Originally Posted by AlohaDeb
Having a gifted child has really given me pause when it comes to having more children. I feel like you need to go above and beyond in order to "do right" by your gifted child, but that doesn't leave much left for other siblings or yourself!
I have a slightly different perspective on this, I think, in large part because I grew up as a profoundly gifted child with four siblings, two of whom were also profoundly gifted and the other two... well, the slowest among us leaves "average" in the dust, to put it mildly.
I'm confident that I know what my children need in order to thrive. My siblings and I all have very different personalities, but we've influenced each other in interesting ways. For example, my younger brother. He was a lot more like the way you describe Akira; very resistant to change, highly observant but not resiliant in any way. When he ran into people out of context, his instinctive reaction was to freak out. I was much more relaxed than that, and in seeing my example he was able to calm down and think about the situation more rationally. It helped him a lot to have someone to talk to who was close to his own age and understood his perspective, and because I was older he tended to follow my lead in unfamiliar situations.
My youngest sister was a much more relaxed, sociable, outgoing person than I or my brother. If I hadn't been around setting an example, I'm fairly certain that she'd have been diagnosed with ADD because her initial instinct was to run around like a maniac. Because I was such a somber little person, and I was the one she wanted to be like, she tended to control herself much better than I think she was naturally inclined to do. I was the oldest child of the four of us (my older brother is an only child) and I was a born leader, so all of my siblings basically fell in line behind me. It was a good influence on them. I needed a better influence, though, and much more encouragement than I ever got from my mother (who was terrified of "pushing" because teachers had frightened her
) to work/learn/etc. (The only thing my mother ever encouraged me to do was play outside. When I was grounded, my punishment was to go outside without a book
. The horror!)
At any rate, hindsight is 20/20. Having grown up seeing 5 very different, highly gifted children, I have an easier time understanding Eli than I might otherwise have. I'm not worried about handling difficult situations for him, because I've seen how six different gifted children (including my niece) react in different situations, and I can extrapolate from their similarities to EliBean. (Does this make any sense? My brain feels like it's sliding out again... :LOL)
I guess, in short, I'm saying that I see siblings as a good thing in the long run for the vast majority of children, even those who are resistant to change, because seeing someone else of a similar age and ability level deal with situations in a different way can really help a child, especially one who's having difficulty adapting. Gifted kids really need to be able to relate to someone, and while many of them are quite adept at seeming to relate to adults, it's nearly always easier to relate to a sibling than a parental figure. My niece, personality-wise, is much like my sister was at that age only much more ...bubbly (lost a word.
) If my sister hadn't been around me, a somber, introspective child, she'd have been exactly the same way. (Not to say that 'bubbliness' is a bad thing, but my niece is very close to being diagnosed with ADHD because she gets so bored and wants to socialize rather than do what people ask of her.) My niece spends a lot of time with me, but she doesn't see me as someone she wants/needs to emulate; I'm an adult, and she's a child. See what I mean?