- Autumn Quiles, LCSW
New Facebook Group
I recently stumbled onto the factoid that most, if not all, of the kids I see are gifted or high-achieving. If they are younger, they are in gifted classes in school. My pre-teens and teens are in demanding academic programs that are characterized by academic rigor. The families usually consist of parents who were identified as gifted/high-achieving youngsters.
Incidentally, my personal social circles also collide with these kinds of families. My husband and I were identified as gifted when we were young and I have two kids who have been identified as gifted.
There are a slew of hallmark traits of gifted kids that make parenting a gifted child a real challenge. The National Association of Gifted Children put out this nifty chart of gifted traits that sums up a lot of these traits. Parents of gifted children know, too well, that their children's academic success is the tip of the proverbial iceberg... along with that easy academic success (provided they are in the right educational setting) comes many behavioral and emotional issues that are intense and persistent. Some of these issues can be chocked up to the difference between these kids' intellectual functioning and their emotional/behavioral functioning (e.g., they are more "normal" issues for gifted kids), but sometimes the emotional and behavioral issues really hinder a kid's ability to functioning.
I am usually called in when the child's functioning is in serious question... they are failing classes, refusing to go to school, aggressive toward their parents, etc. But what about those "normal" issues for gifted kids that don't look so "normal" in traditional parenting circles? Where can gifted parents go to connect with others and find strategies for dealing with these parenting demands that are unique to this population?
This led to my discovery that, in our area, there are few emotional/behavioral support resources for these kids or families. The broader community feels that as long as a child is "doing okay" academically (which high-achieving and gifted kids are usually doing), the parents are doing a good job. But, to a parent who has just had to answer to a four-year-old's existential crisis or manage four meltdowns during the course of planning a science project or motivate a brilliant kid who keeps "forgetting" homework, their child's academic success is a very, very small reassurance that he/she is being a good parent.
Since I have not been able to find this community of like-minded parents who are working to support their uniquely demanding kids, I have taken it upon myself to try and create this community. Goodness knows, I am not technologically savvy enough to pull this off without a hitch. But, I am really committed to making a space for these parents, myself included, to take care of each other so we can do Right By Our Kids, without judging or criticizing ourselves too much in the process.
All that being said, if you are the parent of a high-achieving or gifted kid in the Boca Raton area, please join my brand new Facebook group that I have no idea how to manage yet. Parents of High Ability and Gifted Kids in Boca Raton.