Parenting gifted children


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You might think that having a gifted child is just swell.  You don’t have to help with them with homework, they get stuff easier, they will never fail a class.  And yes, those things are true. But having a gifted child also presents challenges.

Gifted is United States is “students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”.  (Institute for Education Advancement).  Depending on what state you live in, the IQ score varies a little, but where I live the cutoff if 130 IQ.  I have 3 kids and all 3 are gifted.  My kids being 8, 10 and 12, two girls and a boy.  Now, you may have a gifted child that has never been tested.  If that is the case, I would ask your school or you can get them tested privately through a psychologist and your pediatrician can refer you.

All children are blessing and gifts from God.  This blog is not intended to say any one child is better than the other. We just have to know our children to be the most effective parents.  I could not write a blog about deaf children, because I don’t have any experience with that.  But gifted children, I have experience, and these are some of the challenges.

6 Challenges to Parenting Gifted Children

  1.  They are technically smarter than you and then will tell you how you are doing things the wrong way.  No joke, I am the least intelligent person in my family of 5, on paper that is.  (This is why I hang with my dog!). Of course, I am much older and have more life experiences than them, so I am wiser.  But, I am often reminded of how I could be doing things a different and more effective way.  Like when driving, cooking, or solving problems.  The best way to deal with these suggestions is not to take offense but listen and see if there really is a better way to do it.  I don’t shoot down their ideas, because let’s be honest, they are usually correct.
  2. They generally cannot relate to children their actual age.  Gifted children can be more mature and find it difficult to make friends their age.  They actually can prefer adult company because it is more stimulating for them.  My daughter had a sleepover when she was 8 and got so annoyed when the girls were giggling, laughing and acting silly.  Which is normal for 8-year-old girls, but not for her.  This can be a problem for them in school because they are clumped by age, and they find it hard to make true friends in their classrooms.  How I get around this, is to allow them to choose friends that are either slightly older or on their level.  I used to force play dates with kids I knew, but I found these can be more harm than good.
  3. They generally are very competitive and take loosing very difficultly.  I could make a game in my house as to who can fold the laundry the fastest and it would be a full on competition.  They all are swimmers and hate to lose, and when they do they are hard in themselves.  It is never a shoulder shrug, oh well.  This can be an advantage because it is a great motivator and makes them work harder to achieve goals.  But it can be difficult to parent because loosing is part of life and you cannot have your kids flying off he handle when they lose.  The way I deal with this is to let hem know “I am your biggest fan” (see my earlier blog post titled the same).  Meaning, I love you through wins and looses and you are still wonderful to me.
  4. Teachers, counselors, friends, relatives are always giving advise to you on classes they must take, the best colleges, science fairs,  future careers, etc. because they are seen as talented and people want them to “succeed”.  I appreciate it, but just because my kids got a perfect score on the state math exam, doesn’t mean she need to take calculus in high school or have a job related to math at all.   Nor do they need to enter the science fair, just because science comes easy and at a high level.  I have figured out that life is really short, yet work is really long, so you must choose a career you enjoy.  (See my earlier blog on retirement).  I do think being able to support yourself is important, but you can accommodate your lifestyle to your job.  For instance, don’t by a big expensive house if you cannot afford it!  I want my kids to be successful at what ever career path they choose but I want them to have joy as well.  The way I deal with this is to sometimes just tell the advise givers, no thanks, and to encourage my kids to discover their own talents and passions.
  5. Some gifted children overlook very simple tasks, like flushing toilets, picking up clothes,  and making beds consistently.  I know this seems silly.   It is not that the task is difficult, it is just that their brain is processing all the time at a higher level and they don’t see the simple stuff.  I used to get very frustrated when my son would not pick up his dirty clothes but he is busy building airplanes in his brain, so which would I rather have?  I don’t let him skip out on his chores, I just look at it from different perspective.    Einstein couldn’t be bothered to brush his hair, get my point?  He just needs more reminding.  I am not willing to break their creativity and spirit just so my o.c.d. about cleaning is happy.  It is more important to focus on their strengths and let the weaknesses slide.
  6. Because gifted children are more aware of life, they can be worriers.  Most children don’t understand life outside their bubble but gifted children are very aware of changes, stress, problems and foresee challenges.  They can to carry the weight of the world on them.  This is hard to parent because you cannot lie to them or brush problems under the rug.  You have to have open communication with them and reassure them that what ever happens, it will be ok.  (See previous blog on how to talk to your kids during disasters.)  I reinforce that so much of life is out of our control and God has a plan.  We don’t need to worry, we need to pray.

Having children is a gift from God.  Being a parent is a blessing.  We must customize our parenting based on each child and their different needs.  Gifted children present their own specific quarks and these are five of the ones I have found.

#Seriously1975

Comments please from other parents!

