Lisa's Reviews > A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children

A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by James T. Webb
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: parenting, nonfiction
Read from January 24 to 29, 2011

Our school district recommended this book for parents of G&T students, so I read it to gain a better understanding of the philosophies that may be guiding their G&T program. My husband and I had our own G&T educational experiences growing up but education at all levels appears to have changed considerably and we wanted to be prepared.

Some of the book deals with basic parenting issues and dispenses basic parenting advice (give children choices, use natural consequences whenever possible, phrase your requests carefully, etc) and isn't specific to gifted children. There are also sections that focus on personality traits that are commonly found among this population, "twice-exceptional" children, educational options and advocating for your child in the school system.

None of it was particularly ground-breaking, although the section on testing, educational options, and advocating for your child will be of use to parents whose children are not in good educational settings. Also, the book appears aimed primarily at a middle or upper-middle class audience--or seems to have been written from that perspective--so it brings certain assumptions with that.

There is a lot of focus on gifted children being different from the rest of the population, and while I would agree that there are differences the book doesn't address the reality that even gifted children will grow up to be adults who need to interact with others. It literally said that the best solution would be for all children to learn "business friendly" skills, whereas I would go one step further and discourage elitism. Yes, gifted children have special abilities and will likely be close friends with those of similar abilities (which is true of everyone, by the way), but a compassionate view of society that sees everyone as having something to contribute and being worthy of friendship is a better approach. One can be "business friendly" with one's mechanic--or one can be genuinely friendly with the mechanic because the mechanic is good at what he or she does and deserves the same respect as anyone else. For that matter, there's something to be said by not judging a book by its cover. One's occupation is still closely tied to socioeconomic status, so making assumptions about others based on their job or their school placement or anything else without taking the time to know them is elitism at its worst.

There were a few other sections that also struck me as elitist and not terribly useful, but they were tempered by other section that took a more realistic approach.

Parents who may be new to G&T education will probably find this a useful introduction, but should take care to focus on the educational and emotional needs of their children.
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04/09 marked as: read

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