Recommended Reading for Parents
Authors: James T. Webb
Elizabeth A. Meckstroth
Stephanie S. Tolan
Publishers Gifted Psychology Press
Guiding the Gifted Child is probably one of the best general guides in relation to giftedness that I have read so far. In the preface the authors state “Loving our children just is not enough, as in other jobs that require management roles, we have to know what we are doing”
The book is divided into five sections.
The first section gives an overview of giftedness. It points out that gifted children develop at different rates within themselves while they may have an excellent sense of artistic perspective they may not have the fine motor skills to draw adequately.
It is easy for adults to forget that the gifted childs intellectual development may be way ahead of their emotional maturity and therefore expect to act as mature as they are intelligent.
I personally knew I was in trouble when I said to my daughter one day “Could you please stop behaving like a two year old!” and no sooner were the words out of my mouth when I realised she was only two!!!
The Authors point out that gifted children are emotionally sensitive and are able to interpret body language and read emotions conveyed in the tone of voice much earlier than most people would expect. They take things to heart and emphatise with other children if they are being teased to the extent that they may suffer more than the child being teased.
Feeling frustrated and different gifted children often become rebellious in one way or another. In younger gifted children the rebellion is usually passive, however with teenagers they will rebel openly, gifted teenagers may drop out of school.
The authors explain that for children with IQ’s of 160 and over life for them would be similar to people with an average IQ living in a world where the majority of people had an IQ in the retarded range. Gifted children with loving guidance can usually turn waiting time into opportunities, they can creatively fill their time through engaging in detailed observations, maintaining a steady supply of books or other extra stimulation of their own choice. Through nurturing and guidance gifted children can come to see that humans who are not as bright or as quick nevertheless do have value, traits other than intelligence such as love, loyalty, generosity etc are important also.
The second section focuses specifically on characteristics, frequently occurring problems and it suggests ways of modifying behaviors.
The authors refer to a study which was done by Paul Torrance on gifted and creative children, who had now grown up. He asked a group of these people to reflect on teachers who had made a difference. Recurring distinguishing characteristics were apparent and these common traits are summarised in table form on page 36.
Reviewed by "Fidget"