11.19.2012

Gifted Kids

Honestly, I have been mulling over what to write on this topic for so long it's ridiculous. Over a year maybe? That sounds about right. There are only two things in my life I have not openly written about and this one is hard because it involves my child. But it also involves me and is a struggle I deal with on a daily basis. 

In Kindergarten Noah was identified as gifted. This was discovered in large part due to some behavioral issues. [Read this if you need some more insight. Crazy how alike these kids can be.] He is academically advanced, but can be overly sensitive and a perfectionist. The combination of all of these can cause him to be easily frustrated or distracted. We were blessed to have a teacher who took the time to get to know him and not just label him a "bad kid".

As a first grader this year he takes part in three enrichment groups outside of the classroom and more advanced materials in the classroom. But it still doesn't seem to be enough. When we moved two years ago we made sure to choose an area with outstanding public schools as we knew this was a potential future hurdle. I am so glad we did. Starting in second grade our district has a program designed specifically for gifted kids. It is less structured and there is an emphasis on the emotional/behavioral issues that are common for these kids. We are so excited for him to take the assessment in a few months as we think this would be a perfect fit for him.

So what's the big deal? As his mother I feel lost sometimes. He moves a mile a minute. He needs to be engaged constantly even though I have three other plates to balance at the same time. I don't know how to help him understand his peers better. I don't know how to help him quiet his revving mind enough to focus on the task at hand. I don't know what to say when he complains his homework is too easy. I feel like he gets the short end of the stick from me more often than not because by the time I see him after work I'm already exhausted and he could go another 20 miles. So I get short. I am snappy. And  I hate it. I feel like he should know better, that he should know to just be mellow, but I also know he can't. It's who he is and I love him dearly for it. And I was a gifted kid too. So why is it so hard?

It's so hard as a parent to put your weaknesses out there. Other parents are already so critical of each other, it can be hard to be real. My hope in sharing my struggles, my weaknesses is that it encourages others in the parenting community to do the same. That if we all were a little more real with each other we can build a community of support instead of competition. 

In the meantime, can anyone recommend any good books about gifted kids? Or any challenging yet fun curriculum books we could do at home? I've been too scared to start looking, but it's time. Just because I don't know where we're headed doesn't mean I can't steer.


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