Thursday, November 09, 2006

Best Books on Parenting Gifted Kids?

Genius Denied was largely a policy book (about the sorry state of gifted education in this country). Occasionally, people ask me about good resources that focus more specifically on parenting gifted kids. I don't have a favorite book to recommend, so I'm curious if readers of this blog do. Have you found any handbook to be particularly handy? Have any specifically addressed the issue of talent development (helping your child navigate the transition from potential to accomplishment)? What would you like to see in a handbook on raising gifted kids? Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I've yet to see a book on raising gifted kids that was worth the time it took to read (and I'm a fairly fast reader). There are some that are good for giving to clueless teachers.

Laura Vanderkam said...

Anonymous: What would you like to see in a book for parents of gifted kids, then? What would make it worth your time?

Debbie said...

I found DeLisle's book "Tips for Parenting Gifted Kids" very helpful. I also found some good information in ReForming Gifted Education by Karen Rogers, as far as how to identify areas of strength and interest and develop talent. I have found that most of the books on parenting gifted kids say the same thing, which I guess is reassuring that there isn't a bunch of conflicting information out there!

I have found more helpful information in the wide array of resources on the web, searching for articles, interviews, etc. on a specific topic of concern, such as emotional development.

I do think that more information about very young gifted children would be helpful. Perhaps I've missed a resource, but most of the parenting books talk about older kids and I could use some sound advice on how to handle the emotionally intense tantrums that my GT 5 year old throws! Had we identified him sooner, I could have used that advice when he was 3!

Anonymous said...

Laura asked what I would like to see in a book for parents of gifted kids.
I'm not sure---something I don't already know, written for somewone with intelligence, and without the endless repetition common to books for parents. Most of the books I've seen for parents have about enough content for a magazine article, with enough bulk filler to make them 200 pages long.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fast reader also (700 words/minute) with a whole shelf of books about gifted kids - most of which were helpful. All of DeLisle's books are excellent. My top picks for a parenting book would include how to advocate for your child and navigate (fight) the school system, why a kid who's so smart acts so stupid sometimes, how to discipline effectively (when 3 he informed me he could do whatever he wanted because he could live with the consequences - at 15 he says he can flunk out of school if he wants to), and tips how you and your child can feel less "weird" and alone. Of course, Genis Denied was my first and most favorite book on the subject. I wish I could afford to give a copy to all the principals and school board members!

ienjoysoup said...

I came across your blog on gifted and talented children while doing research about gifted and talented children. We have a 5 year old son name Joe. He is in kindergarten in an urban public school in Schenectady NY. The school tested him at our request and found that he is above the 99% in reading and above the 95% in math.

He is a very gifted little boy. The school has absolutly no idea what to do with him. We went to a meeting with his teacher, the reading teacher, the school psycologist. They asked us what to do. came with nothing to the table and said they had never come across a child this advanced.

They are well intentioned. I am sure they want what is best for him. I came up with a plan for them. He would go to a class of older children and work at his level during he portion of class that is set aside for English language.

They found a class and amade a schedual for him and we were set for the time being.

Of course they didn't live up to the schedual. My son is a very sweet and complient boy. He does what is asked of him. So he is quiet happy in kindergraten.

We are afried he will become conplacent, and when the work finally does become challenging in a few years, he will not be able to handle the challange.

To answer your call, "What would you like to see in a book for parents of gifted kids, then?"

I would like to see a simple guide on how to set up a IEP for your own gifted child when the school is not capable of this task.

Joe has been reading what I am typing....... lol, he would like to type some words as well.


Christine said...

I've read lots of parenting books of all kinds, books on raising boys, etc. and they all left me frustrated until I read Guiding the Gifted Child. It's very basic for readers of this site, I'm sure, but it was the first book I read that sounded *anything* like my DS. I still go back to it for the basics when a new issue arises.

Anonymous said...

I started with "Raising Your Spirited Child" when my daughter was a toddler, but when that wasn't enough found "Living with the Active Alert Child." Have read many, many books since. "Regular" parenting books are useless. Articles on Hoagies in the Highly Gifted+ section have been the most helpful.

