Sunday, January 19, 2014

Parenting an Underachiever? Can You Say Heartache?

Photo source: Morgue File

I didn't learn about what it means to be gifted until fairly late in the game. Looking back, it’s amazing that I survived at all. The condescending calls from teachers, the homework battles, parenting books filled with advice that NEVER worked, watching my child descend into despair … all the while feeling SO ALONE.

Hindsight may be 20 – 20, but in my case, it’s difficult to see that things could have been any different. With one possible exception … knowing what the heck was going on! Blogs were non-existent when I started my journey as a parent.

The advent of blogs for parents of gifted kids is a relatively new occurrence. How I wish this was not true. I must admit a bit of envy ~ yes ENVY for parents today. I read blogs every day and seek out blogs pertaining to gifted parenting. Some have excellent advice; some not.

The point is … if you are parenting an underachiever, you certainly are not ALONE. You know the old saying, “Misery loves company”? Well, it sure can feel like misery when your child is underachieving and NO ONE seems to know what to do or how to help. TOO MANY people seemingly love to point fingers and place blame; but how does that help you and your child?

The simple answer is that it doesn't help. So, what can help? Learning about and understanding that underachievement is a growing phenomenon and something that is best dealt with when recognized early. Although it’s never too late to address this issue, it easier to do while your child is young and not sinking into the abyss.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When your child is identified as gifted, DO NOT take it for granted. Advocate from day one. Advocate for an appropriate, individualized education program. Find out what is already available; then research programs to enhance those offerings. Appreciate the benefits of technology in the gifted classroom. Explore all your options.

Finally, you may have to accept that this is one situation beyond your control and things may not turn out as you had planned or even hoped for; life is like that sometimes. It’s not the end of the world. Children grow up and life goes on. Love does survive.

Is that the end of the story? Not at all! You can make a difference in your child’s life. It’s not easy parenting a rebellious kid who is failing in school or who may have already dropped out. As the parent of a gifted child who is not living up to their potential, you must NEVER give up! If you don’t think you can handle it on your own, seek help. With your support, your child will make it! 

If you would like resources to help on the journey, please comment below and I will send you both online and offline resources.