Would you like your gifted child to be more independent? The following article from guest blogger, Cloe Matheson, offers helpful ideas!
If you have a gifted child, no doubt you’re putting a lot of work into understanding how to raise him or her well. There are plenty of things to take into consideration when it comes to understanding what to encourage. Independence, in particular, is one of the most important traits for any gifted child to take into adulthood. Try the following five tips to help your gifted child become more independent:
Give your child emotional support and the tools to deal with problems
Emotional support is just as important as any other type of support. Make sure your child knows that you’re always there for them, and teach them how to process their feelings in a healthy way. Gifted children are often sensitive, so learning early how to deal with their emotions is extra-important. The earlier they learn how to control outbursts and think rationally, the better off they’ll be. It’s also wise to give your child the tools to deal with everyday problems or setbacks. If your child becomes frustrated, for example, they’ll need an outlet to channel their feelings. They might like to do something creative, or to do something active, like playing an outdoor game with you.
Give them space to breathe and play
It might be tempting to maximise your child’s free time and encourage extra-curricular learning. However, being allowed to relax and enjoy him or herself is just as important as learning for a gifted child. The two can even overlap. For example, play can involve working through real problems or exploring new feelings. What might look to you like meaningless play can also heighten your child’s creativity levels and make them happier.
Encourage them to do things they’re bad at
If your child is gifted in one area, that doesn’t mean that they’ll be a prodigy in everything else. There’s nothing wrong with that! Encouraging your child to do things they’re bad at will help their independence, as they’ll learn early how to take failure in stride. Appreciating that it’s not the end of the world to be bad at something is bound to help them in countless situations, both in childhood and later in life. If your child isn’t very good at something, never make them feel bad about it. Remind them of their strength
Allow them to explore their own hobbies and interests
Many parents of gifted children feel compelled to enforce rigid study rules. However, allowing your child to explore their own interests will help them to become much more independent. Give them the freedom to learn about topics they’re interested in, and help them by purchasing books or offering to research with them. Don’t limit their exploration – help them along the way, and enjoy the results.
Have them work on fostering friendships
Some gifted children are not only perfectionists, but keen to work alone to complete tasks. While this may appear like maturity at first glance, in reality, it’s also important for your child to work well with others. Gifted children are often not quite as socially advanced as their peers, so they may need a little extra push to get involved with their classmates. Arrange playdates or speak to other parents to plan outings together if you need to.
Gifted children are special and should be celebrated, but they also pose unique challenges to their parents. While they may be excellent when it comes to schoolwork, they often need a little more encouragement in more personal matters. Encouraging their independence will allow them to grow into the talented, confident adults they’re sure to be.
Freelance writer, Cloe Matheson, resides in the beautiful city of Dunedin, New Zealand. When she’s not writing for various blogs and sites, Cloe loves to enjoy a cup of coffee while reading up on the latest lifestyle articles. Learn more about Cloe and her published work here.