More recently, have felt that "Losing Our Minds" by Deborah Ruf to be the most reassuring, and most concretely helpful, not only for its detailed descriptions of EG/PG children from birth, toddlerhood and on, but for its detailed descriptions of and prescriptions for EG/PG kids in the school context. Would that this book had been around years ago.

Catana said...

I'm in the process of writing such a book simply because I've never found one that addressed important issues. I keep hoping that someone will beat me to it because I'm finding it incredibly difficult. There's too much concentration on simply acquiring knowledge, which gifted children generally have no trouble with. What they need is ways of developing their intellect and understanding how their learning connects to the real world.

Anonymous said...

While it is not a book on raising gifted children per se, I have found the book "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children" by Wendy Mogel to be extremely helpful in regards to helping ground my children with good life-long habits. BTW I am not Jewish, and I feel that the book can certainly speak to people of differing faiths. The reason I recommend this book is that it helps to address ways to foster responsibility and consideration in children, as well as how to harness their own creative energies in useful ways. Once I started to implement some of the suggestions in the book, I noticed immediate gratifying changes in my own 2 kids.

TFW said...

I found a lot of useful insights in Deborah Klein's new book, "Raising Gifted Children" regarding the pitfalls of gifted children over-achieving to please the parents, of not learning to cope when they are not the best performer, of being given too much adult say as to not learn to respect boundaries and authority, and of parents over-identifying with the gifted children's achievements and problems.

At the end of the day, as a mother I wish for my 6-year-old to be happy and well adjusted through childhood, adolescence and all the way into adulthood. I would like him to stay a happy achiever, rather than growing into an arrogant and isolated know-it-all who spreads anxiety and frustration to people around him.

The book was the very first one I came across on parenting gifted children other than just meeting their special educational needs. I shall certainly check out the other books recommended here, and look forward to a "Manual" coming out SOON with a wealth of practical strategies to deal with day-to-day challenges.

More specifically, how exactly can parents help a gifted child to learn to handle teases, peer pressure, rigid rules, exploitation, jealousy, hostility, and how exactly can a sensitive child "bounce back" from unpleasant or depressing experiences...?

And what remedial actions can parents take when sadly their gifted adolescent children are already deeply entrenched in perfectionism, depression, or avoidance/self-destructive behaviours?!

I have witnessed that in a friend's gifted teenage daughter. It is so sad to see a brilliant young person getting wasted, and the mother heartbroken and totally helpless. They are not the type who would consider family counselling. A book with sound advice and practical guidance may open up their minds and hearts to make a change.

Quiltsrwarm said...

Hmmm... tall order, Laura! :*)
Before we made the decision to homeschool our three highly gifted children, I read books. Lots of books. And most of them were concerned with how to deal with the public school system. They never told me how to deal with a school system that won't deal with me, though...

Since making the decision to homeschool, I've found the following books very helpful in understanding and accepting our children's quirks and in taking suggestions on teaching methods:

"Creative Homeschooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families" by Lisa Rivero -- this is a fantastic look at young gifted children and how to teach them. It is written not only for those homeschooling their children, but also for teachers looking for another way...

"The Gifted Adult" by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen -- I found this book enlightening, mostly because it confirmed my suspicion that I was an unidentified gifted and why I've gone through life with so much sadness and lack of purpose. It basically illustrates, through adult testimonials (some of which are also used in "Genius Denied"), the consequences of poor gifted ed on the adult population. Not only should we be concerned with gifted education on the elementary and secondary school levels right now, but that we should also be concerned with how a lack of such education affects those kids when they become adults...

"Some of My Best Friends are Books" by Judith Wynn Halsted -- this book looks at giftedness and how to address gifted issues through bibliotherapy, or therapy through books. It has helped me zero in on the kinds of books that might interest my kids and why they should read them.

Of course, Hoagies has been helpful, too. :*) Good luck with your research, Laura!

Laura Vanderkam said...

