If you search the web for “gifted parent,” you will find many resources aimed at parents of gifted children. It is much harder to find resources to address parenting as a gifted adult.
Parenting as a gifted adult can have challenges that relate specifically to the giftedness of the parents.
For example, observe how the 5 categories of intensity known as Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities might make parenting more challenging.
- Psychomotor: Children crave the physical and mental presence of their parents. As a parent with psychomotor overexcitabilites, slowing down enough to really notice what is going on with your children may be challenging. Or maybe it is hard to slow down enough for kids to follow what you are saying. Maybe you have have trouble speaking in the short, direct sentences that are easy for developing minds to process. Maybe it is hard to stop talking and let the kids have a chance to speak.
- Intellectual: Parents with intellectual overexcitabilities run the risk of analyzing everything their children do, never being able to simply enjoy a moment. Reading all the parenting books and the scientific research on education and parenting may be interesting, but if it detracts from paying attention to the child in front of you, is it helpful? Or imagine the parent who when asked a question says, “Let’s look that up” and reads the relevant Wikipedia page and all of it’s hyperlinks even though the child’s question was answered in the first sentence. What about the need to feed an exhausted adult brain with something intellectually challenging?
- Emotional: General parenting advice often starts with advice to maintain your calm presence at all times in order to provide a stable ground for your child. Emotional overexcitabilities make that exceedingly hard advice to follow.
- Sensual: Hypersensitivity to sounds can make challenging young people a challenge. Children make noise, their toys often make noise. Children are messy; parents with heightened aesthetic responses or sensitivity to textures or smells can find that mess stressful. Finding art and music that appeals to children and parents may be tough.
- Imaginational: A parent who can always imagine the worst-case scenario may become over-protective out of fear.
Overexcitabilities are not the only characteristics of gifted parents that can prove challenging. This is only the beginning. There are few enough resources to help struggling gifted adults out there at all. Finding parenting specific resources is almost impossible.
I am curious to know what wisdom you either have or would like to get about the impact of parental giftedness on parenting. Maybe we can become a resource for those who need advice or companionship. Please share in the comments.