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Feb 01 2012

I DON’T brag about my gifted kid

I don't brag about my gifted kidGood God, here we go again. And I thought it was going to be a quiet evening, just me and a glass of wine and the dog and doing a little writing on my book. But it’s amazing how fast I can go zero to WTF when I read something so breathtakingly ignorant that it’s like standing on the surface of the moon with a rutabaga.

This time it was a blog post over on Babycenter, titled I hate hearing about your gifted child. For starters, hate is a strong word. Save it for things like puppy mills and TSA patdowns and racial intolerance. Words have power, you don’t need to use it there.

So, we’re going to start from the beginning. Again. And again and again and GODDAMMIT AGAIN until people get it through their heads. GIFTED.IS.WIRING. It is who a person is, not what a person accomplishes. And I do not know a single parent of a gifted kid who unabashedly brags about his or her child. Because parents of gifted kids, not high-achieving kids, know how oh-my-effing-God exhausting these kids are. They don’t expend the energy bragging, they’re using that energy to try to stay one step ahead of their kid.

I laugh about using “code words” when talking to other parents. The magenta frogs whistles at midday under the dry umbrella. I may joke about it, but I’m one hundred percent serious. I do not talk about my twice-exceptional son unless the other parent has also dropped code words about his/her gifted kid. And I couldn’t begin to tell you what those words are, they are just there. And when we find each other, it’s like a two-person support group. The feeling of safety is immeasurable. That person gets it. We can share the joys and the frustrations and the achievements and the struggles. No code words, no discussion about my gifted kid. I don’t need the unspoken judgment from other parents. I have enough to deal with.

Starting from the very first playgroups I attended with A, I knew something was up. He couldn’t have been more than a year, but he was different. The other kids would be playing nicely with toys; he’d be inspecting the safety gate and get around it. I thought about hiring him out to new parents to check their childproofing. He once got his head stuck in a banister (yeah, gifted kid…sigh) because the stairway was blocked off and he was curious-ALWAYS curious- about what was beyond it. At 3 he was putting brand-new floor puzzles together in minutes. With the picture facing the floor. And I never bragged to the other parents about what he could do.

The author of this article brags about how kind her daughter is. Well, that’s parenting. Probably some inherent gentleness, but that’s mostly parenting. I could no more parent giftedness into my son than parent his blue eyes brown. He came to us with stunning blue eyes and some wacked out gifted wiring. But I bet she’ll brag about parent-teacher conferences. I can’t and I don’t. Because as gifted as my son is, conferences were a nightmare from third grade on. I see friends on Facebook brag about their kids’ conferences, about report cards, and heartbroken, I know it’ll never happen here. Because if there’s anything that describes twice-exceptional, it’s “gifted but.”

It’s hard enough being a parent. But shit like this makes being the parent of a gifted/2e kid even harder. It just reinforces the societal stereotype that gifted is elitism, or only high-achieving, or the perfect kid at all times. My kid is hard. Damned fucking hard. And I know we’ve been accused of being too lenient with him and too tough on him and are you sure he needs those meds and does he really need the gluten-free/dairy-free diet. We are doing the best we can, with what we have, when we have it. Live in my shoes, see what I see, know what I know, live what I live, THEN you may comment. Or write an ignorant blog post about how you can’t stand hearing about gifted kids. I have given up so much of my life for my son. Career is toast. Savings are slim. Sanity is gone. Homeschooling the only option for a kid who was going down for the third time in public school. And I would do it again and again and GODDAMMIT AGAIN.

Linda Silverman, the incredible woman at the helm of the Gifted Development Center in Denver (yes, where we had A tested), had these words to say about giftedness:

“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble.  Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Yes. Trust yourself. And not some blogger who doesn’t know better.

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  1. Pamela

    “They don’t expend the energy bragging, they’re using that energy to try to stay one step ahead of their kid.”

    And that’s just one sentence out of many that I would highlight with a highlighter if this was a print article.

    Well done!

    1. Jen

      I cannot be held responsible if you highlight your monitor. 😉

  2. melissaz

    I heart you. 🙂 This is exactly my life. With BOTH of my kids.

    1. Jen

      I know. 🙂 And I luvs ya for it.

  3. Katherine Brown

    I am SO GLAD that you posted this….I almost started a blog today to respond to the very blog you are referring to, and you stated EVERYTHING I would have said. Those who don’t have one (2e) just don’t get it. I have a PG severely dyslexic eight year old boy, and I homeschool because I HAVE TO. In addition to give up two careers in the last eight years, I pay for someone to give him reading therapy, and I sit in on every other lesson he has. We cannot do homeschool tutorials as no one can keep up with his mental ability that is so encumbered by his reading difficulties. I feel every word you say…so thank you again for posting this.

    1. Jen

      Whew. PG severely dyslexic is HARD. Wow. I don’t know how we do it with these kids. I live it and I don’t know how we do it. Keep fighting the good fight. And then maybe someday society will “get it” and celebrate these awesome kids.

    2. Sierra

      Wow, I have a 10-year-old son who is extremely gifted (he hasn’t been tested to know exactly where on the scale) who is also extremely dyslexic. I am so heartened to know that there are other families out there who live this. And yep, we also homeschool.

  4. Emily

    I can’t tell you how much I love this and needed to read it today!

    1. Jen

      This post brought to you by frustration and the letters W I N E. 😉 I’m tired of ignorance about gifted kids being ok.

  5. Jaime

    AMEN!! So many things in the post I can relate to! Hiring my son out for child-proofing; offered that many a times. We used to call him Houdini. Ironically, he just finished a biography of Houdini (5th grade, 8th month level) and he is 6 years old. Any accomplishment not lathered in complexity is celebrated…and we should have a right to share those small victories! And don’t get me started on the school system. It truly is one nightmare after another. But, like you, I wouldn’t change him for the world. I love my son! You are so right about the wiring being different, I wish I could figure out how he “works.” 🙂

    1. Jen

      His teacher last year, bless him and I wish we could clone him, has said to me many times that traditional school just isn’t cut out for this kind of kid. And he’s absolutely correct. Came to an ugly head this year, and now I’m homeschooling him. He’s worth that from me, many times over.

      1. Jaime

        We homeschooled the first half of this academic year since both pre-school and kindergarten were so horrible for BOTH of us! haha I laugh that I include myself in that. We’ve tried both public and private schools. Unfortunately, current family situations are causing homeschooling to be logistically impossible. I promised him I would get him “out” in a couple of years to continue homeschooling, as that is what we both prefer. 🙂

        1. Jen

          We’ve been homeschooling less than a month. So far, so good. I just know his anxiety has plummeted. Hope you can get back to it soon!

    2. Pamela

      “Hiring my son out for child-proofing; offered that many a times.”

      I see that, think “ditto,” and then don’t know whether to laugh or cry from the self-recognition.

      1. Jaime

        Oh, the memories of trying to contain a toddler. It truly is a miracle he was never seriously injured from his antics. My house is still set-up like Fort Knox; locks all over the place to keep curious minds out (and, therefore, safe.)

        1. Jen

          Did you know duct tape comes in fashion colors? 😉 I kid! Mostly. 😉

  6. Robin

    THANK YOU. I was so totally ticked off when I read that article this evening. I saw it through GHF on FB. OH and the comments! The comments that followed the article were completely assinine. “There really aren’t that many gifted kids” “All kids are gifted in their own way” “Gifted Schimfted” blah blah. The comments only fueled my infuriation with the author’s and their obvious ignorance to how HARD it is to parent gifted kids, let alone 2E’s. They dont know what INTENSE is obviously. I would love to get through half a day without an intense emotional outburst from my easy breezy gifted kid. Yep mine have kind hearts too, but they have kind GIFTED hearts that come undone when animals are hurt, and that make the entire family (extended too!) undertake recycling because we are polluting the earth. Gifted kids are made different and do everything different than your normal kid. So we as parents are continually surprised and baffled by how hard it is to parent gifted children, whom I never brag about because of idiots like this. I only share with those that relate or family who know. Thank you again.

    1. Jen

      I had to stop reading the comments before I punched a hole in my laptop. Supportive ignorance. Sigh.
      AGH! I forgot to rant on the intensity! The non-stop, “this one goes to 11,” curl in a ball and suck your thumb intensity! Everything is MORE. Hot or cold. On or off. MORE. Yup.

  7. Laurie

    OH MY! I am going to share this! I can not believe how you just wrote my life…except we are soy and dairy free! I am exhausted, and I can not keep up with my daughter!! I have had the looks, the comments, and the misunderstandings….Thank you for writing this!

    1. Jen

      Gluten and dairy is hard enough. Soy would kill me. Cheers to you. I’ve given up trying to keep up with him; there’s a reason I haven’t worn shoes with laces in (counting on my fingers) nearly 10 years. LOL

  8. Leslea Tash

    I was a gifted kid. I am now a gifted adult. That quote describes my life to a T.

    I have four kids, and they’re all exceptional children. One of them is probably higher IQ than the rest of the household & most extended family. He also has a diagnosis of ODD. Is that what you mean by twice exceptional? It got him kicked out of school during the first month of second grade.

    Right now I am homeschooling all my school-aged children. I have one infant. I also have a promising writing career, so I’d like to get as many of my kids into school ASAP, but we’re going to move to a different school district first. If I have to homeschool the one kid until college, though, so be it.

    I guess I am blurting all this out because I know you get it.

    Also, people are hateful about my first child’s life-threatening food allergies. I was once called “psychotic” about that topic. That pretty much weaned me off message boards, right there. There are more of *them* than there are us. <3

    1. Jen

      I get it. Oh hon, I get it!
      Yes, that’s twice-exceptional. And ODD sucks little green frogs.
      And we do what we have to do because we have to do it and no one else will. 🙂
      Right now there may be more of “them,” but the “US” is getting louder. 😉

      1. Leslea Tash

        Thank God for the Internet. And for the jackholes that bring us together, I guess. 😉

        1. Jen

          Um, three cheers for the jackholes? 😉

          1. Leslea Tash

            I just linked to your blog on my site. So three cheers for that.

            And I just now went and read the blog post that inspired this post.

            I don’t believe the author of that post understands what “gifted” means. She waxes about her dreams for her child, and sounds disappointed that her kid didn’t turn out to be what she expected.

            It also sounds like she’s surrounded by influencers who aren’t all that kind. Competitive mothering, anyone?

            I think she’s right that braggarts are rude and uncalled for, but the fact that she’s comparing her kid to other kids and finding fault is so telling. And sad.

          2. Jen

            Competitive mothering, indeed.

  9. Susan aka paintermom

    Right on! Seems like you have been having my life, tee hee. All 3 of my kids are gifted and 2 are 2E, possibly all 3. Add to that chronic illness in 2 of them and you get chaos, but mostly it is joyful chaos. I, too, have created a network of people who get it so I don’t have to explain all the time.

    1. Jen

      My network of people all live in my computer right now. We just moved here six months ago, so I’m still trying to recreate what I had back in Colorado. And I like the phrase joyful chaos. I like how that tastes. 🙂

  10. Becky

    I raise my glass of wine to you, with a “Hell, yes” and “Thank you.”

  11. Michelle A.

    Amen Sistah!! Eldest is highly gifted and gives us a run for our money. We have yet to figure out any sort of incentive to promote rule following…she’s 11 now. *sigh* Always wanted to homeschool, but we sent her to public school so I could have a break! I had 2 babies at home (2 and 3) plus worked from home full time and I just couldn’t do it anymore! Her nightly reading book that first week of school…Charlotte’s Web. Followed by The Story of Helen Keller. And the ensuing….”Look at my name in sign language.” yeah.

    We’re now e-schooling because of bullying by all these “kind” kids of the “kind” parents who post on Babycenter.

    And to top it all off, we’re dealing with dyslexia for the middle 2 now. Dare we hope to get off scott free with #4 and have no gifted or LD problems? One can only hope.

    1. Jen

      Rule following? Yeah, still working on that one too. :/ And I didn’t want to homeschool, was actually told by a therapist that I’d be crazy to. I needed the break. Well, it’s going great, and it turns out I just needed the break from the school-induced anxiety attacks and meltdowns he was having. Hm.
      Bullying. Holy crap we dodged a bullet with that one. Mid-fifth grade. I suspect it would have started up soon. 🙁

      1. Michelle A.

        Yup, 5th is when the bullying started for her. Her nice little 160 kid elementary school with the GT class she was in 2nd-4th grade was great. The 5th through 8th middle school where the tiny, glasses-wearing, smart kid on her way to band class….not so much. :0/

        She’s doing great confidence-wise now!! We ARE battling not wanting to do all the busy work with the e-school. Shhh…I don’t make her do it all! ;0) If she knows it she knows it. As long as she passes the assessments, I don’t care. I’m looking into skipping 8th grade math next year and going right to 9th. She’s SO done with means, medians, and angles. Onward and upward!

        We may have even made some progress in getting help for thing 3 who has LD issues today! Score!

  12. Sarah

    I read this, and now I am welling up in tears. I have been thinking the same thing about the watching other parents post things about report cards or conferences or whatever. I rarely post much of anything. I mean who really wants to read about my IEP meeting? Who wants to know that my child is a flight risk when there is a fire drill? Who wants to know that the younger one can and regularly does the older ones homework, but has the impulse control and activity of a sugared-up squirrel (think Hammy on “Over The Hedge). Both a wired differently! I’m sick of hearing “Well, what is (s)he gifted at?” I love my kids so much and am so proud of both!

    Truly, thank you for this post. And having you as part of my life on this crazy Gifted/2e journey has been such a blessing! I know we are not alone!

    1. Jen

      Oh hon. Sigh. 🙁 M is such an awesome kid. And so is A. OH, and the next jackhole who asks what they’re gifted at? Use the wiring line. It’s wiring. Like they have eyes. The.End.

      1. Sarah

        Yup! I have started using that line, and they just look at me like I have 10 arms (and boyhowdy do I need the extra arms!) 🙂

  13. Lonna

    I felt just like Robin when I read the article and comments. We’re not bragging about our truly gifted children. When I talk about my second grader doing long division, I’m not bragging about him. I’m complaining about how the school doesn’t know what to do with him. I’m complaining that the school thinks he has self-control issues because he’s unchallenged for 6 hours a day. People, he’s BORED! I hear me complaining about a resistant education system. Other people just hear “my kid is a genius who can do long division.” Thanks for sharing your feelings about this article.

    1. Jen

      YESYESYES a thousand times YES!

    2. Trisha

      Well stated.

  14. Jen

    Thank you. Thank you. And again, thank you. I really couldn’t have said it better. I’ve been homeschooling my PG, 2E (dyslexic, dysgraphic, sensory integration) kid for the past 8 years, and there are days I really don’t know how I’m still sane and standing. He’s my miracle and more than worth every bit of every day…but much of the time, I run on adrenaline and caffeine, just trying to keep up, while he’s not even breaking a sweat. That’s not something I’d brag about in a million years. Most of the time, I don’t even talk about it.

