I’m a Mom of a Gifted Child

Reflections on guilt, t-shirts, loneliness, heartache and fitting in

Who would have thought that cleaning out my gifted child’s closet—sorting through the keepsakes, the clothes to donate, and throwing away the not-fit-for-anyone stuff—would pierce through my tightly-sealed vault of painful emotions—the emotions I’ve tried to avoid and keep tightly locked away until now.

Guilt, blame, sadness, hopelessness, shame, despair, confusion, anger

I’ve made t-shirt quilts for each of my children when they graduated from high school. Keepsake t-shirts from my children’s most memorable events, schools, clubs, achievements and teams filled storage containers until the time came to sew them up into a quilt full of childhood memories.

As I sorted through my youngest child’s t-shirts, I was struck with the shear number of t-shirts he had accumulated. As I looked at the emblem proudly printed on each shirt, my heart sank and tears streamed down my face as the realization sunk in that way too many of my child’s shirts represented the times in his life he would rather forget—the many failed attempts of a gifted child to find a place to fit it in.

Each new school, new club, new team or new group gave us hope that this would be the one, and so, each time, full of optimism, we bought the commemorative t-shirt as the symbol and validation that he was indeed part of this new group—a group where a gifted child could fit in.

I sorted through shirts from the public school P. E. class he left after six weeks, the school who wanted me to believe their honors classes were gifted classes, so we moved on; from the magnet school who refused to understand and address his needs as a gifted learner; from the private school who had no clue about giftedness; from the robotics team who relegated him to the one, mundane task of designing the t-shirt so he would stop showing the team how to do things better; from the school band he was in for only a few weeks before leaving to find a better school; and from the multitude of teams, clubs and groups he was a part of in the ongoing search to find a place where a gifted kid could be accepted and understood. Where he could fit in. And find friends.

So many t-shirts seemed to represent a failed attempt, an unhappy memory, a time of hope and then crushing disappointment.

As a mom of a gifted child, we walk a lonely, difficult and heartbreaking road on our unwavering quest to help our gifted children navigate through a world that does not understand them, within a society who often envies and resents them. Exhausted, we pray our gifted child will just come out on the other end with enough self-esteem to be able to live a happy, successful adult life.

 

 

As a mom of a gifted child—*

 

I’ve watched as my 4 year-old child was excluded by peers because he wanted to discuss the mechanics of a pneumatic engine instead of throwing dirt clods at other kids

I’ve listened, astonished, as I heard a neighbor scream at my gifted 5 year old to “shut up and stop talking!”

I’ve put my house on the market in the hopes of buying a new house in a neighborhood with children who would accept my gifted child

I’ve cried when my child had hope and happiness in his heart at the prospect that somewhere in this new group of kids he would find friends—but didn’t

I’ve argued with teachers and administrators at many schools who did not understand that my child was not lazy or arrogant—he was simply gifted

I’ve panicked when I learned that my child’s school system was trying to do away with the gifted program under the guise of lies and lip-service that the new program in the regular classroom would be better for ALL children, not just the gifted

I’ve commiserated with other moms of gifted children because only we seem to understand the real struggles of raising gifted children.

I’ve driven my child across town twice everyday for a year so he could attend a school who seemed  to understand gifted children.

I’ve moved my family to another state just so my gifted child could have the education he so desperately needed.

I’ve taken on a second job so I could afford to pay for a private school who does understand and address the educational needs of gifted children.

I’ve felt despair because my gifted child had to switch schools so often in our search to find the education he needed and deserved.

I’ve been thunderstruck when my child’s principal called him an anomaly.

I’ve downplayed and hidden my child’s giftedness to avoid the nasty and envious comments from other moms.

I’ve endured trepidation and embarrassment when I had to admit my child was gifted.

I’ve been wounded by the eye-rolling and the clicking of envious tongues.

I’ve been insulted by educators claiming that they knew more about my child and his giftedness than I did, when in fact, they didn’t.

I’ve cried myself to sleep after an argument with my gifted teen which ended with him screaming out, “I can’t mom, because I’m not normal!”

I’ve hugged my gifted child when his teacher has excluded him from recognition at school because “we don’t want the other kids in the class to feel bad.”

I’ve sacrificed my own social and work life to homeschool my gifted child because no traditional school near us could educate my gifted child appropriately.

I’ve fought back tears when a judge curtly told my 4th grade son he needed to stop raising his hand because he wanted to hear answers from the other competitors.

I’ve witnessed my child fall apart when his hopes for new friends were dashed after he met, for the first time, some of the kids in our new neighborhood.  They said they had to leave, but would be back in 20 minutes to play. It’s been two years and they haven’t come back to play.

I’m exhausted from the never-ending search for the right group, the right school, the right club and the right neighborhood for my gifted child to finally find a place where he can fit in.

I’ve begged for help, support, sympathy, understanding only to be told that being gifted is a net positive.

I’ve consoled other moms who are struggling on the same lonely, painful road of raising a gifted child.

I’ve been heartbroken when I realized that my gifted child has not had a real friend in years.

I’ve been enraged when teachers have told my child, “well, if you are so smart, you should be able to make better grades” or “I know your mom thinks you are gifted, but you will have to prove to me how smart you are.”

I’ve become upset when family, friends or neighbors tell me that my gifted child is probably not really having problems, he is just pulling the wool over my eyes

I’ve worried if I’ve done too much to help my gifted daughter navigate her world and if I let go now, will she survive?

I’m remorseful that I tried to fix my son, when in fact, it was his school’s baseless expectations of him that needed fixing.

I’ve regretted not doing a better job of protecting my gifted child from the inevitable resentment and intolerance from others.

I’ve witnessed an academic team coach yell at my gifted middle schooler for not knowing an answer at a quiz bowl—“You should be smart enough to know this!”

I feel guilty for not knowing about his giftedness sooner so I could be more proactive in order to prevent some of the rejection and mistreatment he has endured.

I’m disillusioned by our educational system who do not fully understand our gifted children as learners and subsequently neglect their education.

I’ve been so confused as a mom of a gifted child, always worrying if I’m doing this right.

I’ve become pissed as hell when I see the sentiment, “All Children are Gifted”, which marginalizes my child.

I’ve felt so alone believing that my child, my family, were the only family with such problems with their gifted child—my child is gifted, he should not be having problems, right?

I’m heartbroken and angry that my gifted child is so misunderstood that news anchors feel it is okay to make fun of gifted children on national TV.

 

These are the sentiments from the mom’s of gifted children in their comments on this post. I will continue to update these as I receive them in the comments:

I’ve been angry at a superintendent for telling me “we’ve had lots of smart kids at this school- yours is no different”

I’ve been angry because my child was set in the hallway after a teacher asked “Do you think you are smarter than me?” after correcting the teacher on a pronunciation.

I’ve wept with my child because “I don’t have any friends mom.”

I’ve wept because I know the feeling of not letting everything I know or feel out because I won’t be accepted.

I’ve been angry my child was told to stop answering so many questions and give the other kids a chance in a quiz bowl.

I’ve been angry my child was not allowed join a class because doing so would give her team an unfair advantage.

I’ve wept and feared because my child had a complete breakdown becoming totally non-verbal in an anxiety attack and I feared I would have to turn them over to “health professionals” who didn’t understand the reasoning behind it.

I’ve felt my heart in my throat when my daughter said, “Mom, do you ever feel like you just don’t fit in anywhere? Do you think I ever will?”

I’ve worried for the future when my 4yo demonstrates levels of existential angst I can hardly comprehend.

I’ve felt the heartache behind the PG adult’s words when he says, “You want to change the world, but who are you changing it for? No one understands you, no one is like you, no one knows why you want to do these things. It’s not about finding others with the same intelligence. It’s about finding someone like you.”

I knew I had to homeschool when my kindergartener would come home and ask for ‘mama school’, every single day. He was not thriving.

I knew I had to homeschool when my son (at age 5) started have anxiety and breakdowns, most mornings before school. THAT should never happen; especially in kindergarten.

I am disgusted at the conformity that schools wish to put on young minds. Tragic way to stifle creativity and quest for knowledge.

I am sad and pissed because my son was bored and no one could see it, even after I mentioned it. He was scribbling with crayons on his math paper because he did not want to color certain answers per the directions. He wanted to do 10×7+1= type math problems – in kindergarten.

I’m tired of being told that my child isn’t gifted. It’s just me being a helicopter parent and want him to be gifted that’s the problem.

I’m tired of being told that the public schools in our area will solve his gifted problem.

My heart hurts when I see my gifted kids work hard to make friends in our neighborhood but get rejected because “they know too much”.

I’ve been made furious by a principal who told me to “not have any more children, they’re too hard for us to manage”.

My heart has broken as my 9 year old son banged his head against his bedroom wall in an attempt to make himself not gifted.

I’ve been terrified when in the first week of kinder my son came home from school saying “mum, they’re teaching me the difference between a word and a letter, and I’ve just finished reading Harry Potter”.

I’m angry at myself when I feel deprived of “typical” childhood experiences, based on society’s predetermined expectations.

I feel disheartened when my own family “understands” my gifted child, yet continue to think his needs “aren’t”.

I feel defeated every time I muster enthusiasm to fight for the way things should be, and met with several individuals on why it can’t.

I feel confused by rules which are reasoned without logic.

I feel sick when I hear about standardized tests, and the degree to which our schools are dictated by their results.

I feel exaughsted in my relentless attempts to find my sons passion(s).

I feel failed when all my efforts are directed towards giftedness, and everything else has become neglected.

I feel minuscule in a fight against endless odds.

I am elated my childs life won’t peak in high school.

I am grateful for parenting a gifted child as it has changed me in infinite ways.

I am hopeful that the challenges faced in childhood will send these kids forward in life far more prepared than their oversheltered peers, not swayed by rejection and disappointment- but utilize it to propell themselves forward.

Some good- no matter how seemingly microscopic must come from the determination and passion of parents on their quest for what it right. Nothing in life is impossible- only people that say things are.

If nothing else, I’m optimistic that the greatest challenges my child will face will be during the time he resides under my roof.

I am furious that the best anyone can do for my gifted child is to try to encourage him to be “normal.” Every teacher, therapists, even close family.

I’ve been proud of my three year old deciding to invent hearts that would never stop so his mama would never lose another friend too young to a heart attack… before I knew that my three year old “shouldn’t” ask questions of sufficient depth to understand a heart attack, nor should he understand the concept of “death” enough to know he never wanted me to deal with it again.

I’ve held my six year old as he sobbed in my arms because we would all die one day, his Hammie and Buppa first, and then he would be all alone. I’ve had to explain our contingency plans for his care so that he could sleep without fear that if we died in the night, he would be left all alone. That same night, I got to tackle the notion of whether or not God is real, and that my son would indeed die someday.

I’ve had to deal with family members who don’t understand that my son needs to understand – he will not blindly obey. This has left him the target of anger and abuse.

