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A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children - review

This is by far the most comprehensive book about gifted children that I have seen. It covers a broad range of topics, yet still manages to be quite detailed and “meaty”. An entire 19 page chapter is devoted to the characteristics of gifted children. In addition to the usual checklist, the chapter also looks at Dabrowski's overexcitabilities, the gifted child's sense of humor, imagination, etc. The authors embrace an open and flexible definition of giftedness, and offer alternatives to the “one test” model of selection.

A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children is a guidebook brimming full of practical suggestions on how to raise a gifted child. If you buy just one book on gifted children, this should be it. I recommend it to both veteran “gifted parents” and those with young children who are just starting to explore the world of giftedness. Whether your child is moderately, highly, or profoundly gifted, this book will have meaningful information and helpful suggestions for you.

Chapter five deals with establishing discipline and teaching self management, while chapter eight is all about acquaintances, friends, and peers. Chapter 11, complexities of successful parenting, features a list of six responsibilities for parents:

1.accept and appreciate the child's uniqueness
2.help the child like herself and relate well to others
3.help the child develop a relationship and sense of belonging within the family
4.nurture the development of values
5.teach the child self-motivation, self-management, and self discipline
6.help the child discover his passions, and commit to letting him explore

This chapter also contains sensible advice on how to avoid parental pitfalls such as enmeshment, adultizing the gifted child, or over empowering the gifted child. Parents are encouraged to care for themselves and be sure that they are modeling healthy attitudes and behaviors.

If the inquisitive reader wants to explore further, the back of the book is filled with an impressive number of endnotes and references to published studies and other works pertaining to child development and giftedness. The authors, Webb, Gore, Amend, and DeVries, are all well respected members of the gifted education community. They have many years of combined experience as teachers, counselors, and parents of gifted children. Their collective wisdom shared here is a real treasure.

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