What we have learned during a year that tested our resolve

A year has passed since the abysmal summer of 2020. As recounted in a previous post from Independence Day, 2020, financial struggles, anxiety, isolation from loved ones, potential (or actual) job loss, and the devastating physical and emotional impact of COVID-19 were widespread. Political divisiveness, an anti-science sentiment, and heightened awareness of racial injustice and climate change topped the mix. Schools and camps were closed, vacations canceled, graduation celebrations curtailed, and life, as we knew it, had changed. …

What families of gifted children and gifted education advocates need to know

In the midst of raising an often emotionally intense, perpetually curious, and sometimes quirky gifted child, you may face the additional daunting task of advocating for their welfare. It was not something you bargained for — yet, it takes on a vital, necessary role in your parenting journey.

(Image courtesy of Headway)

You find yourself advocating at school merely to offset your child’s increasing boredom and sense of disconnection; sometimes pleading in desperation for administrators to take giftedness seriously. You field questions and critiques from family and neighbors, and find yourself explaining (apologizing?) about asynchronous development and social immaturity, and why your child doesn’t…

Targeted as “too smart” or “too studious,” their academic needs have become collateral damage.

Recent hate crimes against Asian Americans have raised awareness of the discrimination they have endured. These incidents also serve as an additional reminder of another form of discrimination, tolerated for years. Although certainly on a different scale than the murders in Atlanta or incidents of physical assault, we can also use this moment in time to acknowledge the plight of Asian American children within U.S. schools.

Asian American students have been stereotyped and marginalized; frequently targeted as too smart or too studious, their academic needs have become collateral damage in efforts to improve educational opportunities and enrichment for other minority…

When the world emerges from this long, cruel COVID tunnel, what light will we find at the other end? Is our sacrifice and our isolation a pointless exercise, or will something more meaningful unfold?

Like everyone else, I weather disappointments every single day. I miss my adult children and friends. I will likely forego a vacation to my beloved favorite beach this year. Everything takes longer to accomplish and requires intricate risk calculations. Is it foolish and indulgent to get my hair cut? What are the “safest” times to buy groceries? Is that dental appointment really necessary?

And like others…

How do we teach empathy, compassion, and tolerance?

Recent protests against racism and injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death may fuel questions, fears, confusion, and anger, even among young children, who don’t understand why injustice exists at all. It just doesn’t make sense to them. Many children are already primed for empathy, and experience strong reactions to any signs of social injustice. Parents and educators may question how to address these issues without increasing fears and anxiety.

How do we ensure that our children develop empathy and compassion, and learn to recognize their own biases and prejudices? How…

And keeping your sanity intact

May we live in interesting times?

Perhaps. But for most of us, a little less drama would be preferable. Financial struggles, anxiety about COVID-19, isolation from friends and family, potential (or actual) job loss, political divisiveness, and increased awareness and anger about racial injustice are an overwhelming part of daily life. Schools have been closed, vacations canceled, graduation celebrations curtailed, and life, as we know it, has changed.

As summer looms, families are scrambling to sort out options for their children — and for themselves. It may seem like a daily challenge just to manage their child’s day, find meaningful…

Gifted children deserve our understanding — not harmful misconceptions.

So much energy has been expended arguing whether giftedness is an elitist construct, or a parent’s choice, or even if it exists at all. Debates have raged over the gifted label (admittedly, a controversial term), whether gifted children deserve “special” services tailored to their needs, and if gifted education is necessary.

According to the critics, if giftedness does not exist, or if it is an achievement that anyone can aspire to with just enough perseverance, or if providing services for this non-existent presumably elitist construct deprives other, more deserving children of their education, then let’s eliminate the concept — and…

A troubling offshoot from the COVID-19 crisis is the outcry against scientific research and scientists themselves. Politics, self-interest, and fear (particularly, anxiety about job insecurity) fuel assumptions that the scientific data and predictions must be wrong. “Scientists are driven by ‘big pharma.’ It’s all a hoax. Don’t trust those ivory-tower elites.”

How did it come to this? Why is sound research sometimes ignored? Opposition persists, as evident in social media posts that downplay how easily COVID-19 is spread, in gatherings where social distancing restrictions are ignored, and among demonstrators who claim their right to personal freedom overrides the health of…

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle — Plato

Navigating uncharted waters during the coronavirus outbreak has challenged us all. Many Americans are familiar with “first world problems” like nabbing the best vacation deals or worrying about getting that promotion at work. But now, shuttered stores, job loss, and even restricted availability of some basic supplies is creating a startling reality.

Even more daunting is the panic that wells up in your throat at night, the fears for yourself and your loved ones, and even shame over “selfish” urges to hoard as many paper products and…

Gail Post, Ph.D.

While we navigate the coronavirus outbreak and grapple with our own reactions and fears, we also have to address our children’s needs. This requires more than just the basics, like managing their time, finding indoor activities, and offering reassurance. Children need direct, clear, and meaningful guidance, in line with their developmental level and their capacity to digest complex and emotionally charged information.

The following are basic guidelines for providing realistic and attuned support:

1. First, ask them

Don’t assume that you know what your children are thinking or feeling. Ask them instead. You may be surprised by how calm or anxious or informed or oblivious they are. Notice…

Gail Post, Ph.D.

Psychologist, parenting coach and writer, focusing on psychology, education, & policy. Find out more — www.gailpost.com & https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com.

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