I’ve pulled my child from a playplace because the other kids somehow knew he was different from them – which left my son punched in the face, twice, and then knocked to the ground and jumped on. These were four year olds. My son thought he was being punished for their bullying him, and promised he’d ask them not to hit him so hard next time. But gifted is positive, right?

I’ve walked into a parent-teacher conference to be greeted with “Your son is cheating! I can’t do those problems in my head, so there’s no WAY he can either!”…

I’ve wondered (and then wanted to kick myself) what it would be like to have a “normal” kid, instead of four outliers with anxiety, sleep issues, noise and texture and taste sensitivities, most of whom can not fit into a classroom….

I’ve spent years dreading August because school is so damn stressful for all of us….

Then gotten to spend one glorious August looking forward to continuing to homeschool!!!

Now I get to dread August again, because my kids want to try returning to school because “maybe it will be better this time”, in spite of all odds (and because they don’t want to feel “different” because they are homeschooled while their friends all go to school)…

I’ve dealt with a mother-in-law who told me straight out that she didn’t like my oldest son (yes, her own grandson) because he was too busy and intense (at age 3)…

I’ve had a child who quit napping at age 18 months, and spent the 15 straight hours a day that he was awake asking “why”, “what if…”, “how come…” , when he wasn’t my only child…

But I have four intense, incredibly intelligent, independent kids that (if I can help them survive until adulthood) have the ingredients to be wonderfully successful people…. and I love them all!

I’ve felt my heart break when I’ve held my sobbing 7 year old, hearing him say “I wish I wasn’t alive any more mummy because there’s nowhere I belong in this world”.

I’ve had tears in my eyes when been told ‘why do they call it being gifted when it is anything BUT a gift’

My husband and I have had to fight for at least one of our three gifted children every single year at school, to get them what they needed. Or at least the best option available at the time, which was very often lacking.

I was told I was pushing her when I moved her to another middle school so she could take Algebra in 7th grade even though that was the first time in school she was challenged enough to learn any kind of work habits or study skills.

I was also called a “traitor” for moving her to that school in a different town, and her friends from here didn’t talk to her when in public.

I cry a lot about this.

I feel like I’ve tried everything to help him be successful except drugs, which some of my friends with highly gifted kids have resorted to. (To help them focus. ) We refuse.

I feel like I’m failing him because he is failing to fit in at school. He is a “gifted underachiever” and it is a constant struggle to keep him engaged at school and keep him from failing his classes. Everyone just says “we know you’re smart enough, you just have to do the work.” He is super social and had loads of friends, but none he really connects with. His smart friends are all straight A, super involved which he is not, and his average friends he can’t really be himself with.

I helped fight to get Advanced Academics classes in all schools in all grade levels and the IB Programme at the High School, thinking that would help, and it has, but it is still vilified and watered down constantly.

I was told I was pushing her when I moved her to another middle school so she could take Algebra in 7th grade even though that was the first time in school she was challenged enough to learn any kind of work habits or study skills. I was also called a “traitor” for moving her to that school in a different town, and her friends from here didn’t talk to her when in public.

My husband and I have had to fight for at least one of our three gifted children every single year at school, to get them what they needed. Or at least the best option available at the time, which was very often lacking.

I could feel my child’s pain when he said “I had to cover my ears, I could’t listen to that teacher anymore, it was so boring”

My heart was broken when my son came from school and asked “Mom, why I am being treated like a shit?”

’ve felt anxious when the swimming pool changing room after toddler swim group fell dead silent. He had been squirming impatiently at me dressing him, until he noticed the sign that showering was mandatory. Then he loudly started calling out the letters. None of the other mothers said a word to me there ever since.

I’ve felt appalled (sp?) at my father in law calling my 1 year old “dumb” when he was unable to answer questions no schoolchild could answer. And painfully reminded of all the times he tried to bring my husband down a notch when he seemed ‘too smart’.

I’ve felt endeared when my 21 month old found a 6 year old girl with whom he could share his hobby of writing out sums and lines of numbers. I’ve felt a bit shaky noticing that she (accelerated a year at school, gifted child) made some mistakes that my son never made anymore.

I’ve felt too weary of jealous remarks to let my 20 month old give his grandma the drawing he made for her as a birthday present. It was her name written several times in rainbow colours.

I’ve felt deeply hurt at accusations of pushing him. And more so at the insinuations from those too cowardly to downright say it.

I’ve felt exasperated at my mother in law saying homeschooling would make my son an unsocial loser and that kids were better off playing outside. She informed us that even our countrys princesses go to a regular school. She considers the claim to giftedness arrogance and the search for proper education just wanting special treatment. Mind you, she was the one who made a video of our son speaking his first complete sentence at 10 months, after which he runs off and kicks his ball a couple of times.

I’ve felt uncomfortable when a friend who found out my son was reading asked me how to teach her kid to read. I’ve felt hurt when after they failed to make theirs read, too, they claimed that I had pushed him too hard and stopped calling.

I’ve thought to myself “oh please let him not start reading” when I met other mums that I had a pleasant chat with. I’ve felt my heart sink when he did. I’ve felt helpless as my son turned from potential playdate to freak in their eyes.

I’ve felt downright fear and awe and wondered how I could ever raise such a child, several times when he made new leaps in his development.

I’ve felt deep deep love for this sweet boy who seems to want nothing more than to please everyone. I’m worried for him, for his future.

I’ve felt a profound fear when I considered the option of him ever becoming evil or hateful. The damage he could do with a mind like that… I’ve wondered how to reply when me 20 month old said that mommy and daddy lie too, and lying gets you what you want.

I’m glad my boy is so much stronger and taller than his age peers. I’m glad his father is a national martial arts champion. I’m worried he will need to defend himself more than others.

I’ve felt grateful for the few people who just love him and cheer at whatever he does – be it slinging yoghurt around the room or correcting them when they try to identify a plant when we walj through the park.

I feel 100% sure that my son is gifted, despite (as someone else posted before me) his being too young to even test.

 

If you are a mom of a gifted child, I’ve experienced your struggle, I feel your pain, I know your heartache and I understand.

Please add your sentiments as a mom of a gifted child in the comments below. Let’s share and support each other.

 

 

*These “as a mom of a gifted child” experiences were all gathered from many moms through my work as a gifted advocate

119 Comments on “I’m a Mom of a Gifted Child

  1. This is exactly all the feelings I have had over the years.

    I will never forget the day when my daughter was 4 or 5 and sat down next to the little girl at dance class with her Japanese dictionary asking her if she’d like to read with her. That little girl got up and walked away, my daughter never tried to share her love of languages again.

    I won’t ever forget how she cried at 7 years old over the education she was getting, thankfully we are on week #3 at our new school now at 9 years old that was quite the journey to get here.

    Her old school endlessly “tried” and kept upsetting her over cutting short the course of a curriculum they would try or create to help her out. They never finished the Japanese or Space Unit they tried to work with her on.

    This is beautiful and although I have not found a solution to our recent struggles we have found the right school to finally help us I believe. Here’s to a much better outlook for us. Keep up the good work moms.

    • Melissa,

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words for all gifted moms! As moms of gifted children, we easily get overwhelmed and begin to feel hopeless. It is so wonderful to hear that there are indeed schools and educators who want to make a difference in the life of a gifted child who has experienced those common struggles.

      All the best to you and your daughter! And BRAVO to your new school! <3

  2. Pingback: I'm Sick of Negative Attitudes Toward Gifted Parents

  3. Help, I am a fourteen year old gifted child that doesn’t know what to do.

    As I saw a lot of parents in this web site talking about their experiences and how they have struggled with their children’s giftedness, I realized I need some serious help
    .
    So, for starters, I’m the one that realized that I could be a, potentially, gifted kid. At first, it sounded marvelous (How to be naive 101). I (finally!) knew why:

    -I felt so different
    -I hated school so much that I catched fever and colds on purpose
    –I had panic attacks (which I previously thought were only spoiled and brattish acts, I then realized that it was normal and okay)
    -Why I was so intense
    -Why people normally told me that I sounded older
    -Why thoughts of death, life and overall existential crises were so, relatively, common
    -Etc.

    I remember being happy, ecstatic really, that what I felt was completely normal. And, better yet! two to five percent of the population felt it. So, surely, I reasoned, there must be someone that understands me and can help me, right?

    Well, statistics don’t lie in something, the quantity. Two of my current teachers are gifted, one of them being highly gifted, in fact. But that’s it. These are my English and Numerical Skil teachers l (I don’t know if that’s the name of the last class in the U.S.A [I live in a Spanish-speaking country]. It’s basically a class in which we get to resolve problems using logic) These are the classes I enjoy the most.

    Anyway, back to the story.

    As I read more, I realize that telling the school might be the dumbest idea I could ever think of, I mean, what are the chances of them helping me? I’m only one girl, they have more than two hundred students to worry about! Nevertheless, I tried to test the waters with one of my teachers. I don’t remember the conversation as well as I would like, but I remember my hopes being dashed away, highlighted by another adult figure I talked to: “You are expecting the system to change for you, one person […] In life, people don’t adapt for you, you adapt to them”.

    So, there, I was suddenly stuck with no support. My parents try (they honestly do!), but they tell me exactly the same thing: “It will change when you are in college, just stick for this five years and then you are free”.

    But I can’t, I’m so sorry, I really can’t.

    I try to recommend my parents books on how to educate a gifted child, I read the books I recommend, I look page after page in hopes of finding something, I try to take notes before the classes to focus (but, then, teachers realize that I know too much and pass me over so they can keep up with the majority of the classroom that didn’t read it. The stigma is attached and I can’t seem shake it off), I do other things in the middle of the class that have to do with the subject in hand (but then I get distracted thinking about a book I read), I even try to do outside classes via online places like Khan Academy, but no such luck (even though I enjoy Khan Academy and totally recommend it).

    In my country there’s basically nothing to help gifted children, and, to make matters worse, the economy has taken a huge hit (we’re not even at war, I don’t even…) There’s always something happening, nothing feels safe anymore, the news are depressing and, at the end, I stop reading them all together. I’m afraid to have another total breakdown that leaves me emotionally unstable and vulnerable for hours or even days.

    So, this is it, I guess. I can’t say I haven’t tried, I’m the reason I got tested in the first place.

    I want to be something in life, I don’t want to be another number. I want to help others, I want to make the world a better place, I want to fund charities, I want to be able to pay good
    teachers so they can go and teach in not-so-good neighbors or something along those lines (I actually wanted to be a teacher just to do that, and to help identify kids with depression, social anxiety or even other gifted children and use my influence as an authority figure to give them the help they need).

    But I, right now, need help.

    Everyone here seems so knowledgeable about giftedness (Am I the only one that believes that the name for this should change? It kinda sounds elitist and it’s more of a curse, really, not a gift). Everyone here seems to know what they are talking about, so, please, help?

