Parenting Gifted Children

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summer 2008 parenting gifted children

I heard Jim Webb speak to a group of parents recently, and

his opening remark was, “Parents are my favorite audience.” He noted that he found parent audiences to be very 

receptive and that they are their children’s “most important teachers.” They “teach” their children over a much greater 

time span than any educator in a school system; they are most 

familiar with their children’s needs and have a huge vested 

interest in their success. 

I agree wholeheartedly. I have had the pleasure of innumerable partnerships with parents in my 30+ years in gifted education as a teacher, district coordinator, and journal editor. And 

while the articles we offer in this issue are nominally directed 

toward parents, please remember that the information within 

them needs to be owned by educators as well so that together 

we can better support gifted learners in school and at home. 

Our lead article by Keri Guilbault focuses on an issue often ignored: “Bullying and Gifted Learners.” Dr. Guilbault provides definitions, character traits of both bullies and victims, and implications for student bystanders. Finally she presents recommendations for adult interventions by both educators and parents.
Jim Delisle tackles frequently asked questions of parents with insight and forthrightness in his article, “The ABC’s of PGC: Parenting Gifted Children.” The questions are: 

1. How do parents help their gifted children understand their own giftedness?
2. How can parents support gifted children who feel like an alien amongst their classmates?
3. What about the “helicopter hovering” parents who overprotect their kids, depriving them of valuable learning opportunities?
4. Where can parents find resources for understanding the affective needs of their children?
Note also that Jim announces his recent retirement from Kent State University but promises to continue his advocacy for gifted learners, especially in the realm of their social and emotional needs.

James Webb, Janet Gore, Edward Amend, and Arlene DeVries share brief, but very important and practical concerns in their article, “The Twelve Most Important Issues for Parents of Gifted Children.” Some of the 12 topics are: Asynchronous Development,
Communication, Peer Relationships, Sibling Relationships, and Complexities to Modern Parenting. Their comments provide jumping off places for parents to further investigate those issues of most concern to them and their own gifted children.
Another issue often ignored in gifted education is the lack of motivation—often paired with academic underachievement—seen in some of our gifted students. Barbara
Branch’s article, “Motivation: Missing in Action,” examines causes of lack of motivation as well as helpful interventions. Dr. Branch shares her advice that “We cannot motivate our gifted children unless they are interested or find the learning useful. We cannot impose motivation on them. We can provide the tools to help them gain intrinsic or self-motivation.”

Bertie Kingore provides a handy parent refrigerator checklist for parents and a short educator handout for “back to school night.” Her “20 Tips for Nurturing Gifted Children” includes her High Achievers, Gifted Learners, Creative Thinkers chart to
help readers distinguish which set of traits best describes any given high-end learner.
Finally, and importantly, Rosina Gallagher offers insights for Latino parents for assisting their children in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our school systems to the benefit of their children. “Sí, Sí Se Puede! …Yes, Yes, We
can Do It!” consists of a series of vignettes in which Latino parents and their children have successfully traversed the American school system. And happily, she has provided the text in Spanish as well as in English so that you can easily distribute it to your Spanish-speaking parents. Of course, our regular departments are full of useful information as always. And beginning with the previous (Spring) issue we reintroduced a column of recommended children’s books. We welcome Susannah Richards who teaches at East Connecticut State University and who entitles her column, Book Savvy: Creating Lifetime Readers. Both educators and parents will find appealing book titles for gifted students in her regular column. Finally, Carol Ann Tomlinson is taking some time off from her “Teacher Talk” column; she promises to be back again at a later date.

Happy Summer to all! We will be back in the fall with our yearly look at a particular subject area; this time we focus on visual and performing arts.

—Margaret Gosfield, Acquisitions Editor