Parenting a gifted child is not the cakewalk others seem to assume it is. Just because your child is smart and (typically) does well in school, it seems others believe that therefore you've got it made as a parent. What trouble could there possibly be with such a worry-free kid?
The parents of my gifted students often approach me a little hesitantly for the first time when bringing up a parenting issue, question, or concern. They will usually qualify their inquiry with some sort of "Well, but..." statement: "Maybe I have nothing to worry about, but..." or "I know there are other kids who are probably in much greater need than my child, but..." or "Perhaps I should just be happy she does so well, but..."
See, that "Well, but..." in their inquiries is a tiny window into the deep concerns they feel they must hide from other parents, their child's teacher, their closest friends, and sometimes even their spouse. From the outside everything looks so great, and certainly there must be other children out there with far greater problems than mismatched academic content, super-sensitivity, undiagnosed learning disabilities, teasing from age-peers, ulcers developed from worrying about the world's problems, questions a parent isn't sure how to answer (from a 7-year-old: "If Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.... ...then does that mean Jesus, too?"), insomnia ("She won't go to sleep until midnight!"), friendship problems ("He just doesn't relate to kids his own age, so how is he ever going to find a friend?"), and so on and so on. The reality is that because of issues like these (and many others), parenting a gifted child -while still a joyous blessing, as with parenting any child- can also be chock full of qualms, uncertainties, and worries that few (outside of other parents of gifted kids) seem to "get."
When I respond to their "Well, but..." inquiries by telling the parents of my students that I'm well aware parenting a gifted child is not the cakewalk others seem to think it is, they consistently respond with visible relief... their shoulders relax, tears well up in their eyes, and in many cases those tears brim over and flow. They don't want to be seen as "pushy" and yet they KNOW their child's needs aren't being met or that their child has a problem that could become much bigger if left unchecked. I'm typically the only person they dare bring these "Well, but's" to because it's clear they fear bringing it up to anyone else. And many of them wait to get to know me for a few years before posing any such inquiries.
With this being National Parenting Gifted Children Week, I wanted to take this opportunity to send a grand kudos out to all you parents who take on the endless energy, intensity, questions, sensitivity, and possibility of your gifted children. You're not alone on this complicated, rewarding adventure! "