Family Dynamics

Gifted children's sensitivities and intensities often influence family dynamics.  However, other factors such as culture, traditions, parenting  and communication styles, siblings and birth order, and extended family member attitudes also affect how a gifted child experiences relationships within a family.  Parents play a significant role in teaching their children how to interact with others, both inside and outside the family unit. 

It's important for parents to accept and love their gifted child unconditionally, no matter how demanding or difficult the child might be. Gifted children need to feel they have at a few adults in their lives who will always be there for them; parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are typically the first adults children turn to for support. Parents and family members should:

  • Listen to the child, as they work through their thoughts and ideas
  • Create a positive, open line of communication
  • Support the child’s interests and areas of passion
  • Praise the child appropriately—for effort, not the end result
  • Avoid words such as “the best,” “smartest,” “brilliant”
  • Avoid put downs, such as “lazy,” “messy,” “inconsiderate”
  • Help develop social skills
  • Remain patient
  • Laugh—humor is a great tool to defuse tense situations

 

Webb et al, 2007

Whitney, 2011, p. 165, pp. 180-189