Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children is an extraordinary enhancement of the well-known book, Guiding the Gifted Child. By pooling their expertise on gifted children, this powerful group of authors bring back to life this old classic by expounding on the practical suggestions and information many parents, and even educators, have found useful for so many years. Dr. James Webb is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG); Janet Gore, over the past 30 years, has gained experience working with gifted students as a teacher, guidance counselor, school administrator, policy maker, and parent; Dr. Edward Amend is a clinical psychologist who focuses on the social, emotional, educational needs, and twice exceptional issues of gifted children and their families; and Arlene DeVries is an experience counselor with a special interest in the social and emotional needs of gifted students and has facilitated more than 70 SENG Gifted Parent Groups over the past 20 years.
Parenting any child is a challenging profession, much less parenting a child who is gifted. While it can be filled with joy, laughter, and excitement, it can also be frustrating, draining, and filled with uncertainty. To help put parents at ease, the authors of A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children offer insightful ideas and techniques that can be incorporated into the household’s day-to-day living. For example, some of the ideas they discuss include catching the child doing something right, focusing on effort versus outcome, reflective listening, special time, assessing emotional temperature, avoiding power struggles, natural consequences, freedom within limits, praising the behavior not the child, the importance of being a good listener for your child, avoiding over scheduling, bibliotherapy, and describing siblings rather than comparing them.
In fifteen chapters, Webb, Gore, Amend, and DeVries share their knowledge gained from several decades of personal and professional experience working in the gifted field, while also including pertinent research on gifted children and suggestions parents of gifted children have found useful. They thoroughly cover the following topics that any parent would find of interest at some point along the parenting journey:
Three chapters are newly introduced in A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children that were not previously included in Guiding the Gifted Child: Children Who Are Twice Exceptional, Finding a Good Educational Fit, and Finding Professional Help. In raising a gifted child, sometimes parents are faced with tough questions, such as: Does my gifted child have a learning disability? What should we look for in a school? What school options are available for my child? When and how should a professional’s help be sought out? When should medication be considered vs. counseling, or both? These additional chapters walk parents through making these decisions and offer the much sought-after opinions of professionals familiar with this population and their needs.
For those wanting to continue their learning, the authors include an extensive list of resources and recommended readings that would add quality to any library.
A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children is an essential resource for all families of gifted children. As stated in the book’s Introduction on page xxi, “the emotional health of a child cannot be understood without considering the family. And the family cannot function well without understanding the emotional needs of the gifted child.”
See also: The Davidson Gifted Database resource record of A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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