Thanks everyone! These are very helpful suggestions. I, too, like Delisle's book (there's one that just came out). I certainly think there's much to be written about parenting for self-reliance and self-discipline. Unfortunately many kids -- gifted kids more than others -- want to get the right answer that someone else has determined. They see giftedness as being good at getting right answers. Switching over to a world where there may be many right answers, or simply a best answer because there's no right one, is quite difficult, and requires confidence and self-reliance. You have to set goals that no one else has dreamed up for you. This is probably the skill that is taught least in school, and makes the most difference in professional success (at least among the adults I've interviewed about careers). Anyway, I'm trying to hash all this out, to see if there's a gap in the market, so please keep these comments coming.

Quiltsrwarm said...

Hey Laura...
You mentioned that you were looking for a "gap in the market" -- I figured you were looking for book ideas! :)

Homeschooling gifteds is not well represented in the book world. There are hundreds of books on homeschooling, why homeschool, and "here's my failsafe formula for homeschooling!" type books. There are also many books on giftedness and parenting gifteds and teaching gifteds -- though almost all of them talk about giftedness from a public school perspective, not a human perspective. I guess I get tired of books that make giftedness a statistical issue and not a human issue.

Not many books deal with the double whammy of homeschooling gifteds. I even bought a couple of books recently that I thought would be helpful in directing my kids' language arts studies, but they turned out to be soapboxes for the authors and didn't really say much that hadn't already been said in other homeschooling books.

Most homeschooling books cater to the religious crowd, too, and I've found that most of the families I know who homeschool for academic reasons (i.e., their kid was too smart to fit-in to the public school culture) are not overtly faithful. Most of the non-teaching related discussion in the homeschool parent support group I lead deals with self-reliance -- more hippy-related than faith-related. Kind of different than all the other homeschool groups around here. We discuss topics that generally find a home in groups of gifteds/intellectuals rather than the "mall-oriented" (I know, I hated trying to fit-in with them, too!) groups so common in public school and beyond.

If you want to fill a gap in the market for books on giftedness, a comprehensive book dealing with homeschooling gifteds would be a bonus for the increasing numbers of homeschoolers out there who are tired of their kids getting short-changed in school. A book that not only discusses giftedness and what makes a child gifted, but more on how to run a gifted homeschool. A book that has an easy-to-use reference guide so that when a homeschool parent has a question or a situation (my kid just WON'T do his math!), we can easily get to it. How to deal with social issues in a rural community (nearest city for us is a two hour drive away) is never discussed in any book I've seen.

Also, how homeschool families can deal with technology limitations that make it impossible for some gifteds to access resources. This is a huge issue in my rural area of the country; we have no broadband Internet, not even high speed (satellite is unrealiable). We, like many other families, have to do everything with a dial-up modem, and that pretty much excludes all the gifteds in our area from participating in EPGY programs -- they are all Broadband-based, now. We can't even participate in any virtual charter school for gifteds because of the requirement of a Broadband connection. So, we are pretty much completely on our own and it is quite overwhelming, I think more so than homeschooling so-called "normal" kids. Now, I'm sure we are a very small segment of the population, but what about poor families who can't afford a Broadband connection, even if they have access? It may be worth a discussion, anyway...

Lisa Rivero's book seems to fit the bill for a guide on homeschooling gifteds, mostly, but there is something missing from it that I can't quite put my finger on. It may be that it is difficult to find information -- it isn't logically organized, I guess. It is definitely creatively organized! I'm not sure what's missing, but I'll let you know if I figure it out! :) Good luck!

Jackie said...

ITA re: the Delisle books, and also "Losing our Minds." One I haven't seen on here is "How to Parent so Children Will Learn" by Dr. Sylvia Rimm.

We found 1-2-3 Magic to be an invaluable resource when by 2 years old, our child was trying to negotiate with us regarding discipline issues, and saying things like "I don't trust you on this. I'm going to do it my way...."

Anonymous said...

I have mostly relied on the material from hand in hand parenting
I think is a good working resource for working through the process of evaluating schools. I also liked 1-2-3 Magic and Rimm's books offer unique and practical advice.

