But what about parents?

They have the IEP, the ALP, the 504. They have afterschooling, summer camps, tutors. They have occupational therapy, vision therapy, therapy therapy. They have robotics class, debate team, competitive dance. They have classes and events and mentors.

In a perfect world, gifted kids have these supports. In a perfect world. I’m fully aware that not every gifted or twice-exceptional child has these opportunities, but they exist. They may be expensive, they may be difficult to find, they may be a pain in the neck to schedule and attend, but they exist.

But what about their parents? What’s out there for them?

<crickets>

Yes, there are SENG parenting groups, but they’re few and far between, and are only for a short period of time. Anything else?

<crickets…truck passing down the road…rustling in the bushes that may or may not be a skunk but your dog will surely let you know with great glee-turned-horror>

I’m even going to get a bit more specific. What is out there for parents that isn’t advocacy or ways to help your kid, but specifically for parents?

Not.Much. And it’s frustrating as hell. Here are these incredible kids, we have the honor and frustration of raising them, and the support that is so desperately needed just isn’t there. Our kids aren’t in parenting magazines or most parenting books. Our kids and our parenting needs are here and there on the internet, but are often shouted down by other, more mainstream publications. Last week a Babycenter writer posted a rather insensitive ditty about her perception of gifted kids and their parents. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I fired off a passionate response. And my little piece of the interwebz exploded. The frustration, the pain, the deep need for connection from the parents (mostly moms) who commented left me in tears for days. My own emotional over-excitabilities went into overdrive, my heart breaking for all the parents out there (including me) who were struggling trying to raise these incredible kids, with little organized support but plenty of condescending scorn from society.

I would love nothing more than to see support groups for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids. Not to figure out ways to advocate for state funding or 101 ways to convince the school to reverse its cranial-rectal inversion, but parenting. What to do when your kid has a five alarm meltdown over something so trivial your own brain twists itself into a question mark. How to keep your marriage strong when neither partner has the emotional strength to converse after an insanely difficult day. Ways to change the subject when well-meaning family members opine about your child with great fervor. I’d love to see family get-togethers where everyone there is in the same leaky boat and askance looks and snide comments don’t exist. Wine tastings. Lots and lots of wine tastings. Little talk of advocacy or school situations, but lots of I got your back and I know you got mine. If there’s already something like this out there, I haven’t heard about it, and please share if you have.

These amazing kids came into our lives, throwing us into Advanced Parenting (prerequisite: gestation), and our village  doesn’t know what to do with us. We need our own neighborhood in the village, where the hearts and souls and brains of gifted kids and their parents can roam free.

Who’s with me?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jen writes over at Laughing at Chaos.

51 thoughts on “But what about parents?

  1. Count me in Jen! :) MOAR WINE!!

  2. that’s the only solace i find is with like-minded, similarly entrenched souls. other friends and family are willing to shake their head and tsk but cannot truly offer the support, the help, the stamina… count me in.

  3. Me too! I have a doctorate in developmental psychology (basically typical child development). I’m supposed to know how to parent this child, and I’m as confused as everyone here. I use all of the techniques that are supposed to work, and none of them do. Meeting other people in person just to say “me too” would be amazing. Another thing is that many of the parents of these gifted kids are gifted themselves, and are lacking a meaningful peer group too. I have a feeling that both needs could be met in our village.

    • I totally agree. Meeting face to face can’t be beat. I met Jen at the parent workshop at the IAGC on Sunday. I could tell she was gifted just by sitting next to her during the workshop. However, what I cherished most was the intimate dinner which had six of us sitting at a restaurant for HOURS just sharing layers upon layers of similar experiences. It was heaven.
      My goal is to attend SENG this summer and start-up a parent group in Northern Illinois :)

    • Yes! Indeed we do need a peer group. I have been connected with gifted adults via the Giftedness Revealed facebook group. Very informative and insightful.

    • “I use all of the techniques that are supposed to work, and none of them do.”
      I am so tired of being told, “consistency is the key.” Or, from the less polite people, “no child of mine would never do that.” Or, “a good swat on the behind is all she needs.”

  4. Pingback: Parents count, too

  5. Ditto Christine and Lonna!

  6. I’m in. Just come back to Colorado and I will be your first member! I totally agree with the above comments!

  7. I have been searching for such a group. I need a place where someone understands and my parenting/child is not jugded. It would be wonderful to see my son able to connect with other kids who get him too. There are so many nights that I cry.myself to sleep, feeling like I am failing everyone.

    • Big hugs! And feel free to reach out to us here any time. I am certain we can ALL relate. Trust me!

    • My son also needs that peer group that is hidden behind code words, every bit as much as I do. And I once scared hell out of my husband when I cried myself to sleep so hard I not only woke him up but could.not.stop. Not my best moment. So I know (kinda sorta) how you feel.

