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Copyright: S.E.N.G. Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

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1 Copyright: S.E.N.G. Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
25 Ways to love the gifted Copyright: S.E.N.G. Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

2 1 Show your love for the people in your life who are gifted by speaking out and educating others that giftedness is not elitist and in fact can sometimes include heavy burdens and difficulties.

3 2 When children come home physically and mentally exhausted, cuddle up with them in an easy chair and share a book.

4 3 Appreciate the paradox of giftedness: You are both different and the same. Your gift makes you, in a very special way, unique. Your humanness makes you, in all other ways, quite similar to everyone else.

5 4 Be aware that gifted children often possess a heightened sensitivity and awareness. They may notice social interaction on many more levels than what is typical, and this hyperawareness can result in heightened self consciousness, discomfort, or even anxiety. .

6 5 Listen to children’s intense and sensitive feelings without offering suggestions to solve the problem. Use active listening skills so they know that you really are interested in their views. Model respect and caring in how you listen.

7 6 Let the gifted people in your life know that you admire the intense curiosity they exude on such a wide array of topics. Don’t insinuate that they are merely busybodies who need to stop asking so many questions. This may shut them down with embarrassment and erode their self-esteem.

8 7 Help gifted people discover and become who they really are- not who society says they should be or the person you want them to be, but who they really are. You may need to move past yourself and your culture, but it will be well worth it as your children, friends, spouses, or parents grow into the truest version of themselves.

9 8 Help the gifted make a difference. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Help gifted children decide what they can do, no matter how small it may seem, so they can come to understand that authentic intentions and actions make a difference. It will be good for them- and for the world.

10 9 Gifted children need a place where it is okay and safe to be “gifted” so that they can say, “I love to come here because it is all right to be smart here. I can’t always be ‘smart’ in my regular class.”

11 10 Arrange times and events with students of like abilities and interests so that they can make connections. At a SENG conference, a boy from Chicago and a boy from Texas suddenly stopped and pointed fingers at each other, saying simultaneously, “I didn’t know anyone else thought like that! I thought I was the only person who thinks like I do!” Being gifted can be a very lonely place unless you find at least one friend.

12 11 Permit, encourage, and arrange for gifted children to spend time with other kids who share their interests and passions, even if the other “kids” are adults. Gifted children don’t always need to socialize with other gifted kids to find true friends, but it often helps!

13 12 Teach gifted children to recognize and value their abilities. This is the most thoughtful and enduring expression of care an adult can give.

14 13 Allow gifted children opportunities to learn new things every day, no matter how young or old they are. Letting gifted children “just be children” likely includes letting them learn faster, deeper, and more than other kids their age- and that’s okay!

15 14 Teachers, please encourage gifted children to explore, even if their passions are above-level or outside of regular classroom subjects. Share whatever they find with them, but don’t pressure them to “present” it to the class unless they want to.

16 15 Celebrate gifted children’s mistakes along with their achievements. Openly embrace your own mistakes to help your children understand that finding the courage to try is often more important than providing the right answer. Tell children about mistakes you’ve made and still make. It’s okay to make mistakes; making mistakes and practicing things repeatedly are how we learn.

17 16 Give the gifted people in your life time to pursue their interests. The things that we think they need to be doing are often less important to them than the ideas they want to dream about. Time to develop and sometimes implement these ideas is the most sought-after commodity to a gifted person- whether a child or an adult.

18 17 Allow gifted individuals alone time. Honor the need for solitude. “Alone” does not always mean “lonely” for a gifted person.

19 18 When you receive a barrage of “why” and “how come” questions from your curious gifted children, tell them, “Together we’ll find out some answers.”

20 19 For families with ‘tweens: This is a challenging age. It seems that gifted ‘tweens grow up faster than their same-age peers, so be ready. Continue to provide them boundaries, because they will want to push them, Continue to be their parent; they rely on you, even though they might not admit it. Let them make decisions and choices- as long as they’re not physically harmful, illegal, or immoral. Ask yourself, “ What’s the worst that could happen?” If you and they can tolerate that outcome, it will likely be okay. Continue to love them unconditionally.

21 20 Teach children what great philosophers have said about persons of genius and society’s reactions to them.

22 21 Give children choices, promote their passions, and allow them to deviate from society’s expectations.

23 22 When talking about your gifted children to others, especially if the children are nearby and can hear you, be encouraging and affirming in what you say. Children who overhear positive statements about them generally try to live up to our expectations; children who overhear negative accounts usually live down to our expectations.

24 23 Spend special time with each gifted child doing things that do not involve competition. Competition is fine for many situations, but too much competition can lead gifted children to believe that they are valued only for what they can do, rather than just being valued as a person.

25 24 Celebrate uniqueness. Enjoy what makes your gifted loved ones special. Be quirky yourself!

26 25 Why do uniquely gifted individuals so often feel lonely and misunderstood? After all, our society claims to treasure individuality and freedom of spirit and thought. Whether you are a parent or a friend of a unique and gifted person or you are that person, your connection to SENG helps you realize that you are not alone. Others do understand; they accept that which makes us who we are, and that makes all the difference in the world- our world.

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