What do you do when you’re excruciatingly sensitive, severely intense, outrageously curious, and wildly imaginative and you’re raising a kid who is JUST LIKE YOU?
Do you– run away from home? Move to a state where marijuana is legal? Outsource your child to India? Create a reality TV show?
Are there other options?
First, understand that you and your child are like this because you have rainforest minds. In the research on giftedness, you’ll find these characteristics described. They’re called overexcitabilities (OE). Named by the Polish psychiatrist K. Dabrowski.
Then, learn how your overexcitabilities can be understood, celebrated, managed and lovingly contained when necessary. (like when you’re in the supermarket and you’d rather not start sobbing over the asparagus or when your child is at school and s/he would rather not start sobbing in front of the school bully)
Share what you learn with your child.
Understand– The rainforest mind is about more-ness. More questions. More insight. More sounds. More colors. More meltdowns. Not only is your cognitive ability generally running faster, wider and deeper but many of your other traits are supersized as well.
Celebrate– Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cried when their classmates were hurt on the playground? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans cared deeply about justice and fairness? Wouldn’t it be a different world if all humans preferred Jane Austen to Justin Bieber?
Manage and lovingly contain– I’m not talking about dumbing down here. Or stifling. Or shrinking. What I mean is that there are times when you’ll want to adjust your speed so that your communication is understood. You’ll want to wait until you’re in a safe place before unleashing your frustrations. You’ll want to learn how to keep your anxiety from overwhelming your body. You’ll want to sleep. So when you want to do these things, it’ll be useful to have developed some strategies.
And finally, raising a child like you may be both wonderful and terrible. Your child’s sweet vulnerability will scare you with the weight of extraordinary responsibility. The unexamined baggage from your own childhood will reappear and grab you by the throat. And your child’s overexcitabilities will dance with your own, to create an excruciatingly outrageously wild LOVE that will change you. Completely.
To my blogEEs: Tell us in the comments about your experiences as a parent of a gifted child. How do you manage your child’s OEs and yours?
This post is part of a blog hop from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Click on the image below to see more posts on parenting OEs and twice-exceptional gifted kids.