    Thank you so much for saying what so many of us are thinking – truly, I can’t tell you how much my mood has changed (after reading that completely ludicrous article on the other site earlier today), just knowing that someone *gets it*.

    1. Jen

      Oh, I get it all right! LOL!

  15. NeptuneMom

    I have a highly gifted/2e son and we’ve experienced just about everything you have with your son. Beginning in second grade, public school was a freaking nightmare. It resulted in me quitting my job and homeschooling him. We’ve been through eleventy medication changes, changing diet, play therapy, and testing for Asperger’s. He is the most amazing creature I’ve ever met, but he is also the most challenging, stubborn, argumentative, not-from-this-planet kind of difficult. And yeah, I have to deal with assholes who want to question why I homeschool him, and if I make the mistake of saying he skipped a grade or that our problem with public school is that his ADHD and the fact that he’s highly gifted were too volatile for anyone but me to handle, I lose them. It’s like I can see this dark cloud of judgment pass over their features. It’s absolutely unnerving. It isn’t my fault that people are so damn sensitive that they’d be totally comfortable if I told them my kid plays football and chases girls on the playground, but I can’t tell them that he is academically on senior high school levels, spouts off facts like a human Wikipedia, yet still can’t tie his shoes. People who work for a school or have friends in the faculty, so they get their uber popular kid into the elementary “gifted” class, yeah, they probably ARE bragging..because their kid might be smart, but likely not truly gifted. Truly gifted kids are equally brilliant and infuriatingly weird. Lady with the “kind” child needs to learn the difference before she throws the word “gifted” around just as much as she’s accusing others of doing it!

    1. Jen

      Yes, tomorrow will probably be our eleventeenth med change. I want flowers. 😉
      I wish more people, especially those in school reform, understood that gifted is its own kind of special ed, and these kids need more support than they’re getting. Not pullouts with the high-achievers, but truly educational support.

  16. Lori

    You are brilliant!! Oh how I hear you!!

    1. Jen

      Thank you! We’re all in this together. I figure eventually we’ll be screaming loud enough to be taken seriously.

  17. Ella

    I love this. You said it much better than i ever could. I have three boys, all PG, and I am EXHAUSTED EVERY DAMN DAY. And nobody gets it. Why do you need to spend so much money on private school? Is public school to good for you? Why don’t the boys play sports? Why can’t they just play with “normal” toys? *TEARS HAIR OUT* Thank you for this post.

    1. Jen

      Tell ’em, “my kids ARE normal, yours are weird.” No? Yeah, probably not a good idea. 😉

  18. Kelly

    Amen!!! Everyday is a new challenge!! A new question, I can’t answer! A new set of rules I was ever told about! I try not to talk about my son to anybody except my sister whose daughter is gifted as well and my best friend who is gifted! Others just do not get the energy, the time, the frustrations! My son is 2e as well! Between the anxiety, the OCD, the defiance due to always needing answers and strictness of “his rules”, it’s exhausting!!
    I don’t brag, I’m trying to find help! Help for my son, and help for me! I’m consistently looking for same brained kids as my son!
    So again AMEN!! And thank you for your words!!

    1. Jen

      Not only is every day a new challenge, but there’s no warning or prep for it and it will change halfway through the first cup of coffee. And you’re right, it’s NOT bragging, it’s desperately trying to find another human being who GETS IT and might be able to point help your way.

  19. Candie

    We are just starting out with my daughter she is 5yrs old and we have been through public school and now private. I freak out daily worried we aren’t doing enough. Searching for things to feed her hunger to keep her engaged but at the same time trying to let her be a 5yr old. I read other parents stories who are years ahead of me and some behind me and think holy hell can we do this can we provide her everything she needs? I told my husband the other day if private school doesn’t work all we have left is homeschooling and what if that is not enough. Having a gifted child is the most stressful thing I have experienced in life but if I could go back and change it I wouldn’t. I love my daughter so much. I love being able to see the world through her eyes and being challenged. I love these websites and parents stories, it helps me realize we are not alone. Thank you!

    1. Jen

      I remember that when A was 5 and I almost wish we were back at that age. Why? Because he still loved learning then. 🙁 Now he’s relearning that as a homeschooler.

    2. Liz

      Candie, I would like to help a little if I can….I’ve never responded to anything on the web before I found these postings. And now, I just can’t stop! My son is now 16, and I wish that I’d had a group of women at my fingertips to give me some much needed advice back when my son was five. If I can be crystal clear, maybe you will recall my words when you don’t think you’re doing enough: Trust her. She will let you know what she needs or wants. Her proclivities will become pronounced, and then you can just fill wheelbarrows full of books and documentaries to satisfy her curiosities! She will also probably be able to find the adults who will want to mentor her (as my son did – he was just like a magnet to gifted adults outside the school system who took him under their wings). Take her on trips that center around her interests. Teach her outside the system in her area of interest where she is light years ahead of her classmates. Go “off grid” as I did. I sent my son to a very small school in a basement that hired only teachers who were trained in gifted/LD. It was scary, but worth every cent. Take her to extra classes. At the age of 11, when my son was in one of his public school years, I took him to a few evenings of workshops for parents of gifted kids, and the kids got to do special science workshops of their own. After one workshop my son held me by the shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mom, I want that every day.” So I went searching for what he wanted! Then when he returned to public school in grade 10, he found out that much of the class time was taken up by disruptive behavior by “idiots” in the back of the class, and he begged me to find him a challenging program. Once again I went looking and found him the IB program. Each time I went off-grid, it was frightening. Each time, I questioned whether I was doing the right thing. But I can honestly say that HE led ME. Your daughter will let you know what she needs. There probably won’t be one complete and easy answer (i.e. one school that will solve all her needs), and it will vary according to what services are available in your area, and you may have to cobble together a patchwork of tutors and on-line courses, but she will eventually gather all of the learning she needs, however unconventional it may be. I don’t think there is just one path. Hers will be unique. Be brave enough to break with convention. Know that you have a gem, and it will be a very interesting and rewarding journey! I think I wasted a lot of time worrying about finding the right place for my son, when all along, it was inside of him. The second I started listening to him, and not the teachers, our lives became beautiful! Have you seen the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster? There’s a scene where she has finally (spoiler alert ha ha) made it into the “machine” that will take her to Vega and the human scientists have modified the capsule, they have diverged from the plans that the Vagans have given them. They strap her in to their chair and blast her into space. The ride is violently rough. The capsule threatens to break apart. She thinks she’s going to die, when all of a sudden, the chair that she is in, that was meant to keep her safe, breaks away from the floor, and suddenly, miraculously, she is floating silently. The capsule is finally operating exactly the way it was meant to. She travels through the awe-inspiring star systems, through the worm holes, and she is speechless. This is the best way that I know to describe what it felt like to finally trust my son. As soon as I started to really listen to what he needed, everything else broke away; all the clatter and confusion, gone. I hope you find that peace with your daughter. It’s a beautiful ride.

  20. christine fonseca

    HUGE hugs! You know how passionate I am on this topic. And yes…the intensity, that is what people DON’T GET!!! HUGS

    1. Jen

      Hm. A little intensity from me this evening as well. 😉

  21. David

    I both like and appreciate your post. I noticed you had A tested in Denver. If you live near Denver I would like to invite you to check out Westgate Community School. I teach there, and we love 2E kids.

    1. Jen

      David, trust me, Westgate was on a very short list of schools for us. We just moved to Chicago from the Denver area this summer.

  22. Karen

    I have to say as 1 of the three gifted kids in our house reaches 22 yrs old this month. Hang on, it does get much, much better. He is twice gifted and doing great.

  23. Karen

    Oh, and yes, we do home school them as well. Talk about a wild ride…It has been a lot like a roller coaster with no seat belts and a blindfold on. We just went gluten free and it is about to put me over the edge. The boys are doing much better and now see how they need to not fudge on the diet at all. We will slide into dairy free but I can only do one major life change at a time.

    1. Jen

      When A was first tested when he was 4, the GDC recommended he go GF/CF. I just couldn’t do it, there was just so much going on I couldn’t drastically change his diet too. Four years ago *I* had to go GF, he was already CF, and there ya go. It works great for him. Baby steps babe.

  24. Brynn

    THANK YOU! Ohhh, just thank you!! I have a 2e (more like 4e or 5e if we get to teasing out all of the diagnoses including ODD and ADHD) 9.5 year old boy and I’ve felt guilty about having ever wished to myself that he was “normal” partially because of how people respond when they hear that he goes to a highly gifted school for the .01%.

    I used to always automatically launch into some disclaimer about how hard he is to raise, how I feel like I’m being cross-examined by him 24/7, how I have to stand behind him with a cattle prod for two hours to get him to do homework that would only take him 10 minutes if he had any intrinsic motivation…. And then I stopped when I realized how much I was dishonoring him by giving a crap about what anyone else thinks (or might think) about him. I truly have enough to deal with without putting that on myself!

    He’s an amazing kid. A pain in the rear! But an amazing kid who looks to me for the tools to navigate a world full of people who jump to “well la ti frickin’ DA!” whenever they find out he’s gifted. Maybe our kids will invent some sort of freeze ray that only works on those kind of people. Wanna hear about my gifted kid NOW?! (Thank you for writing this post – you speak my code!)

    1. Princess Mom

      “And then I stopped when I realized how much I was dishonoring him by giving a crap about what anyone else thinks (or might think) about him.”

      Good for you, Brynn. They listen when we talk about them like this. I remember because that’s what my mother always did. “Her work is so neat.” “But you should see her room!” That’s how kids learn nothing they do is ever good enough. It took me *years* to break myself of that same habit with my own kids–it is what the NT parents expect you to say to “prove” you’re not bragging–but it’s well worth it. Keep fighting the good fight.

    2. Jen

      Oh, if we’re counting e’s, then we may be up near 11e or so. LOL!
      I love how you changed your mindset there. I used to do the same thing. I used to call him challenging; now it’s complex. Same kinda thing, MUCH better word. And I used to say “he’ll change the world if I don’t kill him first.” Now I leave off the second half. It’s made a huge difference.

      1. Brynn

        I’m only now seeing the difference it makes to honor him even when he’s not anywhere near me! It’s like something clicked and I realized that even if he doesn’t hear it, he FEELS it when I whine about him (because I’ll totally admit to pulling the “Why me?! He’s so HARD!!” routine!). BTW, I just read all of the comments left in response to the BabyCenter blog and “we” parents are WELL represented after the first few “I totally agree, those darned gifted kids’ parents are SO annoying!!” responses 😉 I know I shouldn’t be happy about that, but…yeah, I’m happy about that.

        1. Brynn

          (And I used to say “my son is either going to BE or is going to NEED a great lawyer someday!” LOL!!)

  25. Myrinda

    sing it sistah! and Butter isn’t even 2e (as far as we know). even “just gifted” is mentally exhausting. and DH and I too, so we “get it” more than some others.
    Parent teacher conference=nightmare…

    I just want to know why it’s cool if the olympic committee is conisdering lowering an age limit so your superstar gymnast can compete, but people look at me like I have three heads if I suggest Butter needs a grade skip…

    Most of my favorite people live in the computer too…except those nice doctors I met last week at developmental behavior. They “get it” too

    1. Jen

      Good point about the Olympics. But, you know, athletically gifted is ok. Because it’s not threatening. :p

  26. Annette Witherspoon

    I just saw your post on the Hoagies Facebook page. I can totally relate. People think gifted means your kid is smart, you don’t have to help them with homework and they are a shoe-in at Harvard. My son stopped napping at 18 mos., has serious impulse control issues. Like Sarah wrote in the post above, my son “has the impulse control and activity of a sugared-up squirrel (think Hammy on “Over The Hedge).”

    1. Jen

      LOL! Sarah is good people. I think we may be getting better with the impulse control issues (watch THAT bite me in the ass tomorrow), but sleep? Nope. Almost 11 here and I guarantee he’s upstairs still awake.

  27. Debi

    Brilliant. Times two. Although sometimes I do brag. And I’ll tell you why. Because the other half of that 2e is so damned hard. And because I want him to hear me brag and somehow recapture some of that understanding that he is okay just the way he is…imperfect as my parenting is against the craziness that is his being. And now, I’m heading over to that other woman’s blog to tell her how idiotic she is. No, not really. Just in my head.

    1. Jen

      The other half of the e masks the bragging part of the e so badly here that I can’t brag because people would think I’d gone off my meds. 🙁

  28. Karen

    Oh thank you! I keep hesitating on writing blog posts about my journey as a parent of two gifted (but very different) kids. I’ve had some backlash from surprising directions, it has challenged me more personally than anything else.

    Deciding what the right solutions are for my children, reordering finances to make those solutions work, completely parking my career for a while, then picking it back up in an attempt to cover more bills. I can’t brag. Who wants to hear? (But just to share – my little boy rarely left my lap at playdates. He’d sit there for the full hour, hour and a half, only venturing down in the last few minutes. But then he’d tell me all about what he saw, the childhood dramas he observed while I chatted with the mommies. Or he’d have invented his own stories. And he’d ask me, “Why does that boy talk funny?” when that kid was just talking like a typical 3 year old, not a 3 year old with near perfect diction and the vocabulary of a college student.)

    The blog post I want to write talks about seeing a girl get tutoring at the public library and how her progress was so slow, her efforts clearly took a lot out of her. Her voice was hesitant, she had difficulty giving her tutor a simple summary statement after reading a passage aloud in her halting way.

    And yet her parents were bringing her to tutoring at the library and her dad watched anxiously from a few tables over and … is it really that different from the road I’m on? Maybe her parents are trying to keep her from riding off onto the shoulder, encouraging her back, helping her find the road, while I’m hanging on, white-knuckled, screaming by in the express lane. But we’re on the same road. We all want what’s best for our kids. Isn’t that enough?

    1. Jen

      No, it’s not a different road. It’s the parenting road. And we’re all on it, just that some hit a lot of bumps, and some kids drag their kids through the express lane, and others stall for a time by the side of the road.

  29. Nat

    Jen,

    Thank you! Nobody but you could have responded so well on behalf of ‘us’ parents.

    Nat

  30. Celina

    I’m not even going to bother reading the babycenter post. I knew from the beginning all babycenter posts help with NOTHING about my kids anyway.

    Anyway, I feel like my kid is in the gifted closet with family and friends except the gifted parents I’ve connected with virtually (thank God for the internet) and I’m so torn about what to do about it. Stuff like this makes me never want to address it because I feel like no one will really understand the struggle that it is. And that everyday there is a joy in that I might actually be reaching him and loving him in the exact way he needs and in another moment I’m at my wit’s end and just want to throw in the towel. I so needed to read this today cuz it was one of those days. I just take it a day at a time and but your words sure helped today cuz otherwise it can seem like no one understands.

