Sanity Check: Parenting Instincts don't fit modern life

Good Parenting is “Naturally” Hard for Everyone

For all the other animals in the world, the only parenting objective is to keep the child alive long enough to make you a grandparent. And they don't hover around to make sure that grandkids show up. Once the young animal knows when to run and where to find food and water, animal parenting is pretty much done.

The rules of parenting success are vastly different for human beings. And it's all because we live in highly structured societies with all kinds of non-animal rules to follow. There are no natural instincts to follow the artificial rules of human society. That's why so many people end up breaking the rules so often.

Parenting in General

If there's one piece of encouragement, it's that all parents are going through almost all the same things with their children, whether they're gifted and talented or not. That's because most troubling issues, great or small, come from frictions with those artificial, social rules I mentioned above. Now, we need a lot of those social rules. They reduce our frictions with each other as adults. So, all the families on earth have to grind through those same frictions with their kids.

Parenting Gifted and Talented Children

On the slightly more difficult side, unless people deal closely with gifted and talented children, most people don't understand those few special issues that come with exceptional talent. Not even school systems that claim to provide special programs like those we have here in Montgomery County, Maryland. It's not that there's something beyond understanding here, but you do have to be ready to grasp the very different types of viewpoints on the world that gifted people usually have. Learning how to listen for the clues that describe their perspectives is an extremely helpful skill for the parent and the educator.

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More on Be the Boss by 12

Be the Boss by 12 is a series of ebooks designed to help any gifted and talented child grow into a successful adult. The gifted child can add the skills of leadership to other gifts and talents. Such kids can build social habits that make school a richer experience. In their futures, the powers of leadership enable the gifted child to engage future decision-makers on a peer-to-peer footing to negotiate great career paths and compensation.

Sanity Checks for Parenting

Erik Lenderman: Hi folks. This is Erik Lenderman, back again with Dr. Tom Meylan, former NASA scientist and Ph.D. in astrophysics, here to talk about raising your gifted and talented kids to talk about his new book, Be the Boss by 12, Volume Zero, which is Parents' Prep, preparing parents for how to raise their gifted and talented kids. Today we're talking about Chapter Two, which are “Sanity Checks for Parenting.” So, Tom, can you tell us, what are sanity checks for parenting, and what kind of sanity checks should people be using with their kids?

Thomas Meylan Ph.D.: Well, the main thing is that they have a child. They don't have an alien from Mars. They don't have someone with a mental condition. They have a child. And chances are 90-95% of what this parent is experiencing with this gifted and talented child is exactly the same thing that any parent faces with any child. You know? They're kids! That's kind of sanity check Number One. It's just a kid.

Now, taking that another step further, part of it is that this child is working really hard at understanding what's going on around them. Now, that's another thing that all kids do. A gifted and talented child is going to be collecting data much more quickly, and forming associations with those collected data that other kids typically don't.

So it's kind of like, even very small children who are very, very perceptive will start looking at the world around them and saying like, "Well, you know, when Aunt Joanne does this, this thing happens, but when Aunt Betty does the exact same thing over here, something else happens. I don't understand that." So, they're very perceptive, and they are comparing their own internal notes. And they're going to be asking you questions about that. They're going to say, "This doesn't make sense." Now, that might not be the phrase they use, but they're asking questions, and they're not trying to be a pain. They're trying to understand.

And the gifted child is often a little more insistent about that. It's normal. It's normal for all kids to ask bunches of questions. It's even more to the point that a gifted and talented child is going to be really examining the world around them, 'cause that's just what they're wired to do.

So, this is part of the sanity thing. Draw a few breaths when a pont of exasperation shows up. Don't jump to the conclusion that if you see something that's a little bit “off” that your child is “off”. Kids are all over the map. Take it easy. It's OK.

And the thing of it, too, is that more than most children (and again, everyone's on a spectrum), but even the quiet, introspective kids are generally interested in engaging people who want to engage back. Might be on their own terms. Might be quiet. Might be only once or twice a week, or whatever it is, but, just be open when that event happens. Just communicate. Keep communicating. That's the key to getting this to work well.

Erik Lenderman: That's great, that's great. So, Chapter Two, “Sanity Checks for Parenting”, talking about, you know, these are gifted and talented kids. They are going to have behaviors that are different. They may ask a lot of questions. They may be very insistent that you give them clear, concrete answers to questions that may seem irrelevant to you, or exhausting to you, but they're simply...

Thomas Meylan Ph.D.: Or you don't know the answer. I mean, sometimes they blow you away. It happens.

Erik Lenderman: Right! And, so, for folks who want to know, “Sanity Checks for Parenting” (Chapter Two), click the link below to take a look at Dr. Tom Meylan's books, so you can get a copy for yourself, and you can learn how to prepare for raising a gifted and talented child. Learn more through clicking the link below. We're going to be back with some more chapters in just a moment, to tell you what's in the book, and we'll see you soon.

Early Enthusiasm for Be the Boss by 12

Be the Boss By 12 is a great guide for parents to help their bright children to become leaders in today's world. Some gifted children are naturally good leaders, but many shy away from the spotlight. This book series offers parents a way to encourage kids to reach their potential and to inspire others along the way. Great job Tom Meylan! Christy George, MFT, SEP, Counseling and Consulting

How it works — Prepare a Genius for Adult Life

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The gifts will mostly take care of themselves.


Build emotional toughness
into the child's inner dialog.


Teach the child to project
the social cues of "The Boss."

Be the Boss by 12, Volume Zero: Parents' Prep
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