Building Relationships with your Child: Learning to LAUGH Together

By Vidisha Patel.


So many times in my practice I am asked the same questions: What is so different about gifted

children? Why do they need special treatment? Aren’t there certain life skills that everyone

needs to master?


It is not so much that gifted children need special treatment as they need specialized treatment.


All children deserve to be respected and understood for where they are developmentally and

emotionally. Gifted children are no different in that regard. I find that many parents become

frustrated by the behaviors of their gifted children, and they struggle with how to parent them

on a daily basis. The parenting struggles frequently get in the way of providing unconditional

love and supporting their children’s social and emotional needs. In the effort to maintain a

certain level of accord in the home and manage the behaviors of their children, parents lose

sight of their children as individuals.


One of the most rewarding aspects of my practice has been helping parents and children

reestablish their relationships with each other. My approach is based on helping families

relearn how to LAUGH together. This is what I tell them:


Listen

The process starts with listening so you may truly hear what the child is saying. This is not just

listening to the words but listening to the body language and the messages that come from

behind the words. This takes intent and patience. In the hurry to get out the door for school or

to get to bed on time, it is easy to miss clues that your child is giving you. Taking the time to

slow down and really look at your children while interacting with them can reveal so much of

what is going on in their minds and bodies.


Accept

Everyone is different, and your child is no exception. Accepting who your child is and his or her stage of development will alleviate a lot of parental stress. Development is a progression. This moment will be followed by another and another and soon your child will have mastered

current challenges and will find something new to conquer. So accept what is in front of you

with the understanding that it is just one step of the journey.


Understand

Reading, talking with others and beginning the process of understanding your child’s giftedness will arm you with the knowledge base to fully comprehend your child. With understanding comes the ability to accept and find ways to support your child and build a strong relationship with each other.