Tips for parents of gifted and talented individuals.

  • Allow increasing control in areas they are able to make decisions. This fosters independence and self confidence.
  • Allow choice when possible.
  • Listen without offering criticism or solutions. Just listen.
  • Provide opportunities for community service or action; this allows them a sense of contribution.
  • Promote social contact that is positive. Allow friends according to interests.
  • Praise for personal values you are trying to promote: hard work, kindness, responsibility. Criticize privately.
  • Promote the value of challenging work and appreciation of school and learning.
  • Teach good time management and organizational skills.
  • Be alert to conflicts experienced between achieving and belonging.
  • Encourage positive relationships with other adults, e.g. teachers, coaches, Scout leaders, other relatives, mentors.
  • Model acceptance of mistakes.
  • Pick your battles carefully. Think about what is important in the long run.
  • Model healthy habits of good eating, exercise, down time, and relaxing pursuits.
  • Stand together in promoting the importance of school, work, effort, responsibility, and kindness; regardless of marital issues, divorce, etc.

Behaviors to Avoid:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Praise for being the best, for being perfect, for being brilliant
  • Control or criticism over eating or weight
  • Criticizing teachers and school in front of child; seek solutions
  • Praising for attractiveness, appeal to opposite gender, etc.
  • Stereotyping by gender
  • Criticism in front of others; comparison with other children
  • Fixing them. They are not wrong, just different.
  • Rescuing them from consequences or shielding them from difficulties
Burney, V. & Speirs Neumeister, K. (2006). Guiding Students with High Abilities: Social and Emotional Considerations. Indiana Department of Education, Indianapolis, IN

Additional information can be found in the newest Indiana Department of Education's article Guiding Students with High Abilities: Social and Emotional Considerations.