    1. Jen

      I gave up parenting magazines when he was maybe 18 months old. He’s not in there. I gave up parenting books when he was maybe 4. He’s not in there. Now I (try to) read gifted books. He’s in there. But I’m too wiped living it to read about it.

      1. Sarah

        Excellent 🙂

  31. Annie

    Yup. What you said.

    Is it bragging when a parent says her kid can’t eat peanuts or shellfish?

    Is it bragging when a parent says his kid needs glasses or orthopedic shoes?

    Well, these kids have needs, too, to be healthy and whole. What the hell is the difference?

    I wish the powers that be had never used the word, “gifted,” as if these kids got a treat or present that others may envy. They just need different things to thrive.

  32. Janice

    Jen, I understand… we’re living life Gluten free, Dairy free, Nut free, Peanut free, Shellfish free, and Sunflower Seeds Free. Yes, forget the “Career”. Homeschooling is the only way we ended up working with a happy, healthy kid. I was an art major, now trying to keep up with and 8 yr old’s appetite for secondary/undergraduate level Sciences, dealing with lagging gross motor skills, super-tender emotions, undiagnosed learning issues. You name it! I’m there with you! I do still brag here and there, that’s the only thing I can do when I’m so proud of him despite the challenges we face.

    1. Jen

      Yeah, music major here with a kid who loves math but still needs some explanations. I’m so screwed. LOL

  33. Tracy

    Thanks for your article–I feel so much better now after reading it! I spend way more time apologizing for all the quirks of my 2E/gifted kids than I do bragging about them!

  34. Kim B.

    My two 2e children and I salute you. 🙂

  35. Andrea

    Today I had yet *another* one of those days where I stopped to think, “Is it something we’re not doing right? Are we too permissive? Have we not taught them respect/focus/diligence/etc. etc. etc.?” And then I read this post, and my heart lightened. THANK YOU. For being so forceful, so explicit, for saying what each of us with these children needs to hear. I wouldn’t trade my children’s wiring for the world because they experience so much more of the world so intimately. But yes, it is fucking hard. And even harder not to feel “responsible.” And now I’m going to share this link with about five close friends who also need to read it…..

    1. Jen

      And then have them share it with five friends, and another five friends, and… 😉

  36. Elizabeth

    This story could have been written by me with one great exception. I do brag about my gifted kid, because when, once in a while, something he does is brag-worthy and not just freaky, I feel like I’ve paid the dues to brag and can certainly be proud. Like you, homeschool was the only option. Career gone, savings non-existent, sanity a distant memory. Just like you, diets are questioned by everyone — family too (do they imagine that I suffer trying to plan meals that don’t include FD&C dyes, gluten, almonds, uncooked milk or coconut anything because I can’t think of anything better to do?). And after rising before dawn so that I could make gluten-free cupcakes and put together the social studies lesson he asked for in the middle of the night — yeah, I get school requests delivered to my bedside at midnight — then got the baby up so he could watch his learning video before his brother was up since television sends him into overstimulation land, then made allergy-safe pancakes, did school including twelve pages of math from the new book, dealt with three blow-ups over why the new science book is not accurate, rebuilt the pencil sharpener for the fourth time, and helped him dig a garden in a fibonacci swirl, all while watching a baby, cleaning the house, and making lunch and dinner — I feel entitled to hop on facebook and brag about the dinner conversation surrounding the square root of googleplex. Those brags come at a heavy, heavy price and since I’m willing to pay it, parents who can set their kids in front of the television while they paint their nails or play World of Warcraft don’t get to complain.

    1. Jen

      Holy crap what a day. Yeah, you’ve earned some googleplex bragging rights.
      And we’re all about Fibonacci here too. Vi Hart kicks ass. 🙂

    2. Wyldkat

      ROFLMAO Really? The square root of googleplex? I haven’t gotten that one. I thought I was the only one who had kids (2 and 5 at the time) who discussed the intricacies of googleplex! You just made my week.

  37. Ingi

    You know what? I DON’T brag – you (well, they) ask. You ask me why I homeschool. You ask me why my daughter is reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Yr 1. You ask me why my son is running around the playground by himself acting out his imaginary games and getting a little downtime from all the stimulation of school. You ask me why my 3 year old can read the signs in the shop. You ask me if I taught my daughter algebra (OK, yeah – on that one I did, because she asked me to).

    I never volunteer that information, but you are like a dog with a bone because they are DIFFERENT and you don’t get different, so you ask and push and inquire about them. If you don’t like the answers, then you are not my friend.

    Thank you for the voice of sanity in this uninformed, twisted world!

    1. Jen

      Yes. Just yes.

      1. Ingi

        🙂

    2. Juliet

      YES. A cousin with children the same age as mine started asking what my kids were reading. So I answered her and that led to more questions and on and on. I really tried not to sound like I was bragging, and since this cousin is a *teacher* I assumed she understood giftedness, but then I found out later that she thought I was bragging and that I made her feel bad. What. EVER. I don’t feel bad when I hear about your kids’ soccer wins or dance awards, so why should you “feel bad” that my kid won the spelling bee? And if you don’t want to know, don’t ask.

      1. Jen

        I do not talk about what my sons can and cannot do with relatives. It’s painful for all involved, mainly me. So I keep my mouth shut.

    3. Elizabeth

      Yeah, I got the same questions over those books. I even once heard, “Why would you make your six-year-old read that?” After I peeled my incredulous self off the ceiling, I informed her that he’d taken my (yes, I read YA) books off of my shelf. And anyway, how would you make any small child read a book that size? Make? Give me a break. Lots of parents look at their children and say, “What did you do to get him to read so much?” And those are the ones that are the worst. I fear those kids will get a lecture when they get home about how they should be like him. A stranger doesn’t know the flip side at all — he was suspended from kindergarten thrice before I pulled him. He managed to push the teacher’s buttons to the point that she smacked him (not that I blame him for her lack of control). He fails to notice if he makes other kids uncomfortable or scared, which gets him in loads of trouble. Oh and the tantrums! Plus, while he can read 7th grade books and do advanced math (I can’t even quantify where he is science) he’s distracted by EVERYTHING, so teaching him is anything but easy. Oh, and just when I get through the school stuff, I’ve found he’s taken the vacuum apart while I was cooking, or decided he’d like to know what happens when you pull all of the stitching out of the couch cover. And right behind him is a baby that worships the ground he walks on. Oh, and my baby is an escape artist and an incredible problem solver. I fear I see the writing on the wall. Why can’t they understand that the only thing we “did” was mate with the right set of genes? I’m no slouch in the intelligence department, and I wouldn’t have been attracted to someone who couldn’t even get my jokes. My kids are the result of that, not what music I played for them or what books I read to them, though I imagine it doesn’t hurt that I do read to them.

  38. TheNextMartha

    Well. I couldn’t even read that article. The ignorance. It would be like someone bragging their kid has aspergers. Giftedness has it’s own set of symptoms. I wish people understood just that one thing. A truly gifted child’s parent’s are way to exhausted to deal with trying to spread bragging rights across the playground.

    1. Jen

      A.Men.

  39. Natalie

    OMG, it happens to other parents??? I’m from the upside down side of the world and have lived the life that you are. One of the main differences between us is that I couldn’t have homeschooled him, because one of us could possibly have ended up dead. Either one of us, really! Oh, and he’s not 2E, just E 🙂

    We have seen all the ‘ologists, ‘iatrists and well meaning people from the Ministry of Education. We have been stood down, withdrawn from school and had more meetings with teachers and school management than you could count.

    We’ve flirted with diagnoses like ADHD, Aspergers, ODD (thank god for books like Misdiagnoses and dual diagnoses and Living with Intensity). We’ve managed to avoid any diagnosis except for Exceptionally Gifted. Possibly even PG, but we didn’t bother getting re-tested as it becomes semantics at that level.

    He just started High School yesterday at just 12 years old, and will be fine because he has a wonderful counsellor who has helped him understand his emotional intensity and given him the tools to manage himself without melting down, and parents who have spent the last 9 years standing tall beside him and encouraging him to be the boy we know he is.

    It is so wonderful to ‘meet’ a group of parents who are walking the walk.

    Its a long walk!

    1. Jen

      Happens to a LOT of other parents. You may be upside down but you’re far from alone. 😉 And until six weeks ago I could have (and did, often) said the same thing about homeschooling him. The stress is so much lower now; he’s learning on his terms, not the school’s/mine, and we’re all a lot happier. Could change, probably will, but it’s good now. You are very lucky to have a counsellor to help him, they are few and far between.

      1. Natalie

        The even cooler thing about his counsellor is that he has ADHD, is gifted and comes from a family where almost all the males are either Aspie or on the spectrum. He knows what he is talking about, and the work he does is so relevant to what my boy is experiencing.

  40. rhonda

    thanks for your post! 🙂

    there really isn’t anyone else to talk to about our kind of kids, unfortunately. but your blog really helps to make it feel less alone.

    I even find some gifted parents comparing giftedness(!) … 🙁 it is such a tough world we live in. would you hate me and my kid if we weren’t 2e? does intensity count? asynchronous dev count? sensitivity count? sigh.

    thanks for writing your blog 🙂

    1. Jen

      There is a difference between “gifted” and “profoundly gifted.” Huge difference, but both need accommodations. Just different ones.
      And actually I’m kinda envious your kid isn’t 2e. 😉 A world I don’t know. LOL

      1. rhonda

        yes, definitely, i know.

        I get looks like I’m bragging from the “mildly gifted” crowd and from the “profoundly gifted” I get statements of “oh your normal” 😉

        Let’s just accept each other as individuals all worthy of attention, care, and love. 🙂

        Thanks again for your blog!

  41. Mikki

    All I can say is…thank you!! I thought you were talking about my daughter a few times, thought I was talking to myself, then reality returned. My husband and I are not alone! Bless you Jen!

    1. Jen

      Yeah, don’t talk to yourself in public. Get strange looks that way. LOL

  42. LA

    Hi there … I found a link to this post from a friend’s FB and I couldn’t quite resist posting. I’m 34 and have survived growing up as a “gifted” child. There weren’t quite the same names for everything then as there are now (2e, etc.) but we’re still talking about the same thing. It has recently been determined that I have Asperger’s/HFA (there’s lots of overlap) along with a whole host of things my doctors have diagnosed as soon as there were names for them over the years.

    I also have a twin. Things are a bit easier for her, but when we were children, it was a nightmare for my mother. She was a single parent who barely made enough to pay the bills much less send us to private school … no one was really homeschooling back then. Things were not easy. But we all made it through.

    In any event, I wanted to tell you that while I understand your frustration and I can’t stand the ignorance you describe, it makes a lot of sense to me. See, “gifted” means something entirely different to us than it does to them. To people with “normal” children, saying your child is gifted almost requires them to defend their own children, because to them, “gifted” is great. “Gifted” doesn’t come with heartache and exhaustion; it doesn’t come with chaos and frustration. To them, “gifted” means your child read at an early age or learned algebra two years early. No one tells them that it also means “Because Mommy said so” is never enough. This isn’t anyone’s fault except perhaps a politically correct establishment that decided to use the word gifted without explaining to anyone else that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

    Here’s the hard part. To other parents, your children (children like me) are broken in some way. And frankly, they’re right. As an adult I’m broken. I will always be broken. That’s not to say meds and therapy and hard work won’t make things easier, but it’s still there. Gifted is absolutely the wrong word to use, which is precisely why it bothers other parents so much. As far as they’re concerned, you’re saying your kids are better, which to their eyes is clearly not true.

    I understand what you’re going through, believe me. All the hard work you’re putting in now will pay off so much when your children are adults. Just please try to remember that for those other parents who don’t understand, all they’re trying to do is make sure their children don’t get left off the “gifted” list.

    1. Jen

      You are so right in many ways. I think it does eventually boil down to the word “gifted.” I really wish there was a different descriptor. Gifted has twisted to mean “high-achieving,” when it really is anything BUT in so many cases. I was in what passed for gifted classes growing up, my brother was not. He was labeled ADHD, learning disabled, held back a year. He is as much 2e as my diagnosed son upstairs, but no one knew it 30 years ago. 2e is now starting to be acknowledged, and I will continue to scream for it to be recognized as needing accommodations. Gifted also needs to be recognized as needing change. It’s just the other end of the bell curve when it comes to special ed. There’s a lot of educating to be done, and I wish I knew…I wish I knew it would be a positive change. :/

  43. Christina

    You are right on. I read that blog post too and it really pissed me off. There are so many misconceptions out there about giftedness, and it does feel like it is taboo to talk about these issues. And there are many. None of which in my priority is academic accomplishment. Don’t get me wrong- academic accomplishment is good, but it is not what comes to mind first. And it may not even be. My feeling is that there are in fact parents out there speaking of their gifted kids. “because all kids are gifted.” I hear these people and they really have no clue what they are talking about. People do not want to accept that the true gifted kids ARE different. So my feeling is that the parent of the gifted are not the ones talking.
    And thank you for Linda Silverman’s words. I am saving them for my son. I know he’ll need them.

    1. Jen

      Get her book, “Upside-down Brilliance.” Or any of the articles from the GDC website. Treasures.

  44. Randa

    You are so awesome! I have always said, I wish I was ignorant because it would be so much easier to fit into the happy little cubicle world out there. Don’t think my son will be fitting into a cubicle either!

  45. Maria

    You rock! You are what Jon Stewart is to politics, my Joan of Arc to giftedness. You will keep me sane by periodically losing yours. I offer you a virtual bottle of wine in return! My 7 year old and I send you big hugs!

    1. Jen

      You’re awesome. 🙂 In Chicago? Please? LOL

  46. Wyldkat

    Thank you for this. I’m one of the people that replied to the other blog. I have a some ridiculous level of gifted (we can’t afford testing) son and another one who is probably nearly at the same level, but has other issues as well. There is so much less stigma attached to saying your five year old is still in diapers than there is in saying that your petite and young for his grade (before the grade skip) seven year old is eating through the jr high science books… Of course I almost never mention that the still in diapers five year old read his first words at two years old.

    I think there is probably something very toxic about the fact that we can’t be open about what our kids can do. They hear us edging around the subject, changing the subject, balancing the good out with “oh but he can’t ride a bike or tie his shoes” (the seven year old…). They soak it all in. I’ve been trying to stop that type of toxic talk where they can hear it.

    1. Jen

      He’s not challenging, he’s complex. 🙂 My little word change made a world of difference. But being around others in the same situation, somehow, is so SO good.

