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Gifted parents with gifted children

(28 Posts)
Au79 Tue 14-Jan-14 05:16:11

I prefer the term High Learning Potential but there you are.

Can we discuss joys and concerns of being an HLP adult, with reference to how we deal with watching our HLP or any ability kids grow up?

This thread is not to justify why we think we qualify or for false displays of modesty, but to share problems and discuss solutions.

For starters, how much baggage and preconceptions do you think you carry and project from you own childhood experiences of school onto you child? I know I do it all the time.

Are YOU overexcitable or intense yourself and so modeling it and feeding it in your child?

Do you think the school system in improving with the very new focus on the higher end of the achievement spectrum?

lljkk Tue 14-Jan-14 19:39:16

Sorry, don't relate.

Acinonyx Wed 15-Jan-14 09:02:17

I can relate but hesitate to post about it. I certainly do project my own baggage - but my own circumstances were very unusual and I understand that. I think there has been some improvement but it's genuinely tough to differentiate properly across 30 kids - and that affects every kid in the class. I've been a teacher and I understand that if you only have an extra ounce in you you tend to give it to the less advantaged kids. That's not wrong - there just needs to be more attention to go around: smaller classes or more helpers, or preprepared differentiated work to support the teacher. I do though, think it's hard to put yourself in the HLP child's shoes if you haven't been there yourself. But dd is not me - her issues overlap but are not quite the same.

I really like her teacher - I think they're generally doing a great job. But despite very high test scores dd is increasingly disengaging from school. But I don't think it's because the work is too easy so much as the qualitative nature of the work itself - and I think it's probably why a lot of kids at all levels find formal school rather boring. But because she tests so well and behaves well it's not seen as an issue for her. So I think a large part of our problem is a general one arising from the wholly unnatural process of formal schooling and a secondary problem is differentiation.

'the very new focus on the higher end of the achievement spectrum?' - haven't seen any actual evidence of this - it's business as usual as far as I can see.

visioncat Wed 15-Jan-14 11:26:19

Yes, I relate to this post. My 4yo DD is HLP (IQ 149+ - she didn't finish the test aged 3.5, reading age 8.8 years etc etc) Only test I had was aged 6, reading age of 12+ but school and university were too easy and completed with only half an eye on the work.

I am far too intense and excitable and I'm watching a mini-me emerging and I can see it's my 'fault', because when I was her age, I was very compliant and afraid of getting into trouble. My DD is fearless in the face of authority because she is convinced she knows best and so gets into trouble at school for doing her own thing and recently threw the NLCS assessment because she didn't want to join in.

I overthink things with my daughter and sometimes speak to her as a fellow adult and forget to talk to her level and I know that confuses matters at times.

Our preschool is outstanding with regards to my daughter's HLP - as much as they can be in a classroom setting but she still needs more and inevitably she has to sit through an entire lesson of just writing the letter 'i' when she made her own holiday book with a written entry last summer. It's frustrating but at least she is given reading books of her level and differentiation where they can.

dalziel1 Wed 15-Jan-14 13:33:29

Do you mean a very recent improvement in the school system or that its much better than it was in the 1970s/ 80s??? TBH I don't see it either way.

I was very able at school but not as good at learning as my children are now. Maybe DH and I have made that difference with how we've parented or maybe its just the way the children would be naturally. Nature or Nurture? I don't know!

Blueberrypots Mon 20-Jan-14 09:57:02

Haven't seen any improvement in our school with regards to higher achievers. If anything they are as shocking as ever at differentiating. The governors even voted against the L6 SATS, so they don't even have the incentive to teach to L6 and they categorically don't!

As to parenting, I just don't see much of a correlation apart from wanting each of my child to do their best independent of whether they are G&T or not. (I have a mix of abilities in the house). I am very realistic about my children's abilities and they all have strengths and weaknesses which I can relate/not relate to.

I would say that my job as a parent is to ensure they fulfil their potential as far as possible and that's all I generally try and focus on.

Willdoitinaminute Fri 24-Jan-14 23:58:36

I can relate to OP. I grew up in a family of HLP. It was normal for us and I have gradually realised that we were HLP. We were high achievers but in an environment of high achievers this didn't feel strange. Progressing through the education system tends to cocoon you and it is not until you enter the real world that you begin to feel different.

