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Carol Bainbridge

Leave gifted kids alone

By November 7, 2012

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It's hard to be the parent of a gifted child, for a whole host of reasons. One of those reasons is that we aren't always sure where to draw the line between nurturing our child and pushing them. I recently ran across an article that discussed the issue of pushing gifted kids too much. In his article, "Leave gifted children alone," Jake Wallis Simons writes about Alma Deutscher, who composed an opera when she was just seven years old.

Now I don't know what the opera sounded like, but there is more to Alma's story than that. Simons describes a video of Alma he watched on the BBC Web site, which starts out with her playing the piano, and then playing the violin. Is this not possible with a young gifted child who is drawn to music? According to the article, Alma's mother said, ""At three [Alma] heard a lullaby by...by Richard Strauss, and she came to us and said, 'how can music be so beautiful?' She was struck by the beauty of it."

That sounds just like a gifted child with a sensual hypersensitivity to me. So what do you do? Do you encourage your child, providing every opportunity to learn or hold back and "let your child be a child"?

On the other hand, Simons does have a point when he discusses hothousing kids. Some parents do see natural talent in their children and push them to develop that talent. So what's the difference between nurturing and pushing?

Let's say that you just want to nurture your child's talents. Should you then create a video and post it on Youtube?

Tell me what you think!
November 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm
(1) Helen Bayliss says:

My gifted and talented child is now 20 and my warning to parents of gifted children is to be aware of the hidden troubles that propel your child into high levels of anxiety. My son, ‘labled’ gifted and talented at the age of 4 met every expectation and beyond, he could read fluently from books at 21/2, did child cross words at 3 and at the age of 11 had a reading and understanding of text of that of a 27 year old. However, now he is in Uni it has come to light that he may well have been struggling the whole of his academic career with ADD. How he has coped, I cannot imagine, but every instance of disorganisation, inability to focus on menial tasks and his ability to hyperfocus has all been put down to his ‘gifted’ status and never questioned. Unfortunately my gifted child is now at a stage of crisis as he is completely losing control over every aspect of his academia. Apparently, ADD can be diagnosed as late as University life in those children who manage to use their gifted skills to mask signs quite effectively. I would alert all parents to look for signs of severe disorganisation, not remembering very important things like school books, ability to hold on to conversations even once the subject has changed. Children with ADD find it difficult to leave something alone when it is of interest to them and therefore hyper focus on it. If you relate to your child (as my child has been referred to his whole life) as an absent mided professor then take his for an assessment. I cannot stress enough how, when this condition which is often seen in gifted and talented is undiagnosed how terrifying it can be.

November 25, 2012 at 8:57 am
(2) B. P says:

Helen Thank you for your heartfelt comment ! I am so sorry for your son ! I am really amazed how he managed all these years ! Good luck to all of you.

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