  47. Sarah

    Love it! So relate with a 2e ADHD 8-yr-old son. The childproofing thing really made me smile as it brings back good memories of a less complicated time 🙂

    1. Sarah

      Strike the “less complicated” part! He was exhausting to keep up with then. I guess I mean a time before school and all the expectations and frustrations that come with that.

      1. Jen

        I TOTALLY know what you mean. 🙂

  48. Maggi

    It’s all actually really scary for me.
    My daughter’s doctor told me she is “gifted” and I just didn’t see it. I know she’s smart, but I’ve taught her from the time she was born. I know she’s a little more advanced than other kids her age with language and figuring things out on her own, but I’m a stay at home mom and have been teaching her these things; so I really still don’t get it.
    He said it has more to do with her critical thinking abilities, that she’s just wired differently from other kids in a way that makes her a natural critical thinker and problem solver – and warned me that behavior problems ALWAYS come with this kind of wiring. He suggested I plan to be a SAHM for at least another decade, or I wont be able to keep up with her! It’s scary and intimidating but I look forward to the challenge.

    1. Jen

      I LOVE that it came from your doctor, and I LOVE that he said it was wiring. But I’ll tell ya, sometimes it’s really hard to see the gifted when you live with it, simply because you’re there all day every day with her.

  49. Chelle

    The ignorance of teachers and other parents is one of the (big) reasons why we homeschool. I do not have gifted or 2e kids, but I can read this blog post and these comments with compassion and a further deepened knowledge of what life is like for so many parents. I hope I can always be sensitive to those parents’ situations, be understanding, even if I can’t be helpful, and never alienating.

    1. Jen

      Just…thank you. 🙂

  50. Rebekah

    LOVE it! Great response to an ignorant article. Like most of the other parents who’ve left comments, most of the time I am just holding on for the wild ride, trying my hardest to find what is best for my kids. Not easy, and ignorant comments from other people make it so much more difficult than it needs to be. I am SO thankful for the Internet and finding other parents out there who ‘get it’ and who are supportive and encouraging. It really does help me to carry on and keep fighting for what is best for all three of my wonderful, active, inquisitive, pedantic, frustrating, hilarious children, I wouldn’t change them for the world – even though at times it seems the world would sure like to change them!

    1. Jen

      I can’t count the number of times our 2e son has cried, “Quit trying to fix me!” So we did. No more square peg into a round hole. And it’s so much more relaxed.

  51. Jodie

    Well Said! We’re still trying to cope within the school system with our gifted daughter. She is in second grade and in the pull out program with other gifted children in math, but since her writing skills are not at the same level as her reading skills, she is being held back in reading. They also think she has social issues because she wants to play by herself a lot. I have always supplemented her learning, and am tired of fighting what feels like a losing battle with the school. Every time it feels like we’re coming to a meeting of the minds, I get hit with something else.

    1. Jen

      We moved across country this summer, so suddenly I was dealing with a new school district in a new state. If there is somewhere between awkward and ugly, that’s where we were. We finally decided to use the energy we were wasting on the school and homeschool him; the last four weeks have been the most relaxed in three years.

  52. Bibi67

    Thank you for writing this.. I actually invited the author of that ridiculous blog to contact me off line if she was interested in hearing what parenting a TRULY profoundly gifted child ( with a side helping of ADHD! ) is like on a day to day basis . My bet is that she would not last 48 hours with any one of our kids before she needed admittance to a psych ward. Most of the people who commented on that article also seemed to have no idea what gifted really means, and seemed more concerned with being ” kind “.. In any case, we have each other for support, thankfully, and the rest of them can just eat their sour grapes.

    1. Jen

      Psych ward possibly, buying wine by the vat very likely, an apologetic post unfortunately not happening. And my off the charts complex 2e kid is kind like you wouldn’t believe. There! I bragged. 😉

  53. Julia

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. It needed to be said, and you said it brilliantly. And thanks for tipping me off about the code system – it will come in handy since we’re pretty underground with the giftedness thanks to people like Uninformed What’s-her-face.

  54. Terri

    THANK YOU for this post! Just last night I was at our local school system’s public input on the budget meeting to ask them to budget for 2e students (6th year in a row doing so). Part of what I said was this:

    “Just because there is little money doesn’t mean that my children and children like them stop needing. Their needs are great:

    • They need the misunderstandings about and prejudices against them to be abolished.

    • They need school system staff and administration to be trained in appropriately educating them.

    • They need appropriate programming, not making do with what is available.”

    Oh, and since November, we’ve been gluten-, casein-, soy-, and CORN-free. I’ve learned how to make my own baking powder, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, Cheez-Its… while parenting a child who has run away four times in the past month, who has depression and ODD and ADHD and EF issues, who is about to fail out of the STEM program she’s in because of all the zero grades from work not turned in, who is on powerful meds that aren’t working, who just started a vitamin regimen, and who is currently (apparently) having the time of her life on a week-long field trip to NASA’s Space Camp in Alabama.

    And at this moment, my very smart 14-year-old son is about to miss his bus because he just dawdled his way through breakfast and has just decided he has to pee.

    1. Terri

      I just realized that the paragraph about my daughter could sound like I was “bragging” — didn’t mean it that way! 🙂

  55. Bella

    Omg thank you for this. Thank you. Hugs.

  56. Rackley

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for sticking up for us. 🙂 I love this!!!

  57. Melina

    Thanks, loved the paragraph on how parents just find one another, don’t know how to describe it but you just do — those “code words”. It’s such a relief to find someone to talk to without getting the feeling that they resent you. And we are not boastful, or mean intending. Just would like to brag about my kid (as others do–ad nauseum) once in a while!

    1. Jen

      I’d love to brag too. But then I think…no one could possibly understand what I was bragging about or why it was important. 2e kids are so complex that you need a 45 minute backstory to understand the importance of the brag. :/

  58. Allie

    I’m so glad you addressed that ridiculous post. When I first saw it last night, I was angered to the point of not being able to respond to the author in a way that would intelligently get the point across to her. I had just had a meltdown yesterday morning over the worries I have for my 2E kids because even though they are only in preschool, their lives are far from normal. Sure they are gifted- one is verified on paper- but they also spend too much of their childhood in therapy. Autism, SPD, CAPD, Hyperlexia…it’s all crap that we deal with on a daily basis and I’m pretty dang sure it’s related to that kooky wiring in the brain that also makes them high IQ.

    Thank you for your post this morning. Hopefully that woman’s daughter will teach her mama how to be kind and accepting.

  59. Heather

    Thanks for writing this. I read the other article and the comments and knew responding to it was verging on pointless. But YOU did a great job.
    My daughter is probably “only exceptional”, but weird enough that when she was three or four, the six year olds would whine to their parents “please make her stop using those words, I don’t know what she’s saying.”
    All I can say is that blogs like the one we just struggled through, and the accompanying comments, are so isolating. If your child is even only in the top 1%, it means you have to work through a couple hundred sets of parents to find one with a child who has similar abilities. A parent you can feel comfortable really sharing with. It’s just hard feeling so alone. Because you really CAN’T share; someone will be rolling their eyes and saying inside their head “I hate hearing about your gifted kid.” My nerves.
    It’s glorious listening to everyone’s comments here and feeling like there really are lots of parents who understand the isolation.
    You’re a huge encouragement after that bit of discouraging nonsense. Thanks much.

    1. Jen

      I refused to comment on that post, simply because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the words I needed out coherently. LOL! Seems I nailed it here. 😉
      I’m trying to educate others, one person at a time, that gifted isn’t what they think. It’s a lot MORE than that.

  60. Robin

    With the exception of the allergy issues, I could have written this article. It describes both my daughters to a T.

    When other kids were placidly sitting on blankets in the park as toddlers, mine had set fire to the swingset and were comparing the burn rate of plastic to wood.

    When other kids would sit on the carousel at Walt Disney World and watch the world go by, mine were staring up at the gears that made the horses move.

    I get it. It’s nice to hear that other moms do, too.

    However, I don’t let the stupidity that surrounds me drive me crazy-learning how to deal with morons with internet access is just part of daily life. Your kids will have to learn to deal with morons-the sooner they accomplish that skill, the better…

    1. Jen

      I used to teach an Intro to Instruments class and took A when he was about three. He had zero interest in how the instruments sounded or how to play them, he only wanted to know how they worked. Nearly eight years later, same story.

      1. Gail R

        It sounds as if A is a budding engineer (or engineer/inventor?), which is great: We need more creative engineers in this world.

        1. Jen

          He is. He’s wanted to be an inventor forever.
          LOL! I’m sure you remember him running all over the church, eh? 😉

  61. Jeanine Knapp

    Dear Jen, It took quite a while to get to the end of all the posts, and I admit, I didn’t read them all before typing here. As I told my husband as he left with our son this morning for school, “It will all be fine” we tell each other that often lately. I laughed out loud with your post (I do my best to tempter my language though) and was reminded of so many things in the early days–spending 10 minutes examining the hinged seat in the bathroom at the y etc. Love and warm wishes to you and your family and thank you!

  62. Lisa

    Two words: THANK YOU
    (Sorry for shouting. Wanted to be sure to be heard through my tears and laughter.)

    1. Jen

      Shout all ya want. 🙂

  63. Jeanine Knapp

    P.S. I highly recommend, “Mellow Out They Say: If Only I Could” by Michael Piechowski.

    1. Jen

      I have that book. Have I read it? Uh…not yet. 😉

  64. JulieinKC

    Amen, sister.

  65. Rebecca

    Thank you so much for this article! Our family is on the brink of finally deciding we need to homeschool for exactly the reasons you stated, and I really needed to know I’m not full of poop today. Thank you!

    1. Jen

      I really recommend “Making the Choice” by Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson to help decide about homeschooling. Made a HUGE difference for us, definitely got my husband on board. http://tinyurl.com/7z9q9rc

  66. Ann

    I really appreciate you posting your response. I get it. Hearing people post about allergies, other sensitivities, and other systemic issues just affirms that these kids are wholly intense, sensitive, and unique. When we tested Eldest, we were told not to put her in school. We were’t planning to do that, but it was good to hear our suspicions confirmed. I don’t share that story any more. There have been a lot of lessons learned with Eldest. Youngest has been a completely different set of rules, yet just as PG as Eldest. We are still homeschooling, and still loving it. It’s pretty much like one big fantastic field trip at our house. I cherish these moments, as awesomely difficult many of them can be. When people ask about testing, curriculum, allergies, schooling, etc., I usually tell them we use the KMA Test, KMA “curriculum”, etc. You could, of course, use NOYDB as a substitute. Keep on blogging!

    1. Jen

      Ok, I figured out NOYDB, but KMA? LOL! I’m getting better with NOYDB, but it’s still a struggle. 😉

      1. Ann

        KMA = kiss my a**!
        It also sounds more like a real test acronym. If for no other reason, it gives me a little smirk on the inside!

  67. Mona

    At 12 years old, my son has had exactly one (count them, 1) teacher who “got” him. She still couldn’t manage having him in her classroom, but she understood. I cried at our first parent-teacher conference with her, because all of the others had been so negative. She started with, “If there was one kid I could take home with me and keep, it would be your son.” She then went on to tell us all the same things we’d heard before (disruptive, doesn’t pay attention, won’t do the work, etc.). But I was grateful, because finally SOMEONE was recognizing what we knew. We now homeschool, because we could not find any school (public or private) who could tell us that they could teach him something. And honestly – at the rate he learns I don’t blame them. When we pulled him out of school last spring, he was in 5th grade. He is now in 12th grade taking AP courses online (finally getting to go at his own pace). We skipped three grades (jumping to 9th in September) – and by the end of this school year he will have managed to get through all of high school in 9 months. People keep asking me what he will do next, and I just want to scream, “HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?” I’m just making this up as we go along. College? HAH! His asynchrony means that, despite his already higher-than-most-adults level thinking, emotionally he is still in 1st grade (professional’s opinion, there).

    Thanks for sharing, Jen. It’s good to have your “tribe” with you, even when the rest of the world thinks you’re nuts (and God forbid you be nuts if you have a nut-allergy! That’s just craziness!).

    1. Tonya

      Mona: I would like to chat with you sometime about the process that you used for your son to skip grades and the state in which you live that has accepted the HS credit for your son’s online/homeschool advanced program. I would be interested in learning more as my current 5th grader is (and has always been), misunderstood. Not sure that he is ready/able to skip 3 grades, but I need something for him that challenges his abilities. Not sure how this board works or how to contact you directly. Please contact me at millertd2003@hotmail.com Thanks, Tonya

  68. cocobean

    I think the issue this woman needs to face is that she hasn’t come to terms with how her daughter learns – so since it’s a sore spot for her, she notices the parents who are saying the things she wishes she was saying. I think *all* parents have to deal with their child’s life being different than what we imagined – we have to grieve for the things that will not come easy for them, we need to seek out the things where they excel.

    And a lot of parents who are wearing reading level or math ability like a big badge on their t-shirt? They haven’t come to terms with their child having trouble making friends or not being able to ride a bike or who knows what struggle.

  69. Rochelle

    As the mom of 23 and 21 year old “profoundly gifted” girls, I have wanted for two decades to have tattooed on my forehead, people with “gifted” children don’t brag about the double edged sword they juggle each day. Wish that there was the interwebber out there when I was a young mom struggling. Luckily our oldest was referred to Dr. Silverman from 18 months of age and her sage advice was the best thing since sliced bread to this weary mom.

  70. Benoit

    My sons are not gifted, it’s just that the others are so slooowwwww 😉

    Let’s bark the dogs, Jen !

    I’d like to share with you the most important thing that I’ve discovered when I’ve been tested 2 years ago. IQ tests are easy…but most of people can’t find the answers. It was a real shock to realize that “normal” people are not able to “think”.
    That’s why schools are for parrots. And that’s why we’re in a society of parrots.
    Just remember one thing : they can not understand…because they’re not wired.

    Biz.
    Ben

  71. Benoit

    Lol I meant “let the dogs bark !” …I’m still dyslexic…

  72. K

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this post. It describes EXACTLY what it’s like (to me) to have a 2E kid…

  73. Rachel Y

    OMG, YES! Most of the time when I speak about life with my 2E kid, I am worrying, complaining, venting, or tearing my hair out! She is a fabulous kid, but she is a LOT of work! We have driven her an hour each way to a ‘special school’ that turned out to be for high-achievers. We have taken her to counselors and psychiatrists. We have wanted to cry with her when other kids didn’t *get* her. We have blown through savings, ruined our credit, and moved to another state to get her what she needs! So I will listen to you brag about your child’s home runs if you let me celebrate my child’s A+ on the science fair. Because she worked damned hard on that!

  74. Alicia

    Amazing. Thank you for putting this into words.

