Oftentimes the gifted child already feels different in the world. They’ve often spent their early years growing up with adults in their lives (relatives, teachers, authority) who consistently point out things about them that come across as being connected with “wrong”.
“You’re too hyperactive, emotional, restless, excitable, easily distracted …” are all things that tend to get noticed early on and labeled as negatives before the child is diagnosed and then, hopefully, nurtured and understood. But by then, sometimes the subconscious damage may already have been embedded in the brain as a seed that could grow unless properly detoured into an alternate direction.
Let your child know once he or she is identified as gifted how special they are. Try to provide them with concrete reasons that being gifted is actually a good thing. Let them know that there are lots of talented people in the world who started out just like them, as gifted children.
My co-founder Dr. Susan Daniels at the Summit Center edited a book called Living With Intensity. In that book, the great, contemporary concert pianist Helene Grimaud is being quoted as hearing the words “She is never satisfied” over and over in her youth. She took these words and created an imaginary family of friends called the “uns”. These uns were words like unsatisfied, undisciplined, uncontrollable and so on. Tell your child this story with humor and see how they soften knowing that you are on “their” side.
Let them know that many gifted children grew up to become our world’s most influential and talented people. Here are some examples of our cultural and innovation leaders who were rumored to be gifted:
- Scientists Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton
- Writers Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, and Herman Melville
- Philosopher Socrates
- Technology and Business Wizard Warren Buffet
- Composers like Beethoven and Mozart
- Artists Vincent Van Gogh and Michelangelo
You get my drift. Log into your gifted child’s brain by letting them know what a grand community they are part of and uncap the possibilities of where this information can propel them to excel.
Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Summit Center (http://summitcenter.us/), which provides psychological and educational assessments and counseling for children and adolescents, specializing in the gifted, creative, and twice-exceptional.