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Does your gifted child struggle with making friends?
Social interactions and making friends can be hard for any child. My daughter, who is gifted and 2e, often needed extra guidance in figuring out social interactions. She did best with a little help before and during our our homeschool group events, or with her community classes. That helped her to figure out the social interactions that tended to have puzzle her at times.
Social interactions can be confusing for all children, of course. But for gifted kids, this tends to be even more of a challenge. Writing Your Own Script: A Parent's Role in the Gifted Child's Social Development offers excellent guidance for helping gifted kids to navigate interpersonal interactions and develop friendships.
The authors, Corn Barsily Goodwin, CEO/Executive Director of the Gifted Homeschool Forum, and Mika Gustavson, both experts in the fields of giftedness and child development, offer well researched insights into this issue. They not only address the complex social needs of gifted kids, they also offer tons of ideas for helping them to flourish and make friendships.
Writing Your Own Script consists of six chapters, which takes you though a thorough discussion of the whys and hows of friendship building and the gifted child. The titles of the chapters are listed below:
1. Chapter 1 - Backdrop - What You Should Know About the Gifted Child
2. Chapter 2 - Setting the Scene - Friendship and the Gifted Child
3. Chapter 3 - Casting - Finding the Other Players
4. Chapter 4 - Directing - The Parent As Guide
5. Chapter 5 - Showtime - Applying What You Know
6. Chapter 6 - Reviews - Raspberries and Applause
Chapter 1, Backdrop, includes an introduction and a discussion of giftedness, along with a listing of Dr. Linda Silverman's common characteristics of gifted kids.
Setting the Scene, in Chapter 2, goes into the developmental stages of friendship, along with a discussion of the typical issues that often arise with gifted kids re making friends.
Finding the Other Players, Chapter 3, offers help for assessing your child's social needs, and how to find kids or mentors, the "other players" in their social development.
Then in Chapter 4, Directing: The Parent as a Guide, the authors explain why more direct involvement is often needed for gifted kiddos. This chapter was the most helpful one for me.....
"Parenting outlier kids requires more direct involvement than parenting more typical children, and parents may get pushback from others who claim they are "coddling" their child.....The reality is that these children do need more intensive parenting at times, and helping them learn the skills to balance their interests with their need for social involvement is one area where parents are vitally important." (from Chapter 4)
I experienced some of this pushback from other parents while my daughter was growing up. Each time that she went to a group activity, she tended to do better with parental help. I might give a little guidance beforehand, and help her to process things afterwards.
Some of my close friends did not understand that, and thought that I was micromanaging my child, or being a helicopter parent. Actually, I was helping to guide her, or what the authors call scaffolding, or "giving the child the support she needs so that she can grow and stretch in other areas without being restricted by her challenges."
Chapter 5, Showtime, Applying What You Know, goes further to explain ways to enhance your child's social development, answering common issues that often come up.
Chapter 6, Reviews, deals with the gifted 2e socialization question, and dealing with judgments from other people.
I so wish this book had been published when I was raising my daughter, as it gives helpful, and very specific advice to encourage and guide your gifted child's social development. My family highly recommends Writing Your Own Script.
Note - My daughter is in college now, and I found that many of the ideas in this book still apply to her as she navigates friendships as a young adult.
For more information, or to order this book, please go to the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, where there is a tons of resources and tips for nurturing and homeschooling our precious kids.
Thanks for stopping by,