  75. oregongurl

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

  76. Justyn

    Well said… thank you.
    Your point of view is refreshing (I like honesty!).

  77. ChiTown Girl

    Holy cow, you obviously touched a LOT of people with this post!!

    You said it so perfectly, I have nothing else to add. Oh, except that the KMA curriculum? Kiss My Ass!

  78. Savanarola

    I heaved a sigh of relief when my kids weren’t gifted. It was so, so hard. It still is. It’s like living your entire life in a porsche in bumper to bumper traffic: the world just isn’t set up to provide you with the speed for which you are built. It’s especially bad as a girl. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain why, suffice it to say that I was never valued by my parents – and still am not – except for the bragging rights my accomplishments provided. Because I’m also pretty driven.

    And so every time some idiot parent brags to me about how gifted their kid is, I smile and I think “you have no idea, and I can guarantee your kid is totally normal.” Because gifted is just another category of at-risk youth, frankly. And if they had ever really even MET a genuinely gifted kid, they would know how incredibly hard it is for everybody involved.

    Two out of three of mine have special needs – spectrum. They have some pretty amazing splinter skills, and normal IQs, so people are always telling me how “gifted” they are. But I feel pretty certain that they aren’t 2e, just spectrum kids with wonderful personalities and all the complexities and quirks a kid should have.

    It has always amazed me that for a nation that distrusts and belittles intellectualism and academics as much as this country, everybody thinks they want their kid to be “gifted” like it is some kind of bragging rights.

    I wish you the very best with your 2e love – may he find his niche and people who love and challenge him.

    1. Jen

      Good point about the at-risk youth. Gifted kids are more likely to commit suicide, self-medicate, and drop out of school, simply because they’re in a situation that is ill-equipped to handle them.
      Have you read Stephanie Tolan’s essay, “Is it a cheetah?” Stunning. I read it to my husband on a car trip, knowing the boys were listening. Our 2e kid really took it to heart and brings it up often.

      1. Savanarola

        I did read it – it is extremely accurate, I think. It really sums up a lot of why school is not fun for a gifted kid. I went to a program for gifted one summer and it felt like being given hope – liberated from some kind of prison. Everybody was like me, no need to mask it. I was in the middle of the pack, even! The material was extremely challenging. I felt really alive, the equivalent of finally getting a good open plain and a few antelope on the horizon. I managed to hold out until I could get to college and design my own learning environment. But so many of my friends from that program didn’t make it. Brilliant, brilliant kids flamed out by the struggle.

        The good news is, it makes it very easy for me to parent my spectrum boys – I get it. Different wiring. So we work towards finding where they fit and where they can really stretch out and run.

    2. Anne

      I work with children who are on the spectrum. I often have wondered how many of their parents are gifted and if there is a correlation between spectrum disorders and having one or more gifted parents.

      1. Jen

        I’ve wondered many times if A is on the spectrum, but he’s not. Just quirky gifted whose needs were shuttered while in school. But I think there’s likely a correlation.

  79. Shelley

    Oh wow. I feel such a connection here. We live with daily struggles that so few people can even begin to understand. The struggle is so difficult…I question daily what to do next and how to give her what she needs. I have two gifted children…one of them being ‘highly’ gifted. The difference even in my two is amazing. Thank you for your complete honesty. The comfort it brings to hear where others are is amazing. I would post this article to facebook or pintrest but I am afraid it would even be seen as a brag.

    1. Jen

      My motto is “if you decide to confide in others, you’ll discover you’re not alone.” It’s all about honesty here. It may be covered in humor, it may be raw, but it’s there.

  80. Valerie P.

    As I just said to a friend who sent me a link to your blog. It’s all fun and games until someone’s child loses an IQ point (or 50) to yours.

    Prior to my daughter being identified as profoundly gifted, it was always OTHER mothers pointing out her abilities. Now that there’s some actual label attached to her, simply saying the word “gifted” is viewed as bragging.

    I attended an amazing conference here in AZ last weekend and one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Ed Amend, pointed out that our society will take a child gifted in athletics, identify them, give them opportunities to work with other “gifted” athletes at their level (grade school kids playing with high school, high school kids playing college level, etc.) and even PAY people to find these kids, but our children who are academically gifted are expected to just be the “cream that rises to the top”. All the while they have to hide their intelligence because it’s viewed negatively in our society. I struggle every day to get my daughter to NOT dumb herself down, just to “fit it” and be accepted.

    Where’s the recruiter for my child who will pull her out of the god-awful school system here and give her the opportunity to use her gifts to her full potential?

    I just hope that some day ALL our children can be honored for who they are and what they bring to this planet. What an amazing world THAT would be, huh?

    1. Jen

      LOL! Love your first line. 🙂
      God, could you imagine the unholy uproar if there WAS a recruiter like that? To pull out the truly gifted and give them a chance to really hit their potential? Cities would burn. 😉

  81. L Devin

    OMG I am so happy I read your blog, I needed to hear this. So funny to see how many people I know BRAG about it and they only talk about the good stuff but forget to talk about the daily challenges. It really can be challenging sepecially the emotional side of gifted children! Thanks for speaking about the good, the bad and the ugly! you rock!

    1. Jen

      The emotional side kills me. It’s so rough.

  82. Dallasmom

    Thanks for your post. I totally understand because I have three gifted kids, and they are truly exhausting. It’s such a relief when they all go to bed at night. Unfortunately, many gifted kids need less sleep than most kids, so my kids never want to go to bed. My oldest is a teenager, and I’ve pretty much given up on trying to get her to go to bed at a normal hour. When she was a toddler, we’d have horrendous struggles trying to get her to take a nap. The rest of us would be absolutely exhausted, but she’d still be awake and energetic. Each gifted child is different, but mine are very talkative and drive me crazy with their constant noises, singing, fighting and talking. And they are very opinionated!
    Luckily for us, we live in a wonderful school district that has an outstanding all-day gifted program, drawing families from all over the region. We have a terrific community of gifted families and supportive teachers, so we have other people to talk to who totally “get it.” It feels so nice to be able to talk to other parents who know what it’s like to walk in your shoes. Also, those with older kids can advise the newer parents on the best classes, programs, etc.

    1. Jen

      Yeah, A doesn’t sleep either. He gave up naps the week I brought his baby brother home from the hospital, was never a great sleeper, and even now gets very little. Sometimes I just want him to sleep for my own quiet time! LOL
      I envy your school district; how do they handle 2e kids?

  83. Heidi West

    OH thank you so much. . . I needed that!! Spent last night at High School Academic Fair for my 2E freshman and heard “he’s so incredible bright but he’s not fill-in-the-blank-mostly-not-motivated”. . . from every single teacher *sigh* I ‘ve been trying to explain that he learns differently since the first grade and that has gotten us exactly no where!! So few people truly understand but YOU truly get it!!

    Thank you again and again from the bottom of my broken heart!!

    1. Jen

      Agh. I’m sorry. BTDT. 🙁

  84. So over

    Oh my! This is amazing. Hubby and I just laughed and had an awesome discussion about how ill equipped the education system is to deal with these kids. How when our 2e kid has a huge accomplishment, we want to shout from the mountain tops, but we know no one is going to get it!!! It is so sad that such ignorance exists but it is reality. Thanks for pulling all of us crazy braggers together. It is so nice to know we are not alone in our journey.

  85. Marge

    Thank you for posting that article! I live in Florida and was able to attend the SENG conference that year, after first having my son evaluated (unfortunately, haven’t been able to since because of finances needed to go to out-of-state conferences). It was an enlightening experience! Second to the joy it brought to see my son play with others of his “pack” – happy, youthful, and speaking the same language, one of the most indelible moments there was when a particular speaker said to us, “Who out there has had moments of mourning the fact they don’t have a “normal” child?”. After we all got over the initial shock of the question, slowly but surely almost all of us gained the courage to raise our hands and admit that, yes, there are times when we’ve said to ourself, “If only he/she wasn’t so intense, wasn’t so different, just could be like a “regular” child and have a “normal”, happy child-hood. Wouldn’t it be easier?”. It was a liberating moment. A moment to exhale. And one followed by the incredible realization that we, as parents, were each given a gift ourselves with our children. Yes, he has a rough go of it, yes it’s a challenge each and every day, yes life would be “easier”. But this complex, beautiful child of mine, who thinks like no one I’ve ever known… who could change the world… how can I not try every day to get him through, to challenge him, to support, to get to a day when he can, hopefully, make a difference with that wonderful mind of his. It’s exhausting and I still find myself at times thinking how much easier it would be if he “just fit in” with everyone – how happy he could be. But I wouldn’t change a single thing about him and the blessing it is to have him here! What a gift that is. Thanks for understanding!

    1. Jen

      I’m going to SENG this summer when it’s in Milwaukee. I should take A, you think?

      1. Marge

        ABSOLUTELY! I wish I was able to attend another one! But so much more so for my son. Best scenario from the conference (along with the immense amount of education I gained regarding these kids. That and the idea of not feeling alone!) was watching him play in the pool with a bunch of other kids — a perfectly normal scene for most children. They were laughing and goofing around. And when you got closer, you heard them talking about swimming to the galaxies on the other side of the pool and what the physical characteristics were of each new place they were creating. I knew he could still be a child, yet finally with someone who “spoke his language”. It was the happiest moment of the weekend for me.

  86. FLMOM

    Thanks for this article. Still to this day people do not get that gifted kids are not just smart with high IQ’s. These kids haver their challenges and it is a very hard job to work with them on overcoming challenges. Although they are smart, that is not the only thing that will make them functional adults for society, but rather social and emotional stability which in my experience it is the hardest thing to achieve. I am extremely happy to know that both my kids are very smart but there are so many nights I go to bed thinking that the fact that they are gifted could be a curse too. I feel that my kids are different and that maybe, just maybe they would’ve been better being typical kids. I am happy I am not alone and happy that you explained to everyone that giftedness is all about wiring. I bet all parents with gifted kids knew that their kids were different since they very very young (1-2 yrs old).
    Again, thanks for sharing your feelings and making all of us that we are not alone!!!!
    FLMOM

    1. Jen

      Yup. I suspected early, really suspected at 4 and got him tested.

  87. Laurie

    I also found this blog fun to relate to (as I found out in my 30s that my whole family of seven brothers and sisters are gifted), and we all get a kick out of figuring out the spectrum of each of the 9 nieces and nephews. My younger daughter runs with a crowd of girls who always were in the excelled classes (our public school district pumps a lot of money into that program), and in high school, are joining forces with the boys who can now begin to socially connect with these like-minded girls. Their conversations are so off-the-charts (as I listen in the invisible driver seat), that I’m happy we didn’t leave the boring Midwest years ago for exciting views out my windows.

    1. Jen

      Sounds like me growing up; it was awesome. 🙂
      Where in the Midwest? I’m going to guess not Illinois, as this state doesn’t fund gifted ed and it’s in sorry shape. 🙁

      1. Laurie

        We’re in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, a north east suburb of Milwaukee. The school had the highest average scores for the ACT in the state last year at 26.5, beating the private schools, too. Some kids take Math classes at UW-Milwaukee because they’ve run out of options at our school, but that’s understandable. As long as we know they are doing their best for the majority of the kids. We have a strong parent presence in the district from kindergarten all the way through HS, which keeps the district on its toes!

  88. Sara

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about my 6yo gifted son without sounding like I’m bragging. Even using the word gifted makes me feel funny lol. Fortunately we began to figure out what we were dealing with when he taught himself to read at 2 :/ And so he is in Montessori, happily working on fractions in Kindergarten. It’s damn expensive but worth it. I can’t imagine sending this kid to our public school! I feel for parents who have to endure public education system.

    1. Jen

      We endured until last month. Been a great four weeks homeschooling. LOL

  89. Shari

    YEAH! What she said.
    It gets soooo old, defending the choices we have made for our son. He is accelerated 5 years so going underground really isn’t an option. Can you say “sore thumb?” We actually had a problem with an extremely religious parent of a fellow student when she reported to her son that she believes that my son is possessed by the devil. He promptly came to the school and told all of his friends. Can you imagine how my son felt?

    1. Jen

      Holy crap, really? And you let her live? 😉 Strong woman.

  90. Mindy

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! A friend of mine sent me a link to this blogpost thinking I could relate. Boy was she right. For the first time in about 5 years I feel like maybe I’m not completely crazy. I have a 5 year old daughter who has not been assessed for giftedness (though we have seen a therapist for anxiety and sensory processing issues). As I read through your posts and those you link to I see that you are describing our life and I am not alone. All my guilt about being frustrated with and exhausted by her feels suddenly a little bit normal. Wish I had found this community sooner. Thanks sooooo much!

    1. Jen

      Nope, not crazy, not by a long shot. 🙂 Welcome to gifted chaos!

  91. Robyn

    I’m so with you! If I could only talk about my boy without a whole preamble explaining that “he’s gifted which doesn’t mean he’s really smart but rather he’s different and he has….blah blah blah blah blah”…I HATE MAKING EXCUSES FOR MY BEAUTIFUL AND VERY CHALLENGING AND GIFTED BOY!!!

  92. Liz

    I will proudly claim the right to brag about my son. Because it eases the pain from the isolation, rejection, confusion, self-doubt, broken marriage, worry, responsibility, exhaustion, incompetence, ignorance and just plain mean-ness that we have both experienced from the neuro-typical world. I truly feel like I have been given this unbelievable gift-of-a-child who needs special, intelligent “handling”, and for the past 16 years it feels like I have been scrambling to supply him with the services and opportunities that he needed and deserved. He isn’t better than other kids, just different. But the word “brag”, at least in my case, is a misnomer because it implies ownership; I am awed and humbled by his gift for perception, his perfect math scores, his ability to make connections between seemingly disparate concepts, the wide-eyed mentors and teary-eyed drama teachers, the astounded science-fair adjudicators. It sounds like I’m bragging, doesn’t it? But I’m not. I’m just as dismayed. And at times, I am lost. How is it possible for a child who was in remedial math to be able to complete an entire Provincial math exam in his head with no calculator? How is it possible that a ten year old who couldn’t add two numbers could suddenly, inexplicably, perfectly, multiply triple-digit numbers by looking into thin air? When it sounds like I’m bragging, I’m actually looking for validation from others because sometimes I can’t believe what’s happening. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed. Most of the painful struggles are behind us now – the daily meltdowns in class, the expulsion from Space Camp, the rejection from the “gifted” program (!), the bullying, the stonewalling from the school board, the social ineptness, the obsessive behaviours. There are still struggles – understanding his peers, for one – and there will always be struggles. But for me, the best thing I ever did was trust my kid. I homeschooled him when kindergarden almost killed him. I fought for him when he tried public school again. I defended him when the teacher was abusive. I put him in a special school for gifted, learning disabled kids when we couldn’t take the system anymore. I went without a boyfriend for seven years, six months and two days. I lost friends. I even lost a few relatives for a while. So if I want to BRAG about some of the good things that came out of all that sacrifice? Well, you do the math.

