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A question for parents of school aged G&T.

(31 Posts)
NewLife4Me Tue 27-Oct-15 10:13:56

My dd is very gifted in music and wondered if parents of academic G&T dc act the same as mine.
It's hard gaining info as the sites I can find and other parents I know are the academic G&T.

Do they do lots of extra work after school like maths or English / whatever their talent or gift?
Do they do this for fun as their toys/ play? Also, are their toys related to their talent, so for Maths do they have lots of puzzles, maths games etc.
Do they act much older when doing the subject as opposed to other activities or subjects.
I'm trying to work out how far to let dd go with the obsessiveness and what is normal as I don't want her to burn out.
Thank you very much for any info.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 27-Oct-15 10:55:36

Dds gift is maths, but it's not her only love or interest. She's more the outdoor type, so I've never really had that worry. She's certainly always enjoyed maths/ logic outside of school, and will find things of that nature to do, and when she was younger would ask me for entertainment along those lines. Now she finds stuff on her own. But she does seem to self regulate iyswim. Her obsession is more her sport, and I do generally just leave her to decide.

As for toys etc, I'd say not much different to any other child. Only difference has been the age/ type, so she had more complicated board games at an earlier age, card games instead of snap, sudoku and kakuro instead of the usual puzzles etc. Most of her toys/ gifts revolve around her sport.

Music is not my thing so no personal experience, however I would say from people I've met who are gifted that way, there's no harm in leaving her to it if that's what she wants to do. As long as they don't feel under pressure to do it, and it's not preventing normal, healthy things like exercise or social skills, then I believe if something gives them pleasure to leave them to it.

var123 Tue 27-Oct-15 11:28:00

DS2 is good at maths. When he was about 5 or 6, he used to do extra maths for fun. Now that he is 11, he only does extra maths if it sparks his interest e.g. if his older brother is learning something new, which is advanced for even the older brother's age, then Ds2 will be over like a shot competing to see if he can learn it better than faster than DS1.

Ds1 loves human geography. He reads books about it, watches documentaries, loves going on trips etc., etc. For him its interesting and enjoyable. He knows a lot more than most adults about the subject, me included, but I don't think he even mentions it to his friends and I am fairly sure his geography teacher has no inkling.

RueDeWakening Tue 27-Oct-15 12:11:15

DD is G&T across the board. She spends most of her time out of school reading, writing stories, nagging us (me and DH) to write some puzzles for her (maths) on the white board in her bedroom and playing Squeebles spelling, times tables and fractions apps. She also has various books and workbooks that are related to it too I guess.

TBH I tend to let her get on with it, she's also obsessed with earning Brownie badges and playing Lego and Minecraft so I reckon it all balances out more or less.

SevenSeconds Tue 27-Oct-15 12:23:40

Another maths one here. DS1 likes Sudoku-type games and chess, and spends some time on a website which has maths related games, but most of his free time is not spent in this way - he also likes sport, computer games, reading, lego etc.

You might find this book interesting - there is a chapter on musical prodigies.

WoodHeaven Tue 27-Oct-15 12:36:42

Dc1 is G&T and his thing is science (chemistry in particular)
He is always reading around his interest, watching programs etc.
He is much more mature than his peers and has never been keen on 'playing with toys' when he was little.
We have, much before we really realised the G&T, always encourage physical activity and he enjoys that. So in effect, if he isn't creating a complex game, reading or watching something about science, he is outside on his bike.
We generally leave him getting on with it whilst trying to foster other interests (so we talk about history, geography, general affairs, whatever)

As a general rule, especially as he got older, my aim has been to try and develop him as a rounded individual rather than someone with one and only interest. So not do much as stopping him doing things he likes but to widen his horizon to other things iyswim.

TheWanderingUterus Tue 27-Oct-15 12:42:52

DD is ten and good across the board. We supply materials for her interests and help her find out answers to her questions. No question goes unanswered (or often undebated) in this house!
She reads a lot, so I keep her supplied with age appropriate books of different levels and genres. She still reads to us and she begs me to read to her, we just finished Jane Eyre and are now reading War of the Worlds. I suspect most of this half term will be spent lying on her bed absorbed in something.
She loves maths puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, word searches etc. She also enjoys dictionary games eg, she has to find a word I don't know in the dictionary or she has to give three alternative words which mean the same as the chosen word. She also likes quizzes, memory games and being tested on things.

She has lots of non fiction books she likes to read, mostly horrible histories, sciences and geographies. She likes top trumps and I try to find different ones e,g spiders or chemical elements which we discuss. Recent purchase was one on different animal poos (plop trumps) which sparked natural discussions about size, smell and diet!

We do very little academic sit down work at home, it tends to be more organic and driven by their current interest.