I think it is much easier for HLP children growing up with HLP parent since they are less likely to see their child as 'special' or 'genius'. Therefore resist the temptation to point it out to others.

I recognise the emotional problems my son experiences when he over analyses situations and ends up misinterpreting actions and words of others.

I find it very uncomfortable when parents make such a big deal of their child's perceived gift particularly in front of the child's peers. They are unaware how much damage they are inflicting socially.

Shakey1500 Sat 25-Jan-14 00:12:23

I have never been "diagnosed" as HLP but strongly suspect I was/am <hopes that doesn't sound too pompous> blush

I had a traumatic childhood which included (but was certainly not limited to) my father dying when I was 4. I don't feel I either had the opportunity or was emotionally equipped to maximise any potential.

I have a 6 year old DS who has just completed a CAMHS assessment. They have concluded that he does not fit the criteria of ASD. Mainly, as I understand it, because his characteristics (of which are traits of ASD)"do not impair him" hmm. I'm not quite sure what to make of it all and have decided to absorb it for now and do some more research.

His upbringing is the polar opposite of mine in that he is safe, unharmed loved and nurtured in a loving stable environment. I'm very conscious of this difference and most of the time, just have my fingers crossed that I'm doing it right as I have nothing to relate it to smile

Willdoitinaminute Sat 25-Jan-14 00:22:11

Sorry posted too early.
With regard to education/schools. We were in a position to choose and chose private selective school thereby allowing DS to enjoy a learning environment with other able children. We believe in competition and an academic approach. It has been the right environment for him and he has thrived.
I had an excellent state education (before successive governments cocked up the whole system) and our choice of school was based on that which most closely matched our experiences of the state system.
It is not the best system since I don't think there is one system that fits all, but it is the one that is working for DS. If it wasn't he wouldn't be there.
My job is to love him, provide for him and encourage him. Hopefully he will fulfil his potential willingly with the enthusiasm I did.

LowCloudsForming Sat 25-Jan-14 00:25:04

OP - very interesting question. I shall ponder on it overnight. In the meantime, I query the implied correlation between HLP and over thinking/instensity.

VikingLady Sat 25-Jan-14 19:15:19

It is interesting to read this being discussed - I am told regularly I am too harsh in my assessment of DD's (nearly 2) development and abilities. She is mainly pretty average except in speech, where she is severely behind. I find this incredibly hard to deal with and have to try very hard not to let any disappointment show around DD. This just wasn't in the plan!

I was g&t though have not fulfilled any potential, due mainly to upbringing/family circumstances and undiagnosed ASD. Both DH and myself have IQs of well over 140 and were early talkers/readers/writers and always several stages ahead of everyone else. I just don't know how I will relate to DD as she grows up, and how to support her without making her feel bad.

notthegirlnextdoor Sat 25-Jan-14 21:20:53

Hi all. I was a G&T child, had a turbulent home life as a child/teenager and have recently (a few years back) been diagnosed with Bi Polar Disorder. Husband & I both have IQs over 140. (He isnt DDs father tho)

My eldest DD who is 5 was stuck with the G&T label at her 2.5 year review. Talking in full sentences, asking questions, counting to 20, knew basic and advanced shapes (pentagon, hexagon etc) colours, could identify letters, tell you how to spell her name, knew as much Italian as she did English (Her Dad (my exp) is Italian) Could identify numbers, read basic words, do basic sums. My sister had her overnight when she was 3 and spent the evening telling her about the solar system (tho DS couldn't explain why Pluto wasn't a planet any more, she thought it had "drifted away" bahahaha, hilarious) and she still recites all the facts my sister told her now. She is also very quiet, shy and sensitive like I was at that age.

