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Oct 07 2010

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Kids: An Interview with Christine Fonseca

This giveaway is now closed.

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Hi. Remember me? The nice lady who posted last week about kids and their giftedness and then dropped off the face of the blasted earth? Yeah, um, sorry about that. See, I wrote that post and then almost immediately got on a plane with my family and went to Chicago for four days. I could have posted while I was on the road, seeing as how I have an alarm system and observant neighbors and a moat filled with irritated platypuses (platypi? platypeoples?) and thus am not worried about burglars, but I was having too much fun going to a wedding and sightseeing in my hometown and spending time with extended family. So I didn’t. And now I have eleventy billion incredible comments I need to answer, and I will, just as soon as…what? My clone imploded? O-kay then. Might be a few more days.

But I digress.

Today! Today is the day! My day for participating in the blog tour for Christine Fonseca‘s new (and awesome with a side of awesomesauce) book, “Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings.”

This is the book I needed on my nightstand five years ago, when I was convinced A wasn’t going to live to see age five, because I was going to wring his neck and come back for more later. Really, things have gotten better. Truly. I just think they could have gotten better a heckuva lot faster (and with less gray hair) if I’d had this book.

Today I have an interview with Christine (and…blush…she called them the “best best best questions”). Be sure to read allll the way to the bottom and you’ll be rewarded not only with a fun interview, but details on how to win a signed copy of “Emotional Intensity.” Have a gifted kid? You need this book.

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Me: How is “Emotional Intensity” different from the shelf full of GT books that are currently mocking me, pouting because the “new guy” is being read?

CF: Dude! I hate it when books pout. It’s just…rude. No, seriously, EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS was specifically designed to fill a void I saw in the marketplace by providing information, and more importantly practical strategies, for working with the emotional aspects of giftedness.

Understanding the emotional side has only been recently (within the past couple of years) discussed in the literature. Most of the competitive titles provide great information, but lack the real-world perspective that the case studies and scenarios presented in EMOTIONAL INTENSITY includes.

Me: Is this the print version of the 24 hour hotline that parents of emotionally intense kids have been praying for? Do you know of any such hotline and would you please share the 800 number?

CF: You know, I’ve been petitioning for that number for years. But since no one could help me out with it, I decided to write a book. My hope is that it provides a source of comfort to parents and teachers in dealing with the often crazy world of gifted kids. I want to see it dog-eared, tear-stained and otherwise mangled from use!

Now between you and me (and your readers) I say we should start the hotline – we can call it 1-800-Embrace-The-Crazy. What do you think?

Me: What is the best way to utilize this book? Read and highlight with post-its; use as a cross and holy water when my emotionally intense sons start to go off the deep end; sleep with it under my pillow and pray for guidance; some sort of ritual involving candles, incense, a young goat, and a divining rod? All of the above? Is it a read-through book, or a work-through book?

CF: {Excuse me, your question made me spew my skinny vanilla latte everywhere}.
I included a how-to-use –this book in the introduction of the book. Ideally I want you to read it and then refer back to the sections that you need to as things arise.

The book itself is structured in three sections. The first part provides a foundation of understanding regarding the attributes of giftedness and emotional intensity. Personality traits such as introversion and extroversion and gender, as well dually exceptional children are also examined. Case studies provide real-world examples of the attributes.

Part 2 of the book is full of practical strategies, worksheets, checklists and tips designed to give parents and educators everything they need to positively help children learn to cope with their explosive feelings.

Finally, the last section of the book provides scenarios that bring the strategies into practice. A full extended reading section allows parents to get more of whatever topic they are looking for.

Me: How could teachers and administrators benefit from reading “Emotional Intensity?” Extended family members, such as in-laws?

CF: This book was designed with educators in mind by including a “Notes to The Teacher” section in each chapter that brings the ideas and strategies into the classroom, providing a great support to their gifted students and parents.

Furthermore, because this book debunks many of the myths related to gifted kids, everyone benefits from reading and learning ways to help our gifted youth better handle the emotional aspects of their giftedness.

Me: How did you come to be a writer, in particular writing for and about gifted kids?

CF: I used to think I came to writing in some round-about way through the work I did with gifted children and the request I got from parents for me to write a book that covered the things I taught.

That is, until I discovered my journal from 5th grade where I recounted my dreams of living in New York and being a writer. Such a vivid imagination I had, even then. So I guess the truth is, I always wanted to write.

