Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1. So Your Child Is Gifted
The first moment of holding your infant in your arms is engraved in your memory permanently. Just thinking about that wonderful moment brings a smile to your lips and joy to your heart. Your feeling of joy, however, was unrelated to your child's intelligence, creativity, or talent. It was related only to that wonderful bonding that comes with holding your newborn.
The wonderment of that initial bonding was mixed with some self-doubt, although by now the doubt may have temporarily disappeared. As mother or father, you may have felt concern about how capable you were of parenting this miraculous child and worried about whether you were truly ready for this new challenge. There were questions, perhaps openly discussed, perhaps quietly felt but untapped, of how your partner would experience parenting this infant with you. If you were a single parent, you felt the awesome responsibility of being the sole caretaker for your new baby. You definitely were not thinking of you child's talent. Your first wishes were just for good health and normalcy.
The first days and weeks of your child's life were filled with the basic activities of feeding, soothing, singing to, observing, and hugging this small bundle. As family and friends gathered around and commented on the baby's resemblances to you, your grandfather, or your mother-in-law, the observations about alertness or the kidding about musical or artistic talent began. These were not intended as communications about giftedness but were humorous comments only. Mainly, your wonderful baby was totally accepted. That was as it should have been and how it should always be.
Thedevelopmental needs and tasks of your children should always be at the forefront of your parenting. Your preschool gifted child, your school-age talented child, or your extremely intelligent teenager is always a baby, child, or adolescent first. Giftedness is only a secondary description. When this order is reversed, children suffer from pressures to be what they can't be-Intellectual objects of their parents' creative instead of unique human beings.
I believe you know all of this already. You love your children so deeply, and you would not want to use them only as extensions of yourself. Nor would you want them to develop their capability to think without developing their ability to feel or love. Why, then, must you be reminded of what you already know? It is only because giftedness can be so reinforcing that it can lead even the most conscientious parent astray. Gifted children who learn quickly can become powerfully demanding, and the loving parents who see these children's hunger for stimulation can become enslaved in providing it...
Gifted children exhibit talent early. They may speak in whole sentences when other similar-age children know only a few words. Some observe environmental details that aren't even noticed by others. Their questions may reveal a depth of understanding atypical of preschoolers. They may construct complex puzzles or toys or take toys apart in a manner that indicates extraordinary spatial understanding. Unusual sensitivity may be displayed. They may learn letters, numbers, colors, and shapes with speed and interest, come to adult-like mathematical conclusions, read spontaneously, have a sense of humor, or show extraordinary musical or artistic talent far beyond that of typical children. All these characteristics indicate giftedness.
Enjoy and encourage your children's love of learning, but foster their play, responsibility, imagination, affection, and fun so that they can grow as whole, as well as gifted, children.