Nurturing Gifted Children’s Family Relationships
It’s approaching holiday season for most of us! Holidays can bring out the best and the worst in family relationships, it seems. There may be more opportunities to share time together as families gather for celebrations. In this particularly thankful season, it might be worthwhile to take a few moments to appreciate each family member. At SIG, of course, we hope you’ll take an extra few moments to think about relationships in families with gifted and talented children, as there are likely some unique relationships and interactions involved. Here are a few thoughts about nurturing gifted children’s family relationships.
The parent relationship with children is critical and is the most important relationship students will have in their development. As you maneuver through each day, keep in mind these helpful points:
- While gifted students have multiple strengths and skills, sometimes these strengths can present themselves as difficulties. For example, when children acquire and retain information quickly, they may be impatient with others who are not functioning as quickly.
- Issues can arise within the family as a result of internal factors. Internally, students may experience uneven development, excessive self-criticism, and perfectionism. They may wish to avoid risk-taking. They also may be faced with the problem of multi-potentiality, making focus on one area difficult.
- External issues emerge from the influences of school culture and norms, expectations from others, peer relationships, and family relationships. Parents need to give small, frequent chunks of special time to each child. Parents also should be careful not to project their own issues onto their children, such as feelings of inadequacy.
Keep in mind these 4 strategies to help with family relationships:
- Good parenting works the same for gifted children as well as with all children. All children require sensitive but firm management. Family rules and regulations must be consistent for all children in the family.
- To avoid problems with perfectionism, make sure your children know that you love them just for existing, not for what they can do or achieve. Praise your child’s efforts over performance or grade, as students praised this way are more likely to push themselves to higher levels of challenge and achievement.
- Parents and guardians need to be on the same page, as much as possible, and not give differing directions. Consistency is important and can be difficult, particularly as siblings may be quite different in their skills, maturity, and abilities, which can sometimes make it easy to treat them differently.
- Consider partnering in every way possible—with the other parent, with your child, with your school, with your school district (at all levels), with other parents, with your state advocacy organization, with national g/t organizations, with whomever you need to so that your child’s needs, and those who don’t have parent advocates needs, are addressed. Here at NSGT/SIG we are happy to help as well!
Be sure to share your success stories in your own personal family relationships with other families through any of the types of partnerships mentioned above. Every family is different, and you will likely need to find the strategies that work in your family through experience, but helpful tips from others’ successes can strengthen your toolkit and save time and energy that can be better used in other areas. In this holiday season, take some time to think about how you can nurture the family relationships you have to continue to create happy and meaningful family units of community that will enrich all your lives now and into future generations.