Helenluvsrob Tue 27-Oct-15 14:51:48

Hi new!
As I always say on here I dunno if mine re G+T or just able academically. They've floated around the top at a highly selective school. They didn't do "english for fun" beyond quietly writing stories ( I believe the eldest was writing a novel at one time) but music was the chosen area to add breadth to the talents IYSWIM .
I think eldest is proving to be G+T into adult hood in her chosen academic area though.

NewLife4Me Tue 27-Oct-15 14:52:28

Ah, thanks for the replies I had to drag dd kicking and screaming to go and buy some new clothes grin
I'm not sure if you can tell from my first post but I'm trying to make sure that dd has a good balance but it isn't proving to be easy.

It's good to read that others are similar in their passions as well.
My dd didn't want toys either it used to make it difficult at Christmas and Birthdays.
Now at 11 as another pp said I'll leave her to her own devices and and let her get on with it.
I suppose my main problem is she attends a specialist school where it's a bit boot campish, she loves this.
However at weekends or holidays it's hard to get her to stop and be involved with other activities.
I try to get her involved with other things and at school when they have free time she tends to join friends in starting unofficial music groups.
I'm worried she may burn out before she is an adult and I also want to make sure I'm looking after her mh.

PiqueABoo Tue 27-Oct-15 16:26:40

12yo DD was put on the primary school G&T register because her rather good peri. piano teacher detected 'promise'. DD was having those lessons in the first place because I thought it would be good for her soul, an outlet for emotional-stuff that would be good for her MH etc.

Perhaps I'm too romantic about that, but in your shoes I wouldn't worry about 'burn-out' unless there is lots of stressy competition. Unofficial groups with friends sounds healthy enough and I bet they gossip with each other just as much as they perform.

WoodHeaven Tue 27-Oct-15 17:46:32

I wouldn't worry either as long as she always feel she has a choice. Choice not perform, choice to not always be the best, choice to actually do something else if she feels like it.

NewLife4Me Tue 27-Oct-15 18:03:05

Thank you.
I do worry because I see how exhausted she is at times.
She does enjoy running and will go at night as many times as she can, but this is the only other interest she has.
I ask about school work and whilst she does her best she isn't really bothered about it much and never has anything to report, but will not stop talking about her latest musical lessons.

She does know she has choice and in a way I'm glad it's always been driven by herself like others have said. Maybe, it's a common complaint from parents with G&T children and I'll have to get used to it grin

Thank you for the posts that have helped me realise the sameness in your children. I think the maths/ other academic examples were great.

var123 Tue 27-Oct-15 19:44:02

I'm no expert, and this is based on any research/ expert advice or anything, so take it with a pinch of sale, if you want. However, it seems to me that as parents we get what we are given, then after that you can only try to lay wide boundaries down that point the child vaguely in the right direction.
If you are lucky, it all works, and you end up with a happy well-adjusted adult.

However, if you interfere too much, you risk trying to make the child into something they aren't, which would bring on MH issues and / or rejection of you. Whereas if you lean too much the other way, your child grows up without having had the chance to reach their potential. So, its a delicate balance (that no one gets right all the time).

Anyway, that's my philosophy that i try to follow. Probably everyone has their own, so feel free to decide its complete rubbish.

ragged Tue 27-Oct-15 20:03:45

You need to define "gifted" before I can answer those questions.

People on MN seem to define "gifted" as one in ten thousand which my children aren't.

PiqueABoo Tue 27-Oct-15 22:29:38

@var123, so feel free to decide its complete rubbish.

Well that's close enough to the state-of-the-art research in behavioural genetics world. I could write lots about that, but in a recent radio interview Prof. Plomin summarised some of it with: " give you kids the best possible shot at doing what they do and doing it well, but if parents think their children are a blob of clay that they mould to be the way they want them to be..."

Long before tripping over that field I'd decided a significant part of parenting was about making opportunities to uncover propensities, encouraging the useful stuff and attempting to suppress anything from the dark-side. We did have a go at making a significant change re. the in-class introversion, but I'm sure you know what effect that had.

NewLife4Me Tue 27-Oct-15 22:41:24


I couldn't begin to define gifted, tbh I have looked at the old G&T as it was known checklist, the one that compared a gifted child with a bright child.
It was a few years ago now so can't remember but there were so many that didn't apply to dd and were more comparable to academic subjects and my dd is just slightly above average, certainly not gifted in this way.

People just always tell us she is gifted, she seems to impress teachers and specialists/ professionals she meets.

So basically if you don't push them and just be there to support, even though they are completely obsessed they will be ok?

