"Why does everyone think their child is gifted?" asks Circle of Moms member Karagh M.
It's natural that our kids will play a starring role in our conversations with other moms. But when parents talk about their children's latest triumphs and talents too much or too often, others start to wonder whether these parents just like to think their kids are gifted when they're really not. As conversations on this topic at Circle of Moms attest, some moms accept these claims at face value, and wonder: with so many prodigies out there, my children must be way behind.
Valerie C. falls into this camp. Her friends' tales of their "gifted" toddlers have her questioning her almost two-year-old's development. "My friend is always talking about her ‘gifted' baby, who she says has been able to count to 20, say her ABC's, knows all her colors, knows shapes, quotes entire books, and the list goes on and on," says shares. "It totally bugs me because my son is 23-months-old and isn't putting two words together yet. He says, ‘hat, ball, dada, mama, bang, light, dog, duck." She wonders if her son is okay. "Can anyone identify with me?" she implores.
For many other Circle of Moms members though, hearing other parents proclaim their children's "giftedness" leads more to resentment than to doubting their own child's intellect or ability.
Teri M. cautions other moms not to worry about their own children: "I do believe that there are parents who view their children as gifted when they really aren't, but that doesn't mean that my child is not smart," she says.
Other Circle of Moms members also stress that moms shouldn't put much stock by all this bragging. "How many kids wrote a symphony at three-years-old, like Mozart did?" adds Karagh M. "When did being average simply cease being good enough for parents? My girls are smart and talented, but I wouldn't say they are "GIFTED," and that's okay."
Teri M. is another parents who emphasizes that there's a distinction between smart and truly gifted. "What's it truly like to have a "gifted" child? Is the label merely a misnomer for children who have a special talent or knack for something [that] their parents are pushing them to achieve? A lot of people think they have a gifted child because they...pushed [them] to learn at a young age," she says, when most of the time what they really have is just "a smart child who learns easily."
On the flip side, some of the moms doing the proclaiming say that parenting a gifted child has a down side. As Krista K. shares, "I have found that even among some of my best friends, there has been resentment because my three older children are all ‘gifted.' My oldest daughter is extremely bright and when I complain about the schools not meeting her needs, my friends almost get offended. I think people see gifted children as you having to not parent or not worry about your kids. My friends have been not so friendly from time to time and that stinks."
Heather L. says that while she's thrilled for moms who are excited that their children have received the gifted label, she herself wasn't too happy when her son's preschool teachers told her that he merited it, and put him through a battery of expensive IQ tests with private psychologists. When the tests confirmed that he was indeed ahead of his class, her reaction was tepid at best: "I don't consider this to be so wonderful. It actually brought on a lot of issues and challenges." Her hope for her one-year-old daughter is "just to be a happy average kid. What else could a parent ask for?"
In the end, many Circle of Moms members agree that moms should not freak when they're in a sea of other parents who claim their kids are geniuses. Instead, they recommend getting rid of the labels and celebrating every child's unique gifts. "Every child is gifted in their own way, it is up to us as parents to find that gift and encourage and nurture it," says Michele B., adding also that "There is nothing wrong with being average."
Do you worry that something is wrong with your child because she isn't "gifted?"
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