    Seeing as I’m not being specific on what I want help, it’s the following:

    -My school is one of the best schools in my country and there’s no chance of me changing schools, yet still I get bored: What do I do to not get bored that easily? Any tips on how to enjoy or tolerate class? (the teachers are awesome and kind, mind you, but I still get bored and can’t stand it. I hope this doesn’t come off as bratty)

    -I still have these panic attacks (mainly, what I call the “first part” where my chest starts to hurt and I get anxious and really snappy) Is there anyway to stop these? Or making them easier to handle when I’m in public?

    -Homework is the worst, I don’t like any type of homework. But it’s highschool, and I have to do it. How do I push past this feeling of complete apathy and actually do it? Any strategies or tips?

    -How do I go to school? Like, without feeling so much dread and without the need to scream and/or cry?

    -How do I control my interests? People tell me I’m way too intense and should, basically, shut up. How do I do it?

    -Should I really mold to my education system? Should I wait patiently another three years before I can go to college? Is college really the heaven of freedom and friends I have been promised?

    Honestly, if you’ve read until this part and seriously consider answering, thanks! I really appreciate it!

    And to all the moms and dads of these gifted children, I hope you and your child/children make through it, it’s tough, but I’ve heard (read) it’s worth it.

    PS: I’m sorry if this seems egocentric, I really don’t want it to come off that way.
    PSS:By the way, please do comment nicely if you see any errors in my wording or a misuse of a word, it helps a lot, I’m honestly trying to improve! (and it’s like 2:25 A.m, I really should go to sleep. Thank God I don’t have classes tomorrow)

    • By the way, thanks for the article! It gave me courage to talk about my situation, as I saw that the I wasn’t alone in this struggle, especially on how well you described the various obstacles.

      I’m so sorry about the fact that I wrote three comments that could all have been resumed into one. I really need to find the editing button, if there is one.

    • Hi Ara,

      Thank you for writing. Your concerns are the same concerns many gifted teens have!

      First, I’m not a psychologist or a therapist of any sort–I write about my experiences with giftedness, so anything I offer you is for informational purposes only. Also, I am most familiar with resources, education, and the perception of giftedness in the U.S.–I have no knowledge of these things where you live. But, you are very astute and you understand yourself and your needs very well which is already a huge step in helping yourself.

      I know when my family was in the most emotional and painful part of our children’s journey as a gifted child, writing helped me cope with the pain, the anxiety and the anger–the anger at my children’s schools for refusing to understand them or help them. Writing about your experiences, whether as a book to be published, an article, or your own blog, can be helpful to you and a great help to others–you did say you wanted to help others.This might be a good chance to help other gifted kids. Writing certainly helped me, and to my surprise, it helped others. My anger gradually subsided which was a good thing because I really wanted to go give a few teachers a strong tongue-lashing! Maybe think about starting a blog which may help you, can most likely help others, and can pass your time when you are bored in school. Hey, it can even improve your writing skills! 🙂

      If you feel really hopeless or helpless, you should really try explaining your feelings to your parents again–don’t give up. Maybe together, you can come up with some good coping mechanisms or fun distractions or challenging projects to do at home.

      Lastly, learn as much as you can about giftedness but keep in mind, just like all humans are different, all gifted people are different, too. One person’s experience won’t be exactly like another’s.

      I can’t answer all of your questions because I am not qualified to and I don’t know your situation well enough. What I do know is you are one smart, intuitive young lady and I’m pretty sure you will get this all figured out for yourself.

      Please check back and let us know how you are doing!

      P.S. I edited your comment for you. Mistakes drive me batty so I understand your concern for correcting your mistake! Good for you!

      Take care, Ara! Hang in there!

      • Thanks a lot! (For responding and editing, it really helps)
        Writing has always been a passion of mine and perhaps I could really use it for good this time, not only for my entertainment.
        The fact that you actually answered warms my heart a lot, and I will follow the tips you gave me as much as I can, so thanks again.
        I wish you the best luck in everything, especially concerning educators and the education system in general, you seem like a really nice and dedicated person, I admire that. I wish your kids the best luck, and if it means anything, tell them that there are many people out there that believe they are special, wonderful and want to be their friend, and that they’ll find these persons in life, eventually.
        Thanks for everything again, I really REALLY appreciate it.

        • Ara,

          You are so sweet, Ara! I hope you remember all those things too–“there are many people out there that believe they are special, wonderful and want to be their friend, and that they’ll find these persons in life, eventually.” You’ve got a wonderful life ahead of you and it seems to me you are already working on making your life what you need it to be!

          All the best to you, Ara! You are such a ray of sunshine!

    • Ara,

      I am not a therapist, psychologist, nor psychiatrist, but I do have a background in psychology and am the mother of a gifted son. Before my sons giftedness was recognized, he suffered from severe anxiety and depression. If you are able, you should try so see a psychological medical professional. We only used medication as a last resort, but it has helped reduce his anxiety tremendously. In addition to medication, we incorporate exercise into his daily schedule as it releases chemicals in your body to help fight depression and reduce anxiety. Good eating habits also assist balancing chemicals and hormones in your body, aiding with anxiety reduction.

      Don’t be less intense. It’s a part of who you are. Learn how to use it to your advantage. I harness energy from topics I feel intensely about, and funnel my passionate feelings into being productive. I use my husband as my “handler” in group meetings. I like chocolate, so he will hand me a Twix bar when I should try to keep my mouth shut (from the commercials “chew it over with a Twix”).

      My son hates homework too. 1. Keep in mind when doing homework your focus is not learning its content, but to learn to do a task when told. That is a skill you will need throughout life. 2. We allow our son to entertain himself doing homework by answering questions in a manner that exacerbates loopholes and boundaries. In doing so, we attempt to teach him what the original intent was, what expectations likely imply, and the importance of wording.

      I know you have many more questions. But hopefully this helps with a couple of them. Obviously you are striving to better yourself and your education, and in doing so you will achieve both goals.

      Best of luck to you!

      • Carrie,

        First of all, thank you so much for answering!

        Also, special thanks for the homework advice. Especially the second part, I did it and found it very entertaining! (I kinda did it alone at first, but my dad joined later on).

        I loved the idea of the Twix and found it very amusing. I’ll try to figure out a similar system, or perhaps I’ll just use chocolate or something like that. Considering I love to eat, it will probably the second option.

        I will go to a psychologist in the near future (read: next week), hopefully that goes well.

        The idea of harnessing the energy of my intensity sounds very interesting, I’ll be sure to try it as soon as I can.

        Thanks a lot for answering! Your ideas were very original.

        Have a great day!

  4. My child is not nearly as gifted as your children, but she feels and understands emotions way beyond her years. She has had serious angst about being adopted because she ‘doesn’t really belong if she doesn’t look like’ us and ‘does she really belong anywhere if her birth mom gave her away’. She was five and cried daily because she has brown eyes, and we all have blue. It broke my heart. I spent a week helping her have a different perspective, but the depth of her hurting emotions were so much more than I thought a 5 yo would be able to process. She started reading at 2 1/2, but I worried about people thinking I had pushed her, so I didn’t encourage it too much. She now reads just a few grade levels ahead, but has the ability to read words most kids her age don’t even use fluidly. She just finished kindergarten and told me the other day that she was being facetious asking for ketchup on her waffle. She never quite fits in because of her sensitivities and her emotions often overwhelm her. We homeschool so that I can help her learn to get a handle on them and teach to her skills instead of one grade level. She isn’t the smartest or most gifted kid even in our little co-op, but there is something about the way she processes and sees the world that shows a depth of discernment and human awareness. And she doesn’t make friends easily, and always notices when she is left out. But seems to have either sensitivities or ADHD that also makes her look flighty, but she wants to know everything about everything and never stops thinking or processing – ever. Sometimes she stops talking when she sleeps (sometimes), so I understand some of what you have faced, but I have a long way to go and may yet still face public school for her and fighting for gifted programs. I guess I just want to say, I understand, I hurt for you and your kids, and hope our kids will change the world someday. I’m pretty sure they won’t be able to help it!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Your daughter seems to be a such a sweet and beautiful soul!

      I’ll have to disagree with you about your child not being as gifted as others because giftedness does not equal smart. Being gifted or intellectually advanced should not be measured by school standards–grades, performance and test scores. Many children are emotionally gifted, wise beyond their years, and that is one area in which a child can be gifted. Being smart can take on many behaviors and exhibit in many way, but school performance is rarely a good measure of giftedness.

      All the best with your precious little girl. What a sensitive little sweetheart she must be!

  5. My son has been through four schools, and refuses to make friends, because he thinks he’ll have to move again. The school refuses to treat his giftedness and treats him just like an extreme autistic problem. He isn’t autistic, he just never learned how to deal with normal people.

    When my daughter was born, the first thing she did was give everyone a BIG social grin, as if to say “Hi, everyone, trouble has arrived!” She is now a year old, wearing purses and “helping me cook” as she surpasses normal social milestones. Knowing that some of her giftedness is social makes me afraid that she’s going to suffer silently, the most dangerous way to suffer for a gifted child. I speak from experience.

    • Mrs. L,

      I know it wasn’t easy to share your story with us because when our children hurt, we hurt. And you are spot on, “Knowing that some of her giftedness is social makes me afraid that she’s going to suffer silently, the most dangerous way to suffer for a gifted child.”

      I wish you and your precious children all the best. You are way ahead of the game though because you understand the struggles giftedness can yield and you are going in with your eyes open.

      Thanks, Ms. L!

  6. My son’s last year in public school (2nd grade), his teacher emailed me that he was sent to the principal’s office for “excessive happiness”. Five years later, we are still called in annually for staff meetings because our son “remains a mystery”, even though we had him exhaustively tested in and the and the evaluators compiled pages of explanations of his test results, his learning needs and suggestions for how to meet them.

    Thank you, Celia, for this poignant, honest and courageous post. It is always comforting to know we are not alone.

    • Sarah, you are not alone, not at all. At one time, just about 4 years ago, I thought my youngest had to be the only child in the world who was so brilliant, but was not thriving in public school–that was not the gifted I had heard about! Now, I hear day after day, year after year, stories just like mine and yours.

      Except, your story has a first for me–sent to the office for excessive happiness–oh my, really? What was that school thinking? I just had to giggle at that! And gifted kids really are a mystery to many teachers because many teachers only believe that gifted kids are the ones who excel in school and have exemplary behavior (not excessive happiness).

      Thank you for your sweet words, Sarah!

  7. in good time I discovered your blog. For the first time I felt that I’m not alone. My son is 9 years old and is gifted and walk the tight heart and with a fury to society that does not accept difference. We have a socieade whatever robot masquerading as people and we must all think and act the same way. There is envy, bullying by children, teachers, educators and other parents towards gifted children.
    Sometimes it seems that it is a crime to be gifted. Now IF intervenes in class (as it did in the beginning) is “condemned” as exuberant and flamboyant, IF does not intervene is “condemned” as arrogant and uncooperative with colleagues and without socias skills.
    being a mother of a gifted child is a lonely challenge.
    Your post is a chilling true description I identify myself totally. Already moved to high school, we try new sports and continue the fight …
    and aindatenho to fight with his father’s position which argues that it is I who complicate …
    Congratulations for your blog I’ll be back.
    I am Portuguese and my English is weak, the excuses my if I do not understand well.