Why I Won’t Let My Kids Watch Scary Movies



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Just for the record, I am not the helicopter parent.  I have good kids that pretty much can manage themselves.  We have raised them to be self-sufficient and independent.  They make their lunches, do chores, get up by themselves.  I let them fail and let them try new things.  But, that being said, they still need guidance, love, supervision and sometimes the word “no”.

So when my 12-year-old daughter asked to go see Jaws at the water park the answer was “no”.   Seeing as we live by the ocean, Jaws is definitely a no.

There are so many scary movies that shaped my fears as a child and I don’t want that for my kids.  My parents, who were laid-back, let me see what ever movie came out, regardless of age or maturity.  Don’t get me wrong, my parents were awesome, it was just the parenting style of the 1970’s.  (See my blog about generations).  For instance, Jaws came out in 1975, the year I was born, and I swear I saw it in the movie theater as a baby and repeatedly as a child.  Then Clash of the Titans, 1981, added to my fear of sea creatures. I still have apprehensions getting into the ocean as an adult even though rationally I know I am more likely to get killed in a car.

Poltergeist, 1982.  Ok, I’m 7 now.  That movie forever made me scared of TV static, clown dolls, and tall skinny old men in suits singing.

Halloween, 1978.  Seriously?  I hear the music and just cringe.   And then followed by Friday the 13th, 1980.  Now I am scared of the woods and scary masks.  Then comes Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984.  Now, I am afraid to sleep and the mask fear keeps building.

The Shining, 1980.  I had no clue what was going on in the movie but I will forever fear lipstick on mirrors.

Gremlins, 1984.  They were cute but now I am afraid that little gerbils will turn into monsters if you feed them after midnight.

Then there were the highly inappropriate movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982, Sixteen Candles, 1984, Breakfast Club, 1985, National Lampoon’s Vacation, 1983, About Last Night, 1986, that really are not for a 8-10 year old to see.  Nevertheless, I saw all of them, and my friends at the time did too. Which makes me wonder, what were our parents thinking?

I am not blaming my parents, obviously I can carry on in society without debilitating fears.  I just want my children to hold onto innocence a little longer.  As much as I hated watching Barney, Dora and Caillou and now the older shows for kids, I appreciate that these shows are age appropriate, won’t scar them or cause them to be fearful.  They already have enough to fear like getting bullied, failing a test, vomiting in school or loosing a parent.

Even though our jobs as parents is to teach our kids to be independent adults and to teach them about the life, they still need some protection for the “scary” world.  Remember, it’s ok to say no.  Our job as parents are to raise up our children right, loving the Lord and disciplining them appropriately.  A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.   Proverbs 29:15.

#Seriously1975

 

Words of Advice to Young Parents. Ten Easy Steps to Help You Not Only Survive, But Thrive.


New Hipster Plus Baby Carrier
Kids playing with wooden toys. Two children, cute toddler girl and funny baby boy, playing with wooden toy blocks, building towers at home or day care. Educational child toys for preschool and kindergarten.

Having children is very challenging, yet rewarding experience.  I sometimes feel like that part of my life was a whirlwind.  A younger coworker (20 something) of mine just found out she is having another baby and this made me reflect on my own childbearing years and how we not only made it through alive, but thrived.

Let me explain what a day for a parent of two or more is like.  You are exhausted after giving birth and have to get up at 6 am and take care of a toddler, who may never nap.  You finally sit to feed the new baby just to have the toddler demand a snack or have to go the bathroom.  You have a colicky baby and a cranky toddler.  You will have to chase a toddler down the grocery isle while toting a newborn.  You will protect the newborn from projectiles the toddler is throwing.  You will have to cook, clean, shower, do laundry and still be a spouse, all while maintaining the life of 2 (or more) little people.  You will have to eventually go back to work, and find someone trusting enough to watch 2 kids or you will work odd hours or nights and never sleep, splitting the parenting your spouse.  You will not let your guard down for years because until a kid is like 5 or 6, anything is possible.  Sound familiar?

But wait, I did all that… We did that.  We had 3 kids within 4 years.  How did our kids turn out so happy and healthy?  How did our marriage survive?  How did none of my kids have a traumatic brain injury from another kid jump in on them?  We did have a few bumps and bleeding along the way, but really we were unharmed.  We survived, in fact we thrived.

Looking back at those times of having “little” kids really brings back happy memories.  It was fun, it was chaos in its own way, but it was awesome.  We made, shaped and grew 3 beautiful people.  We taught, disciplined, loved and shared.  We made a family.  We missed out on some things (like going out to eat) but I would not change anything.   Those we some very happy times.  There were some times that are now funny (not so much then), like when all the kids were having severe meltdowns at Disney and the Disney worker came over to help us.  I don’t know how we did it, but we did, and we loved it, and we love them.

So what advice to I have for all the young parents out there?

Words of Advice to Young Parents

 1)  Enjoy these times.   They are fun, crazy, chaos, and fast.  They will be big in the blink of an eye.  And yes, an old lady in a grocery store told me the same thing 10 years ago, I just couldn’t believe it to be true.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, like a clean house.  Someday your house will be empty.

2)  Love them unconditionally.  They never are what we imagined but they are always a gift from God.

3)  Hug them.  Kids need physical touch.  They need to “feel” love.

4)  Listening to them.  They cannot talk when they are babies, but you can make eye contact and give them your attention.  Kids start to act out when they feel like they are not being heard.

5)  Know their hearts.  Get to know their fears, likes, dreams.  They are individuals.  Build their self-esteem.

6)  Don’t be afraid to be the parent.  YOU ARE THE BOSS, ALWAYS!  Tell them no.  Set limits.  If you don’t like a behaviour, act appropriately.  Let them know you are in charge and be consistent with discipline.

7)  Dont’ be afraid be their friend.  Laugh, play, have fun.  Get down to their level and just play.

8)  Be yourself (good and flawed) in front of them.  No parent is perfect, just like no child is perfect.  When you make mistakes, explain to them why is was a mistake and how no one is perfect.  Be genuine.

9)  Take lots of pictures.  This will momentarily stop time and give you a lifetime of happiness looking over past photos.

10)  Teach them about God.   This is the best thing you can do for a child.   It will ground them, show them love, teach them how to treat others, and to give them a purpose.  It will also teach them that the world does not revolve around them, which I know is shocking, but it doesn’t.  Getting involved with a church is a great way to start.  Find a churches with a children’s ministry.  We started at a Baptist church when my kids were little and it has made them who they are today.

Yes, having kids is hectic but learning to love the stage you’re in is priceless.

#Seriously1975

.  MiaMily Red HIPSTER™ Multi-Wearing Carrier

Seven Ways to Parent a Tween with Love


Group of female elementary school friends

I have two tween daughters and I love this stage.  With the help of godly counsel in my life, I have learned some ways to parent them in this transitional stage. Tween brains are trying to figure out life. Stuck between children and teenagers, they are possibly the most curious stage. Their bodies are changing rapidly and they are trying to figure it all out.

This is time when all things are hormonal. The tears, the temperament, the giggles about boys, the insecurity, the painful boobs and the periods.   Having two girls, ages 10 and 12, I see the changes.  I notice the moods.  It’s all too familiar.  They no longer want to play with toys but play with musical.ly.  They care about their hair and what products to use.  The want cool underwear.  They worry about pimples.

This time is so sweet to me.  My little girls becoming little women.   Finding their way through this hormonal mess called womanhood.  I feel a bond to them. Because I too am struggling through this hormonal mess called womanhood!  And it feels like just yesterday, I was in their shoes.  Now that I am on the other end of the curve (aka peri-menopause),  I find it exciting to see the next generation going through the stages.

The thing is, God made woman.  Of course we can from a man, but we are different. We are wonderfully made.  We have been given the privilege to bear children.  And with that privilege comes the hormonal mess called womanhood.  So, it is my privilege to pass that knowledge on to the next generation of women.

7 Ways to Parent your Tween with Love

1) Love them unconditionally.  Their body and minds are changing rapidly and they need us to support and comfort them in this time.  They will make mistakes and when they do reprimand and love them at the same time.

2)  Teach them about their bodies and about sex.  Now, you don’t have to spill all the details if they are not ready but you have to let them know the boundaries they need to set with boys.  We let our daughter to go the Silver Ring Thing at our church and it taught purity and why it is so important.  Not only does purity guard their bodies but it guards their hearts and minds.  They explained how early sexual experiences is harmful to self-esteem and can lead to other unhealthy behaviour like drugs.  (For more information, see www.Silverringthing.com)

Tweens have never been through hormonal changes like this so it can be scary and frustrating.  Teach them what is happening, like why they cry more, and how it is normal. That ever girl goes through it, just at different paces.

3)  Praise them.  When you see them being kind or gracious, let them know you see their good behavior and love it!  Build their esteem up so they don’t seek attention from others.  Tell them they are beautiful!

4)  Set limits.  They will push you and want to experiment with clothes, make-up, social media, friends, boys, (and just about everything else too).  Let them know where you stand, what you will not allow, and that YOU ARE THE BOSS.  No means no.  They don’t need a friend, they need a consistency.

5)  Set the example.  If you don’t want your girls to wear inappropriate clothes, heavy makeup, or swear, then don’t do it yourself.  Also, if you don’t want them to smoke, drink or use drugs, them you shouldn’t be either.  This is a tough one, but actions speak louder than words.

6)  Teach them about modesty.  They are still children and dressing or acting like adults only leads to trouble, especially on social media.  Children should not look sexy. It sends the wrong message.  So don’t buy them the clothes that you would not want them to wear or allow them to post pictures that you do not approve of!

7) Listen to their problems and concerns.  They have a lot of changes going on and with that comes many unique questions.  Answer their questions.  Ask them questions.  Don’t be afraid to talk to them about personal stuff.  Get involved with them!  If they aren’t talking to you, they will get the information from someone else.

Hope this help 🙂  Comments?

#Seriously1975