  8. Mine are grown up, but hear the call. I know that special friendships were a tremendous help. I still feel great pain, as I watch their current young adult struggles, knowing I needed to provide more, but did not know at the time.

  9. I couldn’t agreed more! I found your blog yesterday and was thrilled! This parenting gifted children thing is taking years off my life! I have a few parenting “bibles” that have been a lifeline for me…A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Teens and Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students! Special thanks to Lisa and Christine for writing them!!

    I’d be in for creating a village!! As I look at the snow falling outside my window, I vote we create a village somewhere warm :)

    Jen: the line “What to do when your kid has a five alarm meltdown over something so trivial your own brain twists itself into a question mark”. cracked me up the most!

    I look forward to more posts!

  10. Writing a book for parents titled: “Don’t Give a Damn About Einstein, What The Hell Did His Mother Do?”
    My GT and 2E “kids” are now 23, 21 and 11…the fun only begins when they are little, and most parent groups address elementary school and not much beyond.

  11. We all are, Jen, in our blogs, laughing and crying together at GHF, raising a glass of wine (or bar of chocolate) to each other’s triumphs.

    Living near each other could be fun, but OI – can you imagine that many OE in a small area? My sensual OE can barely deal with just the four other folks that I live with! >.<

  12. Once again, Jen, you have hit a nerve. Yes, we need each other as we parent these children.

    5 years ago, we moved away from a communtiy where I had some friends I could talk to about these things. I need to find some parents who have kids in public school to talk to. Luckily, the homeschool co-op I found when I first pulled my son out to homeschool has several gifted and 2e kids, so I have found some companionship on this journey there. But, it took me ages to find them.

  13. I am SO glad you said this. Here in Eastern Virgina the crickets are louder than EVER.

  14. Wine tastings! Lots and lots of wine tastings! BESTEST idea ever!!! Count me in – I’m sure virtual wine tastings count too – or Skype ones ;)

    • Ohh….Skype ones! LOVE THAT

      • Oh I needed it this weekend! Had a parent at a BBQ tell me “You know you can train that out of them, aye?” in response to my (humorous) reasons why we weren’t going to get an outdoor brazier (outdoor small fire in a cage thingummy). I just wanted to come home, have a large wine and a good cry!!

      • You let him live? ;) Boy! Wish *I’d* thought of that! TRAIN it outta them! ::headdesk::

  15. So, so true. I agree whole-heartedly with you. Seriously, you can preach. Why is it that there aren’t support groups for this sort of thing? Is it the taboo of giftedness again?

    Also wanted to say I feel the same as Cassidy most days. Generally I just feel like my daughter and I just go around being massive inconveniences to our family, friends, and basically the entire world. And there is nothing I can do about it.

    • I suspect it’s because we’ve bought into the mistaken belief that we should be able to handle this. I mean, they’re gifted, right? How hard could it be? I’m overreacting! ::facepalm::

  16. I read this and thought, “Hmmmm . . . I’ve wondered almost the same thing for years now – except I’m looking for support for being married to a 2E person. It’s quite a ride . . .

  17. Well, we do have it. You’re part of it in a big way. I found your blog accidentally and couldn’t leave until I’d read all your archives, poured over every inch of screen and seen myself and my kids in many places. When I see a new post, I jump on it immediately, but come back later in the day to read the comments of other people who I also feel the need to “know.” Maybe the interwebs aren’t the best way to be supported, but we do find each other and online is better than no lifeline. On the other hand, wine and chocolate (holds her Lindt between left thumb and forefinger to type purely right handed) are always part of the support!

  18. Jen, this is truly a sad commentary on our society and on the gifted community in our country. There are plenty of groups who say they support parents, but actions speak louder than words. Don’t expect the level of support you’re talking about to come from organizations who are watching their bottom lines. Parents themselves need to support each other.

    • I’m starting to see that…and it hurts. It hurts that everyone keeps saying that parents are the only ones who can really make the changes so desperately needed, but those parents need help too.

  19. I actually attend a support group for parents of kiddos with Aspergers/NVLD/PDD-NOS. I am lucky to also be great friends with the leader of the group who also has a child who is twice exceptional. It is a place where I feel safe and can say whatever comes to my mind without judgement. Unfortunately I only make it to the group about four times a year. Thanks for writing this.. I teared up as I read knowing I am one of those parents with a very small village! ;)

  20. i like the idea of “wine tasting” support group.. Napa? Grocery store wine aisle? (-_-)\/,,

  21. Well said! Like denverlori, I’m up for the wine tasting support group, too.

  22. Hmmm….I’ve said before that my ex husband needed a rectal craniotomy. :D

    I have a couple of friends who speak GT and 2e, and they’ve been lifesavers through the years.

    I’m all for more wine, though.

  23. I’m in. I’ll bring more wine.

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