    • Eduarda,

      Yes, it is difficult to be the mom of a gifted child who has been misunderstood and at times, mistreated. I’m so sorry, as I always am, to hear how hard it has been for you and your son. “Sometimes it seems that it is a crime to be gifted” is unfortunately a real feeling for many of us.

      I wish for you and your son all the best, and I am so happy you found us and see that you are not alone!

      Thank you, Eduarda!

  8. While this beautifully written article made me believably sad, I selfishly take solace that I am not alone, and neither is my fantastic pink Aspie. This road can be very hard, especially when my girl knows she’s different but doesn’t know why it when her school looks at her IQ and can’t understand why her grades don’t reflect this. Thank you for sharing – we are not alone in this.

    • Deborah,

      There are so many of us who share your sadness and your journey. It is SO difficult for most people to understand that IQ and grades in school are not a direct correlation. They believe high IQ equals smart, and smart equals good grades. It just doesn’t work out that way. We are here for you, Deborah <3

  9. I think that one thing we can remember to help our gifted children fit in better is to teach our children humility. All children are gifted in one form or another, and I’ve found that when we talk to our children too much about their “giftedness”, they are not mature enough to process this, and sometimes bring some of the resentment from others which you speak of on themselves. I’ve also learned that too much disruption and change can cause our gifted children to become socially insecure, again causing other less kind children to prey upon them. In general, I’ve found that as the years go by, the more I treat my gifted child like a normal child, without dwelling on their giftedness, the better they fit in.

    • All children are autistic in one form or another, and I’ve found that when we talk to our children too much about their “autism”, they are not mature enough to process this, and sometimes bring some of the resentment from others which you speak of on themselves.

      No? That’s co-opting a medical diagnosis for some other ‘feel good’ purpose? And victim blaming besides?

      Why yes, Connie, it is. Not all children are gifted. And it is NEVER cool to blame the victim.

      • Care, just a point of logic; Saying “All children are autistic in one form or another,” is like saying “All children are 6’10” in one form or another.” That simply can’t be true; some children are autistic, but most are not, just as most people are not 6’10” in one form or another.
        I hear people saying the same thing about giftedness, that all children are gifted in one form or another. It’s a lovely sentiment, but logically impossible, as you suggest.
        Would we say, “all people are midgets in one form or another;” or how about “everyone is as rich financially as Bill Gates, in one form or another”.
        Sure, everyone has blind spots, moments of obsession and compulsiveness, but that does not make “everyone” OCD.
        OCD is the more extreme form of normal people’s obsessions or compulsions. It’s normal behaviour, in other words, taken to an extreme. The same can be said of depression; everyone gets “the blues” every once in a while. But when it becomes severe, it becomes a psychiatric diagnosis, and is no longer in the realm of “normal” behaviour.
        So sure, many children can and will have autism “moments”, but only if it is seen to be a life-long pattern, and one that causes emotional or cognitive dysfunction, can they said to be “autistic”; they have to meet diagnostic criteria much stronger than everyday “moments”.
        Sorry if I come across as critical; I agree with the vast majority of everything else you wrote, specifically “Not all children are gifted. And it is NEVER cool to blame the victim”. You got that nailed. I hope I haven’t offended you otherwise.

        • Pssh, no, John. I couldn’t remember if I could HTML here, and I didn’t want to use quotes for the piece I mildly edited from Connie’s post, so it was left open for some confusion. The whole first paragraph was ganked wholesale from Connie’s post above (switching out her gifted/giftedness for autism/autistic). The remainder of the post is my own thoughts. ^_^

  10. I’ve felt anxious when the swimming pool changing room after toddler swim group fell dead silent. He had been squirming impatiently at me dressing him, until he noticed the sign that showering was mandatory. Then he loudly started calling out the letters. None of the other mothers said a word to me there ever since.

    I’ve felt appalled (sp?) at my father in law calling my 1 year old “dumb” when he was unable to answer questions no schoolchild could answer. And painfully reminded of all the times he tried to bring my husband down a notch when he seemed ‘too smart’.

    I’ve felt endeared when my 21 month old found a 6 year old girl with whom he could share his hobby of writing out sums and lines of numbers. I’ve felt a bit shaky noticing that she (accelerated a year at school, gifted child) made some mistakes that my son never made anymore.

    I’ve felt too weary of jealous remarks to let my 20 month old give his grandma the drawing he made for her as a birthday present. It was her name written several times in rainbow colours.

    I’ve felt deeply hurt at accusations of pushing him. And more so at the insinuations from those too cowardly to downright say it.

    I’ve felt exasperated at my mother in law saying homeschooling would make my son an unsocial loser and that kids were better off playing outside. She informed us that even our countrys princesses go to a regular school. She considers the claim to giftedness arrogance and the search for proper education just wanting special treatment. Mind you, she was the one who made a video of our son speaking his first complete sentence at 10 months, after which he runs off and kicks his ball a couple of times.

    I’ve felt uncomfortable when a friend who found out my son was reading asked me how to teach her kid to read. I’ve felt hurt when after they failed to make theirs read, too, they claimed that I had pushed him too hard and stopped calling.

    I’ve thought to myself “oh please let him not start reading” when I met other mums that I had a pleasant chat with. I’ve felt my heart sink when he did. I’ve felt helpless as my son turned from potential playdate to freak in their eyes.

    I’ve felt downright fear and awe and wondered how I could ever raise such a child, several times when he made new leaps in his development.

    I’ve felt deep deep love for this sweet boy who seems to want nothing more than to please everyone. I’m worried for him, for his future.

    I’ve felt a profound fear when I considered the option of him ever becoming evil or hateful. The damage he could do with a mind like that… I’ve wondered how to reply when me 20 month old said that mommy and daddy lie too, and lying gets you what you want.

    I’m glad my boy is so much stronger and taller than his age peers. I’m glad his father is a national martial arts champion. I’m worried he will need to defend himself more than others.

    I’ve felt grateful for the few people who just love him and cheer at whatever he does – be it slinging yoghurt around the room or correcting them when they try to identify a plant when we walj through the park.

    I feel 100% sure that my son is gifted, despite (as someone else posted before me) his being too young to even test.

    It felt good to get these things off my chest. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Thank you, Stefanie, for adding your experiences to this post. I’m so happy that it made you feel better getting these off your chest! It is not any easy journey raising gifted children–exciting, joyful, but also painful and fearful. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

  11. Thank you for writing this! It is so refreshing to know that the struggle (for me) is real and shared by other moms. My son is only 3, but I have been in agony over how to properly educate him. His father and I constantly argue over how much money I spend on things for him to play with, learn with, read etc. Even his dad asks why we can’t send him to a normal preschool instead of a private school with a gifted early ed program. It makes me want to pound my head in the wall. He doesn’t remotely understand the harm in putting a child, who can read, add, subtract, use a map, identify and explain the differences of 50 different dinosaurs, etc., in a classroom where kids are learning sounds of a letter.

    As a mother, I always find myself in social situations carefully thinking about how to speak to other moms without sounding arrogant or crazy. What is he right thing to say when a mom at the playground says, “How old is he? . . . I thought he was 5 or 6,” or, “He talks well.” Do I say, “He is gifted.”? I constantly feel like moms are comparing their child to mine and I never know how to tell them not to.

    I’m just glad I found your article and other moms who understand.

    • Mindy, I’m glad you found all of us, too! There are many of us moms of gifted kids out there who have the same struggles you do, more than you think, but like you, many of us didn’t know how to bring up the subject of giftedness, so we didn’t. Here, you can.

      Yes, the right education is critical. The last thing you want is for your son to start believing that learning is boring or aggravating. Maintaining his love of learning and helping him to become a lifelong learner is important.

      Make sure you find Crushing Tall Poppies Facebook page–we do a lot of sharing, talking and complaining there, too 🙂

  12. Thank you for sharing! I do feel better after reading it! Here are my two cents:

    I could feel my child’s pain when he said “I had to cover my ears, I could’t listen to that teacher anymore it was so boring”

    My heart was broken when my son came from school and asked “Mom, why I am being treated like a shit?”

  13. YES!! To ALL of this!!! Even down to the child who stopped napping at 18 months….& he also didn’t sleep through the night until he was 24 months old (boy, was that a LONG 6 months!). Ended up homeschooling my eldest because there was no way for public school to meet his needs beyond elementary (we do have an awesome gifted program in the elementary, but they completely drop the ball beyond that). He graduated a year and a half early & will be finished with higher ed by the time his peers start their higher ed. My youngest is he long push boundaries for others to follow—she is willing to step out & question & help in the fight for what she needs and has stayed in public school (she has several friends just like her with similar gifted needs, which unfortunately my son did not have). We will see if it continues. She will be in 8th grade in the fall, being allowed to take Honors Algebra II and Spanish II at the high school. She is also on track to graduate early. It has been 11 years of fighting the system & we’re not done yet. I’m hopeful that the more we push & fight, the less the ones comimg up behind will have to push & fight & maybe one day other parents won’t have the frustrations & tears we’ve had to experience. Thank you so much for this article!!

    • Thank you, Vicki, for pushing and fighting and making the path easier for the gifted children who will follow. We need more parents like you who are willing to forge the way despite the obstacles!

      Thank you also for sharing your story and giving us all hope and inspiration!

  14. I read this article last night and can’t stop thinking about it. So many of the comments resonated with me. I never identitified myself as gifted until I went to a SENG workshop on intensity with gifted children. They might as well have been talking to me. So many things made sense after discovering that nugget of information.

    My 7 year old’s hyper intensity, energy and non-stop intellectual curiosity is challenging , to say the least, at times. He’s very social but not socially aware. He’s our only child because we realized very early on “what if he is the CALM one?”
    The weight of making sure his needs (social, emotional and intellectual) are met is exhausting and terrifying. My only goal in life is to make sure this treasure of a mind reaches its full potential and at times I don’t know how to go about it sometimes.

    Although he’s in the gifted program at school, he’s bored in the mainstream classroom and exhibits all the classic signs. He’s gotten in trouble for correcting his teacher, defiance for refusing to do yet another worksheet and having a hard time siting still. He cries and says if second grade is like this he wants to change schools. We live in the best school district in Texas and I feel they are failing my child. No Child Left Behind should include ALL children – the lowest and the highest but it doesn’t.

    Because of his off-the charts math ability, he was placed in a ‘special math program’ at school. Come to find out, it’s all word problem worksheets. I’m trying to form a plan for next year with the school but have no clue where to begin. Any advice/insight on steps to take with the school would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much for this page and your knowledge and insight. This parenting can be such a lonely ride since our kiddos don’t have outwardly physical characteristics identifying them as gifted.
    Are there any Facebook support group pages for parents like us? I am definitely going to check out all the resources you have listed.

