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May 21 2015

That time The Today Show mocked gifted kids

That time The Today Show mocked gifted kidsDear Today Show:

Thanks so much for perpetuating the stereotype of gifted kids as hot-housed children hyper-managed by over-competitive suburban helicopter parents. In a brief, throwaway segment during this morning’s interview of Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, you managed to make it even tougher for parents who really are raising gifted kids. I needed more challenge this week; it wasn’t nearly difficult enough homeschooling my twice-exceptional son without society again being fed this line with its morning caffeine. Tasty, tasty stereotypes.

So I’m going to just flat-out ask: Why was mocking gifted children funny?

I really do want to know. Is it because you perceive them to be an easy target? Oh, they have it easy, gifted children will be just fine. Besides, they need to be taken down a peg. Would you have mocked developmentally delayed children on your show? Would you ever dare? Because giftedness is wiring, how they observe and interpret and respond to the world. Giftedness is not pushy parents. These are children as far from the norm as any child on the other side of the bell curve. I can only imagine the deafening uproar if your hosts had mocked delayed children.

Oh, but you weren’t mocking the children, but the parents? You mean, me? You were mocking my challenges? You were poking fun of the difficulties in raising and educating a gifted or twice-exceptional child? Ah, because I’m seen as a pushy, out of control parent, that’s right. I won’t deny those parents exist, because there are a lot of them out there who think their kid’s shit don’t stink, but frankly I tend to see them more in athletics (and music and theater) than in giftedness. A parent raising a truly gifted child isn’t pushing, trust me. I don’t push my kid, because he will push back, and that doesn’t end well for anyone. He is where he is because of who he is. I’m not pushing, he’s pulling, and he has one hell of a grip.

But it’s fun and easy to mock the parents, isn’t it? Because we’re over-invested in our children, living vicariously through them, pushing them to be better than anyone so that we look good. Let me tell you what it’s really like. Might be eye-opening.

I don’t know a single parent of a gifted kid who, in a random conversation with a stranger, brings up that her kids are gifted. Parenting a gifted child is lonely. You don’t dare talk about his accomplishments because you are perceived as bragging. Sometimes you luck out and stumble across the right code words in a conversation and suddenly you find yourself talking to a kindred spirit and you have to do everything in your power to keep from bursting into tears of gratitude when you realize this other person gets it and doesn’t judge you and your struggles. You can find other parents in the same leaky and precarious boat, but they don’t live across the street but in your computer. Lonely. Everyone has a gifted kid? Hardly.

Imagine a child who is several years ahead of his same-aged peers in mathematics, but can’t get words on paper for love or money. Or a kid with an unquenchable curiosity about everything and the memory to match it, but does not test well. Or the child whose ability is sky-high but whose processing speed is the mirror opposite. There is more to gifted than the oft-ridiculed high-achievers-with-pushy-parents; these three examples are gifted. They’re also more likely to be passed over for acceptance into a school’s gifted program, and they’re the ones who need it the most.

Parents of gifted kids have worries that parents of non-gifted kids are unlikely to have. Existential depression, for example, is much higher in the gifted population. Let me tell you, it’s all kinds of awesome to have a preschooler losing his shit over flooding on the other side of the world at 5:30 in the morning. Or a teenager working himself into a lather over GLBTQ equality or the environment or political hypocrisy or the future of the human race at 11:00 at night when I’m walking into walls with exhaustion. We worry about our children finding friends (because when you’re that much of an outlier, they’re hard to find, and let’s not even get into dating), about the asynchrony in their lives tearing them apart, about bullying and over-excitabilities and what the future might hold for a kid who marches to the beat of a drummer few can hear and even fewer can understand.

Still laughing?

These parents, myself included, are working miracles raising and educating gifted kids despite what is thrown at us. We are the butt of jokes, our advocacy is met with derision, we are ignored and ridiculed and told to “suck it up.” I’ve been on the receiving end of administrator condescension, ambushed in school meetings, and essentially been told that my experience and opinion as a parent is invalid. It’s not surprising that mockery is part of it, but it’s certainly undeserved. You mock the hard work of raising children who are unquestionably different. You mock the sacrifices we make, sacrifices like careers and savings and security and normalcy. You mock children who struggle against a society that thinks they are a punchline and the parents who work damned hard to protect them from that while at the same time teaching them that it’s not true.

Mocking gifted kids is cowardly. Mocking their parents is insulting.

And we’re not laughing.

Sincerely,

Jen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are all children gifted? No, not really. How is it defined? Many, many ways.

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  1. LindaK

    Jen, thank you, thank you, thank you! You have written about my family and the experiences we’ve had raising our 2e son who is now 16 and still facing many challenges. I’m finally to a point where I couldn’t care less about what some self-righteous ass thinks about us and how we have raised our son. Only one person I’ve ever spoken with has understood what it’s been like and that’s my father. I had told him that we don’t push our son and he started laughing, then said that he pushes us. He gets it! The worst thing about all of this is that people don’t even have one ounce of desire to learn what our kids are really like. They think they have all the answers, but they don’t really have anything at all.

    1. Jen

      You’re exactly right. People DON’T want to learn what our kids are like. Living with and laughing at the stereotype is easier. Less effort.

  2. Maureen

    I love you! Seriously! Thank you! Mine is not 2E, just plain old “in any small city there may be 3 other persons with his IQ. It’s not easy. You articulated it all so beautifully. Thank you!!!

    1. Jen

      You’re so welcome. Hang in there, keep fighting for him! 🙂 We’re all in this together!

  3. Ingi

    Yes Jen. Absolutely yes. EVERY word you’ve written resonates so strongly here! Thank goodness for our online tribe who -“get it”.
    Ingi recently posted…A different kind of normalMy Profile

    1. Jen

      I’d be lost without the online community.

  4. Celi Trepanier

    AMEN, JEN, AMEN!

    I was so disgusted and hurt by their segment. Even trying to look at it unbiasedly, I couldn’t fathom it. No special population of our children should be made fun of on national TV!

    Thanks for writing this perfect response to the Today Show’s thoughtlessness and ignorance!
    Celi Trepanier recently posted…I’m a Mom of a Gifted ChildMy Profile

    1. Jen

      I was surprised and yet not. And it wasn’t so much that they were mocking the kids (which they were), but the parents. The parents I know raising gifted kids are moving heaven and earth to help them, not bragging and flaunting. And THAT is what insulted me. Every parent of a gifted kid I know is hurting and hustling and they didn’t deserve that.

      1. Celi Trepanier

        I always liken the derision of gifted children and their parents to kicking someone when they are already down.

        Thank you for being our champion today, Jen!
        Celi Trepanier recently posted…I’m a Mom of a Gifted ChildMy Profile

        1. Jen

          But no one sees that, because gifted kids are seen as never being down. They have it made, right? Grrr…
          And I’ll be the champion as long as I am able.

  5. Summer

    Thank you for writing this! I truly hope that the Today Show sees this and responds with a public apology, followed by some focused educating and awareness on the show!

    1. Jen

      Thanks Summer. As nice as that would be, I don’t have very high hopes for any kind of apology or awareness or anything. Too much experience with willful ignorance; it’s just easier to not learn and just move on.

