gifted parents, modeling healthy coping

Posted by: atnightingale

gifted parents, modeling healthy coping - 08/29/16 10:41 PM

Hello, all. We are planning private testing this fall for DD9. She is in a public gifted program, and struggles with anxiety and some OEs. She complains of boredom, we see some rushed and careless work, but she will also express that she feels she doesn't belong there academically (she does). The testing is part of an attempt to sort out what the issues may be.

As we get closer to testing though (DD doesn't know about it yet), her dad and I have been talking about our own experiences and perceptions. And I was shocked to find that, lacking an IQ test, he is certain that he is not gifted, and feels like everyone around him is. Just for context, I went to a lot of school with my husband. We were both in gifted programs. I do better verbally, but math came easy to me compared to everyone else.... except him. He was light years ahead. I could provide a lot more detail, but not on a public board. But he struggles with depression and now works in a setting with a lot of exceptional people. He honestly doesn't see it.

I am not sure how to approach talking to DD about school and advocating for her needs, when her obviously brilliant dad minimizes and denies his own abilities and human worth. FWIW, we are open about the depression and that his judgments about himself are not always accurate (depression lies). DD has a counselor, which seems to be helpful, and she's and awesome kid. But its hard to even think about school experiences and help her navigate hers, when he thinks he was typical.

Does anyone else have experience or thoughts that are relevant?
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: gifted parents, modeling healthy coping - 08/30/16 10:18 AM

Originally Posted By: atnightingale
I am not sure how to approach talking to DD about school and advocating for her needs, when her obviously brilliant dad minimizes and denies his own abilities and human worth.


I would start by saying exactly this to her dad.
Posted by: LAF

Re: gifted parents, modeling healthy coping - 08/30/16 12:35 PM

Tell him he needs to put his oxygen mask on before he can put it on your DD. If he wants her to be mentally healthy, he has to work to get himself mentally healthy. It is hard when this stuff runs in your family because you either got help or you didn't depending on how your family handled the problem, but the real issue with mental health challenges is that there is a serious stigma out there with regard to these things to the point where the person who has issues thinks negatively about themselves and then doesn't feel worthy of getting help.

BUT if he wants to create a healthy childhood for her, he has to work to make that so for himself, medically and/or with cognitive behavioral therapy, whatever is best for him.

In addition, as you have noted, there is a component to some of these things that make everything look "through a glass darkly" basically no matter how good things are, the depression makes things look bad. This is often a chemical thing so please see if he would consider a trial of antidepressants if a doctor suggests it.

Unfortunately telling the dad not to be depressed is like telling a person with diabetes to just eat the right way to keep their sugar down… it may work for someone who has very mild depression but if he really has a problem only medicine will help him.

BTW some or none of what I have written above may apply to your husband- I have made a jump based on the very little information you have included. But I have experience with mental health issues in the family and so I thought I would chime in. Depression can be a very serious problem, and stigma can keep people from getting a handle on it.
Posted by: puffin

Re: gifted parents, modeling healthy coping - 08/30/16 12:40 PM

And if he has had imposter syndrome and depression it is going to be a long haul.
Posted by: polarbear

Re: gifted parents, modeling healthy coping - 08/30/16 01:50 PM

Originally Posted By: atnightingale
Hello, all. We are planning private testing this fall for DD9. She is in a public gifted program, and struggles with anxiety and some OEs. She complains of boredom, we see some rushed and careless work, but she will also express that she feels she doesn't belong there academically (she does). The testing is part of an attempt to sort out what the issues may be.


My first thought would be - you don't know what the issues are entirely that are driving your dd's feelings. It's possible the anxiety she's feeling is secondary to a challenge, which might be tied in to her feeling she doesn't belong in the gifted classroom. It's also possibly that my suggestion is entirely irrelevant, but fwiw, my 2e ds' first outwardly obvious signs of any kind of challenge was anxiety which morphed into depression - and that landed us in a neuropsych's office where it was discovered he had a 2e challenge, which when recognized, remediated and accommodated, alleviated the anxiety surrounding school. It still didn't eliminate his feelings that he "didn't" belong entirely - even today, with years of incredible progress behind him in his area of challenge and a long list of successes in the areas of his strengths, he feels a very real lack of self confidence and anxiety when faced with his challenge. I'm not saying that from a helpless, hopeless point of view, just pointing out that 2e challenges are very real, and can exist behind the outwardly obvious issues of anxiety and questioning your talents.

Which also leads to the question - your dh struggles with depression, was brilliant in math in school, and has found his niche as an adult. Is there an outside possibility he might also have a 2e challenge? Dyslexia, for instance, sometimes has a genetic component (that's just one example, there's nothing you've mentioned that indicates dyslexia, but the pattern of what you've describe about your dh and your dd suggests it's perhaps considering that there might be a shared challenge that's not limited to or is separated from mental health.

Quote:
I am not sure how to approach talking to DD about school and advocating for her needs, when her obviously brilliant dad minimizes and denies his own abilities and human worth.


Your dd and your dh are two separate people, even if you learn that they share the same challenge. When you advocate for your dd at school, you are advocating for her, not advocating to resolve your dh's issues. It's possible your dh's view of himself might make it difficult for him to advocate on her behalf, and if that's the case, then you'll have to be responsible for advocacy for dd, while dh works on his own issues - but whatever the situation with your dh, you *can* successfully advocate for your dd.

Quote:
FWIW, we are open about the depression and that his judgments about himself are not always accurate (depression lies). DD has a counselor, which seems to be helpful, and she's and awesome kid. But its hard to even think about school experiences and help her navigate hers, when he thinks he was typical.


I'll just throw this out there for consideration: I consider myself to be very similar to at least one of my children in personality, intelligence, and reaction to challenges at school (such as staying awake when the pace is ridiculously slow). In spite of that, when I advocate for that child I am focused on what they need to deal with their very specific school situation - my experience in school is in many ways irrelevant at this point in time (years later). I can empathize with what they may be experiencing, but school has changed quite a bit since I was a child, so what I'm looking at, asking for, who I'm talking to , what environment I'm considering for my child - all that - is not related in any form to my own childhood school experience. While it helps for us to understand our child and identify with them, you can still effectively advocate for your child without having that common ground.

Hope that makes sense!

Best wishes,

polarbear