    • Amy,

      Oh yeah, raising and educating gifted children is not at all what others think it is. It is tough trying to get a school to provide your gifted child an appropriate education! And at home you deal with the emotional intensities.

      Correcting the teacher–that is a classic gifted child behavior, but one teachers still don’t understand. Yes, our kids need to be respectful too, but why can’t a teacher accept being corrected when she’s made a mistake?

      Facebook is FULL of gifted support groups. Just do a search. Some public and some you ask to join. Add keywords for your area and age group, too, and you may find local support which is always good. A parent who has had experience within your school district could offer you tremendous help!

      And you can always post your questions and concerns on the Crushing Tall Poppies Facebook page!

      If you need anymore support, Amy, just let me know!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and a bit of your story!

  15. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your endless effort advocating for our babies, no matter the age! My heart completely sank and the biggest knot in my throat hurt when my 5 year old asked me how old he’d be when I die. He was so panicked that he wouldn’t be able to find me in heaven. He had tears in his he eyes! He was 5! At 7 he said, “mommy no one understands me. Not even adults.” He is still 7 and suffers from severe anxiety and intense emotions. He told his psychologist, “I just want to be a ‘normal’ kid!” As his mommy I feel guilty that I’ve said I’d trade his high intelligence and gifted characteristics for average, calmness, and bravery. Heart hurting! He feels so deeply and wants to be in control of his intensities, he can have out of control outbursts. I’ve had comments such as “He’s so complex but off the charts smart. He should know better.” And “He just needs to be disciplined and he needs to conform.” It’s been a lonely- hard journey! Though he qualified for gifted services this year in first grade, my family faces the decision of finding him a more appropriate/non traditional setting as he’s a non traditional learner! I’m so happy I found you and other advocates to help me, him, my entire family along the way! Thank you again!!!!

    • I’m so happy you found all of us, too. And you know you are not alone and there are many places and people to turn to when you need help or advice. It is a often a struggle to raise gifted children and you do need people who understand that for support. We are all here for you, Yomaida!

      Thank you for sharing some of your story here with us!

  16. I too cry a lot for the school punishment over my son for his misbehaving in school, talking too much, asking interesting question which seen as challenging the teacher, correcting teachers, not paying attention, can not sit still, running all over the place in school….. I was not aware of anything about giftedness until when I brought up the challenges in school with friends trying to get some idea what’s going on with my son, is he really having ADHD as mentioned by teachers? one of them who is a doctor said my son could be too bored in school, which then triggered me thinking if he really is… I then Googled and found your blog. Everyone around me said my son is an alien, never seen this kind of kid, ever since he was a baby he sleep less – i had very very few hour sleep for many years…Thank goodness i found your article, u all made me feel that I am not alone… I had not seen any psychiatrist on giftedness for any assessment if he indeed a gifted child but he has a lot of traits of a gifted child. I am hoping to know more of coping skills. Very challenging… sigh… very upset to the teacher for putting my son in the wall next to the white board. I am so glad to know that there are parents raising up the same type of kid like mine. I still remember the headmistress said I am very unfortunate to have this smart son.

    • Saying your son is an alien? That is horrible! Jan, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience. I’m glad you found us all here, too. Keep in touch and let us know how your journey is going!

  17. My husband and I have had to fight for at least one of our three gifted children every single year at school, to get them what they needed. Or at least the best option available at the time, which was very often lacking.
    My daughter is graduating this year and going to art school this fall. We had a “gifted teacher” tell us in 2nd grade that we should consider medicating her, because she couldn’t focus on the packets of worksheets she was giving her (And all the other gifted kids in every grade to 5th.) That teacher also told me I was “too good of a mother” because my 7 year old preferred to discuss what she was doing with the teacher to working independently.
    She would come home crying in 5th grade because her teacher yelled, but other students never heard yelling, she just had a loud voice.
    I was told I was pushing her when I moved her to another middle school so she could take Algebra in 7th grade even though that was the first time in school she was challenged enough to learn any kind of work habits or study skills. I was also called a “traitor” for moving her to that school in a different town, and her friends from here didn’t talk to her when in public.
    I helped fight to get Advanced Academics classes in all schools in all grade levels and the IB Programme at the High School, thinking that would help, and it has, but it is still vilified and watered down constantly.
    My youngest, the brightest, was placed in a behavioral program in his first year at school, because his teacher couldn’t handle his questions, involvement and sense of humor, and could not keep him engaged; she insisted he point to each word in the 1st grade reading lesson even though he could read on a 4th grade level.
    I feel like I’m failing him because he is failing to fit in at school. He is a “gifted underachiever” and it is a constant struggle to keep him engaged at school and keep him from failing his classes. Everyone just says “we know you’re smart enough, you just have to do the work.” He is super social and had loads of friends, but none he really connects with. His smart friends are all straight A, super involved which he is not, and his average friends he can’t really be himself with.
    I feel like I’ve tried everything to help him be successful except drugs, which some of my friends with highly gifted kids have resorted to. (To help them focus. ) We refuse.
    I cry a lot about this.

    • Stephanie,

      Having so many moms share their stories about the struggles of gifted children is providing the strongest anecdotal evidence that school is what is causing trouble for our gifted children. Packets of worksheets for gifted kids? Forced to point to each word during reading? I’m so sorry, Stephanie.

      As moms of gifted kids, we all understand and sadly, have had many of the same struggles and all of the guilt. But, you are one super mamma! Your children are so lucky to have you fighting on their side. And you are giving them the best lesson of their life–how to stand up for what you believe in!

      So honored you shared your story with us! Keep fighting, Stephanie!

  18. We homeschool so I’m not reminded so often of my children’s differences. However now they are both teenagers, I recognise that more and more I am apologising for or making excuses for my children when they are more emotional or anxious than the average kid their age. I wonder if we are seen as drama queens or if I am looked at like a pushy parent – and so I make excuses – oh, they are tired or she has hormones or whatever. In fact they are just being their normal selves – reacting to the world around them. Instead of appreciating them and supporting them when they need it, I’m desperately thinking how I can get them over it so others don’t notice so much. Both my kids think more than the average child – the majority just don’t get that. I love my kids and I am so proud to be their mum. I must remember that their anxieties, their emotional responses are their own and as such must be appreciated and accepted.

    • Rebecca,

      Yes, the apologizing for their behavior, making excuses–I think so many of us moms have done this because there are too many judgmental moms out there. We shouldn’t have to feel this way!

      You made one very interesting point: 1. “We homeschool so I’m not reminded so often of my children’s differences.” Traditional school seems to be the bane of every gifted child’s existence. So many of the stories other moms have shared are about the significant struggles gifted children have had with teachers and in school. Homeschooling definitely reduces the struggles gifted children can encounter.

      I wish more people were accepting of differences in all of us, but especially in children. You have wonderful children, Rebecca, and I know they are lucky to have you for their mom! Thank you for sharing your story, Mom!

  19. I’ve had tears in my eyes when been told ‘why do they call it being gifted when it is anything BUT a gift’

  20. I am a mom of a gifted child who didn’t know it at the time (when she was in 2nd grade) and we’re seeing a phycologist who was not trained to treat gifted children, treated her for anger management instead and subsequent sessions for “school phobia”. When the session ended, it was time for her to go to school. She kicked and screamed and said she didn’t want to go to school. The councilor and my husband worked with her while I sat in her office (I knew what was coming and knew I could not do it alone) to calm her down. Once calmed, I took her to school. She unbuckled her seat belt and began to pull on my hair and head with anger that she didn’t want to go to school. I had to call my husband to meet us at the school so he could physically remove her from the car. I went in the school to let them know what was coming their way while tears were pouring down my cheeks. I left the building crying leaving my child behind. Years later after seeing patterns and talking to people about what was going on behind closed doors, it was suggested by a friend that we see a gifted phycologist. That was the turning point in our lives. 2 years later after failing to get the school district to meet her needs and striving every day to learn more and help to find balance, we are now sending her to a costly private school. So when I say my child is gifted, it’s no laughing matter.

    I challenge the Today Show to apologize and use this as an opportunity to bring awareness to what it means to be gifted. The more people that know the more that will understand and learn how to help.

    • Amen, Jennifer! Amen! —> “So when I say my child is gifted, it’s no laughing matter.

      I challenge the Today Show to apologize and use this as an opportunity to bring awareness to what it means to be gifted. The more people that know the more that will understand and learn how to help.”

      I have been tweeting at Al Roker, Natalie Morales and the author, Stephanie Wilder-Taylor for two days, some people I know have emailed them, and I wonder if the Today Show is just sitting out the storm and waiting until this all blows over. Shame on them! We need to all keep reminding them that mocking gifted kids is bullying and it is hurtful and it was WRONG!

      It is so sad that I have to admit that many parents of gifted children have had to drop off a crying child at school as though we were throwing them to the wolves. This should not have to happen to children.

      Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your story. It helps all of us moms see we are not alone on this difficult journey!

  21. Thank you for creating this website. I have a couple of comments. I have experienced some of the same things already in my daughter’s young life (6 yrs. old). While we all share anger and angst and sadness; and this helpful and cathartic-we need to focus on solutions. Our kids have amazing brains, undeveloped leadership skills, and social challenges. The challenge before us is how are we going to show other people that these kids have SO much to offer? I have worked for 20 yrs. with special needs kids, and this is the other side of that spectrum. Our kids have special needs too. Does anyone know what works? Is there research about that? Should we be advocates for creating research programs that do?

    • Anne,

      We all need to speak up and raise our voices and become advocates for gifted children. We have huge mountains to move. I’ve been told many times not to bother trying to change the negative attitude towards and miseducation of gifted children because it won’t happen–just give up. Yet, I keep trying and I won’t stop speaking out.

      But, while we are trying to move mountains which won’t move fast enough, there are moms, families and children who are struggling, hurting and feeling very much alone. If we don’t share our stories, how will those just realizing the struggles gifted children face know they are not alone? That they are not freaks? There is much validation and comfort in commiseration. And sometimes sharing the anger and the struggles makes us stronger, more resolved and moves us to advocacy.

      Our kids do have special needs and reading all of the comments on this post proves our gifted kids have special needs which are totally ignored in our schools and by society. This challenge–fighting for the needs of gifted children–has been going on for over 30 years, and probably more.

      But there is also a lot of infighting within the gifted advocacy community–do we fight for more funding for gifted programming? Do we fight to dispel the myths and stereotypes our society believes in? Do we offer gifted families advice on best educational practices to help their gifted child such as encouraging homeschooling? Which angle do we use to best advocate for gifted children.

      Every minute we wait, we are losing our amazing children to depression, suicide, dropping out, jail and drugs. Research shows, proves what happens when we miseducate our gifted children, but there seems to be no single solution to changing the horrible situation our gifted families find themselves in.

