It’s a common complaint among parents of gifted children. They can’t tell their friends about things their child does because they are accused of bragging. This is unfortunate.
Let’s look at two scenarios.
First, we have Johnny. He’s 6 years old and in 1st grade. Johnny loves Legos, being outdoors, and baseball. This spring, he has started to show an interest in learning how to ride a two-wheeler. Last week, in his determination, he got on his bike and rode without any help. He rode all the way down the street on two wheels by himself. His mother, in her amazement, got out her phone and took a video of him riding his bike. She was so proud and excited that she posted the video on social media for all of her friends to see. Her friends shared her excitement, praising both Johnny and mom both for their efforts. “Wow!” “Way to go Johnny!” “Look at him go!” “Great job teaching him Mom.” “Looks like he’s a pro!”
Next, we have Mark. Mark is gifted. He is also 6 years old. He loves math, space, and geography. Mark spends a big part of his day reading books and playing learning games because it’s what he enjoys doing. Last night his mother took him outdoors at night to look at the stars through his telescope. All by himself, Mark identified 10 of the major constellations and their location in the sky. In her amazement, his mother got out her phone and took a video of him pointing out the constellations and telling her which one it was. She was so proud and excited that she posted the video on social media for all of her friends to see. The response she got was not the same as Johnny’s mom. “Why do you always have to brag about how smart he is?” “Let him be a kid.” “He should be playing, not constantly being forced to learn.” “Quit pushing him so hard.”
Where did Mark’s mother go wrong? Both parents were encouraging things that their child enjoys doing. Both parents showed pride in their child’s accomplishments. Why did Mark’s mother get such a horrible response? Yes, Mark’s accomplishment was something that was far above average for his age, but he was simply doing something he enjoys doing. Mark’s mother did not go on social media to say “My kid is smarter than your kid and here’s why.” Unfortunately, people assume that this is the case.
It is absolutely normal for a parent to feel pride about things their child does, whether it’s academic, athletic, or just common every day life. Parents of gifted children are no different.
The things that they feel pride about are just different than other parents. Unfortunately because of the response they get, parents of gifted children are forced to keep their pride to themselves and they feel they can’t share anything with friends.
I am usually one to share my excitement and pride with my friends on social media. I apologize if this ever comes across as “bragging” because that is not at all my intent. I am simply a mother who is proud of her son and the things he likes and is able to do. Our normal, every day life is just different than most people’s normal, every day life and that’s ok.
We’re not better than you or anyone else. If I ever say that, then you’re allowed to accuse me of bragging, but until then….let’s just enjoy sharing our experiences with each other, no matter what they are.