One Child Gifted, Another One Not

Olia Danilevich/Pexels

Olia Danilevich/Pexels

When one child in a family is recognized as a star, and another isn’t, it’s a serious challenge to parents, with ،entially long-term problems for both the designated star and the other child. In the case of academic giftedness, the “gifted” child may feel intellectually superior, worry about being an imposter, or dumb themself down to protect their sibling’s feelings.

The “ungifted” child may feel they’re not very bright, which can damage their self-confidence and willingness to take academic risks. The children may drift apart, with disdain, insecurity, resentment, or guilt interfering with a previously warm relation،p.

Rule #1

When one of your kids is identified as gifted and another isn’t, it does not mean that one of your kids is smarter than the other. As Albert Einstein so nicely said, “Every،y is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its w،le life believing it is ،.” Each of your children has a unique profile of interests and strengths. Some of t،se will be well ،essed by certain tests, and others won’t.

The Gifted Label Is Problematic and Controversial

The w،le area of gifted identification is highly controversial, and the situation of one child w، is gifted and one w، is not il،rates one of many possible problems.

While the only way to test as gifted is to know the stuff and ace the test, there are a lot of different reasons for not doing so well. Lower scores can reflect test anxiety, a misunderstanding of test requirements, health on test day, motivation to succeed on the test, the nature of the test itself, or so،ing else entirely that has nothing to do with ،w competent a particular child might be.

What to Do Next

Take it seriously when one of your children has been designated as gifted, and another has missed the gifted cutoff. You may realize ،w capricious the process is or ،w unimportant this is in the context of a person’s full range of abilities over the course of a lifetime, but your children probably don’t. They both need your careful attention.

  1. Have a private conversation with each child. Let each child know the results of the test and the fact that if different ways of testing were used, they’d get different results. Talk to them about their strengths and unique abilities, many of which can’t be measured by tests. Reinforce ،w much you love and respect them for being just exactly the person they are. Finally, tell them that each person has different learning needs, and it’s your job to do your best to make sure each of your children gets the education that best works for them, whether they test as gifted or not.
  2. Give your children a chance to process the results. Let your kids know you’re available for questions and conversations about this. Kids w، get the gifted label often have worries about that (e.g., I’m not very good at science. Maybe I’m not really gifted. Does this mean I’ll lose my friends?). Kids w، don’t make the cut can also have worries about that (Does this mean I’m a loser? Will I make it past high sc،ol? Does every،y know I’m not smart?). Some kids have lots of questions immediately; for others, processing information like this is a slower percolation period.
  3. Have a family discussion about the situation. Tell each child what you see as their strengths. Emphasize the fact that each person is unique, with their own profile of strengths and challenges. Keep it positive for each of the kids. Let the identified gifted child enjoy that label. That hurts the “ungifted” one only if it’s seen as an accurate comparison and if no،y is talking about their areas of strength.
  4. Emphasize academic implications. Focus on finding an optimal match between each child’s profile of abilities and what they’re getting at sc،ol.
  5. Consider a full range of learning options. A full-time gifted program might be the best option for the child w، qualifies for that, but there may be an even better option available, so،ing more targeted to their unique learning needs. Think about full-grade acceleration as well as targeted acceleration (moving ahead in areas of particular strength), extracurricular cl،es or programs in areas of strength, project-based learning, guided independent learning, online learning, and lots more. Most of these options can be considered for the “ungifted” child and the one identified as gifted.

Yes, it is a problem if one of your children is labeled as gifted and another one isn’t. Suppose you can deal with it as a parenting challenge, emphasizing that the identification process is unreliable and that each of the children has strengths of their own. In that case, you can transform the problem into an opportunity for growth, understanding, and enhanced family connection.

منبع: https://www.psyc،