By Shari Hill.
As we begin another year, we tend to reflect on the past. Though I find the “should haves,” “could haves,” and “wish I hads,” a waste of energy, I do have some constructive thoughts to share from parenting my own brood. I wish I knew then that…
· The “experts” that offered advice on gifted children often had little or no training in the subject, especially regarding social and emotional needs, and that it pays to educate oneself.
· Listening to my kids was much more rewarding than lecturing to them.
· Some of those A’s that seemed so important came at a price, for all of us.
· Many of the later B’s, and even C’s, came with a deeper and more complete understanding of the subject, and a happier kid.
· There are dozens of ways, outside of the traditional educational path, to be successful.
· For every kid that is thrilled to be at Harvard, there is another one thrilled to be at Doozyville U, and both can have their dreams come true.
· Allowing failures and disappointments is critical; treating them as learning experiences, and modeling optimism, is essential parenting.
· Being gifted is not a one-size-fits-all; there are many levels and “flavors.”
· Spending time with your kids is not the same as time spent driving them to soccer, piano, gymnastics, play practice, baseball, etc.
· Our children’s own goals and dreams may be very different, and more important, than the ones we have for them.
· The unique characteristics and needs that make our kids gifted don’t end in 6th grade – gifted is for life, and that means for parents, too.
· Support from other parents of gifted children who “get it” is valuable, meaningful, and necessary.
The list could go on forever. We all do the best we can with what we have and know at the time. And we do a pretty darn good job, I think. The love and rewards are endless and priceless – enjoy them!
Shari Hill, M.S., M.A., is the mother of two gifted children, ages 21 and 17. She is serving her third year as a parent representative for the California Association of the Gifted (CAG). As a SENG-Model Parent Group Facilitator as well as a Facilitator Trainer, she continues to offer support to gifted families. A former nurse, teacher, and pilot, she is currently a full time volunteer and new SENG board president.