The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their parents.
Trusting one’s “Parent Gut” when raising a gifted child can be difficult. Robin Goldberg’s Expert Series for Young Scholar families shared insight into how both inner and external biases can breed self-doubt in parents. As a parent of an unusually gifted child herself and Young Scholar community member, she had found several tools that can help parents better tune into themselves and their child. Together these tools create a synergy that gives parents of unusually gifted children the inner resource to improve the lives of themselves and their children.
The human mind is built to learn from experience. This can become a blind spot when one experience does not match a previous experience or expected outcome; we see things that don’t exist, and we don’t see things that do exist. This blind spot in human perception has been described as “Myside Bias” or “Confirmation Bias.” Without special training and commitment, all of us are vulnerable to becoming reactively defensive when encountering an exceptional situation.
For better or for worse, many parents of gifted children find themselves spending a lot of time and energy trying to call attention to blind spots regarding their profoundly gifted (PG) children. They may also find blind spots in their own thinking or in the expectations from important adults in their child’s life. Goldberg proposes that it takes three powers to overcome the strain of having an unusual child, who often doesn’t match people’s expectations. The three powers are:
- Gut-Trust (learning to refine and trust one’s own Gut-sense)
- Love (the power of a parent’s love for their child)
- Mental Concentration (the power of mental concentration, such as developed in Mindfulness, to experience “what is” and Creative Vision to develop what “could be.”)
This article outlines
- 3 practices to increase ease of decision making
- 3 practices to increase confidence in one’s decisions, and
- 2 practices to build energy
Any of these practices can be explored in any order, depending on each family’s situation. They will help strengthen the combination of Gut-Trust, Love, and Mental Concentration that are needed to overcome one’s own Myside Bias and to handle the difficulty of dealing with other people’s Myside Biases as well.
There are a lot of techniques mentioned in this talk. Please don’t feel that you have to master all of them. They are presented more in the manner of a buffet. Taste a few of the most appetizing dishes and then load up your plate with your best guess as to what will be the most nutritious and delicious at this stage. You can always return to the buffet in the future for a second helping of something else. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope I can be a helpful part of your pioneering efforts.
Resources to Increase Decision–Making Ease
The three main decision-making practices are focused on clearing out clutter.
Special Time to observe your child with open curiosity helps parents tune in to who their child is without Myside Bias.
- Special Time by Patty Wipfler (first 7 mins)
- Playlistening by Patty Wipfler
Journaling can be a simple way to help purge the mental or emotional clutter.
- The Feeling Letter by John Grey
Lastly, the Mindsweep technique helps parents sort out the responsibility clutter until they can identify what they are committed to and create SMART goals to support those commitments.
- Mindsweep with David Allen (first 5 mins)
Resources to Increase Confidence
There are three simple practices parents can use to develop confidence in their decisions.
Calm the Gut-Sense through Heart Rhythm Meditation
- Vagal Tone by Puran Bair describes the science behind how breathing practices creates a state of calm, which eventually grows into confidence
- Basic Heart Rhythm Meditation with Susanna Bair
- Meditation as a Decision-Making Tool by Robin Goldberg
Brainstorm to look for the least-worst option
Lower your own Myside Bias
- How to Confront Your Fears through Meditation with Byron Katie
- What Causes Anxiety? with Byron Katie and Eileen Fisher
Increase Energy to take action on the decision
Lastly, there are two practice to increase energy to take action on your decision.
Increase power through Creative Vision Practice
- See below
Use the Nurtured Heart Approach to move toward the goal
- A Summary of the Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser
- Transforming the Intense Child Workbook by Howard Glasser
Creative Vision Practice –
Begin instructions for Heart Rhythm Meditation.
Imagine a person (or a symbol of a tense situation) you desire to help (or understand better) sitting in front of you knee-to-knee.
First focus on the Inhale:
Inhale and feel the energy moving from the right side of their heart to the left side of your heart. Set your intention to receive EVERYTHING.
Think the words: I receive all that is given me
Notice the effect of this person’s energy on your heart with the intention of receiving them and celebrating them.
Then focus on the Exhale:
Exhale and feel the energy moving from your right side of your heart to the left side of their heart. Set your intention to give ALL
Think the words: I give all that my heart doth contain.
Notice the right side of your heart building in power and love and service.
Then combine the Inhale and Exhale parts of the practice to feel the energy moving in a circle between you and the person you are picturing.
Authored by: Robin Goldberg, DMD
Bio: Robin Goldberg, DMD, the Dentist who teaches Meditation, grew up feeling like such a weirdo, ugly duckling. Slowly but surely, with the help of DITD family, she finally learned to recognize that she is a dazzlingly beautiful, and still deeply weird, swan. When she is not fixing teeth, teaching Meditation, or searching for something to watch on Netflix with her Covid-Pod, she might be found playing the Ukulele, walking in minimal footwear, or learning something new. – Graduated from University of Pennsylvania, and University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine – 30 years experience as a Dentist – has been teaching meditation for 10 years, a style call Heart Rhythm Meditation, iamheart.org – Mom of a 24 year old 2E Davidson Young Scholar Alumni – I’ve been there darlings – 36 years teaching a practicing peer counseling, 20 years of with RC.org