  93. Lauren

    Yep. That article hit a nerve with me as well. I loved reading your response. I wish people weren’t so interested in the comparisons and we could all just be proud of our children without putting someone on edge. Our kids deserve for us to be proud of them regardless of where they are in comparison to the others. Here were some of my thoughts as the mother of both a “gifted” son and one that is “special needs”… in other words, here’s my own venting blog post. 😉 http://laurenocean.com/?p=418

  94. Lynn Kent

    Where were you all while I was struggling to raise a PG kid?? We were so focused on finding a challenging school/learning environment that we didn’t even recognize his intense emotional needs. SENG SENG SENG – I needed to know about you years ago. It’s Very comforting to know that while we thought we were alone all those years that there really were other parents out there having the same struggles. Wouldn’t wish those challenges on anyone, but now we know we aren’t as crazy as as thought. 🙂

    1. Liz

      Lynn, I feel exactly as you do! It’s such a comfort now to know that there are others who struggled. I did feel alone! There were other parents that I felt understood because they had gifted/LD kids of their own, but they didn’t have any extra energy to make connections with other parents other than to swap websites or readings. And, yes, I have felt crazy many, many times, especially having raised my son alone for the last several years. Sometimes I still feel crazy, but I have to dissect the situation rationally and go through the list of all the things that are going right: 1) he’s on the right track, 2) He’s in the IB Program 3) He knows what he wants to be, 4) He doesn’t do drugs or drink 5) He’s a great guy and 6) He’s happy.
      It’s very, very serendipitous that this week, of all weeks, I should come to this blog through a friend on Facebook. It was all sort of closing in on me, and there isn’t really anywhere to turn. It’s sort of like operating in a vacuum, and you really have to trust yourself, that you’re doing the right thing. It’s a MAJOR balancing act. I’ve become so jaded here because of the school system that I just started doing everything on my own. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a central place to go for help once a diagnosis is made? I found it incredible that there were so many psychologists who were able to give assessments, but who had no clue of how to proceed afterward. It was like – here’s what your kid has, good luck with that, and oh, BTW, none of the teachers are trained to understand your kid in the classroom, you’re in for a bumpy ride, and thanks for the twelve hundred bucks! (oops my bitterness is showing!)
      I figure that as long as I’m questioning what I do to help him, I’m on the right track! Thank goodness you guys are all out there, writing your hearts out. I’ve put this blog in my favorites file and will be checking back a lot to feel like I have company.

  95. Stimey

    Dude. Totally. And frankly, sometimes I’m going to say something about how awesomely smart my autistic kid is because when he can’t function around all of your “nice” kids, I feel like I need to say something good about him to counteract how you are perceiving him.

    As for my son with ADHD who goes to a highly gifted center? I say, “He’s going to a new school this year,” precisely because I don’t want to seem like an asshole with the name of the school. But just as my autistic kid has a brain that works the way it does and needs to be taught in a specific way, so do the gifted kids whose brains work in a specific way and need to be taught to their brains.

    But really, I mostly want to say that everyone is fighting a battle, so we should all try to give each other a break. I don’t know why we have to hate the way anyone talks about their kid.

  96. Luda

    I think the author of this article did not get the point of the article “I hate hearing about your gifted child”. It was not about gifted children or their parents, it was about one mom’s frustrations with her own hopes and dreams that did not come true.
    It is difficult with any type of child gifted and average and below average.
    So let’s be civil about it….

    1. Jen

      Hm. I’ve read every comment to my post, and I don’t think there was a single one that was not civil. Frustrated, exhausted, sick of screaming into the wind to get what their children need, but not a comment that was not civil. And while I agree that raising any kid is difficult, you really think that raising a kid with developmental disabilities is not more difficult than a “normal” kid? Now imagine a kid who is on the opposite side of the bell curve center. Now it’s a different kind of difficult plus society wondering why you think you have such problems, because “your kid is gifted.”
      I also had an issue with the word “hate.” Not needed when talking about any kind of kid, gifted or not.
      Finally, while you are correct about the original author’s frustrations, the undercurrent of the post was that she didn’t want to hear anything about our kids because they made her uncomfortable with herself. So what a lot of people took from her post was that the parents of gifted kids should never speak of their children so as to not make someone else uncomfortable. Not brag, but just not speak of them, for general small talk about the accomplishments of their kids could be interpreted as bragging, when it’s just talking about your kid.
      This is why parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children feel so alone.

  97. Carly

    I’m thinking it’s pretty obvious that Luda either doesn’t have a “G” child and/or she doesn’t even know one…especially one that’s “2e”.

    I read your article and totally got it. It sang to me, hugged me, and let me know that I’m not alone in the mommy world. I read the other article and it felt like someone was trying to take my kid apart, brick by brick, in order to make themselves feel better about their child(ren). Why do we do that? Why do we feel it necessary to constantly compare ourselves to others? And we don’t stop with ourselves; we compare what we have, where we live, what we drive, our children. STOP already.

    We’ve become one of the least tolerant societies in the history of the world. And our school systems are perfect examples of that. If your child doesn’t fit neatly into their one-size-fits-all box, then they must “fix” your child. Heaven help you if your child falls outside that box in 2 or more areas. Suddenly, it isn’t about the child having a difference, it’s about your parenting skills. Folks start to see you as a helicopter parent or some other overused label.

    I HATE the “G” word. Yes, I said hate and meant it. We knew our daughter was different pretty early on and those differences just kept getting stronger. I’ll spare you the litany of oddities; let’s just say we knew we had to see someone to find out what was going on. We feared lots of current ‘hot’ diagnoses we read about and see splashed across our tv screens, but none of them really fit her. We took her to one of those ‘end-all, be-all’ places for testing and their results told us that she wasn’t “on the spectrum”; she was “G”.

    My first reaction was some relief but then it was quickly followed by panic. I knew she wasn’t Mozart, Einstein, nor a prodigy of any sort. Yeah, she was ‘bright’ but “G”?? I just didn’t see it. Then I began visiting the websites that the testing facility gave me, reading the books they recommended, and looked at my daughter through the eyes of others. SH*T. It wasn’t all warm fuzzies and joyous anticipation of future Nobel prizes. It was social awkwardness to the point that many “G” kids end up committing suicide because they can’t find a coping mechanism for dealing with the bullying, the addictions, the depression, the anxiety, the lack of ‘normalness’ that allows most of society to float through life unscathed. It was dark, scary, and more than a little nerve-grating to read what trials and tribulations were waiting for our “G” child as she aged. I cried. I cried alot. I still cry.

    My “G” child will never be a cheerleader, she’ll never be the homecoming queen or ‘most popular’, she’ll never find that perfect sorority, nor will she glide effortlessly through the corporate world. She’ll be lucky if she dates. Her life is not as charmed as that writer wants her readers to believe.

    That article was bad enough, but it was the reader’s comments that really got me crushed. Reading through them, I could only see the words of people who are somehow threatened by the fact that, for some uncontrollable reason, my 4yo could read at a 6th grade level or could name every major bone & organ before she was 5yo. So what if she can do those things. How does that demean their child? I always find myself trying to head off any walls of resentment by pointing out that whilst my child can do those things, their child(ren) can run a straight line, balance, hold a conversation on Hello Kitty with other toddlers, or laugh at a Disney movie instead of getting freaked out because the dramatic music tells their brain that something ominous is about to happen.

    It’s about a system of checks and balances, folks. I don’t know too many kids who are perfect at anything let alone everything. Can’t we just learn to love our kids for what they can do, help with what they can’t, and let them be who they need to be? Has it occurred to anyone out there that the need for Xanax and its ilk has multiplied zillion-fold in this world because we, as a society, have lost our tolerance of what’s different? If the world could accept us as we are, who’d need a damned pill?

    1. Joel Hatcher

      Not all gifted children commit suicide, it may cross their mind and they may contemplate it even for a while, but many make it past that and make friendships and live life. Don’t give up on your child being happy because he or she is gifted. They will need your support especially in the social arena, but they can do well in life.

  98. Bibi67

    Hey Jen,
    You can join me and my 2E kid with your wine anytime!

  99. Ivy

    I have two kids– one highly gifted, one with severe LDs. Trust me, the gifted is MUCH easier.

    My daughter gets grade-advanced here, grade-advanced there. She gets awards and citations for stuff she’s barely spent any time on. Heck, last year she beat out 500 kids to win the school geography bee and she had never taken a geography class or read a geography book. She doesn’t even particularly LIKE geography– and yet she got a special citation at the school board meeting and a big write-up in the local paper.

    Then there’s her little brother. Even in kindergarten he knew that school was very easy for some kids– and much much harder for others like him. He’s even come up with a term for the kids for whom school is easy– he calls them “the golden children.” He sees where teachers praise and fete “the golden children” and they get to do things like design roller coasters and write plays. Meanwhile he is trundled off to the low reading group to read one paragraph over and over and to fill out more and more worksheets.

    Maybe that’s where the Babycenter poster was coming from. She sees “your gifted child” as one of the golden children, one of the kids who (let’s face it) doesn’t have to work very hard to achieve at grade level. Meanwhile her child is knocking herself out every day.

    She’s not saying gifted kids don’t have issues. She’s just saying that from her side of the fence, those issues seem kinda minor.

    1. Erika

      Every child is different. We have two gifted kids. One is a straight A student, a brilliant performer, almost 100% compliant with grown ups, and the most popular kid in his class. The other has climbed the walls of public school for three years. She’s been sent for testing for everything under the sun and come back negative for all but gifted and sensory integration disorder. We’ve been offered sedatives for school. Not ritalin, sedatives. (Declined, tyvm!) Now we’re home schooling her until our three-year fight with the school board either results in her being skipped one or two grades or our putting our retirement savings into a private school who will skip her, because the unaccommodated needs will eventually destroy her mental health.

      Meanwhile my own doctorate is a distant memory as is my career.

      I also have a dependent adult sister (classic autism.) Yes, in comparison, okay, my daughter doesn’t bolt into traffic or self-harm to that degree (she nail bites, shirt chews, and hair chews), but otherwise the intensity of caregiving has been similar. (My sister was also home schooled.) So, yes, you do get these high-achievers who are ‘teacher pleasers’, but you also get gifted kids who everyone swears have autism when they don’t because the challenges are that intense. Right now over here we have one of each.

      1. Rocketgal

        “…but you also get gifted kids who everyone swears have autism when they don’t because the challenges are that intense.” Erika … I teared up reading that!!! Oh my … that someone else knows what i feel. Shirt chewing, nail biting, hair chewing … I only recently found out my child is highly gifted. We have struggled with her issues for years without knowing. I’ve had to pull her out of school for homeschool. Love her to bits but oh my, SO SO SO exhausting. Sure the intellectual stuff she gets but all other life skills? social skills? The most BASIC of things? I have to break it down and explain to her and role play with her, over and over and over, and while all this is going on, the 100s of times a day I am going please do NOT touch that, do NOT eat that, do NOT bite that…..

        1. Teresa

          Hi! I’m teary-eyed as I read some of the comments here. I can relate with some of you. I also have a gifted child who I’m trying very hard to understand. That’s what led me to giftedhomeschoolers.org and this post. I’ve also had my share of people who labeled me as bragging when I share what my kid is currently up to. Hey, didn’t you ask? I wanted to say. As Linda Silverman said, “It’s not about what you have achieved. It’s who you are.” My son is gifted. What he has been doing are facts when I’m asked to share about them. Definitely not bragging about them. I guess they do not really know how challenging it is to care and parent a gifted child that’s why they think parents of gifted children are bragging. Anyway, I’m happy and feel blessed today to have discovered parents of other gifted children.

          1. Jen

            I love Linda Silverman. She speaks truth. 🙂 It is who you are. Gifted is. Full stop. I still don’t brag…talk about…my son’s accomplishments. I save it for people who get it.

    2. lgm

      Many of us would prefer that school not be so easy for our children. We have been outvoted by those who prefer that no child get ahead of theirs as opposed to providing an appropriate education for all. It won’t be a problem for her in the future though…many of the gifted homeschool as her kind have dumbed school down to headbanging level…and that is not acceptable to the parents. It’s a bit of sick joke..the classroom is marketed as inclusive, but the needs of the kids on the right hand side of the curve are never included in the daily instruction.

  100. Allison

    This blog post is so awesome. There is someone else out there who gets it! You nailed it on the head- event the code words between gifted parents. Your post has given me more courage about being open about having a gifted kid and what it is like. Thanks!

    1. Jen

      Code words have saved me oodles of embarrassment. I can only blush so many times before my face stays that way. 😉

      1. Erika

        One I run into and use a lot is, “He has some . . . behaviour.”

        1. Jen

          Good code words. 😉

  101. Dr. Mom

    Never, EVER, have I felt more of a sense of community than I have over the past two days reading your blog post and all the responses! “Gifted” is a term I have always struggled with because after all, I was smart growing up and yet no one ever described me as gifted or put me in special programs. I now have three children and am only just now beginning to understand that, especially in the case of DS9, it goes so much deeper than intelligence. It’s too bad that we are stuck with such a misnomer which conjures up so many negative opinions. As a family physician, I truly feel that giftedness falls on the outer periphery of autism spectrum disorders….there are so many similarities. I just wish there were a better descriptor when I try to explain to people why my son acts the way he does. Just a couple of days ago I looked wistfully at a family in the store whose children were all standing obediently and quietly right next to the cart while their mother shopped. What would that be like? I always feel like such a bad parent when mine are tearing up and down the aisles. It’s taken me a long time to realize that DH and I really are doing a pretty good job of hanging on for dear life in the “fast lane.” Anyway, I’m rambling. I just feel so lucky to have an online community to turn to and remind me that I really don’t have normal kids. My older sister has a 2e son who is now 22 and we, her family, were so critical of her back then, and there was no internet family to turn to. Now I hear myself echoing the same words she was saying, when I talk about my son. I have since apologized to her, and you know what? She’s the only one in my family who “gets it.”

    1. Jen

      You’ve found your tribe. 🙂 And that you have your sister is wonderful, because she’s been there and knows exactly what you’re going through. Being a family physician, you’re in an enviable position in that people might actually believe you when you explain what gifted really is. Or not; sadly people are pretty entrenched in their beliefs and hate having them challenged. So glad you commented.

      1. KumquatWriter

        Okay, talk about code words. I’m just tearing up because I was thinking “oh wow, I found my tribe!” WOW. For once I’m at a loss for words.

        1. Jen

          I love the word tribe. 🙂 Once you find yours, it’s totally like coming home.