That being said, it was still my work with gifted children that finally drew me in. The fiction writing came at the same time, as characters sprang to life and invaded my nonfiction work. I finally had to sit down and pound out a 70K novel to get them to be quiet long enough for me to finish EMOTIONAL INTENSITY!

Now I am fully entrenched in both fiction and nonfiction – I couldn’t imagine stopping either one.

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Christine, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of your blog tour, and for the answers to my rather unorthodox questions. And, um, sorry about the skinny vanilla latte.

So! Intrigued? Go check out the first chapter of the book on Christine’s website, then toddle on over to your favorite retailer of fine literature and pick up a copy. Heck, get several. If you have an emotionally intense gifted kid, chances are your in-laws, teachers, and random strangers on the street could use this book. I’m sure they’ve all seen your kiddo in rare form.

Contest time! Leave a comment here with the numero uno reason why you need, and I mean need, this book, and what you hope to learn from it. No, sleeper holds are not covered here. You have until Wednesday, October 13th to get your comments in. I’ll pick a winner, Christine will sign a copy of her book and send it on to you. THEN! Yeah, it gets better. ALL the comments from ALL the blogs participating in the blog tour are entered into an October 15th drawing to win a gift tote full of swag. That’s the same day I’ll post my review of the book here.

Finally (yes, I know, this is long. If only you knew how late it was right now…), Christine also has another book coming out this spring for gifted kids.

Ya might wanna pre-order that one too.

Good? Good.

Comments

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  1. christine Fonseca

    Thanks for hosting a leg of the tour Jen! I still think your questions ROCKED!!!

    1. Jen

      Thanks Christine! I had a great time with those questions and I’m so happy to be part of the blog tour!

  2. Katie Anderson

    I can’t WAIT to read this book!

    1. Jen

      It’s a good one! I’m enjoying it and can’t wait to start using techniques in there!

  3. Benoit

    Hello !

    I need this book because I’ve just finished one about the sexual life of the spiders…need something new to read 😉

    Seriously, I’ve read the on-Line chapter and I love Christine’s writing style.

    Giftedly yours

    Benoit

    1. Jen

      Bwahahahaha!!!! Sexual life of the spiders. 😉 Sounds like something I’d read! 😉

  4. cocobean

    The reason I NEED this book? um, because my scary smart daughter tells me that the only way she can stop feeling angry when she’s frustrated is to hit something or throw something? Like my mug… on the floor… EEEK!

    1. Jen

      Ack! Was it full of coffee at the time? ‘Cause that would be insult to injury. 🙁 Yeah, that’s hard. We’ve had incidents like that.

  5. Sunny

    Oh, I need, need, NEED this book (and the hotline number)!!! Why? We have an almost 7yo gifted dd that fits the emotionally intense profile (along with 2 younger sibs that may be headed that way) AND we are homeschooling. Needless to say, we have an emotionally intense household, lol! Definitely looking forward to reading this book! 🙂

    1. Jen

      LOL! I’ve thought this book should come with a Wine of the Month club membership. 😉 I thought about homeschooling, for about a minute, until I realized we’d all kill each other. We’re an emotionally intense household as well, starting with my husband. The poor dog; she’s a pillow with a pulse. 😉

  6. missy

    Are you picking the winner based on content or based on random selection? (I need to know how “good” my answer needs to be).

    JK – I think this book is excellent for POGs – Parents of Gifteds. I am chairing the Ohio Association of Gifted Children Parent Day (next week – oh my!) I have always, ALWAYS felt (and my kids aren’t THAT old yet, I get that) that when you have a gifted kid(s) in the home, everything else is gravy on top of the EMOTIONAL main course. Your child will never be able to develop to their full potential unless or until you, PARENT, take the steps that will help your child with emotional management.

    There will be a few topics on emotions at this Parent Day and I so appreciate the movement that is recognizing the importance of Gifted Children’s emotional needs.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book to help me with that, though I’ve taken major strides already – I love the idea of the practical tips and worksheets involved. I almost ordered it this weekend after last week’s rocking #gtchat. I’m glad I didn’t though – b/c a signed copy would be much, muchly much better!