  6. Care

    Oh, wait. The outrage and indignation I’m dealing with this precise minute (as we wait for Skeeve to come out of his office) over the fate of some tulip plants transplanted so underground pipe repair can be completed is *funny*? Or the sobbing over another student earning a third stripe while he had excellent kicks and form, but can’t sit still properly and thus only has one stripe – that’s funny, too? Yeah, gifted kids have it made, yup. Not only does the world not understand them, they don’t want to, and would rather mock us – the GT kids and their likely GT parents, because, what? Easy targets? Fast laughs with no repercussions? Thanks a lot, guys. Y’all just made my life that much harder, and I really rather hate you for it.

    The TL;DR is: Jen, this is perfect, thank you so much. <3 You are always so spot on, and I take comfort in your having the same sense of snark I do.
    Care recently posted…Making a ChangeMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Mocking is easy. Understanding and compassion is not. :/

  7. Sallie Borrink

    Thanks, Jen. I just shared it on my Facebook page. 🙂
    Sallie Borrink recently posted…Happy It’s a Girl Day!My Profile

  8. Christina Gleason @ WELL, in THIS House

    Once upon a time, I was a twice-exceptional child, back in the day where no one had ever heard of such a thing. Sure, I was in the gifted program in elementary school, and I took accelerated classes later on, but I wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until a few years after my own son was diagnosed. My mom had zero support. (I mean community-wise. She had my dad, but he worked nights, so his schedule was flip flopped.) She called my sixth grade teacher who bullied me so hard I would come home crying, only to be told he would keep it up because he didn’t like students missing his class for the enrichment program. She never pushed me to sign up for every extracurricular activity I could find – she actually tried to actively dissuade me from some of them so I could have more downtime and just be a kid. Girls were mean to me in middle school, and I didn’t necessarily make the best choices in friends. Once I started dating, she had to put up with so many more tears, so much more drama.

    At least I have the Internet for support in raising my son, and knowing firsthand what many of his challenges are. And my psychiatrist, bless him, because yes – the existential depression is real. And lasting.
    Christina Gleason @ WELL, in THIS House recently posted…Who’s an Ambassador for the 2015 Type-A Parent Conference? I Am!My Profile

    1. Jen

      I can’t imagine raising a 2e kid “back in the day,” but my parents managed it. Not me but my brother. I have no idea how they did it, other than focusing on getting him to adulthood in one piece. They were very successful but I know it was so, so rough.

  9. Melissa

    Just… seriously? Is she supposed to be funny? Are the hosts supposed to be funny? I haven’t watched network TV in years and guess I haven’t been missing anything. Not only was the gifted bashing not-funny, but the organic gummy bears was not-funny because I have a child with a severe corn allergy, and kinda like having a treat available for him that’s not all corny. I don’t know–who was this person?!

    1. Jen

      Beats me. The whole thing was upsetting.
      There’s a Chicago area bakery that cooks gluten, dairy, corn free. I can dig up the name if you’d like. I vaguely remember they ship. Maybe. 🙂

  10. Carol Bainbridge

    Excellent! You tell ’em, Jen! I’m sick to death of these anti-gifted attitudes. It’s hateful and hurtful and wouldn’t be tolerated if directed at any other group of parents. Can you imagine the response had that mockery been directed at parents of special needs kids?

    1. Jen

      We’d be deafened by the screams of outrage.

    2. Carrie

      I had that same thought. In my job as a gifted specialist, every single day I hear parents of students who have not been identified as gifted complaining about the “special things those kids get” or talking about how “every child is gifted” not to mention staff members who are so overwhelmed that the only response they have to requests for differentiation is, “They’re not the only students I have, you know” or “they’re smart, they’ll be fine.”

      Sigh.

  11. thomas

    Hey Hi,
    Tom, parent of a gifted little one, had to remove him from school etc… life as a parent of a gifted kid as most people in here would now.

    All I would love to say is… this is humor, and humor has to be gratuitous and mocking. This a “Funny” show… lets not be outraged or “insulted” by the clowns, that’s their job!

    Now would “any other would tolerate this” as Carol just stated maybe right, real question is “should they be offended” and the answer is NO.
    Gifted kids are different, Gifted adults are different, we all understand why being different is hard for society as a whole… why would we fall under this “I feel insulted” thing when it’s just the voice of so many..

    I live happily, as a gifted adult, as a father of a gifted one.
    We are different, and this is what it is.

    I will NOT be outraged or offended by the jesters, they’re just doing their job.

    lighten up and keep the good work, don’t waste a minute being offended, that won’t change anything about life…

    Let the jester joke, let those who don’t want to learn where they are, there is nothing to win there.

    Best
    Tom.

    1. Jen

      I’m not insulted for myself. It takes a LOT more than this to insult me. I’m irritated and insulted for all the parents who work so hard to help their kids, screaming into the wind for help, only to be mocked for something entirely beyond their control. It’s not just this show, it’s schools and extended family and society in general. It’s tiresome.

      1. thomas

        Thing is, I am not convinced that feeling insulted for others is a great position to be in, especially when, as you replied, you don’t feel insulted yourself because you are strong, this could be understood as condescending.

        While this post can be a venting one (and who does not need to vent!) the only value it has, as a communication piece, is validate that being outraged is a way to go.

        Trust me I am not for the coué method, but your post tends to dramatize this to dramatize the situation. I don’t think positive reinforcement is needed for parents, but I don’t think negative reinforcement is either.

        Feeling good is more helpful than feeling righteous.

        1. Celi Trepanier

          I disagree.

          I am thankful Jen championed this response to the TODAY Show. It validates me as an exhausted and stressed parent of three gifted children–two now adults and one gifted teen. I needed to see another parent in the trenches carry the torch when I may be too tired to carry it myself. This was fueling for me in a positive way and I am sure it is for many other overwhelmed parents of gifted kid–which is likely why this post is going viral.

          After thirty years of parenting intense gifted children on a difficult journey, my tolerance for this kind of ignorance is worn thin and I am extremely grateful Jen took up this torch for me and other weary parents of gifted children.

          Her rallying post may sound righteous to you but it sounded supportive, comforting and validating to me. This was positive reinforcement to continue on my journey–and that is a good feeling.
          Celi Trepanier recently posted…I’m a Mom of a Gifted ChildMy Profile

          1. LindaK

            Celi, I agree with you completely. And God bless you for raising three gifted kids. I suddenly don’t feel quite so tired anymore. 🙂

      2. LindaK

        I don’t think it’s so much about feeling insulted as just one more straw on the camel’s back. When you have lived for years (in my case over 14 years) with people in your social circle and those you turn to for help and advice consistently imply or state outright that there’s nothing wrong with your kid, it’s your poor parenting or a lack of discipline or you just need to spank him, well, it gets old and hurtful pretty darn fast. Then when someone in the national spotlight starts mocking the situation, that just adds fuel and assumed legitimacy to those who already think that your simply bragging on your kid and don’t know how to control them. (I’m very thankful that we do have two people who know what’s really going on.) And having been down this road I do feel bad for those who are just starting out on it and have one more hurdle to clear. It’s tough enough when you have to fight and advocate for your child every day without added garbage.

