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    #127586 - 04/17/12 07:51 AM Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong
    sweetpeas Offline

    Registered: 09/07/11
    Posts: 80
    I just responded to another post that got me thinking. I think the majority of us here with gifted children are probably also gifted ourselves. I'm very interested to know... what did your parents do right and wrong in terms of dealing with your giftedness when you were growing up? How does that impact the way you deal with your own children or issues of education?

    I'm lazy, so I'm just going to copy my response to another post below. It summarizes how my parents (mis)handled my own giftedness. They meant well, but... well... They meant well.

    I wasn't an adult, but a teenager, when I voluntarily had some testing done. I learned I had an IQ of 152 (which was 99.9th percentile on this particular test).

    I grew up with my parents both minimizing my gifts and also trying to accommodate them. I was in the gifted program at a public school. My parents kept downplaying the gifted program and saying that almost any kid that wanted to do it could. (I later learned this was untrue and entrance was based on standardized test scores.) This was easy for me to accept, because honestly the curriculum was a big nothing. No challenge whatsoever. Also my peers in this program didn't seem especially smart to me. (I cringe when I type that, it sounds horrible... trust me, though, I never felt elitist or better than them.) I always got a 99th percentile on our annual standardized tests, across all categories, but my parents insisted that was what most kids got. It wasn't anything special. I remember one year I got 98th percentile in some sub-set of the test, and I was mortified. I couldn't believe it! I knew I must have been the stupidest kid in the class (because, at the time, I believed my parents and thought everyone in the class got 99th percentile across the board.)

    I remember fighting with them one time about what a percentile means, and how could it be possible for all the kids to get 99th percentile. (They gave a BS answer about how some kids are sick the day of the test and so they score a zero, some kids just fill in random dots, and they get a zero... so those that actually read and answer the questions end up with these inflated scores of 99th percentile. I still get mad when I think about that fight - and that was over 25 years ago!)

    It was a strange dynamic. I think they wanted to keep me from getting a big ego or something. It worked. I definitely had low self esteem.

    So while they downplayed how gifted I was, they did indeed allow me to take college courses at the local university when I was 12, they did indeed enroll me in a couple of language classes when I was 5, and they did indeed take advantage of many of the gifted resources offered by our local university.

    As a teenager (like many teenagers) I felt confused about who, exactly, I was. Was I just like everyone else? Or was there someone a bit different about me? Relationships with my peers were frustrating, to say the least, because I expected them to be more similar to me. Confusing times.

    So I saved my money and I paid for a full evaluation and IQ test at the university when I was about 17.

    What did it do for me? Well.... not a helluva lot. LOL! My parents knew I did this and were curious to know my score. When I told them, they just nodded and didn't say much. I was told the score was 99.9 percentile... but my entire life that was how I scored on standardized tests and it had been drilled into me that it meant basically nothing. Everyone got those scores. So I essentially had yet another number that meant basically nothing.

    I thought I would have some insights and a big revelation, but instead it was just more of the same.

    Fast forward 19 more years and I'm an adult and a mother. Does knowing my IQ matter to me? No, not really. I rarely give it any thought at all, other than to try to forecast my kids' IQs! Data is fun to have, but it doesn't change how I view myself or deepen my own self-understanding.

    Oh, and my experience is a big reason why I am enrolling my kids in a private gifted school. I want them to be surrounded by gifted kids. I hope they will be challenged. I was never challenged. I never really had to study until I got to graduate school. In college, I would often just show up to take finals (and I graduated with highest honors). Then in grad school, when suddenly things didn't come automatically and I actually had to put forth some effort to learn complicated things... I was miserable. I was in a PhD program, but dropped out with just my MS. I was getting "B"s for the first time in my life, and felt like a total failure.

    Pathetic, I know.

    So I want my kids to be challenged and learn to study (and hopefully struggle) at an early age.

    I also vow to not deceive them about how different they might be from the norm. I won't dwell on it either. I want them to be humble, of course. But I won't spin lies to keep their egos in check either.

    Edited by sweetpeas (04/17/12 07:55 AM)

    #127632 - 04/17/12 02:45 PM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    DAD22 Offline

    Registered: 07/19/11
    Posts: 312
    When I was in second grade, my parents bought me some 3rd grade math workbooks. My dad also bought a few educational games for our Intellivision II, such as chess and bomb squad. After I beat my dad in chess at the age of 11, he bought me a book about chess that I couldn't understand on my own. I think that's the extent of cultivation I got from my parents.

    When I scored in the 99th percentile on the Stanford Achievement Test in 1st grade math, my mom told me that it meant that out of 100 randomly selected 1st graders, one would probably test better than me. She also decided to put me in the regular 2nd grade class rather than the mixed 2/3 like I had requested. (Where I would have been able to do math with the 3rd graders.) So instead I spent the year trying to answer the teacher's math questions before she could figure out the correct answer, and usually succeeded (as far as I know... maybe she wasn't really trying... I slowed down to let her win occasionally, and she celebrated her victories. Either way, I played a game with the teacher that none of the other students could play, but nothing came of it.)

