Life as a young Mum comes with its own extra set of challenges. You are immediately categorized and judged. “Her life is over” “she’s too young” “she will have no idea what she’s doing” sound familiar? Wait till you’re a young Mum with a gifted child. Truth is none of us really know what we are doing and we are just taking this Mum thing one day at a time.
I was 19 when I had my son. I always wanted to be a Mum and when I found out I was having a baby I was so happy. Family & friends were a different story. The quotes above are things I have heard all too often. And low an behold I am a damn good Mum, we all have our bad days, but every day I put my kids before myself and dedicate my life to them. And as a family we have achieved so much because we have a children to set the best example we can for.
Everyone offers your their opinion on how you choose to parent and raise your child no matter how old you are, or wither your child is gifted or not. But the hard part that comes with being young and having a gifted child is people’s inability to understand your situation yet an abundance of negative comments about the outcome. They very well may have experience being parents, but not of a gifted child. It’s a constant battle between being polite and respectful to the adults around you and defending your child and choices.
I chose to parent from an attachment parenting mind set. Which is already foreign to most people in my life. I am constantly questioned about my choices. And having a gifted child who doesn’t fit into the normal category means it must be due to my parenting style. He’s spoilt. No discipline. He needs to harden up, the world is too PC now days. It’s not actually because he is gifted, not his social and emotional behaviour anyway. Blah blah blah is all I hear now. As I have grown as a parent and an adult I have learnt a lot and feel more confident in standing my ground. I know my child better than anyone. Please parents, stop judging, period. We are all doing what we think is best for our kids. And if you know nothing about a gifted child, best say nothing.
My son started to show signs of being gifted from a very young age. He knew his alphabet at 18 months, and soon after learnt to spell his name. By the time he was 2 he could spell several 3 and 4 letter words. He is 4 now and reads basically on the same level as me. He could write from about 2.5 years old. His obsession with the solar system started when he was about 3. He knows about all the planets, their moons, and the universe. Then came the love of earth and all its countries, ha can find you any country on a map. He’s a perfectionist, and upholds a very high standard for himself and everything he does. This started very young, he liked things to be right. Things in order, and it has taken him a long time to deal with mistakes. I spent a lot of time teaching him, he loved learning so I kept teaching and it never ends. But I am not trying to show off when I explain him, don’t compare him to your own children, every child is different. I just want you to try and understand. And I don’t for a second think your child is dumb because they don’t know these things. All kids have their strengths and weaknesses.
You wouldn’t believe how hard it is for people to comprehend a gifted child’s abilities. I know an 18 month old lining their blocks up in alphabetical order isn’t something you see every day, but he could. And people would see it first hand and still say “he doesn’t really know they are letters, he just knows the order” “he doesn’t actually know what they mean” “he just does that by memory” ….. why all the negativity?
He could read basic books from about 3 years old. “He’s not actually reading it, he’s just memorized the story you’ve read him”… if I had a dollar for every time I heard that … I’d have him read specific paragraphs to prove he really was reading. People still couldn’t find a positive comment. And after a while I stopped feeling the need to prove he was in fact reading, who cares if people can’t believe it.
“Did you teach him that?” – of course I did. I’m his mother and I put a lot of time into teaching my son. Learning starts at home. If your child doesn’t like letters and numbers like mine though that is totally fine! You’ve taught your child to kick a ball or ride a bike, and that’s awesome, these are also important life skills! Your also starting your learning at home. Stop comparisons!
Most gifted parents don’t want to boast about their kids. They want them to be accepted as they are. But I know a lot of us are forever explaining our kids, making excuses for quirks and behaviour.
Along with the abundance of knowledge my son has, comes an abundance of emotions too. Anxiety being a big one. He is definitely more emotional than kids his age, but because of his academic abilities people automatically think he must have full control of his emotions and social aspects of life too. Wrong! This is normal in gifted kids. Which is something I’ve learnt along the way, seriously one day at a time has gotten me through A LOT.
My son is approaching school age now. And the number 1 question I have is “how is he going to cope at school” “what are they going to teach him?” And the truth is, I don’t know. I’ll be using my favourite quote of the post. One day at a time.
I could talk about this all day. It’s something dear to my heart. Helping other young Mum’s of gifted children to realise their rights, to parent how they choose, to feel confident as a parent is something I wish I could teach. But the only one who can teach us that is our gifted children. I wish I felt the confidence I have now when my son was younger. There are so many conversations and moments I wish I could go back to, have the chance to say my bit. To stand up for myself and most importantly stand up for my son.
If you take nothing more from this post than my quote, one day at a time, put it into practise. Wither your a young Mum, a gifted child’s Mum, not a Mum yet. Just think about how we are all learning about life, our kids, every thing just that one day at a time. Appreciate every child’s strengths and weaknesses, strengths for all the things you’ve taught them and weaknesses that make them human.
Take a moment this gifted awareness week to learn about gifted kids. And universally let’s stop being judgemental parents. ♡