        We all know full well, that if these “clowns” had chosen to be “funny” about children with Down’s Syndrome or any other condition that would put a person on the other end of the IQ spectrum people would be calling for their heads. There is no sympathy for high IQ people because neuro-typicals don’t understand what it’s like to grow up with the challenges that we face – and there can be many. It’s not just about being smart, it’s about your brain being wired differently and about your brain functioning differently. It’s about thinking differently and reacting differently to the world around you – none of which you can control because that’s just the way you are.

        When I first read this article I was shocked, not by what was said but because I could have written it myself, not out of self-righteousness or trying to dramatize things, but out of frustration. And as for feeling good instead of feeling righteous, there have been very few times when I’ve ever felt good because of my interacting with others in light of our parenting a high IQ child. I feel wonderful about being a mom and I wouldn’t trade our son for anything in the world, but trying to share parenting difficulties and challenges with others becomes non-existent fairly quickly.

        Our society has a number of fair targets in its political correctness and I guess that gifted/high IQ is one of them. That doesn’t mean that we have to roll over and play dead, pretending to be happy that our children and our families have one more obstacle to overcome.

  12. Jenrose

    Right there with you.

  13. 4bosymother

    holy shit this is perfection. Thank you.

  14. 4boysmother

    Let’s try this again without typos in my name….LOL

    This is great. What a great perspective. I never would have thought of it as being the same as mocking kids with other learning issues but man, you are so right! And it is lonely as a gifted parent. Very lonely. Sometimes I think/compare my kids with other kids and get so frustrated and wish I had a better support network of parents like me. Just thanks for writing this.

    1. Jen

      I dunno, I loved the “holy shit this is perfection” comment. 😉 LOL!
      I swear, if it weren’t for the online community I would have lost my mind ages ago.

  15. Susan

    Just, thank you!!

    1. Jen

      You’re very welcome. 🙂 Hang in there.

  16. Mary Kathryn Johnson

    “I don’t push my kid, because he will push back, and that doesn’t end well for anyone. He is where he is because of who he is. I’m not pushing, he’s pulling, and he has one hell of a grip.”

    Thank you…Just Thank You.
    Mary Kathryn Johnson recently posted…Power Parent Tip #3My Profile

    1. Jen

      You’re welcome hon. 🙂 We got this, and we got each others’ back.

  17. Cindy Caldwell

    Thank you so much for being our voice in a society that wishes to silence us.

    1. Jen

      Glad to do it. The irony is that I dislike conflict and tend to only speak up in print! LOL!

  18. Jenny V

    I laughed my ass off when I read that line about the preschooler losing his shit about a flood half way across the world. I read it to my husband who barked in laughter. Were you at my kitchen table with my then 3 year old when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan? Oh such bragging rights when your child’s intellect and factual processing far outpace his emotional abilities or maturity! I love to brag about those meltdowns. So proud he’s so smart he’s in crisis and pain.

    There is a jealousy over their gifts. They don’t see the other parts.

    1. Jen

      My kids were 10 and 7 when the tsunami hit in 2011. The older had a very hard time with it, and would have half a decade earlier too. But he’s totally the teenager in the post. 😉

      1. lms

        My oldest, and most gifted of my six children, was 2.5 when the towers fell on 9/11. We weren’t in NY. But he forced me to drive to my husband’s office building to prove his building was still standing. And crashed toy planes into block towers for a year or more. He is also a teen you describe. Knows more about world politics and their implications…. sigh. Wakes me up to tell me scary world events but he is always six steps ahead of me so I am always nearly literally running to keep up… thank you for your description.

  19. Carol Bainbridge

    Interesting discussion on Stefanie’s Facebook page about this interview:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153332861227354&set=p.10153332861227354&type=1&permPage=1

    1. Jen

      Unfortunately I can’t read this!

      1. Carol

        Rats! Not sure why you can’t read it. I can and I’m not FB friends with her. Anyway, it is HORRIBLE! Lots of “get over it,” “Lighten up,” “Get a sense of humor,” “Gifted kids have it easy” kinds of comments. Some of them are downright hateful — and yet the readers can’t understand why segments like the one on the Today Show are hurtful and harmful. Stefanie herself isn’t so bad on the thread. After all, she says, she’s waiting for test results to come in. (I thought that was particularly interesting.)

  20. my pessina

    In American schools athletics are celebrated and academics are becoming an after thought. A jock scoring a touchdown will have students and parents wearing jerseys with his number. Parents of gifted students have to grin and almost be embarrassed about their child’s achievement. Even though studies proove that a long summer break is detrimental to learning we don’t adjust to year round school. It does not work out well with athletics. I was told once that having a break in the fall would “be bad because the football team would not be allowed to require practices during the break. Can you imagine how horrible it would be if the team did not practice for 2 weeks?” I wonder why schools in other countries are out testing us?

  21. Kathy

    i am a parent for a gifted child, now an adult. I also teach early childhood for the last 30 years and have been married to a gifted spouse for 35 years. It is not easy. Many many times I wish my guys could have “normal” reactions to things…..but then I don’t. Gifted thinkers have given my teaching direction and meaning. We all need to guide these families through the social labeling and give them real support. Thank you for the blog. You go sister!

    1. Jen

      I often wish for normal, and then beat myself up that I think that. This ain’t easy. But I’ve learned to love gifted thinking and gifted kids; they are truly the best. Their humor and sensitivity and perception is like no other, and I LOVE talking to them. Love talking (and commiserating) with their parents too.

  22. rob

    Brilliant response to ignorance.

    1. Jen

      Thanks Rob. 🙂

  23. Pamela

    Tagline of her book is “…and other opinions I cannot back up with facts.” So, points for that, right?

    She says on Facebook that she’s a stand up comedian. Personally, I look forward to the day when making jokes about gifted (and by extension 2e) kids is seen as ridiculous/mean-spirited as making jokes about kids who are at the other end of the bell curve.

    Because making a joke is one thing. Openly deriding a group of people–and ganging up with “media personalities” on a national news show–is another.

    P.S. Jen, if you need me, I’ll be over here eating my organic, gluten-free snack bar (because celiac), waiting for the trolls to arrive as your post goes viral. *high five*

    1. Jen

      Hear hear! I’m a stand up writer. In that I stand up for what I believe in. And I’ll join you in that organic, gluten-free snack bar (because celiac), wearing my asbestos undies. *high five back*

  24. Sally Edmonds

    So nice when you read something that makes you feel a little less alone.

    1. Jen

      You’re not alone Sally. We all got your back. 🙂

  25. Maya

    I feel this same frustration when I see others criticize high achievers. I believe you mean “overachievers”? My FSIQ147 son achieves what someone should, considering IQ. Does your child deserve a placement in the school’s gifted program more than mine?

    So, your loneliness you feel? Imagine going to a gifted group and being the only one whose kid is doing well: school is radically accelerating him, he has no learning disabilities, he has very mild OEs which are hardly noticeable, and he is not asynchronous in anyway. Imagine having people tell you that your child isn’t really gifted, because he’s too normal.