I think of Iowa Acceleration Scale - A Guide for Whole-Grade Acceleration K-8
by Susan Assouline, Ph.D., Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D., Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D., and Jonathan Lipscomb, B.A.
as a gifted parenting book for two reasons.
1)A child in a good school situation is much easier and more fun to parent and
2) It finally helped me understand what all those test results acutally mean in a way that can help me see my son for who he is, and be a better parent by knowing him more deeply.

Obviously there is a lot more to gifted children than their scores, but without understanding the scores, it is much harder to observe the child. Especially since gifted children can be so good at reading their parents and the situation and masking their true selves if the Adult doesn't already have space in their mind for the actual situation.

We could organise books chronologically, by relationship to school, or by pathology: reclaiming underachievers, twice exceptional, misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis.

Perhaps the real need is a book for parents on building local, regional and internet-wide networks for our families, both to problem solve and to give our child the one thing that parents can not give on their own, a community of souls who understand and support the whole child including their giftedness. I just know that there are retirees in my town who I should be reaching out to for help with my son, but I have not (yet) been able to get up the nerve to do this!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a version of the "I can problem solve" parenting books for gifted children. I think that there is a real gap in helping adults teach their children how to formulate plans and imagine their consequences and then carry them out. I really enjoy Myrna B. Shure, such as Raising a Thinking Preteen: The "I Can Problem Solve" Program for 8- to 12- Year-Olds - but can't imagine sharing them with my 10 year old.

Here's another good parenting book that needs additional differentiation for gifted kids: Seligmans "The Optimistic Child." My kid scored off the charts for both pessimism and optimism! I think the overexcitabilites need to be factored in or parents might think that there is something seriously wrong with their child.

thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone mentioned the books I like, but I think Genius Denied was my favorite (and it's not just idle flattery). I also like articles by Miraca Gross and info specifically geared toward HG/PG kids.

I would like to see a book that helps parents as facilitators. I believe that we all homeschool to a certain extent, some full time and some part-time. I would like to be able to shortcut finding ways to expand things my kids are interested in and supplement what they don't learn at school. I have one son who is passionate about economics and I'd like to help him. I have another son who loves creative writing. I have another son who wants to learn Spanish. How does one parent find out about the best ways to supplement or nurture these areas without spending all day on the internet...and even then....Maybe include a listing of resources (say, for math programs, math curricula, math games, math contests/competitions; then geography bee, curricula, internet sites, games; then language arts; then creative writing; then science; foreign languages; etc.) along with helpful reviews and pros and cons. There is so much information out there, so many programs, games, internet sites.

Another part of facilitator can include IEP suggestions. Our gifted program teachers and administrators are very willing to work with me, but if I don't have a very specific goal in mind, they use a generic-sounding one that I'm not convinced really benefits anyone. I'd like to see examples of IEP goals and provisions for different talents, like: will write, illustrate, and publish a story with correct spelling and grammar; or will use ALEKS math program each day for 30 minutes and progress XX by each 9-week period; will enter Knowledge Bowl; etc. I know these probably sound naive, but I have 4 sons and 4 IEPs and I'd like to see goals that are meaningful, measurable, and beneficial.

Another idea for a facilitator book is how parents can help the teachers. I spend a lot of time finding great field trip ideas, coordinating field trip logistics, scheduling guest speakers and workshops, even teaching special classes (a cool art project or science experiment, or reading a play). I've even written grants for funding. The teachers are always so grateful and I keep thinking--what if more parents put some effort into finding exciting learning possibilities...can you imagine how great school would be for the kids? Perhaps a recipe book for how parents can help (instilling the responsibility of them to do so, because so many are ready to whine and complain, but only a few will actually work to change it).

The Princess Mom said...

I'm not a big fan of Sylvia Rimm. "Losing Our Minds" by Deborah Ruf and "Reforming Gifted Education" by Karen Rogers have helped most for academic and identification issues. "1-2-3 Magic" is great for discipline issues.

But, I think the book that helped me the most with non-academic issues was "The Highly-Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron. It's not about gifted children specifically but does offer practical advice on how to deal with kids exhibiting Dabrowski's overexcitabilities.