I’ve heard this sentiment before: “It’s like every gifted child is 2e. Mine is not, but that’s all I ever hear about.” Today, a thread on a gifted group blew up a bit when someone posted a reminder that not every gifted child struggles. The original poster’s child was calm, happy at school , and clearly thriving, and the parent felt somewhat unwelcome because of this.
As I read through the thread with various intense emotional responses, I felt sad. We’re a small community of gifted folks, and we’re here to support each other in this journey. I don’t want anyone to feel less because I always whine about my family’s issues. I certainly don’t want them to feel left out. We need to welcome every gifted family and support them no matter what they deal with. Or don’t deal with, as the case may be.
Ditch the stereotypes
Let me be clear: there is no stereotypical gifted child. They’re all different. They may share certain traits, some may trend more one way than another, but none of them are exactly the same. We keep trying to force our kids into some sort of box to fit educational and social norms, and they’re just not going to fit. They are unique, individual, and amazing.
I write a lot about twice exceptionality because it’s my life. It’s our family’s life. We have many struggles that I share, and even more that I do not share (because I’m trying to protect my kids’ privacy at least a tiny bit.) I hope that by sharing what it’s like for us that others will feel less alone. Less of an outlier. I do NOT post to make anyone feel like their child isn’t gifted unless they deal with the same things we do.
Appearances are deceiving
I’m often acutely aware that everyone has struggles in their lives. Gifted or not, we all have battles, hidden scars, and mountains in our past. We all deal with things that no one is aware of, and we react differently to the exact same events. My goal as a decent human being is to make allowances for this. To understand that people are fighting their own demons.
Gifted kids (and families) are no different. That seemingly perfect gifted child may be dealing with paralyzing anxiety. That bouncing happy kid may be a completely different kid in a different educational setting. Likewise, that defiant, uncooperative kid may be dealing with trauma or reacting to anxiety in their own way. You just never know.
No such thing as noble struggles
There is no nobility in the struggles we face. There is no silver-lining when dealing with disabilities. There is only heartbreak, sadness, and fear. Fear for our children’s future, fear for their bright spark being lost in a crushing educational system, or fear of what they may actually do when their demons are in ascent. No, our children’s struggles do not make them more gifted. Just more tormented.
So if I write too much about our challenges, please keep in mind that it’s not from a place of bragging. I’m not sharing because I think my child is “more” gifted than yours. No, I’m sharing to support others. To vent.
Let’s hear it for amazing!
I love hearing about the awesome positive kids who are doing great and accomplishing wonderful things. That’s amazing! That’s positive! We all need to hear more stories like that – we all need to focus on our children’s potential instead of their flaws. Sometimes it gets so easy to focus on what needs to be “fixed” that we lose sight of how amazing our kids actually are.
So please, if you think there are too many 2e folks and you don’t fit in, stick around. Ask. I’m betting you’ll find a lot of people you can identify with. We twice exceptional families might be more vocal because we’re looking for support, but we’re not the only game in town. And while it might seem that your kid and mine don’t have much in common, that’s not really true either. Our kids are each other’s tribe. We are each other’s tribe. Family, even.
We’re all here for support. Let’s be that support for each other.
(to be perfectly clear, I’m not saying my child is demon-possessed, even if he does act it at times. It’s a literary reference only.)