Highly gifted children are a real challenge for parents. Nowadays, parents who have highly intelligent children are often under a lot of pressure and are sometimes even made to feel insecure or discriminated against from many sides.
They often already have a long ordeal under their belts when they finally learn through an intelligence test that their child is not so “weird” and doesn’t have ADHD, but is highly gifted!
After the initial relief, though, that’s when the work begin for parents who have highly gifted children—truly a tough task!
Often a test for kindergarten children is doubted by non-professionals. They say there’s no such thing as giftedness in such young children, i.e. that gifted children cannot be recognized at such an early age, that it’s all a developmental spike they’ll grow out of over time, and that gifted children should not be encouraged at all, but should be allowed to play. With so much headwind, some parents despair and often feel left alone.
Once parents have finally found an elementary school for gifted children after a long search, the struggle really begins, because there are waiting lists with far too few places available. Many parents even take on a relocation for their highly gifted children, which is associated with high costs and a lot of effort. In addition, one cannot be at all sure whether the school can really offer highly gifted children the intellectual and, above all, individual support they need, because here, too, there are numerous misleading practices. Often, parents who have highly intelligent children find out much too late that the school for the highly gifted they’ve chosen isn’t at all as suitable as advertised on the Internet or in glossy brochures. Tough luck.
Parents are often accused of just wanting an excuse for their child’s refusal to go to school, poor grades, daily homework routine that’s a horrorshow, or for the child being a “smart aleck” and having few friends of the same age. Many parents and their highly gifted children are even bullied or ostracized at school and need an enormous amount of strength to cope with their everyday life and not let it get them down.
Parents who have highly gifted children therefore often want an exchange on equal footing, a safe framework that offers the opportunity not only to talk uncensored about giftedness in children and their special characteristics, but also to feel taken seriously and understood.
These parents also want high-quality information on how to recognize highly gifted children in good time, where to find suitable psychologists for an intelligence test for children, and what to look out for overall when supporting highly gifted children. Because sometimes it’s not enough to find a suitable elementary school for highly gifted children or to drive them to special courses for highly gifted children or learn three foreign languages or three instruments with him…
Supporting gifted children means, above all, giving them the joy of learning, enabling them to experience success and strengthening their personalities. Supporting highly gifted children also means teaching them clear rules and ensuring that they are consistently adhered to, and giving them strategies for dealing appropriately with the envy of others and with underachievement, as well as for coping with frustration. In addition, highly gifted children need friendships on equal footing and therefore often have little to do with children of the same age. Finding them is often like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But where can parents who have highly intelligent children find this support? There are some established initiatives that support highly gifted children, such as the German Society for the Highly Gifted Child (DGhK), the laboratory Logizack GmbH or organizations offering scholarships. In addition, there are numerous Internet forums and groups for the highly gifted on the Internet. But here, too, you have to be vigilant, because most Internet forums allow anyone to register anonymously and there’s usually no identity check or quality control. An exception to this is the platform Clever People, which requires both an identity check and proof of intelligence through an intelligence test with at least an IQ of 120+ before registration.
All in all, highly gifted children are still a real challenge for parents, but also a very special gift worth fighting for and, above all, don’t let yourself be talked down to by small-minded people. Dear parents– you have the right and also the responsibility to stand up for your highly intelligent children, because if you as parents don’t do it, nobody will. So, keep at it and above all keep a sense of humor, and it’ll all work out!
Dr. Karin Joder, gifted assessments, coaching, and networking for the highly and neurodiversely gifted.