Although the word “gifted” has been used to describe children of higher levels of intelligence for decades, the term twice-exceptional, often abbreviated as "2e", has only recently entered the lexicon of educators, mental health professionals and others referring to intellectually gifted children. AND NOW this term is being applied to adults, too.
How do we help our kids learn to deal with life if we don't expose them to real life by doing everything for them—getting them on the best teams, doing their homework and shielding them from the inevitable disappointment and randomness of life? Are we really preparing them to be "successful" if they don't know how to tolerate emotional pain, problem solve, and adapt?
I have clients in 2nd grade telling me they going to Stanford or UC Berkeley. I listen to high school students who have GPAs of 4.2 or 4.6 tell me how stressed, anxious, and depressed they are and weary of their future. I talk to parents daily about their worries that their child is not going to get into a "good” school. There is a place—or several—for every student.
The positive psychology movement has started to ask "what is healthy," "what is working," and "what are a child’s strengths" as central—and often more important—than what is wrong or what disorder or illness does a child have... and this can change lives.
For special needs children, many daily activities and experiences like getting ready for school, going to the doctor, having a play date and celebrating birthdays are very challenging. The good news: these events can become opportunities for teaching and reinforcing expected social and emotional behavior.
The current situation with Ebola is very scary to think about, but there is nothing we can do about it. Our job as parents is to help our children deal with worrisome information by understanding how they think and process information at this formative time in their lives, and by giving them information they need to manage their thoughts and worries.
In my practice, I often discuss technology and media and I teach the need to monitor it for ourselves and for our children. If you or your child is prone towards anxiety and worry (The Worry Monster), the news and media will only serve to grease the tracks for worry and anxiety and fear about all the bad things that “may” happen and “could” happen in the future. Beware!
During the teen years, successful parenting means letting your teenagers know that you have empathy for their experience, that you’ve been there yourself, and that the anxieties and issues that arise are a normal part of growing and being human.