Parenting Gifted Children

  1. Train your children to achieve the independence they want so much. Teach them to count, tell time, expand vocabulary, learn about their neighborhood, use money, etc.
  2. Read to your children and let them share books they read with you. Help them learn to value verbal expression. Serve as a role model by reading often, using a wide range of printed material.
  3. Let your children know you value school success. They will need many things they learn there in their future lives.
  4. Find at least one “gifted” playmate, either through group activities or arranging visits with one friend.
  5. Let your home be a place where knowledge is valued and the quest for learning respected. Have as many resource books, materials, and complex games available as possible in the home.
  6. Take your children frequently to museums, libraries, art galleries, historical places, symphonies, or any place where their background learning can be expanded.
  7. Encourage your children to ask questions. Answer if you can; if not, help them find the answer.
  8. Take time to be with your children and discuss ideas with them. Create open communication. Set aside a special time for each child to have you to him/herself, to be interested in her/him alone, to be listened to nonjudgmentally, to share ideas.
  9. Don’t overstructure their lives. They cannot work at top capacity at all times. There should be time to daydream, imagine, etc. Gifted children are usually creative, and it’s hard to be creative on a schedule.
  10. Help your children understand the need for social conventions, such as politeness, manners, courtesy, and regard for others.
  11. Don’t compare gifted children to other children. It places on the gifted one the responsibility to be gifted at all times. Help them appreciate individual differences both in themselves and in others.
  12. Praise your children for their efforts. Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. They need all the encouragement available.
  13. Discipline is necessary and comes in the same shape for all brothers and sisters. Giftedness is no excuse for unacceptable behavior.
  14. Remember that the fine line between encouragement and pushing may make the difference between a happy, productive youngster and an unfulfilled, underachieving child.
  15. Recognize that there are times to reach out a helping hand, and there are times to get out of the way: knowing the difference makes you a very gifted parent.

Adapted from A Guide for Educating A Gifted Child in Your Classroom by Ruth F. Lawless  and Practical Hints for Parents of Gifted Children by Gina Ginsberg