I have to laugh... and I do it too... we all often post as Anon... or similar...
It is lonely being the parent of a gifted child.. often because you are not able to talk about it with other parents... because you will be labels "that" parent ! ...
This year I have been processing a number of issues... one of which is the fact that my children are different to the norm. I have made the conscious decision to not be quiet about it. I am lobbying the Min of Education for changes as well as my local community.
Who cares what "they" think. YOU need support. Your child is more important than what others think.
I know what you mean - but in my case i post anon because NZ is such a small place, children, schools etc are very recognisable and someone lurking or posting is bound to know me or my child! In fact I KNOW people i know read this. Sometimes i just want to comment or vent and not have it read and identified to me/my child.
So good on you Lou, but I'm afraid my veil will remain drawn...
I haven't gone the 'anon' route because my DS was a really really early reader and it was impossible to hide his abilities.
It's been an interesting road and great to be able to help people coming along behind me as I have been aided by those treading the path ahead.
I've not worried too much about what others think but freely shared some of the more 'normal' parenting struggles that everyone likes to know are not unique to them. This forum is fantastic for sharing with people who actually get it!!!
I like to be anonymous too (county girl isn't my real name, lol) so I can feel free to comment openly on topics without worrying about who might see them and possibly be offended or think I am a know it all. It makes things easier than being another anon which is very confusing when we reply to your posts.
Im never really anon even though I dont use my "real" name .... most on here know I am Chugga and far more people in real life know Chugga than know Yolande Jeffares so I normally use the name that people associate with me (and is much easier for people to say so they dont need to feel awkward that they might not say it correctly - even though it doesnt really bother me).
I do appreciate people wanting to protect their privacy but for me personally I am of the belief that being quite open is very important. Obviously for any of us who are confided in there are clear limitations to that openness - BUT when it comes to ourselves and our families, I consider the bigger picture and consider the type of society I would wish for our children.
I wish for a society where they and their parents can have the same degree of openness as any other parents and children - a society where their way of being is accepted as being as "normal" as any other "normality" - so I LIVE the change to society I wish to be.
This is in no way a criticism of others - just an explanation of why I choose the behaviours I do.
On a personal level congruence is important to me .... so I resisted the attempts to discourage me through social controls (eg disapproval, marginalisation - becoming a "target" and so on) and it was REALLY tough for a while - people were really awful to me.
But you know what ..... if you can take those sorts of reactions " on the chin" and understand it philosophically (so you dont scratch their eyes out or cut off their tongues or otherwise react in a way that will suggest you are a genuine threat of some kind) most people WILL eventually learn that you are not responsive to those kinds of manipulations and stop responding negatively .... and once that happens - they often become more and more curious about the novel behaviour and attitudes OR they will just leave you be.
I routinely discuss the same stuff I discuss here outside the classroom with other parents while waiting for the bell to ring .... and do so as casually as if I were talking about the weather or our plans for the weekend - completely unguarded.
Because of the role I have chosen to accept for myself, I believe it to be especially important to actually demonstrate that we can choose openness and authenticity and not buy into "hiding away" and be accepted on the basis of who and how one really is.
Aside from the practicalities - basic personality traits play a role as well IMO - being ones "authentic self" does not necessarily mean being " totally out there and open" ..... for some honouring their authentic self means giving themselves permission to be " private " and " very cautious in their disclosures" despite there being pressure from some "schools of belief" that the only "right way to be genuine" is to be "very open".
To be or not to be ..... always an interesting question!
Obviously marshe is not my real name either but sometimes I even post as anon because the content I am posting could identify both myself and my gifted child!
Tiz Me - love your last line about being authentic for some people is being "private" because I am quite an introvert and quite a private persona and it is an interesting thought to consider that I can still be authentic but yet private at the same time.
I thought that may pique someones attention. Logically of course it MUST be true ..... but just doesnt sit with pop-psychologys stance.
There are of course different contexts for openness .... although I am an introvert myself, being physically recognised and associated with "how" I view the concepts discussed doesnt phase me any because it doesnt in any way encroach upon the privacy of WHO Chugga is.
In my case there is no need for me to take any measures to " protect the privacy" of who I am .... "GT-ness" does that on its own. People tend to confuse whoness and howness perhaps because in those within the mean range how is more likely to be a fairly accurate reflection of who-ness.
Just managed to check in ... And wow ! So nice to hear everyone's replies. It is terribly lonely not having anyone to talk to. We have no one day school here, nor any other G&T initiatives. So I feel like I am forever fighting for my children. Our school is really good tho and teaches them at their level not their age or school year. Tina, I am in Queenstown.
