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Living with Gifted Kids

Slides from WATG webinar by Jackie Drummer, February 18, 2020

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Living with Gifted Kids

  1. 1. Living with Gifted Kids: The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome WEBINAR, February 18, 2020 Jackie Drummer, Past President WI Association for Talented & Gifted 414-916-4785 Wisconsi nAssociation for Talented & Gifted WATG
  2. 2. Some things to think about… • “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they even forgive them.” (Oscar Wilde) • “Since when was genius found respectable?” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) • “For precocity, some great price is always demanded sooner or later.” (Margaret Ossoli)
  3. 3. Why It’s Important to Have Parent Support/Informational Groups • Parents of very bright kids often have few other parents that they can talk to about their child’s development or their parenting experiences. • Parents worry that their kids are “abnormal” – too serious, impulsive, emotional, curious, bossy, intense, etc. • Child rearing strategies that work with most kids don’t always work with gifted kids (for lots of reasons).
  4. 4. Reasons like this one…(created for a Valentines Day box decorating contest)
  5. 5. Five Areas of Giftedness *Intellectual *Academic *Creativity *Visual & Performing Arts *Leadership **Twice Exceptional (2E)
  6. 6. Strengths and Problems of the Gifted Child • Acquires & retains information quickly • Inquisitive; searches for significance; intrinsic (not extrinsic) motivation • Can see cause/effect relationships • Impatience; hates routine; resists drill (e.g., math facts) • Asks embarrassing questions; strong-willed; passionate about things and expects others to be too • Overly logical – cannot accept things “on faith”
  7. 7. • Can conceptualize easily; enjoys problem solving and intellectual activity; loves the abstract • Has well developed ideas • of truth, equity, justice • Enjoys organizing things (sometimes people) • Possesses large vocabulary and large storehouse of knowledge • Thinks critically and is often critical of self and others • May reject or omit details; skips from “a to z”; hates practice; can be critical of teachers’ pace • May worry excessively about humanistic concerns; “an old soul” • Constructs systems or rules; may be seen as bossy or rude • Sometimes seen as a “know it all,” has difficulty with age- mate peers, may become bored in school • Perfectionistic; sometimes intolerant; may become depressed
  8. 8. • Keen observer; open to new experiences; creative and inventive • Intense concentration; long attention span; goal directed behavior; super persistent • Sensitivity; empathy for others; desire to be accepted by others • High energy; alertness; eagerness • Independent; self-reliant; individualized work • Overly intense focus; occasional gullibility; seen as “marching to a different drummer” • Resists interruption; may neglect responsibilities; seen as stubborn • Overreacts to criticism; expects others to have same values; needs success and recognition; feels alienated • May be seen as hyperactive; needs input; hates inactivity • May be unconventional & resist parent or peer input
  9. 9. • Diverse abilities; versatile • Strong sense of humor •May appear scattered and disorganized; often frustrated over lack of time to pursue interests; others may expect continual competence (in everything) •Sees absurdities of situations; humor may not be understood by peers; may become class clown to seek attention; often speaks before thinking; quicksilver mind As parents, we can choose to see the cup as half-empty or half-full -- and this choice is very critical
  10. 10. Gifted Kids Display Intensities (from the work of Dabrowski) • Intensity of thought (“her mind is always whirring…”) • Intensity of purpose (“once he makes up his mind, he’s not satisfied until it’s accomplished…”) • Intensity of emotion (“she internalizes everything anyone says about her...”) • Intensity of spirit (“he’s always looking out for someone less fortunate to help…”) • Intensity of soul (“she asks questions that philosophers have asked for centuries and she gets upset when we can’t give her definitive answers…”)
  11. 11. Gifted kids can be extremely challenging to parent…
  12. 12. Gifted kids can be highly inventive…
  13. 13. Gifted kids can be moody and introspective…
  14. 14. Gifted kids report having “rich inner lives”…in school and at home…
  15. 15. Gifted kids may not always play the game of school well…
  16. 16. …and may respond in ways designed to amuse/stimulate/challenge themselves to avoid boredom…
  17. 17. Needless to say, gifted kids can often be a challenge for their teachers too…
