Can My Child Be Exceptionally Gifted?

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At the same time, parents can have inner fears about the innate gifts or liabilities that their children will eventually show while also appreciating and rejoicing in those gifts as they become apparent. Does it really help a child’s development to play some classical music in the home at a young age? How much does it help to have plenty of books at home? To visit the library?

A recent study in Great Britain (https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-there-s-no-such-thing-as-a-gifted-child) provides some encouragement for parents and teachers. It doesn’t provide a panacea, but it does point out that parent’s attitudes toward learning can have an important impact on the developing gifts of a child, even when the child doesn’t seem to have extraordinary gifts at a young age. It makes sense. Promoting an attitude of curiosity, persistence, and hard work together with an openness to value in new areas of learning can only help. It turns out that these things help quite a lot.

In school, teachers daily introduce new material to students based on what they have already learned. Sometimes the whole subject seems new, especially at a school that seeks to exceed the usual expectations of students and parents in the subject matter. What effect do you think it has when a student has heard a negative word about those subjects at home, like “I don’t know why they teach that useless subject. Nobody ever uses that later on.” Or worse still, “None of the other schools bother to teach that old stuff. There’s no reason anyone should have to learn it these days! Anyway, you’re on your own with that, because I certainly won’t be able to help you.” Such comments may express envy on the part of a parent or older sibling who missed the opportunity to learn such things, but they also undermine the potential of the student who has those opportunities now. The student is demotivated, loses curiosity, and the perseverance it may take to do well and enjoy the subject.

On the other hand, if a parent says, “You have an opportunity that I never had, and if you stick with it, this will help you in so many ways for the rest of your life! I’m very excited for you. It will take some hard work, but I promise to help you as much as I can.” Apparently, that sort of thing has a very powerful positive effect.

Of course, parents want the best for our children, but we often forget that negative statements often have a far greater effect than positive ones. What we say is one important positive way to help our children develop exceptional gifts, but the article linked above shares even more ways.

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