This is a continuation of an interview with Colette Morehead, parent of three highly gifted adult children. In Part 1, we learned that Colette’s son and twin daughters were all identified as gifted in elementary school and participated in enrichment programs that provided access to the Ivy League.
Colette’s role as an educator informed her parenting practices, as she notes below. Finally, she provides advice for parents raising multiple gifted children and nurturing their gifts through adolescence into adulthood.
How did your role as an educator of the gifted help you nurture your children?
I had been an educator for nine years as an itinerant visual arts specialist to grades K-7 before I was encouraged to get a gifted certification.
The director of the district’s gifted program was impressed with my grant-writing skills and insisted that I get the certification. After following her advice, I was surprised to discover that it was the best thing I could have done to improve my understanding of my own children. Their behaviors and gifted characteristics were explained and contributed greatly to my parenting skills. I wished that I had gotten the certification earlier.
As a gifted specialist for the past eight years, I willingly share with my students, co-workers, and parents in an effort to improve awareness of giftedness.
What advice would you give to other parents raising multiple gifted children?
My advice to other parents is to get educated. Do research on the characteristics of gifted children. In today’s cyber-world, information is only a click away. Know that all of the characteristics will not apply to your child, but some will. Knowledge is power.
Don’t hesitate to become an advocate on behalf of gifted children. Remain in tune with your child’s educational life for life. Always be ready to stand in the gap.
All children, especially the gifted, need open communication—that is, ongoing communication relative to school and academic performance—with their parents. Don’t hesitate to schedule meetings with your child’s teachers or administrators. It is crucial for parents to follow up on situations that are beyond a child’s control. Gifted children need to know that they are designed to fulfill their greatest potential.
Ed. note: The Morehead children, now adults, are all high achievers: The son is a mechanical engineer; one daughter is a program analyst with the Ministry of Health in Zambia; the other is an analyst in the Government Accountability Office. All are college graduates.
For more information, go to the website of the National Association for Gifted Children. Joy Lawson Davis, Ph.D., the author of this post and a member of NAGC, is also the author of Bright, Talented & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners.