by Nicole LaChance
Parenting a gifted or twice-exceptional child comes with a special set of joys and challenges. I know it’s easy for parents to feel like they are alone in their situation and not receiving support from traditional educational groups and institutions. That is why I believe in the importance of parent support groups. There are many reasons to join, but here are my top three:
- Somewhere to Vent Frustrations and Celebrate Accomplishments
Gifted children are unique. Their needs are not like other children, so it’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like those needs are not being met. Many parents without gifted children simply don’t understand this frustration. That is where parent groups come in. Fellow parents of gifted or twice-exceptional children have very likely been through the same issues and can lend a helpful ear when you need to vent.
The other side of the coin is that the same group who appreciates your child’s challenges will also understand the significance of their accomplishments. Parents of non-twice-exceptional children, for example, may not recognize the significance of completing a seemingly simple task without anxiety, while parents with similar children can celebrate the accomplishment and understand its significance.
- Connect With Resources
Are your most trusted recommendations from fellow parents? Have you heard about some great services through word-of-mouth? Parent groups give you a place to connect with other parents and share resources. Whether you are looking for a specialized school, searching for summer programs, stuck for places to do research about a specific issue or simply curious what other parents are doing, parent groups allow a forum to share these resources and sing the praises of something that worked wonders for your child.
- Open and Informed Discussion
Parent groups are a place where parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children can be open about their feelings and opinions with a group who understands the special needs and issues surrounding gifted children. Where else can you have such open conversations with parents who have been through the same situations? Even as an observer of these meetings, I can see the relief parents feel when they finally get to speak what’s on their minds and are met with affirmations of support.
I hope all parents of gifted children consider trying out a parent group in their area. These groups provide a much needed shoulder to lean on for frustrated parents looking for solutions to the unique needs of their children. Start by reaching out to the gifted association in your state to see if they have any connections in your area.
IEA hosts parent support groups once a month on various topics relating to gifted youth. Our next meeting will be April 27th at 6:30 p.m and will be a roundtable focused on gifted student issues in elementary school. Stay tuned for details and check our calendar for other upcoming parent events.
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Nicole LaChance graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Journalism before moving West in pursuit of milder winters. Prior to joining the IEA team, she spent time working in marketing for an architecture firm and completed two years of national service in the AmeriCorps program. Over the past few years she has worked with nonprofits to communicate their message and impact to the world around them, work she is excited to continue at IEA. When not at the office, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling wherever she can and making bad puns.
This post is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop: Forming Parent Groups. Please click the image below to keep on hopping!