When it’s determined that a child is truly gifted, it presents a mixed bag of emotions for the parents; a large portion of pride, and a larger portion of fear. It’s understandable. Very gifted children are like all children in many ways, and completely different from other children as well.
The very gifted child needs two things: they need to find a level of comfort with being who they are and with the ways in which they are different from other children of the same age, and they need to develop their very great potential.
Parenting a gifted child during the early years is fairly simple. They don’t yet need to go out and try to “fit in” with the rest of the world. For example, if a two-year-old can read, parents can simply supply him with books. If a three-year-old is comfortable playing with toys designed for much older children, the parents can simply supply those toys. It becomes more difficult as the gifted child matures.
One of the most difficult aspects of parenting a very gifted child is that the child speeds far ahead in one or two areas of development but may well lag sadly behind in other areas. For example, a gifted child who is five years old might well read like a 12-year-old, talk like a seven-year-old, play chess like an adult, and share toys like a two-year-old.
The rest of the world doesn’t “get it” that the very gifted child who is 16 years old and getting his college degree in quantum physics doesn’t have a driver’s license yet and had never been on a date. He isn’t happy; he’s miserable. He feels like a misfit — and in the world of his peers, he is a misfit. That’s why is so very important for parents to recognize the problem and provide the gifted child with the opportunity to associate with those who are like himself. There are camps for gifted children where they have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other gifted children.