    Since the invention of the GAI, the gifted community has doubled and the way gifted kids are defined or viewed is meant to have changed. But, please, remember the stereotypical gifted kids!

  26. qH

    A-efffing-men. (Although I mad a crass mistake a few days ago and said something about a standard having “only” a 130 IQ requirement and, um, yeah. That probably deserved some scorn.)
    qH recently posted…Unintended side effectsMy Profile

  27. Julie

    yes!!! A thousand times yes!! My life in a nutshell with my 2e girl… Ignorant people pushing “books” in fluffy segments suck

  28. Nancy

    Jen – you are spot-on about what it means to parent a gifted/2e kid, and you are spot-on that mocking either the kids or their parents is wrong. I have a gifted son who’s now in college and a 2E daughter who’s having a rough time making it through the teen years.

    But, IMHO, the conversation on the Today Show wasn’t mocking parents of gifted kids, but all the “over-parenting” people who claim their kids are gifted or, as was pointed out, “highly gifted.” The author went on to say that even though “everyone” claims to have one, ‘it’s not possible…if only 2-5% are truly gifted…’ Then she got cut off by the female host who claimed hers really were gifted.

    I believe that it was mocking parents who claim that their child is gifted/an art prodigy, etc. when really they aren’t. The point she was trying to make is that some parents go to extremes with their kids (normal or even bright, high-achieving, teacher-pleasers), whether they are making sure they don’t put a single gram of non-organic food into their mouths, over scheduling, demanding gifted or honors class placements when they may not be appropriate (thereby dumbing-down the offerings!), etc.

    I don’t think they were talking about truly gifted kids or parents in that segment.

    1. Lori

      I agree with Nancy. I wasn’t insulted by the Today show segment. I think the author of the book was making fun of how many of us sometimes over do it with parenting. For me, the segment was a reminder that I don’t need to strive to be the perfect mom, and I need to lighten up sometimes.

      Although I disagree with your opinion of the segment, I think you are a powerful voice for gifted kids and their parents, and I thank you for that. You do a great job of explaining what it means to parent a gifted child.

  29. Les

    Your letter brought me to tears. Twice exceptional is so lonely. So misunderstood. Thank you for being an understanding voice online. It’s the only one I get to hear. 🙂

    1. Jen

      You’re far from alone! Hang in there!

  30. Kelly

    Brilliant. Thank you.

  31. Teresa

    Thanks for this post. It brought tears to my eyes. It has been one trying week and comments like “That’s not possible” like what one of the hosts said seems to tell me that my challenges are not real or not possible. Hello! I wish they were not staring me in the face every.single.day. But they are and I just need to keep on giving my best to my kids every moment because there’s no one else who will be willing to go through these sacrifices for them except me.

    Why can’t some people just accept that we are all made differently? Why mock the differences? Why not accept and appreciate them and learn how to live harmoniously?
    Teresa recently posted…Hands-On Parent while EarningMy Profile

  32. Deb

    Thank you Jen! We need more people in this world like you! Our children are our future…it’s not an easy gig at all…it can be amazingly rewarding but completed exhausting and yes we don’t tell anyone! Why is that? We hear everyone brag about their kid who kicked a goal or won a race but the kid that just programmed and built his own robot from scratch does he ever get that pat on the back???
    If these ignorant individuals lived our lives for just one day I’m sure they would shut the hell up… Deb

  33. Lissa Unrue

    I missed the segment, so took a look online. Although I agree with comments about the author’s attitude toward all things parenting, I interpreted the comment about gifted children as being aimed at parents who claim their children are gifted, but are not. Those that jump on the claim that all children are gifted. As you mentioned above, we don’t generally discuss our children’s giftedness unless we feel a connection to the person we are speaking with. I think the parent she was referencing was the one that boasts about his/her child’s achievements to anyone and everyone. I am the parent of three gifted children, two are 2e, so I too, am sensitive to comments surrounding this subject, but this time I truly felt they were referencing someone else.

    1. Nancy

      Lissa – yes, I agree. I posted the same sentiment several comments above yours. Not to discount everyone’s valid complaints at being misunderstood as parents of gifted kids, but that’s not what the show segment was saying.

    2. Angela

      Exactly how I took it also.

    3. Natasha

      Yes, exactly. The most interesting thing about this article to me is the fact that gifted children and adults have an exceptional ability for logical reasoning. The belief that people assumed she was mocking gifted children and/or their parents shows a *lack of reasoning.* She clearly said it was impossible for all parents who claim to have gifted children to actually have them. Her mockery is toward parents who “overparent,” and to her, chirping to everyone you meet about your child’s IQ puts you right in that annoying parent category. She stated no opinion about those who *are* gifted or their parents. The mockery was toward those who inflate their children’s academic abilities. I am seeing it *allll* the time, too. It is annoying.

  34. Sam

    Thank you. A million times thank you. I’m not a parent to a gifted child, but a gifted adult just out of my teenage years. While not 2e, my younger brother is medium to high on the Autistic scale. Bless my mother for handling us both on her own for so many years. Parents deserve credit, not ridicule for raising gifted children. We’re not easy to handle some days. Hopefully one day people will realise that both parties don’t deserve the ill conceived humour aimed at us. And once again… thank you.

  35. Julie

    THANK YOU for this Jen! God bless you and your family! I almost cried reading this- as I have 3 gifted children, 1 who is twice exceptional- and it is a lonely, scary, exhausting business raising them. It takes a tenacity, a commitment, and a level of patience that most other parents cannot ever understand. We have no gifted programs available anywhere near us- and after a public school had my then 3rd grade son teaching not only in his class but lent him out to teach in other classrooms- after a full school year of him coming home crying and lamenting because he was so painfully bored and no one in school could do anything with him but suggest he skip grades- we decided to homeschool. And now I have the responsibility of meeting all of their educational needs- as well as their emotional needs- 24 hours a day. I was a gifted child- and when my districts gifted program ended after 6th grade, I went into a massive downward spiral emotionally and socially. I understand my childrens’ struggles. I understand when my 4 year old tells me she can’t sleep because she can’t turn her brain off. I understand when my 6 year old sobs because she read a book about parasites and is now desperately worried for children who contract Malaria but do not have access to medicine. I understand when my 11 year old son researches various colleges and tries to plan out a financially sound and viable plan to achieve his educational goals. I have been there. Heck- I’m still there and I guess some things (like incessant insomnia) will always be there.And I hope that between my understanding, experience, love, and patience I can help them have a better childhood than I did and have a much better transition to adulthood than I did. I pray constantly that I am meeting all of their needs and that I am making the right decisions. Yep- the last thing I need is to be mocked and ridiculed on national tv, perpetuating antiquated stereotypes in a way that would never be tolerated for any other group of parents and children.

  36. Pam

    From the mom of a 2e kid…THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  37. Beth

    I stopped watching the Today Show about 30 years ago (really, where does the time go?) I realized then that it had no information that was helpful to me or my family. So, I didn’t see this segment, but I see that I’m still not missing out on anything helpful or useful. It’s unfortunate, however, that there remains a market for whatever nonsense they are pushing.