  18. 18. Assumptions About Gifted Kids • They’re nerdy • They like to be called weird • They are neat • They are organized • They are teacher pleasers • They are good at lots of things • They are not very good at sports • They don’t need lots of extra attention -- they will be ok on their own • They are easy to discipline • They are difficult to discipline • Others?
  19. 19. What are the Eight Great Gripes of Gifted Kids (Dr. Jim Delisle) and what can we do about them?
  20. 20. 1. No one explains what being gifted is all about…it’s kept a big secret.
  21. 21. 2. School is too easy and too boring.
  22. 22. 3. Parents, teachers and friends expect us to be perfect all of the time.
  23. 23. 4. Friends who really understand us are few and far between.
  24. 24. 5. Kids often tease us about being smart.
  25. 25. 6. We feel overwhelmed by the number of things we can do in life.
  26. 26. 7. We feel different and alienated.
  27. 27. 8. We worry about world problems and feel helpless to do anything about them.
  28. 28. In school, gifted kids need to: • Have time to interact with gifted peers • Experience DEEP content related to issues, themes and problems • Pursue in-depth study independently and in small groups • Integrate multiple disciplines into study • Develop analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills • Develop fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration skills -- creative thinking • Develop research skills and methods competence • Use new techniques, technologies, materials and forms in creating new products • Develop products that challenge existing ideas, produce new ideas • Have contact with professionals with expertise • Be encouraged to develop self-understanding and become self-directed • Focus on open-ended tasks • Grow under the care of professionals who understand gifted kids
  29. 29. Over time, gifted students may display “patterns” that indicate that special programming may be needed. These options include: • Radical acceleration (grade skipping) • Part time acceleration (trans-grade) • Enrichment opportunities • Classroom differentiation • Counseling options/special groups • Competitions • Co-curriculars or out of school options • Early enrollment to next level
  30. 30. So…what do our children need from us? • The need to be a whole child -- strong and confident -- physically, mentally, socially and emotionally • The need to assume responsibility for oneself • The need to be recognized for what one is -- not only for what one can do • The need not to be rescued falsely, nor ordered about needlessly • The need for safe rebellion • The need to feel capable to make decisions that will enhance one’s life • The need to deal effectively and think through frustration • The need to break through mindsets -- to think creatively and critically • The need to learn to work with all different kinds of people • The need to do “good life,” not just good school
  31. 31. A word about underachievement -- parenting styles and outcomes* *Based on case studies from Motivating Underachievers, the Sylvia Rimm Institute. Control Control Control Control Acceptance Acceptance Acceptance Acceptance Delinquency/ Social inadequacy High impulsivity Independence Chemical depend- or low confidence Low independence Confidence ency Low responsibility Responsibility Low Low High Low Low High High High
  32. 32. Some topics gifted parent group often discuss include: • Motivation • Discipline • Stress management (for you and your child) • Depression/anxiety/seeking help • Communications of feelings • Peer relations/parent relations • Sibling rivalry • Questioning and breaking tradition
  33. 33. Three final things to consider… • Encourage your children to draw their life’s plans in pencil • Encourage your children to understand that hard work is what turns potential into actuality – a “growth mindset” trumps a “fixed mindset” every time (the work of Carol Dweck) • Encourage your children to understand that if we do not make mistakes in life, the challenge is not great enough, and THAT is a mistake
  34. 34. Helpful Websites and Other Resources • (National Association for Gifted Children) • (Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted) • (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted) • • Library resources in the Milwaukee County Federated Library System (housed in the Franklin Public Library) • Library resources in the Waukesha County Library System, main library • Facebook groups (e.g., Parenting Gifted Children, Parenting Gifted Teens, Hoagies Gifted Education Group, Hoagies Gifted Discussion Group, etc.) • Twitter chats – each Thursday at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central, #gtchat (topics vary from week to week, moderated chat)
  35. 35. Questions…