I’m a big believer in gifted identification. Both I and my colleague Ian Byrd have written about it. Once a child is identified, you’re going to have to tell him/her.
Like most things, there’s a right way to tell a child he/she is gifted, and a wrong way. In fact, there are many wrong ways.
Here’s a list of the top ways NOT to tell a child he/she is gifted:
Wrong Way #1: The Get-Out-of-Studying Free Card
Parent: Guess what? You’re gifted! That means that you won’t have to study and you’ll still get good grades.
Child hears: If I have to study, then I’m not really gifted.
Wrong Way #2: The “You’re Welcome” Self-Congratulatory Way
Parent: Well, it looks like you’re gifted just like I was. I guess it’s nature after all.
Child thinks: Thanks?
Wrong Way #3: “Now You’ll Be Getting All A’s”
Parent: Being gifted means that your report card will be an uninterrupted column o’ A’s. Let the 4.0 begin! Honor Roll, here we come!
Child thinks: No pressure.
Wrong Way #4: “Don’t Tell Anybody”
Parent: You know, a lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of some people being gifted, so it’s probably best if you don’t mention it to anyone.
Child thinks: Got it. Ridin’ the Shame Train.
Wrong Way #5: “Everything Will be Easy Now”
Parent: Being gifted means things will come easier to you than to others.
Child thinks: Ever tried working in a group?
Wrong Way #6: Silence.
Child thinks: Wonder what’s going on? I wonder what I did wrong?
Wrong Way #7: Comfort in Ignorance
Parent: We got this letter that says you’re gifted. I don’t have a clue what that means, actually. So, moving on…
Child thinks: If you don’t know, who does? Couldn’t I just go to Hogwarts?
Wrong Way #8: The Pressure Cooker
Parent: The tests show you’re gifted, so we went ahead and enrolled you in a PSAT prep class. It meets right after preschool three days a week from 4pm – 9pm.
Child thinks: Can we just go back to where you read me stories?
Wrong Way #9: The Indirect Method
Parent (to another adult within child’s hearing): Yeah, we found out Max is gifted. Such a shocker! I mean, he’s so much less, you know (makes nebulous hand gesture), than Sam. Anyway, it was a surprise, I’ll tell you. Hashtag dark horse.
Child thinks: I hate my brother, and I’m a loser.
The Right Way?
Curious about the right way to tell a child he or she is gifted? Stay tuned for next week’s article. I’ve got a script for you.
You May Also Like:
- 8 Reasons You Should Label Kids as Gifted
- What To Do When One Child is Identified as Gifted and Another is Not
- Is My Child Gifted or Just Bright?
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