Superheroes in Training: parenting gifted kids

Superheroes are amazing. They dazzle the world and enthrall us all with their incredible strength and skill, which they (usually) wield with remarkable precision.

Even superheroes were babies once, though, and had to learn, often through trial and error, how to use their powers effectively.

The same is true with gifted kids. They’re born with the raw materials, and when we start to realize how remarkable they are, we are in awe.

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But things quickly shift, as we realize what is cute and amazing can actually be dangerous and destructive as well.

  • The need to be precise, even correcting adults and other kids without tact or courtesy
  • The nonstop brain — can’t calm down to wait, rest, sleep.
  • The constant need for input, for mental exercise — the absolute inability to tolerate boredom
  • The creative impulse that constantly pushes boundaries, refuses to conform, needs to be different

Our little ones, in whom we see so much potential, start off on an unintentional path of destruction. They’re so caught up in their minds, their brains are so busy, that they don’t see what it’s doing to the people closest to them.

THIS IS THEIR NORMAL. They have no other reference point, so they have no sense that their behavior is inappropriate…until we work with them.

Then, when things are hard, unnatural, outside their comfort zones, tempers flare.

It’s hard to be misunderstood, underestimated, asked to fit in a box that doesn’t come naturally.

Parenting gifted kids is hard.

The superhero baby may be a bit of a stretch, but not much. These kids have amazing capacities to learn, analyze, and create, but they can’t do so in a vacuum.

In order for our kids to thrive, they need supportive adults who help them come to grips with who they are, who help them feel at home instead of always feeling like an outsider, and who give them time and space to practice, to make mistakes, and to try again.

I don’t need to mention, but I will, that the same kids with superpowers sometimes choose the road to be supervillains as well. In their backstories, the thing that comes up again and again is rejection, humiliation, and despair.

We can’t guarantee every gifted kid will use his (or her) powers for good, but we can work hard to create a supportive, understanding environment for them to grow.

This post is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop about Parenting Considerations. “Hop” on over to read other people’s experiences with gifted kids.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. gilian says:

    Love this. I feel I have kids gifted in different areas and sometimes I feel I need to drastically shift to attend to their needs.


  2. Adelaide Dupont says:

    This article provoked me to think that gifted kids and teenagers need a Justice League [or whatever fits their core values and needs].

    Liked by 1 person

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