      I don’t know the right answer, Anne, so I am trying to advocate and fight from every angle: funding, schools, teacher training, homeschooling and offering a place where other gifted families feel less alone and can vent their frustrations. I think that is all any of us can do, but we have to have many, many loud and continuous voices being heard to move those mountains for our gifted children.

      Anne, thank you for sharing your thoughts and continuing the conversation about the needs of gifted children! <3

  22. Tears burst from eyes at the start of this article thinking of the t-shirts we’ve bought (I too plan to create a quilt) of all the schools, clubs, teams and groups that never worked out. I’m furious at the teachers and principals that all were determined they had the correct diagnosis for my son (ADHD, Aspergers, low spectrum Autism, ODD) who after testing and testing and testing and exams from his pediatrician none was found other than he is highly gifted – but as is common with HG kids he has extreme over sensitivities and excitability, and very asynchronous development; brilliant and yet capable of a temper tantrum that could rival a 4 year old but while in 4th grade. Because I had the test results to back us up, no one could deny he is gifted, but instead of working with him as a gifted kid they wanted to put him in Special Ed and allowed him to play imaginary games with himself instead of doing the work he didn’t want to do, until the games became disruptive to the classroom – then it was my problem of course, which is how I learned they were letting him play when he was supposed to be working on math. He was labeled a bully because of reacting aggressively to those bullying him – I was in the school office or on the phone with the principal (of a gifted school no less) daily for my son’s behavior but never were the kids who teased him and called him names relentlessly called out for their behavior. I even witnessed their cruel behavior but remarkably a teacher or adult at the school never did. I was bullied by the principal and counselor of the school to continue to have my son tested and when I refused and informed them we would homeschool the next school year, they called CPS on us citing egregious claims of abuse to me and my son at the hand of my husband which were blatantly false and the only factual claim in the report was my refusal of further testing. My son hated school beginning in Kindergarten and really in pre-school and often would say he wanted to kill himself and wished he was dead in regards to his school life. The school counselor was of course concerned but couldn’t understand it was school that made him feel that way and had no intentions of doing anything to make his school life better. All I ever got from this school that was intended for gifted kids (really it’s intention is for high achieving kids) was that my kid was not normal for a gifted kid and they kept saying they were members of SENG and so knew all about gifted kids… well guess what SENG says… my kid is absolutely normal for a gifted kid!! So grateful we figured out a way to homeschool – we all have never been happier!! It is still heartbreaking when he says he wants to try the all day enrichment program again, but I know he’s not welcome back and that really he can’t handle the full day of stimulation with such a large number of same age peers (no they can’t/won’t adjust his grade level either), but we take it one day at a time and we have found a few friends in smaller settings and individual classes for his interests. Thank you for your blog and for all the bloggers out there who remind me daily that I am not alone and my son is absolutely normal for who he is. As another commenter said, I am hopeful that the hardest trials of his life will happen while he is still under my roof.

    • Sherea, I’m so, so sorry you and your son have had to go through those horrible experiences. The school’s misidentification of your son shows how uninformed they are, and so wrong! I will never stop being amazed at how painful school experiences are for our gifted children. I could say a lot more here, but my quota for criticizing schools is capped for the day 😉

      I agree, “as another commenter said, I am hopeful that the hardest trials of his life will happen while he is still under my roof.” I loved that sentiment and it is so true.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It helps all of us moms; it validates us and lets us know we are not alone on this difficult journey.

      I sincerely hope you and your son continue to flourish with homeschooling!!

  23. I’ve felt my heart break when I’ve held my sobbing 7 year old, hearing him say “I wish I wasn’t alive any more mummy because there’s nowhere I belong in this world”.

    • Oh I remember having that conversation too Jo! To my heart it still feels like it was yesterday and it was over 5 years ago!

  24. I’m blessed to be able to send my gifted, yet ASD son to a private school where the children are kind. However, they don’t grasp how to fully engage and challenge him. As he got more and more bored, his behavioral “problems” got worse and worse. He is now homeschooled – sort of. He’s still enrolled and I did some school stuff at home. Finally, I put my foot down and said I was going to do things in a way that worked for him and me. He is going to try school again in August, but I just know he will be back at home with me in a few weeks. He’s so much calmer and happier at home. 🙁

    • Becky, I know exactly how you feel. I do. My biggest regret is that I ever sent my youngest to school at all. He was homeschooled through 5th grade with no issues, but he wanted to try school. I now we are back to homeschooling, but he came back home with so much unnecessary emotional pain.

      I wish I could fix these painful situations for all our gifted children and their parents! <3

      Thank you for sharing you thoughts with us mom here!

  25. I never would have guessed another mother would share anxiety and sadness over a t-shirt drawer. How symbolic of all the ways gifted children simply cannot be in the “norm.” I tried to take my 8 year old highly gifted son in a garden center to grab a few plants yesterday–he totally lost it and began screaming and crying. I understand his sensory issues and anxiety and for years have rarely done much outside of his comfort zone. For one of the first times ever he used words during his meltdown that did help me understand more specifically. He said “it freaks me out in there and I get hot and hate it. Mom–If you were me if you felt like I feel then you would understand,” he screamed and cried. So there I sat in the parking lot first mad at his refusal to cooperate and then crying and wishing I could remove this hidden sensory disability from his sweet little self. How can I help my sensitive, smart, kind, witty, big-hearted son through this world of small minds, presumptions, cruelty, and judgment. How must he have felt in a hot crowded over-stimulating school where he was totally misunderstood? Thank heavens homeschooling is a great option in GA. I am so thankful for this gifted-mom village that encourages, empathizes, and props up a tired momma.

    • I’m so sorry, Juliane, for you and your sweet little man–it is rough. Yes, we do have a beautiful and wonderful gifted-mom village, but it would be even better if there weren’t so many “small minds, presumptions, cruelty and judgement.”

      Hugs to you, Juliane! And thanks for leaving you thoughts and sharing your experience for all of us!

  26. Thank you. I cried as I read this. Cried harder the more I read. It’s good to know we’re not alone, because parenting a gifted child can feel awfully lonely most days.

    • I know it is sad to read all that us moms and our gifted children have had to endure, but it does help us to see we are not alone. I used to think I was the only one who had the only outliers–like, “what is wrong with my kid?” Now, it is validating to see I’m not alone, but these terrible experiences need to change. We need to keep speaking out.

      Thank you for letting me know this post helped you, and I’m even more grateful that you see you are not alone!

  27. This post couldn’t have better timing. A new article was posted about a child who was graduating from college with 3 degrees at the age of 11. So many of the comments were about the parents not letting the child “socialize.” Angry, but knowing I couldn’t coherently reply at that moment, I kept scrolling, only to find this just a few posts down. After reading it, I scrolled back up, and my comment on the story was a link to this post. Thank you for your perfect timing!

    • OOooo, I need to go check out that article. I saw it, thought, “good for him!”, but didn’t read it. Now I will!

      Thank you, Jennifer 🙂

  28. I’ve walked into a parent-teacher conference to be greeted with “Your son is cheating! I can’t do those problems in my head, so there’s no WAY he can either!”…

    I’ve wondered (and then wanted to kick myself) what it would be like to have a “normal” kid, instead of four outliers with anxiety, sleep issues, noise and texture and taste sensitivities, most of whom can not fit into a classroom….

    I’ve spent years dreading August because school is so damn stressful for all of us….

    Then gotten to spend one glorious August looking forward to continuing to homeschool!!!

    Now I get to dread August again, because my kids want to try returning to school because “maybe it will be better this time”, in spite of all odds (and because they don’t want to feel “different” because they are homeschooled while their friends all go to school)…

    I’ve dealt with a mother-in-law who told me straight out that she didn’t like my oldest son (yes, her own grandson) because he was too busy and intense (at age 3)…

    I’ve had a child who quit napping at age 18 months, and spent the 15 straight hours a day that he was awake asking “why”, “what if…”, “how come…” , when he wasn’t my only child…

    But I have four intense, incredibly intelligent, independent kids that (if I can help them survive until adulthood) have the ingredients to be wonderfully successful people…. and I love them all!

    • Becky, thank you so very much for adding your sentiments with our moms here.

      It really makes me sad that every mom who has added her sentiments has had terrible issues with schools and teachers. Cheating? Because she can’t do the problem in her head? Gah!

      “But I have four intense, incredibly intelligent, independent kids that (if I can help them survive until adulthood) have the ingredients to be wonderfully successful people…. and I love them all!” <---And that is the key--love!

  29. I’ve cried alongside my son when he told me he’d done everything I told him to do (in regards to being bullied on the bus because he had trouble understanding that Middle School kids didn’t want to socialize with a 1st grader) and he still continued to be the victim of their actions.

    I’ve held him tight when he would say, “Mom, no one gets me.”

    I’ve sat dumbfounded as a teacher’s first words at a conference was, “that boy’s mouth…” And then could give no examples or real reasons for the statement.

    I watched a boy who barely ever cried, come home the second day of 6th grade in tears because he had his first of many days of experiencing the worst kind of emotional bully–an adult teacher bully.

    But…
    I’ve had the JOY of him finally finding “his people”,
    Having several teachers who celebrated and encouraged his quirkiness and thought process
    Discovering the activities he loves and setting aside those he didn’t
    Feeling like everything is going to be OK, and maybe, just maybe, I didn’t screw him up too badly on those days that I yelled when I shouldn’t have out of frustration, or
    second-guessed myself wondering if he was really just “pulling the wool over my eyes”
    Thanks for this wonderful article! It took 13 years to finally figure out we weren’t alone on this journey!
    Now on to high school…

    • Thank you, Tracey!

      Thank you for adding to this conversation of us moms of gifted children.

      I keep saying that although I have personally seen the worst of what can happen to a child because of his giftedness, I am always amazed and shocked by the shear pain our kids go through simply because they are gifted. And being bullied by a teacher is one of the most common, but most devastating. I’m sorry your son had to go through that and I know firsthand how heartbreaking it is.

