Students who are particularly talented or gifted also present unique career development challenges. Parents of these children are critical interpreters and advocates in their education and career planning.
According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), a gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression. In this definition, the term "giftedness" applies to the entire spectrum of abilities, from the very broad (like thinking creatively) to the very specific (like mathematics or music). Some programs may use the term "outstanding talent."
Many gifted students achieve academically and are engaged in learning. Teachers, counselor, and parents often see them as requiring less guidance in school and career development. However, their ability "to do anything" can be confusing to them and can become an obstacle to setting and achieving goals. On the other hand, some of these gifted children may have very specific goals in mind, but because they are so young, they are not taken seriously.
Others gifted children downplay their giftedness by lowering their academic achievement and career aspirations. They may be unhappy in a traditional school learning environment and may not be achieving. The unmotivated gifted student is often seen as a problem student, with behavior and learning issues.
What can I do to prevent or reverse underachieving behavior in my gifted child?
- Provide your gifted child reasonable rules and guidelines, strong support and encouragement, and an understanding of limits. Gifted children need to learn to accept limitations - their own and those of others.
- Be a sounding board for your gifted child's questions. Listen carefully without comment or judgment. Be sensitive to problems, but don't solve problems a child is capable on managing.
- Provide the gifted child with a wide variety of opportunities for success. Gifted children often need avenues for developing tolerance, empathy, understanding, and acceptance of human limitations, and community service activities that reflect their values, interests, and needs, can help them do this.
- Don't forget to make time for your child to have fun, to be silly, to be a kid.
- Understand that your gifted child's intellectual development is important to his or her self-acceptance and self-concept. This means paying attention to the learning environment, beginning at the earliest ages. Gifted students may be "turned off" to school if they are not stimulated, their learning style is not accommodated, or the work they are assigned is too easy or too difficult.
- Encourage your gifted child to pursue his or her own interests, particularly since those interests may lead to career decisions and life-long passions. At the same time, remind the student that teachers may be unsympathetic when required work is incomplete.
- Emphasize creative problem solving, decision making, and setting short- and long-term goals to help your child complete required assignments, pass high school courses, and plan for life after high school.
- Provide real-world experiences in an area of potential career interest.
- Tell your children when you are proud of their efforts. Don't overemphasize achievement by praise of the outcomes. The gifted child may see that as not authentic. Rather, encourage your child by recognizing the process they used to achieve and their effort.
- Avoid comparing children with others. Show children how to function in competition and how to recover after losses.
|The ABCs of Gifted (National Association of Gifted Children Parents), https://www.nagc.org/|