Parenting the Gifted: Is this a Job for a Superparent?

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Coleman, D. (1982). Parenting the gifted: Is this a job for a superparent? G/C/T, 5(2), 47-50.

As a librarian whose job is to help parents find resources to educate themselves about gifted children, I figured I needed to know more about discipline. When children have different social and emotional needs than others, discipline can be tricky, and it is crucial to get it right so it will not affect their mental state. The article, Parenting the Gifted: Is this a Job for a Superparent? implies that it understands the heavy toll giftedness and the emotional “baggage” that goes along with it, can take on a parent. Unfortunately, there is little meat to this article, other than an interview conducted with a group of parents and their responses to being a parent of these children. Don’t get me wrong, the lovely table that is made up of their answers is informative, but I feel other than going over their responses to questions like, “Is discipline ever a problem?” (Answer: 50% yes, 50% no) or “As a toddler was he/she curious?” (Answer: Very 56%, Somewhat 44%, None 0%) there really isn’t much else save a section where the parents give motivational “You can do it!” comments to other parents. I guess, by the title of the article, I wanted to know more. What sorts of problems? How did they deal with them? What is the best course of discipline for a curious, slightly obstinate preschool aged child? (Since that is implied in the table.)

There is a list of “What makes your child gifted?” that parents love to read and reaffirm that yes, indeed they are dealing with what they think they’re dealing with. Coleman also gives some suggestions for awareness to head off problems:

  1. Never compare siblings, regardless of intellectual prowess; it fosters jealousy and feelings of inadequacy.
  2. Be conscious that even very young children are able to manipulate due to their intelligence and emotional sensitivity.
  3. Try to be open and honest, and emotionally calm.
  4. Realize that gifted children may have different values from their parents.
  5. Be aware that problems at school may be because they are bored.
  6. In school they may be targets of aggression because they are out-performing their classmates.
  7. Continue their education outside of school.
  8. Keep an open line of communication with teachers and the principal of the school.

Perhaps in a longer article or book on the subject, I would find more information. I do think that Dana Coleman has great preventative tips to save parents from going down a wrong road, and it is good information for people beginning on tes journey to learning more about their gifted child.

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