Every third week of July is National Parenting Gifted Children Week, an event originally registered by the National Association for Gifted Children in cooperation with SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Gifted children, otherwise identified as talented or advanced, typically refer to children and teens with an extraordinary intellectual ability, and a talent far exceeding the norm in logic/mathematics, creativity/art, and a developed self-concept.
Guiding young minds to forge better futures is a tenet in every society, but gifted children and teens require special attention. The National Parenting Gifted Children week helps bring awareness to this fact.
What is “Giftedness”?
The exact definition of giftedness is not universally agreed upon. One common identifier, albeit a flawed one, is an intelligence quotient of 130 or higher. More recent forms of identification involve a broader conception of what giftedness entails, assessing a child’s intellectual qualities as well as their academic achievements. Dr. Joseph Renzulli asserted that giftedness is best defined through three traits, namely:
- Exhibiting extraordinary abilities
- Task commitment and strong motivation
- High levels of creativity
The government identifies gifted children as individuals with high performance capability in multiple academic fields, exhibiting extraordinary character traits, and in need of special services to fully develop their potential.
While such individuals are indeed gifted, the unique nature of giftedness means most school programs and educational facilities are not normally equipped to properly stimulate a child’s gifts and help them mature in a way that brings out their full potential. That is why advocacy groups like NAGC and SENG work with facilities and organizations throughout the country to explore options for helping gifted children, as well as special needs children.
Challenges Faced by Gifted Children and Teens
Despite various definitions and identification methods, all gifted children and teens present schools and parents with the unique challenge of finding a way to provide proper stimulation.
Giftedness does not guarantee success or talent and must be coupled with proper mentorship and guided teaching to allow a teen to turn a gift into an extraordinary skill. However, outside of academic and career potential, it is important to use the National Parenting Gifted Children week to address the emotional and psychological needs of gifted children and adolescents, who often experience unique problems due to their abilities.
By existing outside the normal spectrum of abilities, gifted children risk social ostracizing, and are often subject to much greater amounts of pressure and stress from peers, parents, and teachers alike. These factors can actively hinder a gifted individual’s growth and cause them to fail to receive the additional care and schooling they might need due to anxiety, leading to poor performance despite an extraordinary intellect.
Support Is Important to Help Gifted Children Flourish
Parents and professionals must understand the level of care needed to help a gifted individual adjust to social norms and help them find their place in society. Gifted individuals often feel fear of conforming to stereotypes or being categorized, and they may even avoid fully exploring their talents due to this fear. Parents must also understand that raising a gifted child may come with unique challenges, but that their foremost duty is to provide a loving and supportive environment to help their child flourish, rather than creating undue stress. This July, the National Parenting Gifted Children Week creates an opportunity to raise awareness among parents and professionals of giftedness and the challenges it poses.