    My parents never requested any accommodation from the (public) school. My parents never attended a parent-teacher conference on my behalf AFAIK. My dad told me recently that he thought the school would automatically accommodate my abilities, without him having to request anything.

    In my opinion, a lot more than that should be done.

    #127634 - 04/17/12 03:26 PM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Well, I think that the entire experience with the Princeton interviewer could have gone a bit better than it did.

    #127636 - 04/17/12 05:19 PM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    La Texican Offline

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    I think every generation mostly does a little bit better than the last. I intend to take the best of what my mamma did and do just a little bit better. There's a saying, "you do the best you have with what you know at the time".

    I just made it sound like I answered the question without answering the durn question, didn't I? laugh
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

    #127642 - 04/17/12 07:08 PM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    Wyldkat Offline

    Registered: 05/22/09
    Posts: 425
    My parents decided against a grade skip for me. They cited social issues, but they couldn't have been any worse if they had skipped me and I might have actually had some kind of challenge.

    As far as I know I never got an "official" IQ test. I do know my father was considering having both of us join Mensa, but we didn't like the people so we didn't.

    It was always expected I go to college, always expected I get straight A's. I got along better with my teachers than the students.

    I think less emphasis on grades and more emphasis on physical activity would have helped. I'm making sure my boys have physical activities that they love. I also think that it's likely I would have been diagnosed with Aspergers if I was a kid now. Then I was just difficult and quirky. I've been following through on testing for my Bear to make sure his issues get all the help they deserve.

    #127650 - 04/18/12 12:10 AM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    KJP Offline

    Registered: 02/29/12
    Posts: 756
    Mine declined an offer have me skip K, declined an invite for me to participate in the gifted pull-out in elementary (I self petitioned in junior high) and took very little interest in my high school classes.
    My situation was the opposite of Wyldkat's.
    I grew up in one of those places where athletics rule and my parents were very supportive of my athletic pursuits. I think it was more socially acceptable for them to be openly supportive of sports than academics. Nonetheless, I had a stable home and they modeled responsible behavior. There was some uneven support but no harm done. We turned out alright.
    I do have a funny/sad memory of being an gifted kid. I remember putting down a book I liked to go watch sitcoms I didn't like so I could know what the other kids were talking about. I actually got teased for not knowing about Steve Urkel!

    #127652 - 04/18/12 12:29 AM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    SiaSL Offline

    Registered: 09/11/10
    Posts: 320
    What they did right: A stable, loving home where I knew my intelligence was valued. High expectations (starting with college).

    Where they did as well as could be at the time/location: got me two grade skips. There were no other options for GT. For all of you pining after that chance for a skip... I don't regret mine (it would probably have been worse without), but ended up completely disconnected socially and still not challenged academically.

    Where they dropped the ball: lowered expectations slightly after second skip straight into middle school, when I brought a few Bs home. I think they assumed I had reached the right level of challenge. I was figuring out that hey, I didn't actually need to work to get A-/B+ and nobody seemed upset that I wasn't getting all A+ anymore. I spent the next 4 years reading under my desk, never acquired proper study habits and hit the wall in college (graduated from an OK school, but could have done better, I think).

    Talking with my mother, they did consider the one GT school then available in the country, and decided family balance (I have many siblings) was more important. I don't disagree with that decision. Today (yeah internet!), things would be very different. Thirty years ago...

    #127670 - 04/18/12 06:23 AM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856

    - Rejected grade skips more than once (I was under-sized until 10th grade).
    - My mom always thoughtfully answered my questions.
    - Provided positive feedback for my academic accomplishments and set appropriately high expectations.
    - Put me in football at a young age.


    - Perpetuated the myth of the savant (book-smart with no common sense).
    - Called me "stupid" every time I made a common, age-appropriate mistake.
    - Apart from a Nat Geo subscription and a set of encyclopedias, provided no intellectual enrichment.

    #127672 - 04/18/12 06:33 AM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Seriously, though, I can't really answer this question because my mother spent much of my teenage years dying of cancer and my father had a stroke and became totally disabled soon after I graduated from college.

    #127673 - 04/18/12 06:37 AM Re: Gifted adults-what did your parents do right/wrong [Re: sweetpeas]
    epoh Offline

    Registered: 10/31/11
    Posts: 954
    Loc: N. Texas
    Right - My dad and step-mother both believe that children live up to their expectations. I don't recall ever being 'babied' or coddled. Quite the opposite... I think it probably could be called neglect these days - by 1st grade I was a latch key kid and was expected to walk home, do my homework, pick up the house then I could go play. When my dad got home from work, I was off playing at a friends. I was expected in when the street lights turned on for dinner.

    Wrong - I think I ended up going to 10 different schools by the time I graduated high school.. and most of that moving happened in K-5th. I recall being in a few G&T programs, but mostly I was always trying to figure out how each new school worked, and what was expected, and what they were studying.

    ETA: Another 'Right' - the public library. We went ALL THE TIME. And were encouraged to check out whatever we wanted. (I read Clan of the Cave Bear when I was like 12, lol. I'm not 100% sure if that's a good thing or not!)

    Edited by epoh (04/18/12 06:38 AM)

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