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Parenting an AGT Child


Parents are a child's first and most influential teachers. No matter what the abilities of a child might be, the goals of parenting are essentially the same. Whatever distinct demands result from a child's gifted ability can readily be met by parents if they are familiar with the characteristics of gifted individuals, informed about the unique needs of the gifted child, and persistent in assuring that appropriate provisions are in place within the school system that will meet their child's special needs.

How to help advance learning characteristics:

  • Be a strong facilitator for "finding out"
  • Provide many complex and challenging experiences
  • Nurture a love of books
  • Read widely, critically, and creatively
  • Encourage language/vocabulary development
  • Promote critical thinking (ask why, what if...)
  • Teach the thought processes that underlie learning, inventing, and problem solving
  • Use resources that are not designed for a specific age group
  • Use a variety of resources including maps, newspapers, etc.
  • Go places and do things
  • Listen to and answer questions
  • Discuss various topics and ideas
  • Teach research and study skills
  • Seek professionals knowledgeable in the field of giftedness

How to help develop creative characteristics:

  • Value play and invention
  • Use imagery when playing or working with your child
  • Listen to and talk about ideas
  • Establish outlets for creativity
  • Allow time for the child to work independently
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Elaborate on an idea
  • Appreciate uniqueness

How to help develop motivational characteristics:

  • Encourage self-exploration
  • Encourage self-reliance
  • Teach organizational skills
  • Praise the child
  • Display the child's work

How to help develop social-emotional characteristics:

  • Establish well-defined standards of discipline and conduct
  • Teach self-discipline
  • Do not let family life revolve around the gifted child
  • Value the gifted child for who they are, not just what they can do
  • Expect and allow for regression in growth patterns
  • Help your child learn to manage stress or tension they might experience over performance expectations
  • Balance social experiences and time for solitary experiences - avoid "over-scheduling of activities or programs".

How to help advance your child's abilities within the school system:

  • Stay involved and informed
  • Work with teachers; prepare and propose alternatives if necessary
  • Be persistent in requesting changes and challenges that meet the child's needs
  • Supplement and enrich the school's curriculum
  • Keep a portfolio of things your child has done (writing samples, video or audio tape of a performance, drawings, your own anecdotal notes....) A portfolio can be started even before the child enters school.
  • Be an advocate for gifted students and gifted programs
  • Join or form a parent support group

Supporting Organizations

American Association for Gifted Children (AAGC)
The AAGC is the oldest advocacy organization for gifted children.
Suite 100
1121 West Main Street
Durham, NC 27701

The Association for the Gifted (TAG) 
A special interest group of the Council for Exceptional Children
1920 Association Dr.
Reston, VA 22091

Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children

PO Box 434
Portland, ME 04112-0434

Michigan Alliance for Gifted Education
3300 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 429-7681

Michigan Department of Education
WEB: http://www.michigan.gov/gifted

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
Suite 550
1707L. Street, MW
Washington, DC 20036

Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted, Inc. (SENG)


Eric Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
Digests and articles

John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth

National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT)