Jefferson Middle School GT
Tips for Parenting Gifted Students
Tip 1 = Being Different is Ok
How can you help? Help your son or daughter appreciate the differences in others and his/herself. Provide a safe space to allow your child to just be. Encourage him or her to find friends with similar interests and aptitudes, such as participating in an enrichment activity during the school day or after school. Finding that you "aren't alone" is often enough to accept that you are different from most of the group. Finally, let your child know that it's really all right to be different!
Tip 2 = Let me be
How can you help? Give your child some space before you ask about his or her day. He or she may need some down time right after the school day ends to recharge batteries. Provide opportunities for him or her to explore other interests through enrichment activities and sports. Often these activities are a release from the pressures they may feel during the school day.
Tip 3 = Competing Expectations
How can you help? Practice open communication with your son or daughter to lessen the external pressure placed upon him or her. Teach your child to build, clarify, and share personal values, which should be the foundation for future choices as he or she moves on to high school (and college).
Tip 4 - Show that you care
How you can help? In the article "20 Tips for Nurturing Gifted Children," Bertie Kingore shares several key ways to show your child that you care:
- Appreciate them for who they are, not who they might become
- Validate your child's worth and goals and encourage passion for learning
- Actively listen
- Practice patience
- Maintain a sense of humor!
Tip 5 = Respect me by listening more
- "When I say something, don't shoot it out of the water right away."
- "If something I do or like seems stupid, let me be. If you say it’s dumb then I feel bad."
- "How am I going to prove I'm ready when you never let me try?"
- "I am different from you."
Tip 6 = Praise the effort, not the ability
How can you help? Praising the effort rather than the intelligence is a shift in your thinking and speaking. But based on the research presented, it is well-worth your concerted effort. Carol Dweck stated in her work: “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.” Encourage your son or daughter by praising the effort, rather than the ability. Ask your child about Mindset; all of our math teachers have been talking about this in their math classes this year.
Tip 7 = Persistence pays off!
How can you help? Remind your child of previous success to solving tough problems. If one method doesn't work, encourage him or her to try a different method. Recognizing examples from tv, movies, or books is a good way to show examples of successful persistence.
Tip 8 = Flexibility
How can you help? Share how you handle situations when you work with someone who is not flexible. Have your child to paraphrase solutions offered by others. Encourage your child to evaluate the pros and cons of each method before making a decision; they may change their mind based on convincing data, argument, or rationale.
Tip 9 = Encourage Creativity
How you can help? Ask your child to find connections between two or more unrelated objects. Provide opportunities for your son or daughter to explore creativity and take risks. Value originality and appreciate the mess and mistakes as learning opportunities. Jefferson has ways for your child to be involved creatively - check out Lego League or our LEAP after school programs.
Tip 10 = Reading is Learning
How can you help? Besides the school library, your child needs access to many different books and genres. Visit the public library and have your child sign up for a library card. (Check out the Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Library website here: https://www.dubuque.lib.ia.us/) Visit a local bookstore and have him or her choose a book to add to his/her collection (RiverLights is a wonderful locally owned option). Books make great presents! Finally, check out other libraries at the local colleges (University of Dubuque, Clarke, or Loras) or the National Mississippi River Museum.
Thomas Jefferson Middle School Gifted Opportunities
- Mock Trial (Sept-Nov)
- Lego League (Sept-Dec)
- Young Citizen's Forum (Dec-Feb)
- MathCounts (Nov-Feb)
- Talent Show (Dec)
- Musical (Jan-April)
- Jazz Band (year-round)
- Symphony Orchestra (year-round)
- Hillhawk Helpers (year-round)
Helping Adolescents Adjust to Giftedness - Thomas M. Buescher and Sharon Higham
20 Tips for Nurturing Gifted Children - Bertie Kingore
What Your Kids Want You to Know - Jane Hesslein
The Power and Peril of Praising Your Kids - Po Bronson
The Importance of Being Early - Ken McCluskey
Appropriate Expectations for the Gifted Child - Arlene DeVries
Growing up gifted: developing the potential of children at school and at home
Barbara Clark - Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Publishers - 2013