      Thanks, Tracey <3

  30. Thank you for the great article. My son is only two and a half years old and I have already had problems with preschool and society. Allow me to make myself clearer: he’s still too young to be “officially recognized as a gifted child”, but we, moms of gifted children, know they are different from a very young age. I’m gifted myself, so he’s very likely to be like me. Besides all the advanced cognitive accomplishments, which are far ahead his age peers, he’s also extremely sensitive. As a gifted person, I truly know what it feels like going through all those emotional struggles gifted people normally go through. I’m now also a psychologist, which has helped me search and better understand it all. Even in the Psychology field, many still have no clue to what giftedness is all about. I suffered as a child and, at that time, very little or nothing was known about giftedness, so I never had the support I needed. I have always had many emotional struggles and I’m learning to accept myself and live a happier – though lonelier – life only now, at 37. I’ve got one friend. I’m happy enough about that. Finding out about my giftedness was an enormous relief and I could experience this feeling of belonging for the first time in my life. Knowing about giftedness can help the gifted children unbelievably. I wish I had had this luck, but it’s never too late! Now, I’ve been going through the same experience, but from a new angle, with my gifted toddler. He’s started going to preschool because he was desperate to see the world out there. Though the school principal was kind and understanding and – even without knowing about giftedness (I gave her clues to see if she could grasp that by herself, but I didn’t feel safe to tell her, as you may know), tried to support him – I can’t say the same about his preschool teacher, who’s got all those horrible misconceptions about giftedness. I never told her my son is gifted. The day I started telling her something about his idiosyncrasies, she interrupted me with this phrase: “Oh, you are not one of those people who want their children to be gifted, are you?” and she didn’t believe me when I said he knew all the colors already. At that moment, I thought about walking away and looking for a new school, but my son had been going through the adaptation process for a month already and he really liked the coordinator, who told me she’d always be around. Also, his teacher would be with him for just a year and then another person will come take her place. He’s still very young and I thought maybe he wouldn’t feel too anxious about all that yet… but gifted children are incredibly sensitive and the other people’s rudeness is always a problem, no matter how old they are. He’s been attending this preschool for 4 months now. In the first 2 months, he was excited about that because there were many new things to see and do, but now he has already started to refuse to participate in certain things and has shown frustration as his peers don’t even talk to him yet, while he’s telling stories already. It’s incredible how blind and misinformed people in our society can be as they see how different he is and insist in making him fit the mainstream norms. By now, while he’s still too young, he’s “kind of” accepting that (not quite, as he’s very opinionated – as you may know), let’s see 3 to 5 years from now. I shiver with this worry, also because I know deeply the hell traditional school can be. I’m really sorry about the long comment, but you all know how hard it is talking about such a complex topic in just a few words. Finally, I’d like to say you – moms of gifted children – are doing a great job already just by recognizing and accepting they are different, and helping them see this is who they are, and that there’s beauty in it and that this is the price to pay when you mind flies far ahead in a society that is accustomed to living inside a dark bottle that offers a very narrow and shallow view of the world. Having one person who understands us and helps us see we don’t have a problem, but a gift, is enough for making us feel a lot happier and fulfilled, specially in adulthood.
    (PS: I’m really sorry about any language mistake, but English isn’t my mother tongue. I’m from Brazil. 🙂

    • Audrey,

      Your comment is beautiful, touching and sadly so familiar.

      It is a shame that at such a young age, your son is already feeling the squeeze of school and society–the pounding of our precious little square pegs into the round holes they won’t ever fit in.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with all of us moms of gifted children! <3

      • Thank YOU for reading me!
        Thank you for caring this much and for providing us all with such a wonderful opportunity to learn & share.

        • Oh, absolutely, Audrey! That is why I do what I do–for parents like you. I’ve been there and I’m still in the trenches. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t share what I know, help others to understand, offer support and advocate for all gifted children!

          Thank you for reading and please keep in touch!<3

  31. Oh, Celi, thank you. This is beautiful.

    For my part, I’ve been proud of my three year old deciding to invent hearts that would never stop so his mama would never lose another friend too young to a heart attack… before I knew that my three year old “shouldn’t” ask questions of sufficient depth to understand a heart attack, nor should he understand the concept of “death” enough to know he never wanted me to deal with it again.

    I’ve held my six year old as he sobbed in my arms because we would all die one day, his Hammie and Buppa first, and then he would be all alone. I’ve had to explain our contingency plans for his care so that he could sleep without fear that if we died in the night, he would be left all alone. That same night, I got to tackle the notion of whether or not God is real, and that my son would indeed die someday.

    I’ve had to deal with family members who don’t understand that my son needs to understand – he will not blindly obey. This has left him the target of anger and abuse.

    I’ve pulled my child from a playplace because the other kids somehow knew he was different from them – which left my son punched in the face, twice, and then knocked to the ground and jumped on. These were four year olds. My son thought he was being punished for their bullying him, and promised he’d ask them not to hit him so hard next time. But gifted is positive, right?

    My son is a whopping six years old, and this has been his experience to date. I’m not going into my own, because it’s something I prefer to leave behind me lest it drag me down. In six years, this child has seen more dismissal and derision than children twice his age – but it’s okay, because he’s *gifted.* He’ll figure it all out anyway, provided I didn’t just hothouse him, and he’s really just his mama’s puppet, ’cause he couldn’t possibly be any different from any other kid.

    • Care, I know you’ve been to hell and back–it’s been a rough road. I always love your comments here because they are so validating and so insightful–you get right to the heart. I’ll add your “gifted mom” sentiments to the ever-growing list. Maybe we can open some eyes. Thank you <3

    • Hi Care;

      Thank you so much for saying something that I didn’t “get” till now, at 51 yrs old: “I’ve had to deal with family members who don’t understand that my son needs to understand – he will not blindly obey. This has left him the target of anger and abuse.” I have had too many managers, supervisors, and even a few clients (I am an independent computer network consultant) who have been outraged when I asked “why are we doing this?” They thought I was being insubordinate. I knew and know I have to understand WHY I should do certain things before I actually do them — not just obey orders. Once I had a reasonable answer — and “because I said so”; “if you want to keep your job”, “are you challenging me?” etc. are NOT reasonable answers — then I could do the activity. Oh, and clients who got outraged when I questioned why they were bellowing orders, then soon found themselves needing another technician, because *I* fired THEM! I am no big fan of micro-management, or just badly-done management; and so many managers and supervisors of mine were either of average ability (bad) or mediocre (worse), that I have found, much to my family’s (and some of my in-laws) chagrin, that the only real option available to me is either a professorship (but I have no Ph.D.), or independent consulting. I really did think I was the only person in the world who had this attitude. Now, perhaps, I can realize that I was wrong (thankfully), that I actually have kindred spirits in this issue. I am sorry your son endures such abuse for it; G0d willing he will develop a thick skin and realize that many of those who demand obedience are the ones most likely to be deeply insecure about it.

      • John, I’m actually kind of honored to hear from you – I read all the time, so I “know” you without having spoken, it’s kind of neat. ^_^

        Anyway, we’re working on it. We’re working on things like “not everyone will like you, and that’s okay” and “not everyone is nice, and there isn’t much we can do about that,” as well as how to not sell himself up the river to try to ensure that everyone loves him all the time. It took a long time for me to realize the damage this same attitude had done to me, I’m hoping to pass along my tricks to him as he gets older so he can learn how to manage in a society that expects immediate obedience (lest he get that “are you challenging me?!?”) without going through what I had to go through to get there.

        For what it’s worth, it makes perfect sense to me, as well. If you don’t understand WHY you’re doing something, you’re apt to do it incorrectly. If I don’t understand that I’m to color a picture of a flower for realism before I start, I might just color each petal a rainbow color, and the grass purple. I’ll have still colored the picture, but I won’t have done it “correctly,” and thus it will be *wrong* – which feeds right into my perfectionism, and then I have to do it again. Save time, ask the question. ^_~

        • Hi Care; I didn’t see your comment until a flood of other comments came in. I am honoured that you are honoured, but really, we are kindred spirits; I am the father of a (very) gifted son, who has taken the path of least resistance, and focuses on socializing well with other kids. He’s finally doing well academically (he has a learning disability from his mom, and a neurological disability from me that affects his hand-writing), and as per my instructions, he does NOT tell the other kids about his grades, only his mother, his aunt, his grandparents, and me. So they don’t know. Because of his LD, he doesn’t read much, but he does absorb a lot and remembers more. Talking to him is like talking to a 16 or 17 year-old, though he’s only 12.
          At the same time, Care, gifted children come from gifted adults, so you and your husband (who I presume is the father? can’t be too sure, it’s a presumption on my part), are undoubtedly very bright too. I suspect you both had some degree of adjustment problems growing up with this “gift” (that isn’t always such a great gift). Kindred spirits indeed!

        • Care; comment #2: Conformity sucks, plain and simple, for gifted or EGP (extremely gifted people) folks, children and adults alike. Surprising, isn’t it that two societies like America and Canada, both founded from a common ancestor (the U.K.) have such a strong conformist streak to them, isn’t it? In another communication I had with Celi, on another post of hers, she commented positively about how positive it is for gifted and EGP people to ‘do their own thing’, and not conform to everyone ELSE’S expectations of what’s right. I don’t mean morally, obviously; I mean occupationally. In my more gifted-y moments (if such a word exists), the nastiest word in the English language is this: J-O-B. Not that I don’t like to work. I actually LOVE to work, JUST NOT FOR SOMEONE ELSE! I’d advise your gifted kid(s) that if they want to be happy, they have to find ways of doing so that don’t require them to conform to the nth degree to what others think. Professional, entrepreneurial, and scientific careers are the BEST way to accomplish that goal, in my humble opinion.

  32. I have had my 7-year-old son in two schools now, and he has now been bullied two years running by kids less capable. Even at a school now where they seem to grasp giftedness at the broader level, I feel they have no idea how to reach my son, whose mind never stops but whose eyes glaze over at one more boring set of worksheets.

    I am furious that the best anyone can do for my gifted child is to try to encourage him to be “normal.” Every teacher, therapists, even close family.

    I am hitting the point where homeschooling is looking to be the best option, which I never thought I would want. But we can’t keep on switching schools, and I can’t stand seeing my son’s eyes dim as the school days wear on him. At age 7.

    • Jennifer, I understand so well about switching schools. It was the pile of t-shirts on the floor in front of me that made me realize just how many schools, how many clubs, how many teams… I know how you feel! <3

  33. I wish everyone commenting here all lived in the same community and the differences were tolerated and accepted. Why is it ok for ‘you’ to boast about how fast your child runs, how many goals they kick, how many sports events, dances, performances they have? but i can’t talk about my gifted son and the maths Olympiad or his computer programming and how he’s struggling trying to be accepted and liked. How he just wants to have fun with your kids but doesn’t know how

  34. I’ve been made furious by a principal who told me to “not have any more children, they’re too hard for us to manage”.

    My heart has broken as my 9 year old son banged his head against his bedroom wall in an attempt to make himself not gifted.

    I’ve been terrified when in the first week of kinder my son came home from school saying “mum, they’re teaching me the difference between a word and a letter, and I’ve just finished reading Harry Potter”.

    Oh the list could go on and on and on.

    • Oh Katrina, the head-banging–it breaks my heart. I’ve heard the “I don’t want to be gifted anymore” sentiment, too. 🙁

    • We’re going through the same thing with our daughter….she’s in kindergarten, and we’re through 3 Harry Potter books. Came out of montessori adding numbers in the thousands, and starting multiplication. At public school, they’re learning the alphabet, and how to count to 15!

  35. Tears are running down my face right now after reading this. So many of these comments hit home. We too have jumped from school to school looking for a place where my son will fit in. The other night I told him “your time will come” and he looked at me sadly and said “when?” He just turned 13 and he feels there is no place he belongs. He is bright, funny, extremely kind, honest and eager to learn. It seems like it should be easy but it isn’t. I have been saddened by the number of teachers who are threatened by a gifted child and even try to undermine him. One teacher I finally demanded a meeting with and said “Do you realize this is an 8-year-old child?” It got a little better after that but not much. It is a lonely road and my friend with kids who are not gifted tells me I want everything perfect. But the truth is I just wanted things to be good more than they are not.