    Muh-wah! 🙂

    1. Benoit

      I’m father of 2 gifted boys (8 and 5) and I do not feel that they’re So intense…or they bring some kind of chaos. But my wife struggle with them !
      For me, my children are just like me …
      I’ve been tested last year and appeared being a highly gifted.
      Last month, my wife has passed the Weschler test and she scored as high as me !
      But she does not function like me and our children. She does not recognize herself in the gifted descriptions. So, does struggling come from kid’s GT ? Is she gifted ? What’s giftedness ? It seems that high scoring on a IQ test like Weschler cannot defined giftedness…or there are very different kinds of giftedness.
      Sorry for my bad English, I’m French speaking and never really learned the language…

      1. Anna Rounseville

        Hello, yes I believe she may be gifted. Women are oftentimes told to downplay our intelligence(s). There is this website by Linda called Gifted Development Center out of Colorado. She has another website called Visual Spacial learner. She has a book called Upside Down Brilliance. there are lots of articles on her sites that are useful. Hope this is of some help to you and your family. Sincerely, Anna

        1. Benoit

          thank you !

        2. Jen

          That’s where my son had his testing done. Soooo lucky to have that resource nearby.

    2. Jen

      POGs? Love it! LOL! Yeah, it’s aimed at POGs. We’re the ones who need it!
      How was the Parent Day?

  7. kate

    Totally buying this book! Thanks for the heads up Jen. You’re the rockin’est!

  8. Nikki D.

    Holy moly do we need this book around here! I was (probably am still) an emotionally intense gifted kid & the only strategy used was shutting me down. I have tried as much as possible to unlearn & not repeat the past with our son but it is so hard because he’s even more intense than I was. Thankfully his teachers & the after-school team are incredibly patient in trying numerous strategies, but I would love to be able to provide them with even more from this. Thanks & if I don’t win I’m definitely ordering this one.
    Nikki D. recently posted…Friday Foolery 104- Double feature!My Profile

    1. Jen

      My brother was…is…incredibly intense. Thankfully he has learned to focus it well. That said, my mom has said my oldest son is waaaayyy more intense than he was. LOL! Strategies, for me, are key. And I’m the one who has to learn them to teach to others!

  9. Heather Robertson

    I need this book so badly because:
    Christine rocks,
    knocks me off my socks!
    By the way she describes the grains
    of our gifted kiddos’ brains!

    1. Jen

      LOL! A Dr. Seuss poet! 🙂

  10. Carolina Valdez Miller

    That’s what I haven’t done! I haven’t preordered the next one yet!! I must, I must!!
    Carolina Valdez Miller recently posted…Tiny Knives and Cute Little Tails…Hail- NIGHTSHADE CITY!My Profile

    1. Jen

      Well, get going already! LOL 😉

  11. Amy

    I need this book because right there, on the first page, is a description of my daughter. Spot-on description except for the age. And I am hoping Christine will help me to understand her better.

    Interestingly, my daughter was tested by the school and found not to meet the district’s “definition of gifted”. But her older sister was accepted into the gifted program and is thriving there. My oldest is much like I was growing up, so she seems “easy” to me. I’ve read that giftedness does tend to run in families, so checking out books discussing gifted kids seems like a good place to start, despite what our school district says.

    1. Jen

      Frankly, I don’t always agree with how school districts do their GT testing. Their original testing of my 2e son was so off base that I thought we should have been checking for a pulse, not giftedness. LOL! 2e kids are tough to test, especially if they are emotionally intense. Keep researching, and keep after the school! Sibs are usually not far off from one another.

  12. Paul Greci

    I need this book because I’ve spent most of my adult life teaching and counseling kids and have never seen a resource like this book. I’m totally interested in checking it out!

    1. Jen

      Paul, I think it’s going to be the first go-to resource for parents, I really do. A book that’s easy to read and has solutions. For a parent who is exhausted by the end of the day from dealing with a gifted child, it’s a godsend.

  13. Sarah

    Wow. wow…. woah…

    2 small children. Both incredibly intellegent. One wired in his way and no other way. The other has always done and still does things beyond her years. Much of the world around finding excuses, pushing blame, and not seeing them for what they are. Much more than just really smart. A need to share that gifted isn’t just being really good at something at a young age…. (the number of times I am asked, well what is he gifted at?) Seeing it in Hubby… (okay okay… and maybe somewhat in myself).

    1. Jen

      The world sees their issues through a “normal” lens, not a gifted one. BIG difference. They’re normal for gifted.

