There is often a lopsided view of giftedness where the focus is on developing the child’s intellectual ability or creating highly talented individuals who perform at excellence levels. We view this to be only one of the aspects of nurturing. We believe that gifted and talented children need to grow up to be compassionate, brilliant change makers and leaders in their own fields. For this it is important to view the gifted children holistically through the lens of physical, emotional, social and even spiritual development.
Parents often face challenges when it comes to nurturing the child’s giftedness from a holistic point of view. As they are the ones who spend most time with their children they are quite aware of the difficulties the child is facing or might face in future due to their certain habits/tendencies; they struggle to find appropriate ways that will aid the intended talent development in the child.
Here we would like to share some important parenting tips on how you can nurture the following aspects that would support the intended talent development in your child:
1. Physical aspect: Physical fitness is often ignored by children who are intellectually or academically inclined. There may also be a tendency to overeat owing to the high energy and heightened emotional sensitivity.
Recognizing one’s body type and ensuring the child has healthy food and sleep habits is important from the early years. Parents may need to enforce regular physical activity in the early years such that it develops into a habit.
2. Energy levels: Gifted children can be distracted or restless due to their high energy. They might become too excited or might feel low if they are hurt or sad or disappointed. One of the effective coping ways is learning to control your breathing.
Gifted children would benefit from practicing breathing exercises. This could also be built indirectly through playing sports, learning to sing or playing wind instruments like the flute. Even chanting, meditating, yoga could be ways in which they learn to control their breathing, regulate their energy and emotions.
3. Mind and emotions: Gifted children can make the most of their intellect if they are able to keep a clear mind. This would mean regulating emotions, avoid overthinking, overcoming fears and having faith so as to take healthy risks. Irrationality can be fought by learning to be mindful of oneself and the surroundings. Gifted children can practice mindfulness, develop good thinking habits like being curious and inquiring before jumping to conclusions and being afraid or aversive. Having a mentor can be very helpful for gifted children as they are not only teachers but act as life-coaches.
4. Spiritual Aspect: Gifted children go through intense highs and lows. They can be the object of envy for others, they can be ambitious and might develop a superior attitude and appear pompous. This can give rise to greed, restlessness, dissatisfaction and disillusionment.
Parents need to ensure that the child remains grounded and can move towards higher goals like happiness and satisfaction. In our experience gifted children who get an opportunity to do community service, follow spiritual or religious practices, connect with nature are able to have more meaningful lives.
Pursuing excellence while reflecting on life choices and purpose is a roadway to a life filled with gratitude, happiness and well-being for a gifted individual.
Original article published in Vividha, 3(2), March 2022 https://kaveri.edu.in/kgec/blog/2022/04/07/vividha-march-2022/
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