  102. Proud parent

    I think all parents should be proud and brag about their kids. I’ll tell you the latest accomplishment from my DS: he broke the conference record for eating the most pancakes on the pancake boat (a yearly sports outing). He set ihis mind to it, i think the day before, and did it with ease. This is even easier for me to brag about because he is skinny as a rail (lucky bugger). He was recognized in the awards ceremony and received the gluttony award – no kidding!

    Most people, other than wishing they could eat anything without care, find this light-harted. It is an ‘acceptable story’. When I worry about him not being challenged, that I can’t find books in the library ‘at his level’ (requirement of reading in school), or some other thing related to academics I know many see it as a form of bragging. In reality I am just trying to share my care, worries, etc. Please, when someone shares look at it a second time. Is the problem their bragging (sometimes) or your jealousy or disappointment (sometimes). I believe both are misplaced. Life is a marathon, not a race. Worrying about milestones as they grow is only helpful from the standpoint of ‘is it all going well’.

    Like many, I hate the word gifted. Raising any child whose needs fall outside of average (normal, typical,in the majority, mainstream) comes with challenges. It would be great if people could understand and sympthize. If your daughter is kind but not gifted…well lucky you! Her needs are being met and life is good.

    For those who need to brag I will share what I tell my kids. ” If you’re really good, you don’t need to tell anybody about it because it will be obvious to all. Micheal Jordan doesn’t need to tell anybody how well he can play basketball.”. (okay, you may need to choose a different analogy as younger kids may say Michael who).

  103. quirkyandlaughing

    I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time & I like your writing style. It’s very authentic. I’ll be back!

  104. Gramps Chuck

    What a great reply. My grandson is 2e or however it is classified. What a truly loving boy that has been very blessed with parents that have been able to support and “get”him. Has it been easy no! My daughter has also been very lucky that she has a mom that is her biggest supporter and sounding board. Yes she stills drinks wine at the end of the day. Gramps is proud of his grandson and the whole family. Yes I have 2 siblings that understand the situation and love to have me tell stories about my special needs grandson without thinking I am bragging! I am so happy and only wish him the very best whatever it my be. In the meantime, his being difficult is really a blessing to me because he is so special and interesting. Keep up the good fight and I will continue to “brag, brag, brag” the same way as if he was Michael Jorden.

    1. Jen

      Your daughter is VERY lucky to have you. These kids are tough enough!
      And I think a Wine of the Month club membership should accompany any 2e diagnosis. 😉

  105. alison

    just stumbled on to you and find your postings thoughtful, thought out and true to the core. i just joined the diagnosed end of this madness and am now royally ticked at public schools and their inability to teach my child. they have all these programs and empathy for children with behavioral, emotional or physical ails but if any of them stem from giftedness, look out! no soup for you! can’t wait to see what else you say that i have also thought.

    1. Jen

      Snicker…no soup for you! 😉 Well put.

  106. cocobean

    Um, I just went back to look at that original post again – and why didn’t I see that HORRIFIC gifted sign graphic before? Either they are talking gifted in ways that moms are NOT really bragging about on the playground or they are implying that gifted kids have a third leg? WTF?

    1. Jen

      I…don’t remember seeing that before. That IS a horrific graphic (unless, of course, you’re channeling your inner 12 year old boy, but that’s another story). That’s using gifted as snarky sarcasm. Sigh…

  107. Sabrina

    This post.. is the most all inclusive post I’ve ever found regarding what it’s like to parent gifted children. We honestly.. HONESTLY.. just thought it was us that stopped and stared at those perfect children who aren’t questioning constantly, who don’t buck the system in every way, shape and form, and just, in general, don’t seem to fit. It’s heart wrenching when you can’t have your child challenged. I’m never bragging, or trying to make anyone feel bad. I just want someone as concerned about my kid as I am. It’s honestly one of those things that hits you like a ton of bricks, and you carry around every day, wondering if you’re a bit crazy and if every kid is like this, and then you meet someone else’s kids, and wonder ” ..did I maybe do something wrong?” Gifted children experience EVERYTHING so intensely, that sometimes even a slight deviation in plans can send the child into what we call in our house ‘mind-knots.’ Just… yes. Yes.

    1. Jen

      “Mind-knots.” BEST way I’ve heard to describe it. Of course, now I’m thinking of pretzels, and how much I’d love to have a salty soft pretzel with mustard, but they’re not gluten free and that makes me sad and now I’m in my own mind-knot.
      I have bad days/weeks/monthofFebruary where I deeply envy “normal.” Not that normal is all that great shakes, but sometimes…yeah…

  108. Britt

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again for working so hard to help your exceptional child with all his exceptional abilities and needs. I was that 2e gifted kid that students, parents, and even my teachers came to hate. Unless someone has been that child or raised that child they have no idea how agonizing it is to cram an octagon mind into a triangle hole. I could no more control the connections my mind made than my peers could control the fact that their minds made no such connections, but still it was somehow my fault that I began independently studying calculus at age 8 and couldn’t remember my homework assignments from that day. 2e was not term my mother knew when I was the difficult, exhausting, and advanced child that just couldn’t fit in, and she was at a loss at what to do. It is wonderful that your child has somebody by his side who understands that his “gift” comes with extraordinary struggles and difficulty. That understanding alone will do more to help him through the rough days than all the analysis and strategies in the world.

    1. Jen

      It hurts that so many 2e kids suffer, thinking it’s THEIR fault for how they think. Wiring. Just wiring.

  109. Gina

    I think this is a great post; however, it would have served everyone better if the swearing was left out. Frankly, it’s a distraction. Debates are articulated far better when we leave out the foul language, as it makes a person sound bitter and emotional, rather than objective in their opinion. I found myself conflicted, even though I agreed with your points on several occasions. Minus the bad stuff and the conflict goes away and we are on total agreement! Keep blogging on this…..but please clean it up so we hear your very valid points much clear!

  110. Lisa

    I am saddened reading about the kids whose schools cannot provide for their gifted needs. I am so blessed that my neighborhood middle school happens to be a gifted center. While my son is still bullied, he has a peer group and many friends. He has had the same teachers for two years and they understand him and challenge him. And I have a whole group of parents with whom I can relate and we do not have to speak in code. I once was not in favor of gifted programs but I am now a strong advocate.

    1. Jen

      I’m envious of your school. Our previous school, back in CO, was similar to yours in that it was our neighborhood school as well as a GT focus school. My son did much better there. The IL school he attended briefly was such a poor fit that he’s now homeschooled. It’s a better situation, but I still miss the school he had last year.

  111. Jules

    Thank you and the commenters on your blog post. Its great to feel surrounded by parents who are going through similar situations. Having a child who is different, is an incredibly isolating experience that is only heightened by people’s lack of understanding. Like many parents who have commented, I have the gifted child who does not succeed in school and follow orders easily. He’s not the nice compliant one. He’s the kid wandering around the class. He’s the thorn in the teacher’s side. After much searching, testing and reading we found out what the ‘problem’ was. Whe we brought the information to his new school (he was expelled from the private kindergarten)so that he could get an IEP, they exclaimed “these IQ scores are very high, he should have no problem”. The lack of understanding and support cannot be understated. Because homeschooling is not an option for us, we are sending him to a school for kids who have social and communication issues (mostly Aspergers). However it doesnt address his need for a peer group but its what we have for the moment. So if I say my kid is ‘gifted’, Im not bragging, its a descriptive that encompasses a host of issues. Be sympathetic!

    1. Jen

      I’m so sympathetic. We’re homeschooling because it’s the absolute best thing for our son, but it’s not always the best thing overall. I’d much rather have him in a school that could provide what he needs. If I think about it too long I get so angry, that our kids suffer because of others’ misperceptions of them.

  112. Samantha

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I am the mother of a news (officially) diagnosed highly gifted daughter (5). The battles with the school to challenge her so that she will actually enjoy going and I won’t have to hear her sob and beg to stay home have literally broken me this year! I turned to those that I thought were my friends and received nothing but nasty condescending comments. It is only kindy get over it, you need to tell her to suck it up, if she is gifted life will be so easy… you get the idea. I have been struggling to find support, help, guidance, comradery. It is sooo amazing to see that others do in fact get it and I have not lost my mind!

    1. Jen

      Yeah, the “tell her to suck it up” comments are my favorite . Sigh. You’re not alone, not by a long shot.

  113. Derrick

    It’s nice to be able to read about others with gifted kids and that we are not alone. We have a 5 year old that from the beginning we believed he was different.
    His Kindergarden teacher recently pointed out all of the same things that we’ve seen for years. We are now at a crossroads with what to do. He has not been tested, but we have been told that in order for the schools to act accordingly we have to.
    I also hate the word gifted, to me it’s a label and I hate labels, but I think I’ll have to get over it.
    How did everyone go about getting the kids tested?

    1. Jen

      We took our son to the Gifted Development Center in Denver. Worth every penny. We learned what we were up against and could formulate a plan. I don’t regret testing in the slightest.

  114. Jennifer

    I loved this post. So funny and heartwarming. I can totally relate because my two oh-my-effing-God exhausting kids (4 and 6) are about to break me. I didn’t want to think my kids were gifted because people laugh and snear and get angry at that label. (I can’t even tell people I was in the gifted program in high school because they think I’m some kind of jerk and bragging.) But my son, now 4, was talking in long complex sentences by around 10 months and has been dismantling our formerly lovely house since the moment he escaped his bouncy chair. My daugher was multiplying in her head before K and did all sorts of things other children never did (like beg me to turn off “sad” music because it would make her weep and describing her birth very accurately – which I never told her about – and asking how the universe got here, etc..). She was unchallenged in math at her Montessori kindergarten, so I took her to the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), who administered the KeyMath test and determined that she has “advanced math knowledge” and basically needed to be in 3rd grade math. I just signed her up to take an online course in accelerated 3rd grade math at CTY. The course is 3 months long but self-paced so that she can finish early and start 4th grade if she wants to. I hear great things about their programs and courses. Its expensive though. My daughter also reads way above grade level but the Montessori school has really nurtured that in her, so I don’t feel any action on my part is warranted other than making sure she has access to plenty of books at her level.
    Thanks for letting me ramble on. I’d compose a more organized post but I’m too darn pooped.

    1. Jen

      I know that level of pooped. I have a couch there. And a table. And very likely a glass of wine. 😉

  115. Lauren

    I’ve just discovered your blog posts and wanted to say a massive Thank You – I was virtually in tears from relief at not having to feel so alone anymore as the parent of a gifted child!

    Yesterday I came under a jealous attack (completely unprovoked) from a person I know who clearly has a chip on her shoulder about her own children and parenting choices and it completely derailed me emotionally. It took me right back to my own school years of being bullied by peers and called ‘weird’ for not fitting in, for speaking the truth about things, from caring too much about horrible things happening in our world, from coming out with ideas others found strange and couldn’t understand, etc.

    I don’t brag about my son’s giftedness either and I firmly believe that a) all children should be allowed to receive education to live up to their best abilities, WHATEVER they may be; and b) how a parent needs/wishes to educate their child should be their own private, family choice first in conjunction with the education system, not the whole world’s decision. If my son was good at sport or arts, for example, exceptionally good at swimming or perhaps at drama, I’d be looking to help him increase his prospects in life that way if his interest and happiness lay in those instead of being good academically. I’m sure most good parents would want to help their child in whatever area they’re best at and have good prospects in for happiness and future accomplishment. I see no reason why academic giftedness should be seen any differently, though it clearly is!

    Well, this person had asked about my son’s current schooling and made a snap judgement about my future ideas for him based on my response. She had a full-on go at me for how I parent my child and my schooling interests for him, without any understanding whatsoever of his needs. When I then explained why he ideally needed a school with provision to stretch him mathematically due it being his ‘forte’ (my ‘code word’ for his gift – I already didn’t want to upset her by using that word, but clearly she was determined to be anyway), she then said ‘oh, all children are called gifted at this level, it doesn’t mean anything’. I do realise this can be the case in some schools, but when I then stated that no, he was indeed genuinely gifted in maths, she accused me of pushing him, of not allowing him the time to play and simply be a child (by the way, he gets PLENTY of free time to just play and he has an extremely active imagination) and me of being a ‘driven’ person (I never used to be, although I was always a perfectionist, but this ‘drive’ I have now is personal, not related to my son and his gift, and is purely due to being made a single parent and left without a home, job or any income at the time it occurred, so yes, I am ‘driven’ to secure a good future for myself and my son!).

    I was completely thrown by what I consider to be an aggressive attack when this woman actually has no idea how my son and I live our lives (we are not friends, only live nearby). I would never DREAM of ever telling another parent how to parent their child, what’s in their best interests, etc. and this woman’s treatment left me staggered. I felt upset and also very, very angry. In a conversation today with friends I said for the first time that I will not ever feel the need again to apologise for my son being gifted. If someone has a learning disability, people are sympathetic and help is forthcoming. If your child is gifted, however, no one wants to know. I do understand it’s a sensitive area because people tend to feel ‘less than’ in comparison, but I think this is tragic, because ultimately every single person on this planet is unique and that alone is cause for celebration and specialness. Why parents have to attack each other over this is ridiculous and sad. Having said that, this woman did mention how many competitive parents she’s had to deal with at her children’s school and I do have sympathy with her on that, because that is horrible. Why she then feels though that she needs to take things out on me….. Anyway, sorry for the long post, but it’s a massive relief for me to have found your posts. Thank you again.

  116. Lauren

    Hi again, just to say in follow up that, karma being what it is, the woman I posted about earlier has just kindly given me some helpful school info about the place I was considering for my son, so don’t I now feel like a terrible person..??? Obviously she had a think about things following our conversation. I never wanted to fall out with her in the first place, so I’m really pleased things have turned out for the better for us – just wish it had happened before I burdened you all with the rant above, lol! And I feel very bad having said anything..

    Anyway, I still really appreciate having discovered your blog and I feel a lot better knowing about the understanding community of gifted parents out there…. Happy child-raising 🙂

    1. Jen

      LOL! Well, I was going to reply, but you beat me to it. 😉 I suspect that woman realized she had a tasty foot-in-mouth moment and backtracked as fast as she could. That said, never ever apologize for having a gifted child, or you might as well apologize for his eye color. We’re here for you, babe. 🙂

      1. Lauren

        Thanks Jen 🙂

  117. Heather

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I just found your post, but I wanted to say thank you. I never prayed for a gifted child. I prayed for a healthy one. (Funny how it seems that these parents who pray for gifted children don’t get them…)

    My son is “gifted,” but he also has a moderate language delay. I don’t “brag” about his “gifted-ness.” It’s not a parlor trick. I never made him study. It’s just something he does/has. It’s who he is and I never run around touting his accomplishments because I don’t see it as something “extra” he has. It’s just who he is.

