Parenting a gifted child

Parenting a gifted child can be very difficult.  Gifted children tend to be demanding, may sleep less than typical children, and require a lot of mental stimulation.  Gifted children may frequently challenge what you say and may feel intellectually superior to you at a very early age.  Typical age appropriate parenting techniques may not be effective or relevant to your child. Finding age, ability, and developmentally appropriate activities and peer groups can prove difficult. The issues you will face are real and different than other parents may encounter.

A few things to keep in mind while parenting gifted children:

  • They are not small adults and should not be treated as such
  • Gifts need to be nurtured, areas of challenge need support
  • They do require more stimulation and may crave learning experiences far beyond typical children.
  • Many gifted children need emotional and social support. Keep an eye out for changes in behaviors, even at a young age.
  • Understand asynchronous development
  • Gifted children tend to like routine and clear expectations
  • Realizing biological age vs. cognitive abilities
  • Importance of finding intellectual, social, and age peers
  • Identifying actual needs of child vs. perceived needs
  • Children need time to be children. Overscheduling and intense pressure to achieve can have negative, long lasting effects. Let them act their age!
  • Use appropriate praise. Overpraising can be just as detrimental to a child as lack of praise.
  • Validate your child’s concerns, sensitivities, & worries.
  • Advocating for your child when needed. This may be school related, with a doctor, in activities, or even with other parents.
  • Deal with other parents in a positive and supportive manner
  • Finding support for you, as a parent of a gifted child


When to seek help:

  • Child is having difficulty in social situations
  • Child is experiencing stress, emotional distress, or changes in behavior
  • As a parent, you feel loss of control of the child, lack of understanding of the child, or find it difficult to meet their emotional needs appropriately
  • When your parenting methods are no longer effective with your child
  • You would like more information on the nature and needs of a gifted child and issues that are specific to this population