Recently I joined a FB group filled with the most AMAZING people from around the country. They too are parents of Gifted children who lead a very similar life to what we do. For the first time in a long time, I have found a place where I feel like I properly fit in and where people truly get it. Don’t get me wrong, I love our amazing little village and all of you in it but sometimes it’s hard to be able to relate, just like I’m sure its hard for you guys to relate to us.
As a parent, when you mention that “G” word, you never know what reaction you’ll get or what will be said to you. At the beginning, I hated saying “Gifted”. I was bullied by parents who thought that I was trying to make my kid sound better than theirs. People had their own opinions and thought that it was all a fake label while others wanted their kid to be Gifted.
I’ve heard it all! “Don’t be proud of that!”. “Ohhh you’re just another one of those mums that wants her kid to be special!”. “You think your kid is better than mine just because she can read”. I didn’t ask for a Gifted child. I didn’t raise her to be “special”- she was born this way.
I’ve been lucky in the fact that sharing our journey with a gifted child, I have been able to educate a whole bunch of people as to what the term actually means and what it is really like to go through life with the way that Izzy is. Sure, there has been a lot of fuckwits a long the way but the love and support from those who have taken the time out to attempt to understand has blown me away.
With permission from these beautiful parents (and keeping their names anon for privacy reasons), they are sharing what they want people to know what it is like having and raising a Gifted child. While all of our journeys are different and we experience different intensities, we all share one thing- we get each others struggles and victories.
“I swing from wanting to educate people (thinking it’s the least I can do for these kids) .. to getting frustrated with people missing the point time & time again & keeping it to myself. My recent post on parents of gifted kids page was making the mistake of including giftedness in a facebook post recently & have what I thought we’re intelligent friends basically telling me I shouldn’t be focusing so much on my childs giftedness (as if you can ignore it!!!) & the reason he wasn’t coping with school was probably to do with being an only child.”
“That whilst gifted is not the right word, it’s not a made up sparkly fun time, these kids are truly born neurologically different and it’s great if that gives them some form of high achievement but it doesn’t always. The challenges and special needs are very real and whilst we didn’t sign up and really don’t want to be “those pushy parents”, just like every mum and dad we are trying to advocate and look our for our kids in a situation where resources and help are incredibly scarce.”
“That for many of our children, life is bloomin hard work. They try to fit in and so few of the people who should help them actually have the skills to do so. It breaks my heart to see my kids struggle and be judged by completely the wrong standards because they are not “normal”.
“It can be so intense. Her brain goes 24/7 and she doesn’t sleep much unless I give her melatonin. She wants to know everything about everything. And also that while she is gifted, that doesn’t mean everything will be easy for her.”
“The relentless questions! The obsessions that last years! The lack of sleep (for us it was waking up 5am for nearly 6 years, 7 days!) Worrying that your child is autistic. Watching your child yearn for a best friend & having none. The hours worrying. Finding out your child is gifted & realising you know nothing about it but know this is HUGE. Realising how misunderstood giftedness is, by teachers & friends. They think you are bragging & don’t get that it is special needs. How isolating this can be. How you feel judged .. & don’t start me on school! That raises even more issues. Changing school 3 times in the first 3 years. Having to have meetings usually weekly, how to engage your child. Get him out from under the table, off the floor, hiding from teachers. Have teachers ignoring specialist reports. Friends judging you, telling you not to focus on their giftedness, that the problems stem from being an only child. The hours worrying, am I doing the right thing? The constant meetings with teachers. Realising you should home school but you don’t have the time, money & energy for it.”
“It doesn’t mean top in class, prize winner, easy ride etc. The emotional roller coaster that comes with it is something you have to live to understand. That my kid’s OEs, 2Es etc are not imagined, or indulgences etc but very real issues for him and by extension, me.”
“Being gifted isn’t an easy ride, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily awesome at everything, and often comes with anxiety issues or other problems. Also it comes with constantly tired and worried parents and child/ren.”
“Gifted isn’t a euphemism for better or brighter, it’s about being wired differently. It can also be incredibly hard work – for both parent and child.”
“Gifted children and their parents do not get much support from govt – yearly budget for them is under $1mil for the entire country! Therefore it is mostly up to the parents to find support and resources themselves which can be costly in many ways. Then we also get told that we are pushy when we try to advocate for our children!”
It really isn’t all it is cracked up to be.