    But yes, when I see his cousin who is the same age having full on conversations, telling wild stories of things she did over the weekend… It’s hard and it makes me want to cry. My son has come so far with his language in the past year. So far and I’m so proud of him! But I still have dreams at night that he’s talking to me, explaining what’s going on in his head.

    Sometimes I do wish he was “normal,” but only for the fact that I want him to be happy. And I know that the road ahead won’t always be easy. A three year old shouldn’t feel like a failure because of the expectations they hold themselves too. But harder still is that with his language delay, he can’t verbalize how he’s feeling. He get’s even more frustrated. And even more still, I’m not sure if he understands what I’m explaining.

    When you tell your two-and-a-half year old that it was a good try, and he get’s upset with you because he, essentially, feels you are patronizing him because he knows he didn’t succeed at the task… It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone involved.

    This Joyce woman may not feel like her child is special enough. But it’s not all rainbows, sunshine, and intricate original piano music over here. She should feel blessed that her and her daughter are on the same page. There are times when I can not relate to my son. And one of my fears is that those little gaps will only get wider as he grows older.

    I love my son, and I think he is wonderful. Very few people, even some family members, know what we’ve been through this past year with getting him started in his therapies and being evaluated (which let me tell you, some of them were very, very bad experiences!). We are just trying to figure out the best way to help our son, because we could tell he was a little different. I want to make sure *I* know the best way to teach him things, a way that he will understand. And we have these “specialists” telling us that our son is mentally retarded and will never understand the world around him. But that’s a whole other topic…

    Anyway… No one wants their child to struggle. Gifted doesn’t mean life is easy, quite the opposite. Gifted doesn’t mean better/smarter. Delayed/Special Needs doesn’t mean worse/stupid. It’s just who we are, who we are compared to a universal measuring stick that the majority just happens to fall in line with. When you get right down to it, it’s all arbitrary anyway.

    1. Jen

      Amen, Heather. If you don’t live it, you don’t get it.

  118. Karla

    I cried while reading your post! Because finally someone gets it!!! After 5 years my son will finally be evaluated. I have been begging doctors for answers. He has always stood out from other kids his age but it was always he is too young, he is unruly, he is this, he is that. Never an answer only judgement. He does things that make me wonder where on earth does he get that from! He uses such big words! He likes for me to read him books with words that I have to google to pronounce correctly. Just last week I decided I would homeschool him. I was looking for information and there it was, “Could your child be gifted?” I read the article and my jaw fell to the floor, I researched gifted children and OH MY GOD! He fits right in! Next day a took him to the doctor and told him he had to refer me with a good psychologist and I would not take no for an answer. This time I am getting him the support he needs. Thank you! Thank you for getting it 🙂

    1. Jen

      Oh hon! I get it, a lot of people get it. Go check out the Gifted Development Center (www.gifteddevelopment.com) and read everything there. Join groups and follow blogs and read and read and read. 🙂 You are NOT alone in this; you have a whole cadre of parents behind you, cheering you on. Good luck. 🙂

  119. D W

    Thank you for your article. My son has always been different to the extent that I often wondered if there was something “wrong” with him. His teacher told me that his quirks are an extension of him being gifted. It’s nice to know that other people are experiencing this too. My new favotorite quote, “parents of gifted children don’t brag. We are to exhausted.”

    1. Jen

      Yeah, we’re all kinds of exhausted. All the tired in the world. :p

  120. Jen

    I know this is an old post, but I came across it in my internet travels, and wanted to say that I think it’s great. I can’t completely relate to what you and many commenters are describing–I think my son is on a lower “rung”, so-to-speak. But I, too, am so tired of people suggesting that I should keep him, or anything else for that matter, a secret lest I offend them somehow. I do have the time and energy sometimes to share the cute, amazing things my son does, and I don’t think I should feel bad about it. So many people don’t get that it really is who he is, not anything I am pushing him to do. And how can I be bragging about something that I had nothing to do with? It’s all him. Of course, I can’t say that either, because they’d say that’s bragging, too. Ugh. As a former high-achieving child who WAS pushed unreasonably (and had the nervous breakdown at age 10 to prove it), it hurts when people assume that I am doing that to my son. They don’t know the constant second-guessing I put myself through, and the many difficulties that do come with having a gifted child whose needs you are trying to meet while also balancing the usual stuff that everyone else has to do. So, forgive me if I try to counterbalance the difficult parts by sharing the things that give me joy.

    I think wanting to share what you are proud of or happy about is normal. It is also normal to feel a little deflated when someone else does something better, or has more. There will always be someone better. At some point you have to accept that and be satisfied with your own life, or you’ll drive yourself nuts. What a sad existence if our self worth is so fragile that it depends on other people masking who they really are. Know what I definitely don’t have the time or energy for? Carefully considering all of the various ways I might offend the many people I know every time I want to share something about my life.

    Thank goodness for the internet–I’m finally starting to find other parents who “get it” and who I feel comfortable sharing with, even if their kids are way more advanced than mine.

    1. Jen

      Oh goodness, that was way longer than I realized. Sorry!

    2. Jen

      I don’t get a lot of eye-rolls or comments anymore. Either I’m unapologetically forthright about my kids or people just hear me so often it’s just accepted. This is my child, this is how he is, that is the end of it. Either that or they see (and hear and read) about the struggles that accompany the wiring and know to not say anything. 😉

      No worries on the length! LOL! I love reading comments.

  121. Kevin

    Jen,
    Nice job here. Really nice job. Code words. Nailed it. Why is it that it’s ok to brag about sports accomplishments but people are so uncomfortable if you talk about giftedness. Rhetorical. Know you know. Sad state of affairs. We do the best we can and move on.
    Kevin

  122. RelojTiempo

    Whether you intend to or not, when you talk about the difficulty of your 2e child who got his head stuck in the railing on the stairs because he’s curious and gifted you make it sound like the mother of a kiddo who got his head stuck in the railing on the stairs because his brother dared him to isn’t dealing with as much as a parent as you are. Her child isn’t gifted so it’s less difficult surely! (You can’t presume to know what another parent is dealing with even if that other parent doesn’t have a 2e child.) Those parents hear gifted as a point of pride – your son’s curiosity about the stair railing is a result of his giftedness and that’s challenging… so you are expressing pride in it when you talk about it – and other parents bristle at that and rightfully so. Sure, your child has gifted in his DNA — you’re repeated several times that he can’t choose it, that’s just the way he is — but being a parent means there are things that your children are and ways they will behave that are difficult. I hope you read this and understand what I’m saying — other parents can feel offense when you make assumptions about their experiences parenting simply because you assume their experience is easier without a gifted child. I’m not trying to pick at you or make you feel bad. I just feel this needs to be said because in the few posts I’ve browsed you seem to rail against parents who are prideful about their children’s achievements without reflecting on what might be driving the perceptions or misperceptions of others.

  123. Nancy

    I am coming to this late — very late — but I wanted to comment anyhow. You can’t imagine my relief (or maybe you can) at finding someone who gets it. I don’t know a soul with a gifted kid, and you are right, it is lonely. So lonely. I need to find someone who doesn’t look at my exceptionally sensitive and socially not-so-developed child and think what a horrible job I have done parenting. Yes, my child overreacts sometimes. Sometimes it’s not pretty. I’m doing the best I can, and no, it’s not that easy to control those responses. And no, I really don’t want your advice, because you don’t get it.

    That’s just to say, thank you. You are a blessing to me right now, when I feel like I am drowning because of this giftedness stuff. Yeah, it doesn’t lead me to brag either. Just need to find someone who gets those code words.

    1. Jen

      Nancy, if you haven’t already found the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum yahoogroup and Facebook page, go search it out. You’ll find so many parents in this leaky boat with you. We haul each other back into the boat when our kids inevitably chuck us into the drink. 😊 You’re far from alone, it’s just that we all live in your computer. And we got your back, babe.

  124. Voiceofreason

    Isn’t posting a sign of FREE SPEECH?

    I also am tired of all the talk regarding gifted children since you hear it from EVERY parent.

    I am sure that there are gifted children that exist in the world and I am sure the responsibility of raising them is taxing on the mind, body and spirit.

    Perhaps what is not realized is that just saying your child is gifted does not necessarily make them gifted no matter how hard you try to convince someone.

    I shutter to think of what my taxes will soar to when attempting to put in place what we need in our schools to facilitate the learning for the children that are not truly gifted but rather HOTHOUSED.

    I’m sure all of you parents of gifted children has run into the parent I am describing a time or two. These are the parents you will be going head-to-head with when jockeying for that spot in a program that your child so desperately need sas opposed to what the other parent desires for their child that is not testing out at the gifted level.

    Maybe when you take this into consideration, you might understand why many are tired of hearing about giftedness. It might be to your advantage to start a new “catch phrase” for the truly gifted children so their needs will be met before those children of the parents trying to pass off an average child as gifted. Those are the children we are tired of hearing about.

    Please take a risk and try to separate the two.

  125. Esther

    Thank you for this post! My son is 2 years old and was tested to be 2E. I posted a question in BabyCenter last week asking about different teaching methods for homeschooling as my son is getting bored with his worksheets. Then the comments were, ‘this is a joke right’ or that homeschooling a 2-year old or getting him tested is ridiculous. Some people can be very rude when commenting. Some think that I’m some kind of monster mom forcing my son to answer his worksheets. I told them one, the issue is not the worksheets. My son enjoys them but is getting bored with them already so I need to find new ways of teaching him his lessons. Two, I wasn’t asking for their opinion if teaching my son or getting him tested is a good idea. He is enrolled in a school for giftedness. I was just inquiring about the tuition fee in the school and the directress became interested and asked us to come in. They interviewed my son and gave him tests and the directress said to enroll him. The directress is friends with Linda Silverman and the school adheres to her teachings so I trust that she knows what she’s talking about. He is enrolled but is homeschooled. We just use their curriculum. My son thrives on activities and studying and I feel that if I don’t encourage him, I am not being a good mom. A lot of people think that all we (parents of 2E and gifted) do is brag and feel like we have it very easy. I struggle on a daily basis to keep my son occupied and interested. I don’t want to rely on the iPad a lot for obvious reasons so I constantly need to be creative with my approach. Aside from that, I have to do the chores, work and everything else that comes along with the stay-at-home-mom territory. I already wanted to cry when I posted that question on BabyCenter only to be met by, in my opinion, ridiculous comments from people who just can’t understand and who don’t know. I was already desperate and frustrated because I can’t seem to engage my son when I was able to do so successfully before. As one blogger of gifted kids said, if you don’t have a gifted child, shut up. I’m in Manila and we don’t get a lot of support for homeschooling and more so for gifted/2E kids. Reading this post of yours instantly made me feel that you are my friend and that you understand me so thank you very much!

    1. Jen

      Ohhhhh lordy Baby Center is Snarky Mom Central, truly. If you’re not already connected with Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, please do. GHF has members around the world and you will feel supported and connected. http://giftedhomeschoolers.org There’s a GHF regional contact in the Philippines: http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/resources/local-and-regional-support/ (scroll down). Hope you find others to connect with!

      1. Esther

        Thank you for your reply and I’ll be sure to explore GHF!
        Esther recently posted…2016 National Bookstore Ang Pao BagMy Profile

  126. Katie Youngblood

    Oh my, I needed this today. Thank you. My twice (if not thrice) exceptional daughter has been exhausting since the minute she was born 8 very long years ago. She is amazingly intelligent, but has serious emotional and social differences, sensory issues, and suspected OCD. She worked very hard for two years to overcome crippling Selective Mutism… only to struggle with irritating and alienating other kids by things she says.
    I feel like I can’t bring any of my frustrations and heartbreaks up to other moms because they either assume I’m bragging or that I’m another delusional mom chasing the gifted label. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I love my kid the way she is, but I can tell you for a fact that her perfectly typical younger siblings are A LOT happier than she is. As her mom, I want happiness for her. If there was a way to give the “gifts” back without changing who she is, I’d have done it ages ago.
    Last summer, we were at the playground with Little Sister and Baby Brother and encountered another family with a little girl her age. Apparently, her cosmic twin, as a matter of fact. The other mom and I were sizing each other up; starting our preemptive explanations. However, to everyone’s surprise, our girls began to hit it off effortlessly. With an age group peer. For the first time. It was a truly amazing experience. I just wish it hadn’t been while we were on vacation. I wish they lived next door.

    1. Jen

      There is a HUGE online presence of parents in this boat, Katie. 🙂 But I do know what you’re talking about; my son doesn’t have many like-wired peers nearby, they’re all a solid distance away. So glad your daughter found SOMEONE! 🙂 It’s a start…now she kinda knows there are other kids out there like her. 🙂 But yeah, tough.
      And I still don’t brag about him. Much. 😉 He’s of the age now (almost 15) where he’s the one doing the talking to others and THEY figure it out while I’m standing there. Basically all I ask is if their tech company has internships. LOL!
      It does get easier. Not by a huge amount, but enough that my shoulders are easing out of my ears. 😉

  127. Kim E

    Omg this post took me to CHURCH! I’ve been awake for hours through the night (like most nights) because my PG 2.5 yr old just HAS to review his solidified knowledge of prehistoric sharks, reading his books independently (yep you heard me correctly) and blah blah blah. When I am a nut job at the edge of my sanity speaking to a well rested parent of a “high achieving kid” who tells me the classic “oh you just need to force him to sleep” or the classic “I think it’s how you are parenting him”……I want to scream that chest kicks can be given out for free. I’m fucking tired. I haven’t slept through the night in 2 years. I am tired of my kid melting into a pile of evil because I won’t let him count the vegetables in a store or read the boxes while other kids blissfully frolicking through the store minding their parents. WTF! I do NOT enjoy the majority of mind bending issues with gifted kids. There are days (most) I want to cry out of frustration. I’ve abandoned friends who insist “we made him this way” or that its parental drilling why he’s this way. Ooooooh yes who doesn’t LOVE reviewing K-1 flash cards in the middle of the fucking night on repeat for 3 hours. I say fuck off to the parents who don’t have to endure this. I say kiss off to the parents who want to play the compare kids game. I just want to fucking sleep!

  128. Kim E

    One more point

    Oh and for all of those who were humble bragging to the point of nausea in the comments……. NO they CANNOT relate since they felt the need to peacock their children’s abilities. Ya know how I find solace with other parents of PG kids…. 1. We cuss. A lot! 2. We would gladly shave 50 IQ points off for a fucking sense of normalcy for 10 minutes. 3. We shed tears together over the WASTE of a college degree for that dream job that was eventually thrown into the shitter because NO ONE seems to understand how my son operates. When the fuck did the ignorant thinking begin that all kids are created equal. Ummmm no. They aren’t. At all. Fuck I need sleep

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