  38. Lala

    What’s the difference between a pushy parent and an advocate? About 60 IQ points.

  39. Gail Post, Ph.D.

    Such a fabulous response. Maybe it’s the New York competitive, “I’ve got to get my kid into the best kindergarten” anxiety that fuels this bitterness, but the mean-spiritness of their humor was so inappropriate. Thanks for your great post, with such a quick turn-around also!

    I also want to add one comment about your observation that bragging tends to emerge more among parents where their child is talented in athletics, music and theater. What I have observed in this area parallels what we have all seen in the area of intellectual giftedness: parents of truly gifted athletes, musicians and performing artists tend to feel isolated, guilty, etc., and worry about bragging about their children. I’m not referring to the stars of a high school sports team or church choir. I’m referring to the exceptionally talented kids (especially if the talent is in an area that is not popular in mainstream society) – their parents often keep it close to the vest and don’t feel they can speak about it. They also feel alone.

    Let us know if your get a response from the Today Show. How amazing if they actually apologized for their behavior!

    1. Jen

      I don’t expect any response. Why would they? But this has truly hit a nerve!

  40. Christine

    Wow, watching that clip made me feel sick! How dare they?! I couldn’t really say if my kid is capital-G Gifted, or just an above average, bright kid, but I can say that she capped out on her school’s reading evaluations in 4th grade, so for two years all we get from the school is “post high school reading level.” She’s also wonderfully creative and tells awesome stories. She doesn’t like to write, but she illustrates everything with an expressiveness that I am personally envious of. But “gifted” or not, I feel the same pressures to not talk about how awesome she is lest I be seen as boasting or make someone else feel bad by implying that my kid is better than theirs. Is it really asking so much for people to be kind and show some compassion?

    1. Truthful taco

      If your child has not been sought out for an IQ test, it is probably not gifted. You may seek private testing to find out. A child who does not test in the 96th percentile or higher is NOT gifted by definition. Parents need to make peace with this.

  41. B

    I get it. I was 2 e, dyslexia and gifted. Now I see why school was boring and I did not live up to my ability as they did not teach me they way I needed to learn. I also attended a school for dyslexic children which helped. I also see why I left more deeply and responded to things on an emotional level.. My oldest is gifted and autistic and huge anxiety and he was in a gifted program but we pulled him back to regular school to relieve the anxiety but he loved the depth of learning at the gifted program. So hard to see him struggle and find a friend he wants so badly. To have a best friend who gets you and thinks like you. And to just fit in. I see my youngest also very gifted and showing the signs of anxiety and stated kindergarten was boring. I struggle to meet their needs ever day and see the world through their eyes. I also see my gifted spouses struggle to fit in and see that he is unique in his thinking and he has value too. Your letter was great and how dare they.

  42. Sunny

    Yes! My son is 2e for every area he excels he has two in which he is delayed. School they saw the weaknesses and ignored his intelligence, this caused stress and anxiety daily, in kindergarten! He couldn’t mentally sit still and be taught his letters and numbers again, that he’d learned at 20 months, and sat through in preschool. Behaviour problems ensued. Homeschooling now, he is happy again. He learns to read and write with the reward of dictating a story I write out for him after. Writing is his passion, but he has hyper mobile fingers and struggles. He traces my letters, we do hand over hand writing, we build up his strength in many more fun and interesting ways including Occupational and physical theraphy.

  43. Angela

    I could be mistaken, as I certainly don’t consider making fun of anyone to be humorous, but I took the lady’s comment on The Today Show yesterday to be a sarcastic remark on the issue that today’s trend is for ALL parents think their children are gifted even when it is impossible for all children to be gifted. For instance, I have a child, who by the school’s standards is considered “gifted” but not the same “gifted” you describe. Where I live, the gifted distinction is given to students who score well on certain tests or do better in certain subjects. So, most parents of the students desire for their children to be considered gifted as it puts them in the “good classes” with the “good teachers” or gets them pulled out for classes once a week (GATAS program) to boost higher thinking skills. Basically, good students = gifted around here. I related to the lady’s comment from that perspective in that all parents think their children are gifted when realistically, it is not possible for ALL children to be.

    1. Carol

      The problem is that that kind of mockery perpetuates the myth that all parents think their kid is gifted. That’s simply not true. It also perpetuates the belief so many people have that any parent who claims their kid is gifted is one of “those” parents. You don’t even have to use the dreaded “g” word. You could be discussing your frustration over the school’s refusal to provide challenging reading material or assignments for your child. Apparently, that’s “code” for “my kid is gifted.” Such a horrible stuggle to have, they think – or say outloud. They don’t know what it’s like when your child cries or wants to die because school is such a painful experience, and that doesn’t even include the social issues. Stereotypes aren’t funny.
      Carol recently posted…How can you help your emotionally sensitive child?My Profile

  44. Madredegifted

    Jen,
    Thank you for putting so eloquently, my own experience in words and standing up for all of us. I was thinking yesterday that, despite my child is in a very good school for gifted and thriving (an we are getting more in debt); I am tired of this mediocrity. Coming from a so called “third world country” , I keep scratching my head trying to understand why gifted children are not respected and nurtured properly in this my country now. Why we parents have to keep almost begging to get for our children, what is their born right? And when you talk about careers put on hold (indefinitely for me I can see), to be able to be present for the child that we fiercely need to advocated for and protected because of all their vulnerabilities. The so many sacrifices that we parents make financially and life wise. (From the economical point of view is not even efficient!) I do not want an award, I do not chose this. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. The life changing experience that we have had for parenting this beautiful child of us, is the most beautiful thing I have ever had, and the hardest because there is never a break. Wake up people! This is a wonderful country, imagine the country we would have if these children’s gifts and talents were all allowed to thrive.

  45. Genxatmidlife

    At least the author pointed out that really only about 2 to 5 percent of the population is gifted. But I don’t think wearing labels that say “certified gifted” is going to go over so well, so I guess we’ll have to stick to parents verbalizing it… if they dare.

    They do make coffee cups that say, “I’m a statistical deviant.” Maybe that’s a better way to put it.

  46. Sandra Simpson-Webb

    I think you have met my kids. There are three all gifted one 2e. I loved your’e piece. I read it out loud to my oldest and she was like wait a minute that’s me, then that sounds like Zyru, and wow that is definitely Zyaire. I was saying Amen and hallelujah, my daughter laughed and said you sound like your’e in church. You validated how I have felt. Especially the part about the child pulling not me being the pushy parent.

    My 2e kid is the youngest so advocating for him is often seen as me trying to push an LD (specific reading disorder) kid into an AIG(scored 99.8 percentile on WISC) program because “I want all my kids to be gifted”. Raising these kids takes a huge amount of energy. Nothing is ever small or simple. Nothing is ever standard and I am often told my 2e child is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. I like saying sure he’s a square peg but give him the chance and he will redesign the round hole. They are all amazing but convincing them that they are is often difficult. That is why it is so outrageous when someone makes light of or makes fun of the gifted.

    Thanks to 2e Newsletter I was made aware of you and this post. I have shared with others.

