By Carolyn Kottmeyer.
(Editor’s Note: This piece by SENG Director Carolyn K. is part of the 2012 National Parenting Gifted Week Blog Tour.)
Whether you’re brand new to giftedness, or you’ve been around the block for a few years or a few decades, there are many great resources to help with whatever you’re facing right now.
There are tons of free online resources but the best starting point for new and experienced parents is James Webb, Janet Gore, Edward Amend and Arlene DeVries’ book, A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children. The first thing you’ll notice is that all the authors are past SENG board members and pioneers in the gifted community. But more important is the content of the book. Starting with terms and definitions, characteristics and identification, and OverExcitabilities (OEs), this book covers everything gifted parents need to know. Social-emotional issues, grandparenting, siblings, twice exceptional children? It’s in there. And A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children is not just for beginners. I’ve reread this book several times since its publication in 2007, and I learn something new every time.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, the question becomes What do I need to know next? That’s where Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page comes in. (Disclaimer: Carolyn K. is also the director of Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page.) If you want to learn more about every aspect of parenting gifted kids, heed this warning: Hoagies’ Page is the world’s largest online resource for giftedness. Feed the kids, walk the dog, and make sure you have nothing urgent coming up… you can get lost for hours! Here are just a few highlights.
Find a group of gifted parents facing the same issues and pressures that you are, or find a place where you can brag without worrying about the responses of others. Gifted Community is an invaluable resource for you and for your kids. For mailing list communities, subscribe to TAGFAM or GT-Families. TAGFAM offers lists for parents of gifted kids (TAGFAM), parents homeschooling gifted kids (TAGMAX), and parents of those “more than just plain gifted” kids (TAGPDQ). GT-Families also offers a list for parents of gifted kids (GT-Families), and adds a list for parents of twice exceptional kids (GT-Special), that is, kids who are both gifted and something else (Learning Disabled, AD/HD, Aspergers, etc.). On all of these communities, you will parents to share with and learn from.
For Facebook community in addition to SENG and Hoagies’ Page, check out Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF). GHF includes support lists in the California Bay Area, plus national resources including articles, resources, and even online classes for gifted homeschooling students. Institute for Educational Advancement and NAGC offer more resources and information for gifted parents. Click on the Facebook pages that these groups link to, to find lots more great Facebook communities for gifted families!
There are also Twitter gifted communities, and interactive Tweet-chats on gifted education each week. If you Tweet, visit these gifted Tweeters: @ByrdseedGifted, @Cybraryman1, @Frazzlld and @BegaBungs, among many others. Check in on Fridays for the Tweet chat #gtchat, now sponsored by Texas Association for Gifted & Talented (TAGT). There’s a new topic every Friday (6:00 p.m. CDT), with a topic selected through a weekly poll posted by @TXGifted.
Articles and Research
For articles and research, favorites are SENG and the Davidson Gifted Database (DITD). At SENG, find resources focused on social-emotional side of giftedness. Visit SENG’s Complexities of Successful Parenting page to learn about parenting from experts and parents of underachieving gifted kids, gifted teens, culturally diverse gifted kids, Spanish-speaking gifted kids, and much more! In Peer Relations, DITD offers articles by Miraca Gross, Deirdre Lovecky, and by gifted kids themselves, among others. DITD’s Recommended Readings on Friendship offers many great readings for parents.
Social and Emotional Reading
For social-emotional conversations, “Competing with myths about the social and emotional development of gifted students” by Tracy Cross is a great place to start. When school acceleration is mentioned, social-emotional concerns often go into high gear. “From ‘the saddest sound’ to the D Major chord: The gift of accelerated progression,” by Miraca Gross offers perspective into the realities of the effects of acceleration. If you have a membership to NAGC, you may read this great research for free,”The Socioaffective Impact of Acceleration and Ability Grouping: Recommendations for Best Practice,” by Maureen Niehart. You can find tidbits of Neihart’s sage advice in “Cause for Concern, or Reason to Celebrate: Maureen Neihart Discusses her Research on the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children“: “Many parents do not want their children to experience any distress. Parents often intervene too early when they sense that their child is experiencing difficulty, instead of letting their child persevere through the challenge. Parents need to learn to support through the challenge instead of removing it.”