For Parents of Gifted Children: Lessons Learned

Parent Editorial Content Advisory Board

From the September 2019 issue of Parenting for High Potential, the Parent Editorial Content Advisory Board (PECAB) offers little pieces of advice for parents of gifted children to use in the new school year.

Help Your Child Develop Hope

The psychological construct of hope is more than wishful thinking. It encompasses goal setting, seeing multiple pathways to achieve goals, and the agency to move on those pathways (or to change pathways) as one moves toward goal attainment. Listen to your child’s needs. Help set personal, social, and academic goals. Guide and support your child on the pathways that lead toward accomplishing the goals he or she has set. When children practice goal setting, identify pathways to achieve their goals, and move toward reaching their goals, they build skills that bring about a disposition of hopefulness.

Janette Boazman, Ph.D. — Parent, educator, university professor, researcher, Past Chair, NAGC Parent, Family & Community Network

Years in Gifted: 27

A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way

Parents often see the benefit that positive feedback and encouragement have for their children. But kids aren’t the only ones who need reinforcement! This school year, why not try sharing some positive feedback with the teachers who work with your high-ability child? Be on the lookout for good things and call attention to teachers’ efforts. Raising and teaching gifted kids are both difficult jobs, and a little appreciation goes a long way in building a positive relationship between home and school.

Kate Boonstra, M.Ed. — Parent, educator, gifted specialist, past school-family liaison, state affiliate board member

Years in Gifted: 15

Current Day Job: Gifted Specialist, Waukee Community School District, Waukee, Iowa

Bring a “Patient Impatience”

While a new school year means excitement for many, it creates challenges for others. Parents of gifted and 2e students must bring a “patient impatience” to the table as they work to keep their children engaged in learning. Working with schools to create an appropriate educational plan for your student takes time. Be a strong advocate and develop a working relationship with important school personnel. Be willing to wait, but not too long. Maintain close contact as you advocate for your child. Keep the ball moving forward as you seek progress, not perfection!

Edward R. Amend, Psy.D. — Parent, gifted specialist, psychologist, state affiliate board member

Years in Gifted: 28

Current Day Job: Psychologist, The Amend Group

Get Involved and Stay Involved

My encouragement to parents is to find your stride early. The beginning of a new school year is exciting for parents, students, and teachers. Often, we start strong with tasks such as checking homework, volunteering, and other activities. Strategizing at the beginning of the school year about ways to be involved that can be maintained throughout the year fosters positive relationships between school and home. This can help all children, but especially gifted children to thrive, knowing that the lines of communication are open and their academic, social, and emotional needs can be addressed as needed.

Jessa Luckey Goudelock — Parent, educator, graduate student, researcher

Years in Gifted: 5

Current Day Job: Graduate Student

Teach Your Child to Advocate

Teach your child to advocate for herself. Talk through situations, brainstorm potential roadblocks, and offer advice—but she needs to express her own needs and desires. As a kindergartener, my son practiced telling his friend he didn’t want to sit with her at lunch that day but would sit with her the next. As a seventh grader, he asked to take a math placement test and was able to enroll in Algebra. In high school, he got permission to take an Advanced Placement class a year early.

Self-advocacy is a skill that will serve your child throughout her life.

Pamela M. Peters — Parent, graduate student, district advisory board member

Years in Gifted: 8

Current Day Job: Graduate Student/Research Assistant, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT