they listen, and how to talk to and teach them. With this knowledge, we can, if we are lucky, stave off some of the pitfalls that come with being different in a world that rarely accepts difference.

For me, if my kids are happy, I think I'm stumbling close to doing this parent thing right. Knowing about giftedness helps me craft the environment they need to be their happy, loud, emotional and overexcited selves.

This post is part of a blog hop for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum on "Giftedness: Why does it matter?" Check out the other participants!

17 comments:

  1. Yes! This is exactly why giftedness matters. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Jade. It certainly made a difference in the way we parent and respond to our children - for the better!

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  2. I love what you say, "the acknowledgement of what it means, our kids don't have to pretend to be something they are not. They can be their authentic self - rough edges and all." Something I learn and relearn everyday. ;)

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    1. Don't we all. I struggle sometimes with letting them be their authentic selves - because it's messy and loud, and I'm not always ready for that. But being able to stop myself and go, 'no, this is not something I can just squash' helps ME be a better parent. :)

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  3. So sorry if my post appears twice... I received some sort of internet error. Thank you for this post. I loved every single word of it, but my favorite part was this:
    That is why gifted matters. Not the academics, though that is a large part of it. But that with the label and the acknowledgement of what it means, our kids don't have to pretend to be something they are not. They can be their authentic self - rough edges and all. It's not wrong, it's not better, it's not less, it's different.

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    1. Thankyou caitie! And your lovely comment only appeared once.

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  4. Yes- I love how you say understanding giftedness helps you learn to live with yourselves & each other. That is exactly how I feel about it.

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  5. "For us, the gifted label matters, because it has helped us understand our children. To accept them and not try to judge and criticize them for expressing a part of themselves. We can't wish it away, we can't discipline it away. It's their wiring." <--- This so resonated with me because before our youngest was identified, we did try to discipline his socially-different quirks away and probably caused damage in the process! YES, it is so true, the gifted label does matter! Thanks for such an eye-opening post!

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    1. Thanks Celi. You are not the only one who's tried to discipline it away! Sometimes I do wish that my kids were quiet and easy to manage - usually only when I've had a long day and am under the weather, but still...I also think it's worth being able to acknowledge that as parents, we are fallible and can't be perfect either - the perfectionist gifted demon in me wants to get it all right first time. The gifted label has enabled me to be able to forgive myself when I'm not perfect, knowing that an excessive desire for perfection comes with the gifted bundle.

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  6. Yes! Giftedness matters because affects not only academic every facet of life.
    A great post!

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  7. Beautiful post! Loved it!

    I love these lines the most: For us, the gifted label matters, because it has helped us understand our children. To accept them and not try to judge and criticize them for expressing a part of themselves. We can't wish it away, we can't discipline it away. It's their wiring. And in time, they may learn how to be more socially acceptable in their expression of extreme OEs. Or not. But because we know in our house that giftedness is more than just academics - that it affects everything about how they think, feel and see the world, we try to create an environment where they feel safe. Where they can be their true selves.

    And for me, when I learned that my child is gifted and I started reading more about giftedness, it also helped me understand myself. Just like what you said, "In many ways, the gifted label has enabled us as a family to learn to live with ourselves and each other."

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    1. It does help, doesn't it? Knowing where all the quirks and strange 'I don't fit'-ness comes from. Thankyou for commenting!

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  8. Thank you for the post. Clear, concise and oh so true!

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