Q & A with SENG Model Parenting Group (SMPG) Facilitators

By Shari Hill.

First published in the Twice-Exceptional Newsletter (http://www.2enewsletter.com), March/April 2012

2e Newsletter asked three SMPG facilitators to discuss their experiences leading these groups and what parents get out of the experience. The facilitators are:

· Melissa Sornik, a licensed master social worker and author of the accompanying article (www.melissasorniklmsw.com)

· Lori Comallie-Caplan, a licensed master social worker specializing in children and adolescent counseling and evaluation (http://comallie-caplan.com), current president of the SENG Board, and Board Champion for SENG Model Parent Groups.

· Heidi Molbak, an educational consultant about to receive a master’s degree in counseling and specializing in the placement of gifted and twice-exceptional students (hmolbak@yahoo.com); former SENG Director and current SENG Liaison for the state of Louisiana.

Their edited responses follow.

2e Newsletter: Why do parents join the SMPG — what are they looking for?

Lori: Parents are looking for answers, reassurance, and other parents who have similar experiences. They are faced with questions about their concerns that are difficult for parents of non-gifted children to understand.

Heidi: Parents are looking for help to understand their children so that they can learn to guide them more effectively and to “roll with the flow” of the gifted family. Sometimes they’re confused by their children’s behaviors and the intensity of their households, despite doing everything “by the book.” Their children don’t act like other children at the park, in school, at birthday parties, and in the grocery store.

2e Newsletter: How does the SMPG differ when it’s presented for parents of 2e children versus parents of gifted children?

Heidi: If there are parents of 2e children in the group, I address it. I would cover that chapter [in A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children] early on and infuse 2e into all of the sessions.

Melissa: To me it’s pretty much the same because all 2e children are gifted. I supplement the group with my own information and knowledge about 2e and offer strategies and interventions for parents based on my experience.

2e Newsletter: How do the meetings work?

Melissa: The 10-session format is based on SENG’s book A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children and includes:

· Identification and characteristics

· Communication

· Motivation, enthusiasm, underachievement

· Discipline and self-management

· Intensity, perfectionism, and stress

· Idealism, unhappiness, and depression

· Acquaintances, friends, and peers