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- Saber & Scapegoat: J. E. B. Stuart and the Gettysburg Controversy (J.E.B. Stuart and the Gettysburg Controversy).
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- And Keep Your Sense of Humor;
When they can't, they often are shocked, even depressed, and feel powerless. Unfortunately, many highly gifted kids have very few if any peers that they can talk to. It can be lonely. But then, many parents can recall how they feel lonely and misunderstood at work or in the neighborhood, or even in the family. It's important for parents to discuss out loud where the kids can hear how you, yourselves, struggle with issues of peer relations.
It's important for our youngsters to see that they are more than just their talents. Some of these children become achievement addicts, and - as the Presidential Scholars research has shown - can experience some withdrawal and accompanying sense of grief and loss when they get into college or into the job force and no longer are receiving the kudos that they previously received so frequently.
Remember that gifted kids are incredibly intense. Adolescents are also pretty well known for overreactions and for not having a long-term view of situations, goals, or life in general. When you add these together, it can be a bad combination, particularly if the child feels alone and believes that he or she would not be understood by others if he or she opened up.
There are some factors that put GT kids at greater risk for depression and suicide, such as a sense of isolation and the ability to grasp ideas intellectually that they aren't emotionally mature enough to handle. They may feel overwhelmed by the amount of damage in the world and their powerlessness in tackling the world's problems. Gifted children often process their existential crisis in elementary school instead of college, which can feel even more isolating. Once again, they don't have age peers wrestling with the same issues.
On a positive note, gifted kids generally have better mental health than average. Some teens with underlying depression start to sleep longer hours than usual. They avoid going out with their friends. They either overeat to literally fill the body or starve themselves to punish the body. Kids expect their parents to keep them safe, and when they learn that parents aren't always able to do so, it can be frightening.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a c 3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author.
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Search Database. Professionals with experience and expertise in the gifted population share these practical suggestions as a guide for implementing strategies that work for your family. In this article, professionals share their thoughts on communication, finding purpose, parenting, suicide, and risk factors. Also included are resources on adolescence, grief, depression and suicide.
Nadia Webb, PsyD What you can do: Communication Open communication by asking if your teen has any questions or thoughts on the subject at hand. Nadia Webb Make "special time" for each of your children, even if you have to make a weekly date to do it. Jim Webb One indicator of an open and strong relationship is if your child can tell you things that others might find "shocking," or at least very non-traditional, without fear of being severely chastised.
And Keep Your Sense of Humor
Jim Webb Write a note and leave it for your son or daughter to read. Jim Delisle Allow your child room to experience their feelings, including anger, when coping with a great loss or tragedy. Deborah Ruf Generally, when an adult brings up a "taboo" topic whatever it may be , it is often a relief to the teen that an adult raised the issue first. Jim Delisle Stress how important your child is to you -- not for their achievements; but simply because of who they are.
Jim Webb Give your kids a hug each day - it is a small, yet powerful, practical technique. Jim Webb Encourage tolerance and acceptance of different styles, as this can be very difficult for these kids. Jim Webb Practice "role-stripping.
Good Parents, Tough Times
Jim Webb Finding "purpose" Within earshot of your teen, discuss that people are multi-potential, rather than having only one "correct" course. Jim Webb Discuss the difference between talents and passions. Jim Delisle Encourage your child to become involved with a "cause" by modeling an example and assisting your child in the process. Jim Webb Help your child identify ways to help others, initially on a small scale. Deborah Ruf Get a pet! Nadia Webb Parenting As described in Sylvia Rimm's "V" of love, set more limits when the child is younger and gradually expand these as the child gets older and demonstrates the ability to handle some freedom.
Jim Webb Allow opportunities to practice independence and making choices. Esther Sinclair Teens need risk in order to grow; they need parental support in order to take those risks. Esther Sinclair You can never keep too close an eye on teens. Esther Sinclair Different parenting skills are required to care for adolescents than for younger children, and parents must also operate from a different knowledge base. Esther Sinclair Understand that adolescents fight with their parents.
Esther Sinclair Laugh a lot - especially whenever something dumb happens that makes the world not as serious a place as it always seems to be. Jim Delisle Point out your teen's bravery and encourage positive self-talk. Nadia Webb Suicide Have your son or daughter make a "contract" with you that they would tell you before acting on their suicidal feelings.
Help for the Hard Times in Parenting
Nadia Webb Normalize asking for guidance and help from a mental health professional. Nadia Webb Listen to your child. Nadia Webb Exercise! Nadia Webb Recognize that there is a difference between "wanting to die" and "not wanting to live anymore. Being able to love and have compassion when it's hard Loving them without expectation?
In those moments when I want to react, give up or shut down, I have to remind myself to not only be compassionate towards them, but to show compassion for myself.