Category Archives: parenting

How Can You Tell If Your Child is Gifted?

giftedAll parents think their children are exceptional. I certainly think mine are gifted! And I didn’t need a list to tell me they are, they just are. However, if you’re wondering and if you just want to be sure, here’s 20 signs for giftedness which were adapted from Austega:

1. Has early interest in words and reading
2. Has exceptionally large vocabulary for their age
3. Learns rapidly, easily and efficiently
4. Is curious about objects or situations, asks provocative questions; enjoys exploratory activities
5. Has an unusually strong memory, but is bored with memorization and recitation
6. Is flexible in thinking patterns; makes unusual associations between remote ideas
7. Is independent
8. Has a wide range of interests
9. Demonstrates unusual reasoning power
10. Likes structure, order and consistency
11. Show unusual degrees of originality, concentration and persistent hard work on projects that capture their interest and imagination
12. Is perceptually open to his or her environment
13. Has an advanced sense of humor
14. Is sensitive to the feelings of others
15. Shows more interest in creative effort and new activities than in routine and repetitive tasks
16. Shows an intense interest and aptitude in an artistic activity, such as drawing, singing, dancing, writing, or playing a musical instrument
17. Is intellectually playful, interested in fantasy, imagination
18. Acts as a leader among children of their own age
19. Tries to excel in almost everything she does
20. Senses when problems exist; always trying to adapt or improve things

Whether your child fits all those characteristics or none of them, I bet you still think your child is gifted don’t you? GOOD! Because they are!

Every child born is gifted. They are a gift in and of themselves and whether they accomplish great things or not is not really the point is it? The point is that they are yours to take care of and love no matter what.

I Hope… They Be Wrong and Be Loud

“It won’t be one of mine”. That’s what one mother said about her child being bullied. That’s what we all say too, but even when we do everything right, what assurances do we have that the same thing won’t happen to our children? It’s a cruel world they are living in. The boundaries that hemmed us in when we were younger are now blurred and even more so when you throw in the anonymity afforded by technology. Some kids (and some adults too) are emboldened when they think they can hide behind aliases and anonymous personas on the internet or through texting.

Growing up and being a teen is hard enough without adding bullying into the mix. It seems that we hear more and more cases of young kids taking their own lives because of alleged bullying. Just today, I read about two cases. One is of a mom in Philadelphia who risks jail time to avoid subjecting her child to bullying. The other, more severe case is of a 12 year old Japanese girl who hanged herself because of bullying. After hearing of the later case, could you blame the Philadelphia mom?

It breaks my heart to hear of these cases. I feel bad for the young lives cut short. I feel bad for their parents left behind. But most of all I am terrified that it would happen to us. It’s easy to become complacent, to think that it would never happen to us. But as we all know, there are no guarantees in life, only hope. Hope that we have done enough to create a secure sense of self in our children, that we have done enough to make sure their exposure to the unpleasantness in life is at most minimal. We hope that we’ve loved them enough that they don’t need anyone elses. We hope that we’ve armed them enough to fight anything thrown at them. We hope that they are strong enough to withstand hopelessness. We hope…

But the most important thing that I hope we have imparted in our children is to not be afraid to be wrong and to not afraid to be loud. I know. Wrong and loud does not seem to be characteristics that we ought to be teaching our children. They seem more traits fit for the bullies we are fighting against. But I do believe that the people involved in just the two cases I mentioned above, the people who had knowledge of the bullying, were afraid to be wrong and were afraid to be loud and stand out. They didn’t want to be the first one to step out of line to say, ‘stop!’. They didn’t want to be labeled as loud for speaking out.

In the Japanese case, “After an initial denial, Niisato Higashi Elementary School admitted Monday she had been a frequent target of abuse by classmates.” They admitted after the fact and after a ‘survey’ has been conducted. If only just one teacher had ventured to be wrong and found a loud enough voice to say ‘Enough!’

In the Philadelphia case, there is still hope. The kids are still alive. There are still here so that administrators can still bicker whether enough documentation is available to warrant protecting these kids. If only one administrator in that school district would risk being wrong by going against protocol and instead listen to this individual case and be the one to be loud enough for them so they can attend a safer school.

When my daughters entered school, someone told us that we had better teach them to stand up for themselves. That we should teach them to take no crap. That we should teach them to hit back. It sounded right. We wouldn’t want our daughters to be anyone’s victims.

Except that I wasn’t too comfortable with teaching them to fight. Instead, we taught them to avoid being in situations where they would have to hit someone back. We told them that crap is crap and they don’t have room within themselves for crap so leave others to theirs.

We taught them to stand up for someone else who is being taken advantage of. We told them to sit with the person sitting alone. We told them to be the first to help someone up when they have fallen. We told them to be the first to offer a kind word when someone is sad and be the first to say hi when someone is new to the school.

Are our girls perfect because of what we’ve tried to tell them and teach them? Of course not. I’m sure they have had their mean moments. I am sure that they have inadvertently laughed when someone stumbled. They have probably said some unkind words about someone else. They may have even hit back when someone shoved them. That’s alright. None of us are perfect.

My hope is that when it counts, I hope that they will have the courage to be wrong. To go against their friends to stand up for someone else who can’t do it for themselves. I hope they find their voice and use it as loud as they can to speak for someone else who can’t. I hope…

When is a hug considered sexual harassment?

Teenagers nowadays think nothing of giving each other hugs to greet each other. It is how we raised them. We raised them to show affection, we raised them to love. We also raised them to respect. We raised them to recognize the boundaries of what is right, what is wrong and what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

The other day when I picked her up from school, she was livid. She was outraged that on two separate occasions that day, two boys she considered as friends hugged her as is their usual way greeting each other. The first incident happened between classes. Her friend hugged her but in addition nuzzled her neck and kissed her neck. She said she was disgusted but was too shocked to say anything at the time. A little while later as she was going in to the classroom, another boy did the same thing to her. Whether the two contrived to do this to her or not, she is not sure. She is sure of how it made her feel. It made her feel uncomfortable and it made her feel dirty. She ran into the shower as soon as she got home to wash it all off. The thing is, you can not simply wash off the feeling of having been violated leaves behind.

You can’t simply chuck it to teenage hormones and that boys will be boys. Was she partly responsible for having been subjected to this? Should she consider changing the way she relates to her friends and should she be the one compelled to change classes so she does not have to deal with them again? The answer is a resounding NO.
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Communicate With Your Kids (7 of 7)

The bottom line of talking with your kids is to simply TALK. Start talking when they’re young, talk wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Keep talking until you’re blue in the face and one day they will listen and it will all be worth it.

As important as talking, you also need to learn when to shut up and listen. I’m learning that we all need space but especially teenagers. Sometimes they just don’t feel like talking. Sometimes it’s enough that they are sitting in the same room as you.

UNIQUE CONVERSATION STARTERS

It’s easy to say just start talking but it’s not always easy to do. Sometimes we have to find other ways to get the conversation going. Some of the comments on our post about communicating with your kids generated a collection of unique and creative ideas to kick start communication with your kids.
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Communicate With Your Kids (6 of 7)

Continuing with our series on communicating with your kids, this time we’ll be talking about listening instead of talking.
 
listen

LISTEN, DON’T JUDGE AND BE HONEST – GIVE THEM SPACE


And most of all, stay calm. I know our first instinct usually is to protect them from what we know is surely impending mistakes. But, especially with older children, we have to realize that they have to find their own way and we can’t always fix everything in their lives. Sometimes we just have to be there to catch them when they fall.

Here are more comments from other moms and moms to be:
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