After my daughter was diagnosed as Gifted I still didn’t know what to think. Okay, well “gifted” — that sounds good, right? I had my 2 minutes of “Whew! What a relief!” But, just like a mother with an autistic child, or an ADD /ADHD child, I still didn’t know what to do and it really wasn’t okay. I had been desperately trying to find out what was “wrong” with my child and now I had a label. Now I wanted to know how I could help. How could I keep her from getting in trouble at school due to boredom? How could I keep her challenged?
Along with “gifted” came a whole slew of other things that I mentioned to our Behavioral Pediatrician including my daughter’s immaturity, her super-sensitive personality, her Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, her anger and meltdowns. I remember that the doctor smiled kindly and nodded as I spouted off all of these things. Apparently these behaviors are all “normal” for a gifted child. So, he set us free with a diagnosis of “gifted” and told us that she would always be one step ahead of us. The only other advice he offered was for us to sign her up for a non-academic activity with her peers to help with social development. He said to contact him if we needed any more of his services.
Well, I was relieved in a way, because I have to admit I didn’t really want to keep paying for more services, but I guess my husband and I were really looking for a quick fix. (Aren’t we all looking for a quick fix?) Well, I have found that it just doesn’t exist. My daughter continued to have meltdowns and 3rd grade brought more social issues. I remember saying to my husband one evening after an exceptionally hard day with her, “Why can’t we have a normal child?!?”
The next day, I began researching on the internet, picked up a few more books and talked to lots of people. My best advice is to take it one day at a time. I have learned that I must be my child’s advocate. I need to be there for her and help her through the moments when she melts down, or has problems with peers or teachers at school. She needs me. I also had to accept that some people weren’t going to like my daughter. People would get frustrated with her and she would be misunderstood. I have learned to have a more open relationship with her and how to more effectively communicate with her. I actively listen to her talk about what she is feeling and why she reacts so severely sometimes. I work with her on role playing, making eye contact, and how to tell people how you feel without sounding angry and frustrated with them. I have accepted that sometimes her behavior embarrasses me. I honestly believe her when she says, “I can’t help it!” I sincerely see her remorse after she has overreacted; she has so much empathy for those around her.
We definitely still have moments, and they sometimes last more than a moment. However, I characterize it as a line graph… it may dip down from time to time, but gradually we’re seeing upward improvements. She has definitely changed my life and opened my mind. I have learned about her, accepted her and I discipline her as is appropriate. I love my “gifted” child, and I know that she is going to be okay.