  47. Martha Williams

    Adults who are gifted and parents/guardians of gifted children should find out more about American Mensa, http://us.mensa.org/.
    Not only do we “get it,” we have experienced it and are doing our best to make the world a safer, happier, more inspiring and encouraging place for all of you.
    North Alabama Mensa Kids Trek has been conducting monthly activities for twenty-seven years. Kids Trek is free, open to the public, and geared for all ages. Children must have adult partners. Our website is http://www.kidstrek.org.
    Celi Trepanier, who posted above, has a brilliant son Marc who, with his family, discovered love and acceptance through Mensa Kids Trek. One of our Kids Trekkers who came to a meeting with her mom and dad when she was two years old is now an adult working with Dr. Stephen Hawkings and Dr. Kip Thorne.
    One of the purposes of Mensa is to “foster the development of human intelligence.”
    You are welcome to email me at kidstrek@earthlink.net for more information about our programs.
    Ridiculing the parents of gifted children and the children themselves is wrong. Underestimating their potential is also wrong.
    When Stefanie Wilder-Taylor’s children are in their thirties, then I’ll listen to what she has to say. At this time, her advice is comparable to a skilled custodian telling a skilled surgeon how to conduct an operation.

  48. Dad and Buried

    It seemed to me that neither legitimately gifted children nor the parents of legitimately gifted children were being mocked, but that those parents who arrogantly and obnoxiously ASSUME their kids are gifted, and point out that everything they do is exceptional, were the ones being mocked. It was meant to be a light-hearted dig at doting parents who are incapable of being objective about their kids, who feel their children can do no wrong and are, of course, the smartest, cutest, most perfect children ever, simply because they are theirs.

    Just my two cents. I have no horse in this race; my kid is dumb as rocks!
    Dad and Buried recently posted…The Chart of Diminishing ReturnsMy Profile

  49. jill

    Its funny u know when ever some one asks about my daughter who’s gifted, I say good things then I find myself feeling bad about it like I’m bragging, so then I bring up my son who’s just an average intelligence kid so I don’t feel I’m bragging about my daughter. Also my daughter freaks out if we don’t play these made up learning games, like spelling bee or name a invertebrate, or some other educational based stuff. They enjoy learning. Its not like I ever forced her, she was just talking in full sentences before a year old, and spouting off letters at a reading at 16 months… Half the time I wish shed take a break. And stop doing math for fun, sit down watch tv and be a kid….

    1. Sandra Simpson-Webb

      My oldest daughter is 16 her fun is doing math the more complicated the more fun. This is her being a kid I stopped trying to understand it many years ago. We now laugh about how her difference is why she is amazing and she fully embraces being a little quirky, and alot smart. My biggest worry is if she is happy and she is happiest learning. Just wait, the real fun starts when she starts trying to figure out colleges. Today her question to me was “Mom how many degrees can I get?” She doesn’t want to choose she wants to study 6 different subjects and sees no problem in trying to do that. Who am I to tell her it can’t be done.

  50. Jen

    Right on!!

  51. Virginia

    I was a gifted child who did not test well due to a visual disability. So no gifted program for me. I suffered with depression because I felt so misunderstood and alone. I worried about, and said things other children didn’t. Being a gifted child is no picnic because you feel like such an outsider when you would rather talk to adults than you own age group, because at least the adults understand and even react in amazement that you think one the level you do.
    My parents pulled from public school to home school, and only then did they figure out what was going on with me. They knew I was very different, but they really had no idea until they home schooled me and had me tested for a number of things to figure out what was going on. Truly, I had very few friends before I was home schooled, and the ones I did have didn’t understand me that well, so weren’t always very nice. after being pulled and becoming involved in the homeschool community I had more friends then I knew what to do with because a good number are gifted or are at least highly accepting of gifted children.

    My husband is also gifted. We get each other, and that is a massive blessing.

    So to you parents who are being challenged by gifted children of your own. you are appreciated, you make life a little easier in a world that doesn’t understand. You are a safe hevan for extremely tender hearts in the middle of the cruelty off others who don’t get it. We (gifted children) know that we are no walk in the park. Yes we are aware of that, society likes to point out how different we are every chance they get. So thank you for doing your best, it is enough and we love you for it, don’t stop.

  52. Kathy Jones

    Thank you, Jen. I happened to see that segment and was upset by the flip way that it was handled. I appreciate you putting into words what so many think. I hope the Today Show has you on to explain the truth about giftedness and 2e. #todayshow #gifted

  53. Beth

    Yes. This. Thank you so much.

  54. Darryl

    Thank you.Got one here in full time gifted,which we had to move to get into.Then constantly on the alert for where am I going wrong,takes time too.So for her to sum it up in five seconds is just so much trailer park trash logic.Out of the wood work they come,would think it’s possible she’s a paid mouth piece for a pair brothers politically involved in dumbing down america.

  55. Joyce Peterson

    Thank you so much….tears are running down my face!
    My son in third grade explained to me that human beings see pattern naturally because the human face has a pattern as the first thing we see and because of this state testing answers must be in a pattern as well. He was working with patterns in his computer and thought he was close to figuring it out. I told him that I was sure they randomized the answers with a.computer, he reassured me with, I know mom that’s why I have been using my homework time to learn about code in the computer.
    The eye rolling sighs of his exhausted teacher who went to the administration who was angry with him. They put him in a room by himself to do the homework he was missing where he did nothing for four days days.The school brought me in to talk with him on day five. He explained to me that if he did what they wanted he would be isolated when ever they wanted him to….but don’t worry mom; I have studied Gandhi at home because I have seen what they do here and “There is more to life than increasing it’s speed” -Gandhi, and I can do my homework when this is over.
    He is a very sweet, sweet kid and the stress he is under daily is no laughing matter ! I am treated with disrespect because I can’t “control ” where he put his interest. Is that funny?!
    Ps. He did amazingly well on his state testing.

  56. Sarah

    What the hell were they thinking? Why would they put that card in their pile to begin with? Who thought of this? Then the mocking, laughing, and continued mocking with the “artwork” bit. This was supposed to be funny somehow? Interesting. I wonder what would be happening right now if they had held up a sign that said, “My Child Is Autistic” and laughed. “Haha! Everyone’s got one!” They’d be scrambling all over themselves making public apologies. This… I don’t think we’ll even see an acknowledgment that what they did was in poor taste (to say the least). That bit was disgusting.
    Sarah recently posted…You Don’t Write Me Love Notes…AnymoreMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Yeah, the card didn’t need to be in that pile. Not by a long shot! The point about overly involved parents could have been made in so many other ways. This was a cheap and hurtful shot.

  57. Tiffany

    I did not see the story you are talking about. I have gifted children but not sure they classify as 2e. I appreciate what you have to say in defense. I will just say that I don’t think it was necessary to generalize the pushy parents into a category. I have a gifted drama student and although we have high expectations we are not pushy. Just my 2 cents.

