Parenting Gifted Children: A Beginner's Guide to Finding Support

by Joel McIntosh

Although I have made gifted education my business, I'm frequently stumped when it comes to specific questions I receive via e-mail about parenting gifted kids. Frankly, any wisdom I might have about the questions I receive would be dwarfed by the collective wisdom of other parents of gifted children and the excellent web resources available. As such, I've developed some recommended online starting points for parents of gifted kids who are seeking help, information, and answers. This list is by no means comprehensive! There are hundreds of fine web resources for parents of gifted children. However, the resources below, in my opinion, ought to give you a good start.

Local Support Groups for Parents of Gifted Children

Most importantly, if you are not already a member of a local support group for parents of gifted children, I would suggest you that join such a group. To locate a group near you, contact your state's National Association for Gifted Children affiliate. Your state's affiliate should have some knowledge of the various local support groups in your area. Parent support groups are wonderfully helpful as you navigate the issues related to parenting a gifted child.

E-Mail Listservs

Let me suggest that you join one of the e-mail listservs devoted to parents of gifted children. Subscribe to one of the listservs below and pose your question to the members of the mailing list. You are sure to get a quick response from one of the hundreds of other parents who subscribe to these lists.
  • GT-Families Listserv — This is a listserv for families of gifted and talented children. To subscribe, send a message with "subscribe GT-Families firstname lastname" in the body to listserv@listserv.icors.org.
  • TAGFAM Listserv — Similar to the listserv above, this also is for families of gifted and talented children. To subscribe, send a message with "subscribe tagfam firstname lastname" in the body to listserv@listserv.icors.org.
  • American Psychological Association's Gifted Child Listserv — This is an e-mailing list of more than 400 researchers, scholars, parents, and educators who are interested in information concerning gifted children and advocacy on the behalf of gifted children. To join the list, simply send an e-mail to Ashley Edmiston asking that you be added as a member of the CGEPNETWORK listserv.

Web Sites

There are many excellent Web sites that might be helpful to you; however, I would recommend that you first visit the following:
  • Davidson Institute for Talent Development — The Davidson Institute for Talent Development Web site features a database of many excellent online articles about parenting and educating gifted children. Although the Davidson Institute is devoted to supporting profoundly gifted children, the database of articles found on its Web site provides helpful information for parents of any gifted child.
  • Hoagies' Gifted Education Page — If you visit no other Web site, visit this wonderfully rich source of information and support for those of us involved with gifted children. Hoagies' Gifted Education Page offers resources, articles, books, and links. I highly recommend it.
There are many other fine online resources for parents; however, I wanted this blog post to give you the resources you need to "get your feet wet." Once you have explored the options above, you'll want to visit Web sites hosted by the National Association for Gifted Children, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, and the many other online resources you discover along the way.