Parents of bright children have shared the following suggestions that others who are parenting bright children may find helpful. (Most of them are of value for all children.)
Parent to Parent:
Your child is a child first, and bright, gifted or talented second. Show her that you love her for her own sake and not simply for her achievements.
Expect behaviour appropriate to his age. Set reasonable standards and expect him to meet them. Being bright is not an excuse for unacceptable behaviour.
Don't make an exhibition of your child. On the other hand, don't neglect to stimulate and widen your child's mind. Encouragement is not "pushing". He will quickly let you know if he is not ready for, or not interested in, an activity. (He may be ready and interested another day, another month, another year, or not at all.)
Don't compare your child to her sisters or brothers or peers. All children are unique in their own ways.
Use her questions and expressions of interest to guide her learning and exploration.
There is much you can do:
Help her choose worthwhile books and television programs
Take him on trips to the library, museums, fire stations, concerts, conservation areas, and other places of interest
Enable him to join in any children's activities run by your local ABC chapter or other community groups
Let her share some of your hobbies and interests
Take part in her interests
Supply him with a place to work and materials
Encourage original work (her own stories, pictures, buildings, experiments); materials need not be elaborate or expensive
Display his products
Read to her, preferably every day; even children who are fluent readers enjoy being read to
More Parenting Tips:
Use your common sense about your child's activities. Don't over-organize her time. All children need time to mess around, dream, and do "babyish" things or do nothing active at all.
Praise his efforts. Bright children often expect a great deal of themselves. Let him know that it is okay to take risks. If something does not turn out as he hoped, praise him for trying. Help him to be realistic about his abilities.
Within the bounds of common sense, let him take responsibility. If he says he can do something, let him do it. He will learn both from succeeding and not succeeding.
Listen to her. Treat her questions and opinions with respect. Of course she cannot have your undivided attention at all times, but if you frequently ignore or dismiss her, you will kill her curiosity and perhaps her desire to communicate with you.
Know when to help and when to stay out of the way. Helping to break an activity into manageable parts may be all that is needed.
Don't laugh at or otherwise denigrate things that he does that are different. Fantasy, originality, or unusual ways of looking at things can be discussed without disapproval. Laugh with your child - not at him.
Help her to learn good work habits. Stick-to-it-iveness is essential to mastery of any skill.
Help her to get along with other children and to respect the rights and opinions of other people.
Help your child to develop in many directions. This is not to suggest that she must be made over into something she isn't; rather, the development of her particular gifts or talents should not crowd out other aspects of her development (intellectual, moral, social, physical, or aesthetic).
Support ABC and other groups working to ensure that all children get an education that helps them fulfill their potential.
Enjoy your child, The curiosity, energy, and constant questions may be wearing at times, but this enthusiasm and excitement are irreplaceable treasures.
Looking for more information?
The Alberta government has provided an excellent handbook for parents of gifted and talented children entitled The Journey which can be read online at this link. There is a chapter in the impact of giftedness on the family which you may find especially helpful.
The Ohio Association for Gifted Children has developed a helpful booklet of advice for parenting gifted children that is available at this link. Most of the advice applies to gifted children living in other states and countries, too.
Parent/Guardian Participation In The Educational Process
Parents/guardians must be recognized as full, active and equal partners in the educational planning for their child.
Abilities and needs of pupils should be identified in consultation with parents/guardians during the Early and Ongoing Identification Procedures of the local school board. Program modifications should be initiated in the classroom, prior to formal identification
If program modifications are deemed to be insufficient by the parent/guardian or teacher, formal identification of a pupil as exceptional will be necessary and special education programs and services must be provided
The Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) process- Ontario Regulation 305 (formerly 554/81) outlines the IPRC process and clearly mandates involvement of the parents/guardians
Local school boards must inform parents/guardians of their rights in the IPRC process. The local school board's "Parent Guide to Special Education" must be available to all parents/guardians and must be given to parents/guardians prior to the IPRC
Parents/guardians may request an IPRC. If the parent/guardian believes the identification process has not been initiated by the school or will not be initiated by the school, a request in writing to the principal must begin the process
Parents/guardians must be invited to the IPRC and the annual Review and should participate since they can contribute valuable information about the pupil.
The IPRC Identification decision should clearly provide a statement of abilities and needs. The IPRC Placement decision should be made after thorough discussion of the available options
Involvement of parents/guardians in the development of the Individual Education Plan allows for a clear understanding of the objectives of the program and the strategies to be used to reach those objectives
Parents/guardians should monitor the effectiveness of the program so they know if it is working for their child
ABC Policy Document p.8