One of the biggest challenges we see when new parents come into Summit Center for consultation and/or to test their children for giftedness is what to do once we’ve determined that your child qualifies as “gifted.” We typically recommend a list of things for the parent to do at home and in conjunction with their child’s school to facilitate learning and growth. If needed, we also offer one-on-one individual and/or family counseling. But many parents also do well with weekly discussion groups, where they can find a support group of peers who understand what they are going through.
Parenting groups are beneficial for many reasons:
- They are a way for parents to experience a sense of community, as parents of gifted kids often feel isolated.
- They provide a safe environment for parents of gifted children to talk freely about their child's abilities without being judged.
- They help parents of gifted kids realize that their challenges are not unique, but common to gifted children.
- They provide a forum for learning about common characteristics and challenges of raising gifted children.
- They allow for parents to share their own experiences and offer suggestions to others.
If you are a parent of a gifted child or twice exceptional child and are looking for additional support, you can find these groups through organizations such as Summit Center (we have Monday morning and Thursday evening groups in the East Bay starting in January), or you can call local organizations in your city that act as referral services for parents and families.
You can also visit the SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted) website at www.sengifted.org and search for a facilitator or group in your area. SENG provides a great model, which we use for our groups, that emphasizes discussion in each group surrounding a topic directly related to raising a gifted child, such as characteristics of gifted children, depression, communication, peers, motivation, discipline, perfectionism & stress, only children & siblings, values & traditions, and successful parenting. The parenting journey is certainly easier when joined by others who understand.
Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Summit Center (http://summitcenter.us/), which provides educational and psychological assessments, consultations, and treatment for children, their parents, and families. Summit Center works with all kids, including those who are highly gifted and those with learning disabilities.