My youngest DD is entirely different. (Which certainly put paid to the PUSHY MUM label I got from some family members, pffft.) She is 3. She is still above average but not on the level of eldest DD - and I could not give less of a fuck. She is bolshy, loud, stubborn and demanding. (Like me as a teenager, hehehe)

Both girls are equally loved and adored by me. They are entirely their own people.

naty1 Mon 27-Jan-14 13:01:46

My sis was advanced motor skills, walking 9m, potty trained soon after yr but although understood, receptive language was good she didnt speak till late. No labels but she was intelligent and has done really well. I spoke sooner .
I think its too soon to tell. Some "wait till they can get it right" or have other focus
Obviously depending on the child it could be caused by an issue that needs addressing.
Apparently good early speech can be a sign but late speech doesnt mean they aren't gifted.
But anyway its important to enjoy who they are.
I noticed in our family people seem to be similar to their aunt/ uncle.
Children with bright parent can have an amazing advantage, genetically and environmentally. Someone interested in your school attendance is priceless.

VikingLady Mon 27-Jan-14 22:09:01

Thank you naty1

phoolani Mon 27-Jan-14 23:13:03

i know i can project very negatively on my dd who is very definitely g&t/HLP. All As is kind of the minimum i expect! and i know it can weigh negatively on her. She got a B once - in a non-academic subject and I made her cry - and I wasn't trying to. I was the kind of child who 'got' everything (including non-academic stuff) and I expect her to be, too. And a large part of it is I was HLP with a shit childhood and I think with 'all the advantages she's had' she should be stratospheric. So yes, I understand that being slightly disappointed that's she's 'only' reading 4 years above her age is a bit much, but by the same token, I was reading 6 years above my age at her age and she should be doing 'better' goddammit! yes, I know I'm at fault, but on the other hand, she is so ultra-competitive that she actually responds positively to my 'negativity'.

coffeeaddict Tue 04-Feb-14 09:10:41

I would definitely fall into the category of intense, over-excitable and HLP. I have five DCs, all 'bright', but one is extraordinary at maths. I went the other way and was so desperate not to be 'pushy' that we didn't help him in the right way to begin with. Also, I don't want him to be defined as a 'maths prodigy' and I get v prickly when people say this. Luckily he is at a great school now, gets one to one maths and everyone treats him as normal. Which he is! (just good at maths.)

I constantly get people saying 'OMG you're so fast' in the field I work in. I find it a bit baffling as I just feel normal, and that's how I feel about the DCs too. What's nice about having a big family of bright children is they can all relate to each other.

Oh and as regards speech, my eldest DS who is talented in all sorts of ways, spoke very late. He just smiled. We barely scraped through the 18 month health visitor 'do you know 6 words' test. I didn't care at all as I just kind of knew instinctively he was bright and so it has turned out to be. (He is a teenager now) And anyway, I didn't care if he wasn't. I think that is my own baggage, I have been labelled intelligent so often over my life that I kind of resent it!! I would rather be happy than intelligent. Or preferably both smile

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Feb-14 21:27:11


I'm not sure if this will make you feel better but I can relate to a lot of your dds behaviour and some of yours tbh.
My dd is very gifted, not academically though, However I'm not.
I think we all end up treating them similarly if we are gifted ourselves or not.
However, this thread is not about this, but just thought I'd add a different perspective.

LauraBridges Sun 09-Feb-14 19:41:39

This reflects out experience too.... "We were in a position to choose and chose private selective school thereby allowing DS to enjoy a learning environment with other able children. We believe in competition and an academic approach. It has been the right environment for him and he has thrived. "

My parents were very very bright and got out of relative poverty through state grammars and the first generation to go to university of their families in the 1940s. I even found after she died some IQ tests my mother did in her 50s with 140+ scores and mine is supposedly 152/158. What my parents did was get us into high achieving schools/universities/professions which was wise as indeed they achieved themselves and they sent us to fee paying schools. All 9 of the grandchildren are now in fee paying selective schools (or have graduated and work in the City), all the women work and are high achievers, Oxbridge etc and we are all in professions of one kind or another which are very well paid.

Whether it will be clogs to clogs in 3 or 4 generations however remains to be seen. Certainly the ethos of the family is you enjoy your studies, you exceed most other people, you pick high paid careers, you are a feminist, you keep working when you have children, you hugely enjoy your profession. We are very very lucky.

I have no idea why I ought to be excitable or intense and don't really know what intense means in this context . We simply have high expectations for the children without putting much pressure on them, no tutoring and very relaxed atmosphere at home but expectations they will get into some of the most selective day schools which are fee paying in the UK which has worked extremely well.

