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How to Raise a Gifted Child

Gifted Resources

Navigating the journey of raising a gifted child, marked by its intricacies and unique challenges, requires a thoughtful approach—one that acknowledges their exceptional abilities and diverse needs. Fostering both their intellectual growth and social-emotional well-being may feel daunting at first. But this isn’t a journey you have to figure out on your own. We’ll provide some suggested strategies and valuable resources, so you have a clearer picture of how to raise a gifted child.

Identifying If Your Child Is Gifted

The first step in raising a gifted child is confirming their abilities. Gifted children possess a wide range of characteristics that set them apart from others you might know from their class or clubs. Here are some common traits:

  • Ability to comprehend material several grade levels above their age peers 
  • Enthusiasm about unique interests and topics  
  • Quirky or mature sense of humor 
  • Creative problem-solving and imaginative expression 
  • Absorbs information quickly with few repetitions needed 
  • Self-aware, socially aware, and aware of global issues

Keep in mind that not all gifted children show these signs and some may show different characteristics; after all, they are unique individuals. The giftedness of children often goes unidentified and can lead to them not receiving an appropriately challenging education. If you think your child may have advanced abilities, it’s worth getting them tested and working with a trained professional, such as someone with an advanced degree in education, psychology, or social work.

Help Your Child Find the Right Academic Environment

Perhaps you’ve already confirmed your child is profoundly gifted. The next step is to ensure they are in a gifted program that empowers them to unlock their potential. Because many traditional school systems are unable to customize the curriculum to meet the needs of gifted students or group them based on age rather than ability, being in the wrong setting is frustrating for gifted children and educators alike. That’s why you should find a program specifically designed for gifted children.

Remember, you are your child’s best advocate when it comes to their education. Here are some steps you can take to be proactive in finding the right environment for them to learn in:

  • Obtain objective data about your child’s abilities and learning preferences. Communication will be paramount!
  • Gather information about potential gifted education options. Tour them if possible.
  • Once you and your child decide on where they should attend school, start building relationships with their teacher and other personnel.

Social-Emotional Skills Are Key

As a parent, your power to foster a safe space for them socially and emotionally is of the utmost importance. A pivotal factor in raising your gifted child is teaching them how to develop strong social skills and emotional regulation. This not only helps them thrive as they grow but also builds their confidence as they figure out who they are and how they fit into the world around them.

Create Social Opportunities for You and Your Child

Explore opportunities outside of school and encourage your child to participate in activities that align with their interests. Additionally, you and your child can seek out a program that connects you with other families who are in the same position, such as Davidson Institute’s Young Scholars.

There are opportunities specific to your child, so they can start building meaningful relationships. After-school programs, weekend programs, summer classes, and even distance learning experiences are included in this. Davidson Institute offers several summer programs for kids of different ages. At these events or programs, your child can meet peers who share the same interests and inspire them to be themselves.

Learn more about all of Davidson Institute’s gifted programs.

Building Emotional Resilience

It’s not uncommon for gifted children to feel isolated and unmotivated, especially if they aren’t in a classroom setting that understands their demographic. Social anxiety is also something that many gifted children feel as they may feel judged for learning differently or feel intense pressure to live up to high expectations. Luckily, you can help your child work through negative feelings that may arise. 

Here’s how you can help if you notice your child is acting differently:

  • Ask what’s going on at school, with their friends, and in their own head.
  • Validate a child’s experience by first listening and then empathizing.
  • Provide words of encouragement to your child and remind them of coping skills that you have worked on together.
  • Keep an eye out for recurring changes in mood, sleep, or behaviors.

If you think working with a therapist would help, try it! There’s no harm in needing extra support for both you and your child. There are individuals who specialize in the social-emotional well-being of gifted children.

Need help finding one? Take a look at this map tool.

There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Way to Raise a Gifted Child

Parenting a gifted child is no easy feat. Some days will be better than others, and it’s important to give yourself some grace in the more difficult times. As long as you do your best, communicate often with your child, connect with other parents in your situation, and seek outside help as needed, you’ll be just fine. 

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Please note, the Davidson Institute is a non-profit serving families with highly gifted children. We will not post comments that are considered soliciting, mention illicit topics, or share highly personal information.

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