  58. Stacey B

    Sing it sister! Raising a gifted 2e child isn’t something that can ever be condensed into a spotlight segment on morning TV show. When a 2e child enters your world you not only have to learn how to parent you have to learn how to speak and act like an OT, a social worker, a behavioral therapist, an education lawyer, a Wright’s Law expert, a teacher and the list goes on and on…..
    Stacey B recently posted…Celebrating Social Media Moms, Disney styleMy Profile

  59. LHAS

    I do hope that the Today Show will actually remember objective reporting and do a proper piece on the gifted. Then again – news programs on the major networks (cable included) have become all about pandering to an audience and sensationalism. News outlets these days have about as much integrity at politicians.

  60. Tina Williams

    here here !!!! Well said Jen. Those who mock in that or any manner are cowardly bullies.. the sad thing is there are so many of them whose small minds do not allow them to extend far enough to accept there really are children and people outside of their safe little box with incredible abilities, sensitivities, and compassion. I actually feel sad for those cowardly bullies as they will never be able to truly appreciate the beauty and capacity of gifted individuals.

  61. Mischievium3

    This is AMAZING! As the mother of one gifted 2e boy, and i have two more young boys waiting in the wings. This warmed my heart. It is lonely raising these kids. If I hear one more person say “My aren’t you blessed” I’m going to give them a wedgie. It is a full time job, constant worry, constant questions, constant motion. I am exhausted and people DO NOT GET IT.

    I am the furthest thing from a hovering parent. I am homeschooling my oldest with no other options (see existential depression above) He is free range, he learns in his own way and just absorbs the information like a sponge. Half the time I wonder if he is listening but then months later he will ask a question. My 4 year old is the same way. I can read him a book and he will be looking through another book and singing a song, and then answer a question about the book I was reading to him. Or ask a thoughtful question himself. He taught himself to read at 2. (I know Im in denial about him) and people kept asking me what program did I use to teach him to read at such a young age. when I said he taught himself, she said “oh really” like I was lying. GRRR!

    Thanks for standing up for us in such an eloquent way.

    1. Jen

      With three G2e boys I bet you know more than just wedgies. 😉 LOL! (Be warned….soon they will use body odor as WMDs)

      1. Mischievium3

        Yeah WMD.. Great (typical) gifted story.

        We were at a local restrarant with my then 3 and 1 year old. Busy Saturday night, my 3 year old loudly announces that “technium is 43 and it is radioactive”. Everyone stops and stares. My husband and I are quaking with laughter. I look at my husband and say “See I told you he was ready for kindergarten. He knows the periodic table.” not missing a beat he replies “Not all of it, he needs to know all of it before kindergarten, or he won’t be able to keep up.” At this point 3yo decides to name all of the radioactive elements “That occur in nature” Everyone was staring. Try to Keep my sense or humor.

        1. Jen

          That is a fantastic story! 😀

  62. Anna

    THANK YOU for perfectly capturing my son in a way I am not yet able to! This post made me tear up in that way you mentioned, like meeting another parent who can relate to what you are going through, that has not yet happened to me. My son is only 7 and just got a diagnosis, I hope I am one day able to stand up for him as eloquently as you have done! And I personally do not care what the Today Show (or anyone else) thinks about….well… pretty much anything. F*$!! the haters! My 2E son is awesome, I am so proud of him. Thanks again–

    1. Jcmama

      Find a school specific for gifted kids. It will change ur life. !! Not a school that says we have gifted kids and we have ap classes. NO a gifted school (usually charter or magnet). Where they ABSOLUTELY understand the way ur child works. Ull know when u talk to them weather or not they know what ur child needs and how he works. ONLY TEACHERS WHO WORK AND ARE TRAINED FOR GIFTED get this. We moved and i quit my job to b at the right school. COMPLETE LIFE CHANGER. Its out there i promise keep looking. U have an obligation to the world 2e. Very special very btight. So bright he cant stop. But he will do great things. World changing things if given the right plstform. Good luck mom. Breathe. U were born for this. U hott this ❤️ Go buy a book called. If this is a gift can i return it?! Its a sweet living comedy on the perils of parenting these amazing special bright lil lights. Were only here to feed vlithe and live these ones. Cuz the universe gave them their gifts for a reason!!!

      1. Jen

        I am familiar with that book. I wrote it. 😉 Literally.

  63. Cynthia

    Thank you, Jen. It is tough enough as is without making it entertainingly out there for all. Can’t even get teachers and the schools to understand. In our IEP meeting two days ago I was explaining my 2E son to the case manager of his soon to be middle school. When I mentioned how he will rise to expectations, his current teachers looked at each other and rolled their eyes. The same teachers who tell my 11 year old that his mother needs to stop filling his head with baloney he is smart and can focus and his mother is making excuses for him. How about do at least the minimum for your job by following his IEP, communicating what works or doesn’t, and not insulting students.

    If it hadn’t been the first time I met the new case manager in person, you can bet I would have replied back more than “Yes, he does [rise to expectations]” that I did say.

    I have tried educating the school about 2E and my son. The campus is close-minded and refuses. The district people in the Parent Center more open but they do not have authority to make the changes. The Today show has set a lot of work back.

    Thank you for saying so eloquently what we would all like to say.

  64. Janey

    Thank you, Jen… I can relate to everything that you have written… It was as if I was reading about me and my 5 year old son…

  65. Jcmama

    As a parent of a profoundly gifted child. Less then 1% of population. I WAS NOT OFFENDED. At all. I think the hosts and authot were mocking the parents who have smart or hard working and driven kids who constantly push their kids and fly around the word gifted. I hate those parents too! They are bafoons. We as parents of “gifted” kids know the struggles and we understand HOW INTENSE THEY ARE. And how sometimes we just want a typical kid!! I truly thought THOSE PARENTS. were bring mocked. Because yes they are annoying. LOOK YOUR KID MAY GEt ST8 a’s. But thats not gifted. And the schools (most not all). Are just as bad. Only true experts like us know how different they are. How they a just wired differently. So when some randim parent flies out the word gifted. Cuz their flippin kid is the science fair. please—everyschool has a test. Only gifted kids are “gifted “kids. The rest are also fabulous and smart. But not gifted. So. I think u should rewatch said video. Theyre poking fun at the pretenders. Not us. Most of us are just trying to keep our kids from freaking out over Completely obscure but very relevant to them thing!!!!!!
    Best to all of u. Love up those very interesting and important little leaders u have. B

  66. Lori

    Thanks, Jen! For recognizing the ignorance in this segment. You might not be confrontational, but I am. As a gifted parent raising a “mini me”, I am growing accustomed to the looks and comments when a group of parents are discussing our challenges with raising gifted kids. We are so fortunate that we were able to move to a school district that believes in classrooms full of gifted students with teachers who have been specially trained to teach them! In our last school, the administration simply couldn’t be bothered with my child’s gifted needs when they had all they could handle just getting the below average kids up to speed enough to pass THE TEST. Don’t get me started on THE TEST. That’s a subject for a whole other post. Parents of gifted kids have just as much passion about their children’s right to learn and develop as every other parent has. Why shouldn’t we be vocal and advocate for them? I’m grateful that I have the attitude that I really don’t care what others think of what I say or do when it comes to parenting my kids. I do feel for the parents who are feeling discouraged and misunderstood though. To them I say, “I have your back!”