We also tend to exceed in other areas too - most of us have 2 - 4 grade 8 music exams, one child plays a sport of England etc etc. All good fun.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Mon 10-Feb-14 08:02:17

LauraBridges nails it I think although I suspect I'm her mother's generation. I was the first person in my family to go to university and that was Oxford which was a huge culture shock. All of my children are HLP but growing up in a house where we talked and read and had high, but not unrealistic expectations, suited them.

We couldn't afford private schools so primary schooling was a trial at times as they were often bored but was good for social and life skills. We were lucky enough to live in an area with highly selective grammar schools for secondary education and they thrived in that environment.

I'm certainly not excitable or intense and with lots of friends with shed loads of degrees in engineering, clerical, medical, legal type professions I don't recognise that as a side effect of being smart.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 08:16:07

Hmm. I have a high iq (mensa as a kid), could read before starting school. Never had to really work for exams, Oxford degree.

However, I came from a difficult background and certainly haven't "fulfilled potential." I wasn't aware of high earning professions prior to uni and even then didn't really know what they were.

We now have a very low income. I am very quick to learn (did an ou degree for fun - first) but no idea how to change life.

My daughter looks to be bright and will certainly have a more supportive home life. However we can't afford private ed, and is in a low achieving area.

I think it's possible to just assume that because you can do something they should, and I aim to try to avoid that.

I wish I knew how to change our situation as ultimately money brings opportunity. I'd like to travel with her, theatre, music lessons etc.

LauraBridges Mon 10-Feb-14 08:43:40

If we go back to my grandfather - born 1880, left school at 12, youngest of 13 or 14, what his generation of my family did to try to better themselves (as he was very clever, self educated, read voraciously and his children in the 1930s and 1940s went to university) was pick higher paid careers.

He ended up as an estate agent and valuer having start out selling horses. He became a JP and magistrate and local councillor in the 1920s and 30s. His older brother left school at 16 but became an articled clerk and qualified as a solicitor (other siblings failed in the 1920s - depending on how you define failure of course). One of his sisters became a nursing sister and moved to Wapping which in her day was quite an achievement. My grandfather's children became doctors. All these people on this thread except my generation who moved for university were in the NE of England which is not a great area and there is much poverty so it shows it can be done if you read a huge lot at home which is what I think helped all those people on this thread do well - the free public libraries, work very hard indeed and pick the higher paid careers ideally professions.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 09:10:48

I think we're backwards - in extended family I have a judge, magistrate, colonel, business owner etc but my immediate upbringing was awful.

Still not hundred per cent sure if/how to guide into a higher earning profession when we aren't ourselves, not at that type of school, I've not got the network.

I was incredibly naiive when I left uni.

NotCitrus Mon 10-Feb-14 09:25:49

Sounds like me and my childhood. It's too early to say how bright ds is as he's in Reception, but certainly he and friend have gone in with a much wide range of background knowledge than most kids.

Big difference is my parents were anxious first-generation middle class - one working-class kid who got into grammar, then went to uni against parental wishes, other from 2 gens of immigrants - who were worried about me not keeping up academically or with manners in private school - state school refused to deal with my mild disabilities, so obsessed about my learning to exclusion of much else. And they have fairly crap social skills.

Ds is scarily like me, so I've been more anxious that he learn to deal with others and all those soft skills that ay least are on schools' radar now. He seems to enjoy local school, and I know I can teach him anything academic if he doesn't pick it up from school. How to make friends and defend yourself against bullies and have self-esteem, I'm a bit dependent on them.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 09:41:01

I used to teach at a grammar school andbthe one thing I never want to do is to be disappointed with a "b". I saw the damage some high achieving parents or those with high expectations could do to children's self esteem.

I was incredibly bright but lacked confidence. You can Do well in life with good self esteem and confidence and reasonable grades but I haven't achieved with just brains alone!

Au79 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:35:58

I'm not sold on the overexcitabilities thing either-but lately I've bee reading gifted education blogs etc and Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities seem to often be mentioned-I wondered if they were that prevalent really in gifted versus whatever you want to call the rest- ("non gifted" is never going to work for any one! :-)

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