Iwantakitchen Wed 28-Oct-15 14:06:25

Ds gifted in maths, and enjoys reading books relating to cars and airplanes, he pretty much reads only non fiction books. We do extra maths with him but not worksheets type work, we do word problems, challenges, various games etc. We like to think we are 'challenging' him but not 'over working' him. He likes to draw that's his favourite pastime, but he manages to turn it into 'maths' by working out the perspectives etc. So we provide books, websites, tools to draw and a nice space to do it quietly.

He is also an outdoor type and loves building dens, exploring, looking for bugs and birds. He makes lists of what he finds in the garden, with a spreadsheet (!!) so he also manages to turn this into 'maths'!

We go with the flow to be honest, we don't steer him too much. He chooses what he wants to do and we support that. We do exactly the same with our other son who is not G&T, ie help him explore and develop his own interests instead of imposing things on him.

Whereas defining what is G&T, the answer is I don't know and it's a grey area. I don't believe it's the top 10% achievers in a school, neither do I believe that it's 1 in 10 000.

var123 Wed 28-Oct-15 14:10:46

As I understand it, 10% was just the number designed to catch all genuinely G&T, including those who weren't living up to their potential. It wasn't supposed to be a definition of G&T.

I think they originally used 5%, but I am not sure that the intention was define 1 in 20 as G&T either, but just to enter them into a program that would sift through the more able students to find the genuinely G&T ones.

var123 Wed 28-Oct-15 14:17:14

This is good. Its the different US states version of "gifted".

I particularly liked the Arizona one:-
"Gifted pupil" means a child who is of lawful school age, who due to superior intellect or advanced learning ability, or both, is not afforded an opportunity for otherwise attainable progress and development in regular classroom instruction and who needs appropriate gifted education services, to achieve at levels commensurate with the child's intellect and ability.

A quick scan through them all though, generally says its pupils who need something more than the standard lesson planning, and that is precisely what doesn't happen to G&T pupils in the UK, except in exceptional circumstances. Instead 10% get labelled G&T and that's the end of it, apart from maybe a day trip once a year, or half a dozen Saturday sessions.

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 28-Oct-15 14:27:06

dd is a gifted teen mathematician and does a lot of extra voluntary maths just because she loves it. Since junior school she has done this - her bookshelves are ridiculous. We used to try and 'distract' her with other areas of interests - various sports and music, but more and more we have had to accept this is her thing that she wants to focus on and let her fly with it.

She does still get other obsessions and will study them until she knows a ridiculous amount and then moves on, but these tend to be very random passing interests - at one point she became obsessed with different species of oak trees grin )

WoodHeaven Wed 28-Oct-15 18:03:06

To be honest, if there is anything I'm very careful about is the emotional side.
I think that to bring up a balanced child, you need one that has developed emotional intelligence and I started with the idea this is where dc1 would need support and direction (first if all because dealing with the emotional side if being gifted isn't always easy but also because, as an adult, gifted or not, he WILL need that to fulfill his potential)

irvine101 Wed 28-Oct-15 18:05:39

I have a very basic question. What is gifted?
My understanding was that someone who is above normal ability in academics, music, sports, art etc.
My DC's school doesn't have official gifted register, so first time I encountered this word was when one of his teacher mentioned it.
I didn't understand meaning of Ragged's comment about 1 in 10000.???
Sorry, I'm a foreigner!

NewLife4Me Wed 28-Oct-15 18:27:16

Now, the comments of children having other interests is the one that worries me.
We also tried to enthuse other activities and subjects which dd would try, but there never appeared to be much of an interest in taking anything else further.
She has no hobbies, she will read if bored but this isn't very often.
My worry about burn out stems from this really, that she isn't willing or rarely willing to do other things.

During this half term which was nearly 2 weeks, she has been to cinema, a couple of hours hanging out with a friend and a visit to both gp's.
Even if she youtubes, watches tv etc it doesn't just have to be centred around music, but have some sort of lesson or inspiration for her career.
She talks about it constantly and I suppose I'd just like a dd who did normal things sometimes.

I think the question of what constitutes gifted is interesting. I know some in our case would use talented for dd, but there are plenty of her peers who are talented musicians but not in the same way as dd is.
A label I'm not really fussed about tbh, apart from it helps to access the right info and gives an indication of a person's ability.

The school G&T list to me is daft, dd was on the register and they only told us the day she left school. Others were on the list who had only just picked up an instrument as obviously they were in the top 10% as lots in the class didn't play anything. DD had already won county competitions and had played with top professionals, hence a huge difference in ability.

ragged Wed 28-Oct-15 18:47:23

8% of Arizona pupils qualify as Gifted under their definition, Var123.

It's about an average US state socio-economically.

ragged Wed 28-Oct-15 18:49:44

Should add, Americans seem to use the word "genius" in the way MNers like to use the word "gifted". So 10% of American kids might be Gifted, but only 1 in 10,000 would also be a genius.

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