  14. Claude Forthomme

    Love that first chapter, well written and peppered with thoughtful case studies…can’t wait to read the rest! It gave me a queer feeling of “déjà vu”, in the sense that it made me wonder about myself. Was I endowed with giftedness as a child and never knew it? One of my kids certainly was and now, after just reading your first chapter, I recognize the symptoms. But at the time, strangely enough, I wasn’t able to deal with them (even though that child was so much like the child I had once been). I would have liked to help and act rationally but I failed miserably (and so did the school, btw).
    Oh, how I wish your book had come out sooner to help me out! But I know – I can feel it in my bones – that your book is going to be immensely helpful to all the parents (and teachers!) of gifted children out there. This really fills a need!
    I see you are coming out next with a handbook of winning strategies for the gifted kids. Great idea! And since you’re an expert on the subject, why not plan a third book for gifted adults? They too have trouble relating to others or come to terms with their own demons (one of them in particular: setting goals that are unrealistic or difficult to attain, thereby exponentially increasing the amount of stress in their lives…) How about it?
    Claude Forthomme recently posted…Is China a Flaming Dragon or a Harmonious Bird SongMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Yes, Christine’s book is a valuable addition to the gifted literature, simply because it has solutions, not just descriptions! My biggest problem with other books was that there were no solutions, just further questions!
      Best to you and thanks for stopping by!

    2. christine Fonseca

      Yea, I have been thinking about a book for GT adults – I certainly have been asked to do this a lot of late 😀

      1. Jen

        I have read the couple of books about gifted adults that are currently on the market. While they were really good, and did hit home that maybe I WAS gifted, I seem to recall that there weren’t a lot of solutions about what to do about XYZ. I think there may be a niche there.

  15. SM Chamberlain

    I need this book, because my life with my dually exceptional son (age 8) is chaos. That is what drew me to your blog…My family is in crisis right now, and the school has given up on my son. They moved him to a self-contained classroom for kids with behavior problems, starting today. He has explosive rages stemming from his mood disorder, and I think his boredom at school triggers these a lot. The only class he enjoys is TAG. I have been searching for a book like this for years! And, I searched for this book on BN.com, and they don’t have it. I was ready to head out and buy it today if it was in the store.

    1. Jen

      Oh dear. I’m so sorry that your school seems to have a severe case of cranial-rectal inversion. Sigh. A classroom full of behavior problems won’t help him, deeper GT work will! Keep fighting the good fight, you’re his best advocate, even and especially when you want to sell him for a couple of magic beans. Good luck!

  16. R Miller

    Need(ed) this book 22 years ago when Dr. Linda Silverman was telling me it was “normal” for my dd to go 72 hours with little sleep and then she would fly into a rage and rip a door off the hinges. Umm, she’s not as intense now, but still struggles with intense empathy. My friends with young gt kiddos, the road is long and does not end when they graduate from college and are getting their masters at 22 (brag, brag, brag:))

    1. Jen

      LOL! Dr. Silverman has been keeping me sane. That someone could look at my son and tell me, “Jen, he’s normal. Just not normal as the rest of the world defines it.,” was a relief. I’ve wanted to take her book and beat idiots with it. LOL! Good to know that they do eventually grow up and do good things. 🙂

  17. Monica

    Jen,
    Your interview questions made me smile. I love your style of writing. I need all the laughs I can get with raising two gifted boys (9 and 4). I’m hoping to learn how to manage the cranky, crying, moods of my 9 year old and strong willed nature of my 4 year old who wants to have two toys when all he can have is one.
    I have loads of books, but Christine’s sounds hopefully with solutions and more concrete things to try. I already ordered my book (would be great to have a signed copy though). I could easily give the other one to my son’s teachers or make it available to other parents in my local parent’s group I run. I’ll be sure to follow your blog…always looking for ideas and laughs. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Jen

      Welcome Monica! I’m working on the laughs myself; trying to find the lighter side with 2 GT boys can be trying, eh? 😉

  18. christine Fonseca

    Thank you guys all so much. I really hope you find the book helpful. It was important to me to put in a lot of strategies that I KNOW help! – hopefully that IS what I accomplished!

    1. Jen

      Well, short of a hotline and/or Mary Poppins, solutions that WORK are what’s needed!

  19. Virginia

    Thanks for hosting this. I seriously cannot wait to read the book.
    Virginia recently posted… The Berlin Wall – a Piece of History My Profile

    1. Jen

      Virginia, come back tomorrow for a review! And definitely get and read and memorize this book. LOL

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  6. Emotional Intensity Giveaway!

    […] 13th, 2010 I’ve been reading all the comments left this week on the interview post with Christine Fonseca. Some have been amusing, some have been heartbreaking, and I related to them all. That’s what […]

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