Hi I too parent a child with differences and I empathise with the way you feel - this forum is a great support to the parents. I understand the pain and isolation that goes with daily parenting challenges however we love our wee ones and want the best and silence doesn't help I am with you all the way
I post on here under Anon... or sometimes "Another anon", "Anonymous # 2" "original anon" etc. Seriously, I should just make up a name....
On the one hand, I think we should be able to talk freely and openly and shouldn't feel we have to 'hide' either our issues, our kids' issues, or who our kids are. But we do need to balance that with respecting our children's privacy.
If my child is a private person who am I to broadcast to the world that my child is terrified of death (or whatever) simply because *my* philosophy is that who they are is okay, in fact, better than okay, wonderful .... and we should be able to discuss it?
I once identified a boy being discussed on here, without any doubt whatsoever. Someone my younger child knows. Through the various posts there was enough information to identify school, year group, child's interest and the year group following acceleration. (In reality, a small number of kids are accelerated; wasn't too hard - and no, I wasn't trying, it was obvious). I didn't like that.
I totally understand what you mean about it be a lonely world being a parent of a gifted child...I have never felt so alone. When my son started school there was no one I could relate to but was very fortunate to have the support and understanding from my son's kindy teachers. As my daughters still attended the kindy they were still around and always asked how he was doing and were willing to listen to my tales of woe. They were also often asked how I was doing, which I felt was wonderful as I think it is the parent who is forgotten in the struggles we have everyday.
we have since moved and have little support. My son has found a gifted friend and his mother is a great outlet but we have very different son's so even then it is difficult. However she is a great listener.
Having no family around to lean on, and when we do spend time with family it is stressful as they don't "get" or understand him and I feel constantly on edge and feel as I have failed as a mother because I have a difficult child. I have had to come to terms with the idea that there will be no childless holidays till they have grown and are on there own. Difficult when many of those get to have those often desired adult holidays..
We don't attend ODS due to the financial issue and from what I have been able to determine there are no other outlets for us...
I so wish I could join the 'out and proud' group of parents of gifted children, and I am getting closer to it! Until very recently I have been telling myself and others my son is just very bright, not gifted, but I have dropped that now as I don't have those doubts, but I'm more likely to say nothing.
I find it hard being a teacher, and having a gifted child because I don't feel I can talk to other parents about my son or they'll think I'm saying he's special/superior etc...that's my perception of their reaction, not necessarily true. And let's face it, he is special, he's awesome, but for so many reasons other than his advanced academic skills.
I find it interesting that when I was pregnant it was thought my son had spina bifida...and so I spent time researching and preparing myself for what needs he may have, and everyone supported my need to look at these things for him. Turns out he doesn't have spina bifida but still has very different development from his same age peers, yet because it's that 'g word', I get frowned upon for trying to research and prepare to meet this set of needs.
You've inspired me Lou, and all the others on here, and hopefully I'll get braver. My son is only a Preschooler so I imagine by the time he's at primary school i'll have no choice but to be an advocate and probably seen as one of "those parents" :)
This post brings two points:
1) all parents who are on this board and who are involved in the education of their children should be proud of what you do. The education and caring you privide is a safe environenment for the raising of your child. I pray for the 14 children who committed suicide in South Auckland last year because they had "no hope". Image being a child and being brought up in a house hold of "no hope". Be very proud of who you are.
2) On the other hand, I agree with "Still Anon", I think if we can discuss in a forum away from the internet then being open about our identity is important. But the internet is still an unknown and any reference to who we are could have a detrimental affect on our children. It's our children who rely on us to make the right decision for them. That is, we don't publish in the public demain their problems in a way they can be identified.
Ahhhh now this is an interesting difference in points of view - you see, I consider regarding the "unknown" as "a threat" to be part of the problem - a BIG factor in why so many of our children are treated as if THEY are a threat
and I dont believe that fostering a culture of paranoia and secrecy is healthy for anyone ..... so I do not adopt those as part of my own behaviour.
If I was to adopt such an approach I would lean towards the evidence and be far far more wary in the school environment than on online because realistically the educational environment is far less of a safe place than the internet.
BUT, I absolutely respect the right of others to make that decision for themselves and would never take it beyond my own family where there is already agreement that there is little risk and potentially great benefit in going into detail (in that others who may feel isolated have greater opportunity to identify and feel less alone if one is specific).