Introducing SENG

 

Parents of children who are gifted or “twice-exceptional”—that is, gifted and dealing with learning, emotional, behavioral, or social challenges—often find themselves feeling isolated. That’s because children who are bright, intense, complex, and often very sensitive pose a dichotomy for parents, who aim to be understanding and supportive.

 

You may wonder why your child, who scores high on standardized, academic tests is doing average-level work. Or find it very difficult to keep your child academically challenged. Your child may have very strong feelings and opinions, be a perfectionist, or struggle socially. These and many other scenarios are daily challenges that stress our ability to help, stretch our resources, and make us wonder, “Is there a better way?”

 

You may already be familiar with SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted), a national organization that aims to “empower families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.” The SENG website features articles and access to webinars that can offer much support to a concerned parent. 

 

SENG also sponsors SENG Model Parent Support Groups, at which parents of gifted children can come together to discuss topics of interest and concern. Sessions are organized around A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend, and Arlene R. DeVries.

 

As a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator, I organize and lead such discussions in the Madison area, guiding participants as they delve deeply into the complexities—both challenging and joyful—of parenting gifted children. I facilitate dialogue that promotes understanding, support, and community in a safe, non-threatening, encouraging venue that has been described as a “lifesaver.” At our meetings, parents explore myths associated with giftedness; learn the characteristics of gifted children; and discuss topics such as motivation, discipline, and advocacy. Meetings are held in confidence, and feature positive conversation and helpful advice from the tried-and-true life lessons of parents of gifted children.   

 

The final effect is a community of parents who often report improved and more open family communication, a greater understanding between parent and child, reduced anxiety, and most important, a child who feels understood, supported, and appreciated for the qualities of their uniqueness and intelligence.

 

 

Katherine Peterson is a SENG Model Parent Group Facilitator and the parent of two gifted children who have accessed education through public, private, and homeschooling, early college classes, a self-directed gap year, and many other creative educational vehicles. She will be blogging regularly for Curious Minds this year. Those interested in joining Peterson’s Madison-based discussion/support group can email her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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