While it is any parents dream come true to have a child who is gifted and destined to achieve great things, raising gifted children can be quite a challenge. Having a gifted teenager demands a lot of input from the people around them. It is not just about sending them to a school for advanced studies and that’s it, teenagers who are gifted need twice as much parental nurturing as normal kids do. The situation gets tougher for single mothers by a significant margin.
Raising gifted children calls for responsive parenting and single parents of gifted children need to be prepared for a re-education in this regard. Responsive parenting demands that you spend maximum time with your teen. This will help you get in tuned to their interests and respond positively to the educational opportunities offered to them. As a single mom this might seem over whelming, but reading to gifted teens is a very positive habit to develop, even when the teen is capable of reading on his own. Help exposes your teen to various cultural activities to help them identify their own interests, like art, nature, music, museums, and sports. Gifted teens take time to explore the fields they like and explore it in depth. Make sure you provide lots of home stimulation and interest in the activities your gifted teen is interested in.
Here are tips on how to be your gifted teens best friend and most efficient support system by Dr. Sylvia Rimm, a psychologist, columnist, parenting specialist and gifted children’s advocate.
- If there was ever a teen who needed you to be more of a coach than just a single mom, this is the one. Your relationship with your gifted teen will be that of a coach who is training, encouraging and cheering them on towards their victories. Parenting like other parents who tend to start over expecting and become excessively judgmental, will only alienate the teen from you. So avoid judging your teen who is already under a lot of pressure to measure up.
- Try your best to give your gifted teen as much normalcy as possible. While it is normal for parents to emphasize on intelligence and hard work, it is also good to encourage independence, sensitivity, and perseverance in your teen. This will help them relate to people normally and not feel alone and alienated from their peers.
- As a parent you are supposed to be the best advocate of your teen’s needs and interests. You are probably doing this whether your child is gifted or not. However, parents of gifted children sometimes get so caught up in their child’s gift and talent that they end up focusing entirely on academic needs. Ignoring a teens social life completely could have very adverse affects. To begin with, it could mutate your teen’s social confidence and skills. In some cases it also adds to the teen getting diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. This condition pertains to teen’s who have particularly weak social skills and require additional resources to help overcome this problem.
Remember, that your teen is highly gifted and knows it. This knowledge of being different or superior from other kids his age can be very intimidating, so be kind to the teen as well as yourself, since disappointment can affect you both equally.