Ever wish you had a manual for that extraordinary, perplexing child of yours? Take heart, a new book, A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend, and Arlene R. DeVries, Great Potential Press (release date: March 1, 2007), may be just the reference you need. This helpful guide concisely explains the complexities of gifted children, addresses the challenges they face, and details practical strategies for parents to support their gifted children in all aspects of their lives.
Parents are encouraged to help their children understand themselves, discover their interests, and manage their lives so they can develop to their fullest. The authors remain focused on the parent’s capabilities throughout the book and accentuate the parents’ role in helping their children acquire life skills. Additionally, parents are assured that they have a strong voice—and a choice—in their children’s education and play the crucial role in finding a good educational fit for their children.
Another focus is on the development of communication and relationship skills as factors for success and satisfaction in life. Parents are provided with techniques to help their children validate and name their feelings; avoid barriers to communication; and model effective communication skills. Two chapters then help parents understand the dynamics that influence their children’s connections with friends, peers, and family, especially between siblings. Parents are encouraged to be good role models and counsel their children about developing healthy interpersonal relationships.
Nonjudgmental explanations for the following difficult situations, which sometimes limit high potential students, give parents insight into how:
- enthusiasm for learning can dwindle to a lack of motivation and underachievement,
- intensity and passion can turn into a stressful state of perfectionism,
- idealism can descend into unhappiness and depression, and
- learning disabilities can complicate identification of giftedness and access to appropriate accommodations.
Parents will learn constructive strategies to overcome these obstacles and reignite their children’s spark and passion for learning.
Other chapters in the book address establishing expectations, administering discipline, and instilling self-regulation; discuss the influence of societal norms, individual values, and traditions; and present general advice on successful parenting. The final chapter discusses the types of professional help available for academic, social, or emotional difficulties, and when it’s time to get that help.
With this guidebook at the ready, parents will be able to recognize their children’s unique strengths and vulnerabilities; nurture their abilities; and establish the skills they will need for a gratifying life experience.