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Tidbits of Wisdom
from (and for!) Parents of Gifted Children

collected by Carolyn K., director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
copyright 2006 Carolyn K.

Please contact Carolyn K. before reprinting any part of this page.

On gifted parenting:  You might not get to stay on the same path very long.   Sometimes it's like Hogwarts -- the stairways change. -- Marjorie

Parenting the gifted child is like kayaking on a roaring river: you can try to avoid some rocks, and you can sometimes choose which side of the river you'll be on, but the river decides where you are going. If you see your role as minor influence rather than architect, you may be able to focus more successfully on the differences that you can make. -- Michael

In our family the person who gets to be the tooth fairy and leave the gift (often not money) is the next older child. When a tooth is loose, the parents will discuss what small gift the smaller child might like and take the older one along on the shopping trip. (Tooth fairy gifts are on the level of a new pack of crayons or a new matchbox car.) We always put it as a celebration of growth, not of some petite being with a mania for old teeth. There are coming of age celebrations, large and small, at regular intervals as you grow up. You anticipate them, you go through them, you become one of the people celebrating those steps for the younger ones.

bulletAnyone over twelve participates in the filling of the Easter baskets.
bulletSanta Claus gifts come in the mail from their grandparents' addresses.
bulletChildren make and fill May day baskets to leave secretly on the doors of elderly neighbors. Those old enough to no longer have children at home receive those baskets and exclaim over their beauty to those children without letting on that they know who gave the gift.

The world is full of giving gifts. Sometimes you give, sometimes you receive. Anonymous giving is even more fun. -- Kit

The question of the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus... this is a dilemma that gifted children take very seriously.  On the one hand, if these characters are not real, Mom and Dad have been lying to me!  On the other hand...  Here are a few answers that gifted parents prefer.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.   Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial.

My little one seems to have always known about Santa.  Or has she?  When she was 4, we went to the theater to see Tim Allen in The Santa Clause... and for the longest time, she knew Tim Allen was Santa, and that he also was Tim "the tool man" Taylor... he's an actor.  We're not sure how Santa fit in that.  At the same time, her favorite movie was (and still is, every Christmas) Miracle on 34th Street.  I guess you could we silently observed a "don't ask, don't tell" policy... and these days, she still does, so not to spoil all her cousins' holidays! -- Carolyn K.

Here's one that answers the Santa question, and so much more!

My daughter and I have had a lot of talks about "real truth" and "legendary truth," the notion that a story could have never actually happened, but could be telling us something important that we need to hear. She has known that the tooth fairy was us almost from the first time she lost a tooth (but we both play along just because it's fun), and since we're Jewish, we don't do the Santa thing (I do agree with the poster who said something about magical creatures who are more loving than real parents). She's been reading Robin Hood this summer, and about the real king Richard, and more medieval history, and we've talked about the differences and why people might still tell about Robin Hood even though we are pretty sure that the stories never really happened.
I used to tell her about the Parenting Manual... the one you get in the hospital, that tells you exactly how to be a perfect parent. On page 14, it says that if they whine or tantrum, you can't give it to them, no matter how much you might want to. So when she'd tantrum, sometimes I'd just tell her that I would really like to help her, but I'm stuck on page 14. When she was about 4 years old, she looked at me really seriously, and said, "Y'know, Mommy, I don't think there really is a Parenting Manual." And I said, "You're right, but if there were one, on page 14, that's
what it would say." We still talk about the Manual and some of the other pages in it... -- Aimee

When I got fed up with a bad habit my children were developing, such as correcting everyone, I would first warn them, and then for a (short) set period of time, give them a taste of their own medicine. This is actually difficult (because it goes against what we have been socialized to do), but it is amazingly effective. The child is first mildly annoyed, then shocked, and a bit hurt, to be criticized. But they become much more cautious afterward. A bit of tough love, if everything else fails! And later, when the lesson inevitably fades and the behavior starts to reassert, a gentle reminder is usually enough.

Because this is 'tough love', don't forget to warn them ahead of time, and make a time limit. It makes it easier on the recipient and doable for the parent. -- Bridget

Please contact Carolyn K. before reprinting any part of this page.

Last updated December 01, 2020  

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