Parenting Gifted Children

Parenting gifted children can be very challenging and it's often hard to know where to go for guidance and advice.

Yet many people believe that parenting gifted children is easy.

parenting gifted children

This may be because, in the early years at school especially, academically gifted children often find schoolwork easy and learning effortless.

This can lead other parents to assume that parenting these kids is not as difficult as parenting kids who are not academically gifted.

Unfortunately this is rarely true.

Sure, some gifted kids are high achievers and do well at school. Others find school - and life in general - quite difficult for a variety of reasons related to their giftedness.

That's why I've put together this list of the best books about parenting gifted children.

There have been quite a few books written on the subject of parenting gifted children but most are published by specialist publishers and they can be hard to track down.

Your local library may have a few but the newer ones may be harder to find.

Book shops can get them in for you but you do need to know which ones you want.

This is where I hope my list of the best books about parenting gifted children will help.

Check out the list, read the reviews and jot down the names and authors' details. Then either head for your local library or bookshop or have a look at the Book Depository, my favourite online bookstore.

5 Levels of Gifted: School Issues and Educational Options
by Deborah Ruf

This book is relatively new - I wish it had been around when my children were small. It focuses on helping you decide where your child might fit in the spectrum of giftedness so that you will have an idea of what schooling options might work best.

The book is divided into three parts.

Part I is devoted to what it means to be gifted, how we identify gifted children and some of the issues around identification and testing.

Part II discusses Ruf's 5 Levels of Giftedness, with lots of anecdotes and stories from parents which I found interesting and helpful. Personality as well as IQ is considered and there is good discussion of the differences between gifted children as well as the similarities. This is different from most books about gifted children which seem to lump them all in groups according to their IQ (moderately gifted, highly gifted, etc) with no consideration of family influences or personality traits.

Part III tackles schooling options. There is a general discussion of the types of educational options which work for gifted children before the author looks in more detail at the specific needs of children at each of the 5 levels.

Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner
by Linda Kreger Silverman

Dr Linda Silverman coined the term visual-spatial learner in 1981 to describe the unique gifts of people who think in images.

Visual-spatial learners get the big picture because they see the world through artists’ eyes. They may have high IQs but often don't show their intelligence in the ways that the education system expects to see which means their gifts can be overlooked at school. This book explores the way these children (and adults) learn and looks at what kinds of educational options and strategies might work best for them.

This is a very detailed book and I found it quite heavy going in parts. Its well worth persisting with it though - there are many good ideas here for all children, not just the more academically-able ones.

Raising Gifted Kids: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Exceptional Child Thrive
by Barbara Klein

This book is extremely easy to read and does a good job of covering all the general gifted topics - emotional issues and needs, academic issues and so on. It's a great first read on the topic.

Dr Barbara Klein's website also has some good information for parents.

Keys to Parenting the Gifted Child
by Sylvia B Rimm

This book is short - 198 smallish pages - and provides a good overview of the main issues and concerns. It is divided into three parts:

  • Your Gifted Child
  • Family Issues for Gifted Children
  • Other Issues

Chapter headings include:

  • underachievement
  • perfectionism
  • early childhood testing
  • subject acceleration
  • grade skipping
  • home schooling
  • siblings
  • homework habits
Sylvia Rim is a mother of four gifted children who has studied and worked with gifted children and their families. Her book is easy to read, insightful and practical. I still find it useful, although my children are all now at high school. Well worth buying and keeping handy to re-read from time to time.

A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children
by James T Webb, Janet L Gore, Edward R Amend, Arlene E DeVries

This book was first published in 2007 and I really wish it had been around when my children were small.

I spent the weekend reading it and found it to be a very practical book which comprehensively covers just about everything a parent needs and wants to know.

The chapter headings are:

  • Defining Giftedness
  • Characteristics of Gifted Children
  • Communication: The Key to Relationships
  • Motivation, Enthusiasm and Underachievement
  • Establishing Discipline and Teaching Self-Management
  • Intensity, Perfectionism and Stress
  • Idealism, Unhappiness and Depression
  • Acquaintances, Friends and Peers
  • Family Relationships: Siblings and Only Children
  • Values, Traditions and Uniqueness
  • Complexities of Successful Parenting
  • Children Who Are Twice-Exceptional
  • How Schools Identify Gifted Children
  • Finding a Good Educational Fit
  • Finding Professional Help
If you only want to buy one book about parenting gifted children, this is probably the one to buy.

The strategies it talks about are detailed and very practical and cover all the different manifestations of giftedness in children. It's a real gem.

Bonus Free E-Book

Click here to download a free e-book by Judy Galbraith 'You Know Your Child Is Gifted When ... '

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