  67. Maia

    Stefanie Wilder Taylor is a comedian and much of what she pokes fun at is motherhood. None of what was in that interview was meant to demean anyone, but rather make light of the fact that all parents believe their child is gifted in some way. I’m not sure why this is deemed offensive.

  68. aimee

    So thankful you are out on the front lines fighting for all of us!

  69. Melissa

    “Sometimes you luck out and stumble across the right code words in a conversation and suddenly you find yourself talking to a kindred spirit and you have to do everything in your power to keep from bursting into tears of gratitude when you realize this other person gets it and doesn’t judge you and your struggles.” Thank you for this line. It is so exactly true when it happens, that I often fear that these other parents want to run away from me, just to stop me from talking, because I have finally finally found someone who can relate and all my fears and anxieties and stressed come rushing out.

  70. Ann

    “Or a kid with an unquenchable curiosity about everything and the memory to match it, but does not test well”

    That sounds so much like my child. And I don’t know what to do about it, because he DOESN’T really test well enough for the school to step in and recognize him for any kind of gifted program. I’m not pushy about it – he studies what he likes on his own and he muddles through all the hoops that must be jumped through in middle school. ON HIS OWN he has memorized everything from every country and capital in the world, every cloud formation, he keeps up with current political events in foreign countries. He taught himself how to read at age 3. I’m pretty lazy and haven’t pointed him toward any of that, I’m not even interested in those subjects – I think a truly gifted kid has that ability to seek out their interests. Why do they need “intervention”? I don’t trust schools to be able to actually DO anything to help gifted kids. Kids like this usually are able to find their own path.

    But still….I can’t help laughing at the parents who say things like, “My 6 year old has read all the Harry Potter series, and what do I do now?” because no 6 year old, no matter how bright and able to read, could actually understand all the nuances of that story. So…some parents do deserve a little being made fun of.

  71. Anna

    Wow! I never watch network TV, and I would certainly never pick up a book like the one by the author on the Today show (I just don’t find that kind of humor funny). I’m impressed and encouraged by all the comments from parents of gifted children in response to your impressive article. Thank you for being brave and standing up! We recently had my youngest son was tested, and his IQ came back as gifted. He attends a private school, but I’m still really concerned about starting conversations with the school about his needs (he is ending K and will start 1st grade in the fall).

  72. Me

    I have some gifted kids and one drug addicted son in prison. My life must be more hilarious than I knew. I also like Organic Gummy Bears. Imagine.

  73. naomi

    Thank you Jen, I am mum to a gt 9 year old daughter in a small town in australia. My struggles are like so many fellow gt parents but so unlike any of my friends here. I have fought the school system, changed schools had my daughter tested, had her accelerated and yet she still comes home bored and frustrated. She trains in competitive gymnastics several times a week, has been a squad swimmer for 3 years, practices karate, learns an instrument, sings in choir etc etc. I can’t complain though (as you all know) because it could be worse but really do we still have to put up with small minded people telling us it’s easy?? Why is it ok to question our children in this way when no one would tease a physically disabled child in this way. GTs lives are tricky enough without this extra craps out there. Thanks to all who defend our exhausting kids.

  74. Lara

    They weren’t mocking actual gifted children. They were mocking the parents of completely average children whose parents swear they are gifted and use the term too loosely. Oh my goodness. … There is just so much about this post that is laughable at best.

  75. Lara

    And you made a good point. Parents of exceptional children DON’T bring up their child’s abilities. It’s the parents who simply want to percieve their child as gifted when they aren’t that seem to mention it constantly. I feel it was obvious that’s who the targets were. I was considered academically gifted as a child and my mother never pushed me or was overbearing so I definitely don’t think that’s the case the majority of times. YouCAN’T push a child into giftedness. It’s inherent. Either they are or they aren’t.
    Lara recently posted…Ava GardnerMy Profile

  76. Sherry

    Oh no. Another one today. 🙁 This time from the Huffington Post.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-mid/generation-x-parenting-problem_b_7258314.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

    I commented on it and directed readers to your blog because you just said it so well. And thank you for saying it. Even though we know we aren’t the only ones, sometimes it feels like we ARE the only ones – especially at 11:00 at night. So reading someone else talking about your life is so comforting!

  77. Rachel

    I think you guys are all missing the point. Having actually read the book I’m familiar with that specific chapter and it is about how ALL parents think their kid is super gifted. She’s not poking fun at the children who are gifted nor their parents. She’s simply joking about how each parent sees their child in such a light of being ridiculously smart, creative, outgoing, and compassionate (more so than other children)

  78. Nicole

    To say we’ve officially run out of problems, is putting it lightly. Perhaps you misinterpreted the light-hearted comedy piece to somehow cater to your sensitivities in this area, because I don’t believe the intention or message were at all received by the general population as you’ve received it. She is poking fun at parents who announce that their kids are gifted for any old reason. She is saying lighten up, it’s okay to have average kids and the world is full of average people. In particular, she doesn’t mock the children at all, so the logic doesn’t follow in comparing them to disabled kids. No mockery of children. That was imagined.

    To each their own, but I believe we choose how to react to things – particularly in a world full of issues far, far, far larger than this imagined issue about a comedy book.

  79. Truthful taco

    Yes. Most people think they need to knock gifted person down a peg. But what they should be doing is looking to the gifted for answers to Life’s big questions, because that’s what we specialize in. The average person throws away their greatest resource because they’re jealous, insecure, and love to bully others. Gifted people have a superior mind, and others can just learn to deal with it. Once again in this new mindset, they will find what they’d been missing all along: lighthouses along the shoreline. LIFE SAVING BENEFICIARIES. Not one iota less important that that.

  80. N.D.

    So true and so sad. And few can realize that these kids will be changing the world. These are the kids, who will create the future. What’s the problem with the bragging, anyway? Don’t we see all the sports parents bragging and yelling in the fields, and having stickers on cars and so on? School newsletter has detailed description of all the smallest sports events the school team won, but scarcely mentions academic achievements. I can’t even imagine, what happens to the gifted kids whose parents are not supportive or have enough education to understand and help their own kids, because usual schools don’t care at all about it. That’s a very strange attitude of the country – ignore your own talents and then brag that you are attracting talented people from other countries.
    For the people who doesn’t understand what this kind of shows means: this mocking will be repeated tomorrow by other people. That is effect of media, that’s how stereotyping works and that’s why the media has very big responsibility.

  81. Kim

    well said!

    What I’d love to know (forgive me if this has been addressed above…will have to read all the comments later..) is whether you received any response from the Today show, and if so, what did they say?

    1. Jen

      Nope. Never heard word one. Didn’t expect to but would have loved to have been surprised.

  82. Beth

    Oh my god….. I just watched the video clip. I can’t even coherently describe my reaction right now I am so disgusted by these 3.

    Your letter was most eloquently written.

    I stumbled across your site via InterGifted, which I joined recently.

    Keep on rockin.

  83. Beth

    oops let me try again.

    Reading some technical gobbeldy-gook, my website is just a little brochure site, no feeding.

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