    • Kathy, you are absolutely right, we just want “things to be good more than they are not.” That is exactly how I feel most days. Somedays, I just can’t move past this reality that I have a gifted child who is hurting because he knows he is different than the regular crowd, yet no one thinks he could possibly have it bad because, “hey, he is gifted and will be just fine.” I get what you are saying and I am right there with you.

  36. Powerful article. After reading it, may I admit that I feel thankful that my kids are not gifted? Giftedness sounds like a heavy burden to carry. Where’s the joy? Please tell me there’s joy.

    • Lucy, the joy is often muted or outweighed by the negatives: miseducation, not fitting in, trouble finding friends and then being envied because others think they lead a perfect life. There is joy at home. We celebrate and enjoy our children for who they are.

      Some gifted kids do find joy if they are lucky enough to have a good school district and great teachers who understand the needs of gifted children. Some gifted kids may be lucky enough to find like-minded peers. If you read the comments from the other moms of gifted kids, you will see our gifted children are on a rocky road mainly because of our educational system who does not understand them and our society who does not seem to value intelligence unless there is eminence.

      Honestly, I’m trying to think of the joy, but I can only think of the love my children and my husband and I have for each other.

  37. Michaela you brought tears to my eyes. We are at the same point you are and reading Celi’s words made me realize we have barely scraped the surface so far. I would add a level of tiredness that the constant questions, analyzing, and fidgeting brings to motherhood for which I was ill prepared.

  38. I’ve grown accustomed to never fitting in, but when it’s your child, it does break your heart. Mostly, it’s knowing what is to come and feeling that there is no way to improve the path. I feel even worse after teaching for so long for those frustrated kids still in school. Though I’d love to return to teaching in a more welcoming and accommodating environment, I know I’m needed much more at home for my own child. I don’t want my own child to have to pretend to be a person he’s not (like so many children have to do) and feel like an outcast. I’m shocked that gifted support has not progressed in my 20 years of teaching. We really are a minority and only our continued voices can hope to mold a better future for our children and those to come. Thank you, as always, for speaking so passionately and being a voice for so many children and adults in the gifted community.

  39. I’m angry at myself when I feel deprived of “typical” childhood experiences, based on society’s predetermined expectations.

    I feel disheartened when my own family “understands” my gifted child, yet continue to think his needs “aren’t”.

    I feel defeated every time I muster enthusiasm to fight for the way things should be, and met with several individuals on why it can’t.

    I feel confused by rules which are reasoned without logic.

    I feel sick when I hear about standardized tests, and the degree to which our schools are dictated by their results.

    I feel exaughsted in my relentless attempts to find my sons passion(s).

    I feel failed when all my efforts are directed towards giftedness, and everything else has become neglected.

    I feel minuscule in a fight against endless odds.

    I am elated my childs life won’t peak in high school.

    I am grateful for parenting a gifted child as it has changed me in infinite ways.

    I am hopeful that the challenges faced in childhood will send these kids forward in life far more prepared than their oversheltered peers, not swayed by rejection and disappointment- but utilize it to propell themselves forward.

    Some good- no matter how seemingly microscopic must come from the determination and passion of parents on their quest for what it right. Nothing in life is impossible- only people that say things are.

    If nothing else, I’m optimistic that the greatest challenges my child will face will be during the time he resides under my roof.

    • Carrie, this– “If nothing else, I’m optimistic that the greatest challenges my child will face will be during the time he resides under my roof”–this is just so beautiful. I’ve added your sentiments as a mom of a gifted child. Thank you <3

  40. My heart is pretty happy for my 4-year-old so far…but I know the day will come when things change. He loves all the kids at preschool, and has had a few playdates..but they don’t go well. Either the child overwhelms him by “being too loud” and he ends up hugging me in tears, or a child stresses him out by doing things like trying to be mean to our dogs, hitting our plants with a stick, or shooting my son’s nerf gun bullets over our fence. And my son ends up being like a parent to his friend and trying to explain to him why he shouldn’t do what he’s doing. He’s still at that stage where he thinks everyone he meets is his “friend”. I dread the day when reality sets in. But I’ll be there for him when it does. Thank you for this post. It always helps to know we’re not alone in this journey.

    • Michaela, hopefully your journey with your little boy will be smooth, but you are definitely prepared which is the best thing you can do right now!

  41. Thank you, Celi, for this post. I needed it today (and every day.)

    I’m tired of being told that my child isn’t gifted. It’s just me being a helicopter parent and want him to be gifted that’s the problem.

    I’m tired of being told that the public schools in our area will solve his gifted problem.

    My heart hurts when I see my gifted kids work hard to make friends in our neighborhood but get rejected because “they know too much”.

    • Thank you, Mia, for adding your voice and your sentiments to this. It is so difficult being the mom of gifted child who is so often misunderstood and marginalized. We have to all keep trying to make the world a more accepting place for our gifted kids. <3

  42. Celi, I am a puddle of emotions right now. I did not sleep well last night due to the many things this post discus. The not fitting in, trying to find our tribe, and wondering if my son will find that friend to explore together, can be saddening. While my son does have a friend he likes to play with (who is wonderfully kind, fun, and smart), I know my son wears him out. lol My son is non stop and if he physically stops moving, his mind does not. While he can adjust (to a point), to those around him, his mind has to make up for it later with lots of questions about the world.

    I knew I had to homeschool when my kindergartener would come home and ask for ‘mama school’, every single day. He was not thriving.

    I knew I had to homeschool when my son (at age 5) started have anxiety and breakdowns, most mornings before school. THAT should never happen; especially in kindergarten.

    I am disgusted at the conformity that schools wish to put on young minds. Tragic way to stifle creativity and quest for knowledge.

    I am sad and pissed because my son was bored and no one could see it, even after I mentioned it. He was scribbling with crayons on his math paper because he did not want to color certain answers per the directions. He wanted to do 10×7+1= type math problems – in kindergarten.

    Thank you, Celi. I would write more, but that would turn into a long, long rant. 😉

    • Thank you, Julie. I added your sentiments to the post. But I do want you to know I understand, all of us here understand. <3

    • I knew that too!! But we weren’t allowed. We had the same experience, crying boy every morning. He is now 13 and depressed, stopped learning, doesn’t do anything. It is so sad.
      This post made my cry also.

  43. Can we please make our own place, our own group, a compound if you like, where the kids are all exceptional and none will feel like outcasts?

    All this worrying about their futures doesn’t do anyone any good. I think I’m getting an ulcer for all my borrowed troubles.

    I’ve got the added challenge of a nearly useless teacher, and a state that has no gifted program. I have no idea where to start to help him on this journey. I haven’t met anyone who can offer any advice on how to teach and challenge him. Even family members have suggested that I let him flounder, and to take the summer off, give his brain a rest.
    His brain never rests.

    • Jen, I had a post about a year ago with a long comment thread about developing subdivisions and neighborhoods just for gifted families so that our kids could finally find friends who understand them. I think we dubbed it “Gifted Oaks”. Sadly, it seems like a pie-in-the-sky dream, but it would be so wonderful for our kids to finally not feel like outliers, outcasts.

      I hear you about the stress and worry–but I won’t go into that 🙂

    • Let’s start a compound, that’s a great idea!. We’re in the same boat and at our wits end. Trying to get a good education and keeping our gifted kid in tact is the most frustrating experience of our lives.

  44. Celi, this makes my heart break for all the parents who shared these sentiments, and makes me want to keep working for change.

    I’ve felt my heart in my throat when my daughter said, “Mom, do you ever feel like you just don’t fit in anywhere? Do you think I ever will?”

    I’ve worried for the future when my 4yo demonstrates levels of existential angst I can hardly comprehend.

    I’ve felt the heartache behind the PG adult’s words when he says, “You want to change the world, but who are you changing it for? No one understands you, no one is like you, no one knows why you want to do these things. It’s not about finding others with the same intelligence. It’s about finding someone like you.”

    Thanks for sharing these words and bringing all of us together.

    • Nikki, I was once told I could never change anyone’s opinion of giftedness or hope that anyone could accept giftedness as a difference not an anomaly to be feared, envied or rejected. I won’t give up hope trying and I know you won’t give up hope either. Your blog, Through a Stronger Lens, is so full of hope and thoughtfulness and support! Thank you for all that you do to support gifted children and adults!

  45. Celi, I’m in tears after reading this beautiful and supportive piece. It gives so much hope and it validates so many struggles. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Ema. I know it is sad, but it is the reality for us moms of gifted children. But, then there are the upsides, too!

  46. I’ve been angry at a superintendent for telling me “we’ve had lots of smart kids at this school- yours is no different”

    I’ve been angry because my child was set in the hallway after a teacher asked “Do you think you are smarter than me?” after correcting the teacher on a pronunciation.

    I’ve wept with my child because “I don’t have any friends mom.”

    I’ve wept because I know the feeling of not letting everything I know or feel out because I won’t be accepted.

    I’ve been angry my child was told to stop answering so many questions and give the other kids a chance in a quiz bowl.

    I’ve been angry my child was not allowed join a class because doing so would give her team an unfair advantage.

    I’ve wept and feared because my child had a complete breakdown becoming totally non-verbal in an anxiety attack and I feared I would have to turn them over to “health professionals” who didn’t understand the reasoning behind it.

    I have felt most of the things above.

    I am so glad that I’m not just the crazy mother…that someone else is talking about it.

    • Thanks for adding your sentiments, Marna. I know it is so painful for all of us moms of gifted children, but at least being able to write down how we feel, we can validate each other. And dare we hope others who do not understand our kids might get a glimpse into our lives and not keep believing our kids have it made or that being gifted is a net positive?

  47. Celi, What an amazing article. And what an amazing mother you are. As parents of gifted children, the loneliness goes in tandem, as we feel the pain our children feel. I have experienced much of what you have, and if not, I have witnessed it among friends or clients in my psychotherapy practice. One child summed it up clearly: “I’m just an outlier.”

    Thanks for a wonderful reflection of what parents and children experience.

    • Thanks, Gail. It’s not easy being a mom, but being a mom of a gifted child navigating through our society just seems a little tougher, and I am still in the trenches for a few more years. The t-shirts really shook me up.

      • Dear Celi

        I’ve been to the principle’s office begging” could we just bent down and look through the child’s eye? see what They need? What their difficulties are ?”

        I’ve spoke to the Psychologist ” How much respect is enough respect? it is so difficult, no matter what I do, I always do it wrong. I wish someone could tell me how to do it right, how to make them understand.”

        on the other hand, I feel my child is very lucky at the same time. because of our love, it is so much, so deep and we have endless patience to wait, wait for him walking through the dark tunnel and the scars hopefully will turns into a badge of courage and we will be able to tell the world ” YOU ARE WRONG”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *