I don't define gifted purely as "genius" because I've seen lots of variations on giftedness. For me, any child whose academic/intellectual needs cannot be reasonably accommodated in the classroom should be offered gifted education. I remember being really bored pretty much through high school. It wasn't until college, and then graduate school, that I really found my groove and the challenge that I craved.
Other than that, I don't really have any horror stories. Everyone in my family is bright, and so my home was a kind of refuge. We weren't all as academically successful, but I wasn't an anomaly by any means. My parents understood me and knew what to do to help. Somethings did take me awhile to learn. For example, I did have to learn to adjust my conversation based on my audience sometimes, but I don't view that as dumbing down. It's being courteous to other people. Maybe it helps that my interests are cross-disciplinary so I've had to learn to tailor my message to different (but all equally intelligent) audiences. Yes, some people really don't care about the details I care about. But I've got a few people in my life who do, and we geek out together. Sometimes I have to choose vocabulary with an eye to getting my message across, which may mean choosing a more common word over the really precise one I'd like to use. Is that dumbing down? I don't think so. Maybe it helps that I'm an introvert and I don't need constant social contact, but I'm OK with geeking out with my friends/colleagues, and not with the rest of the world. With the rest of the world, my goal is a decent social interaction. And since I'm not all that great at those sometimes, it takes some effort on my part.
For me, the issues with giftedness come with the asynchronous development. Ds' social development is a little on the slow side. Dd's emotional regulation is less than you might expect from a child who can talk about the things she can talk about. In truth, those aspects of their development are pretty much on par with their age, but since their language (and their height) make them seem older, people don't know what to do with them. So, as a parent, it's my job to talk to teachers, work with my kids on social/emotional stuff, and make sure they're in a range of situations where they are exposed to different people, different styles and different ideas.
Originally Posted by Peony
DH qualifies for the Mensa. He always feels that he dumbs himself down. If he doesn't, everyone calls him an ass. He calls being gifted a curse and a blessing. An example he would use is that 99.9% of the time, he will predict how something will go down, yes that can be helpful but most of the time it just enforces to himself that most of the world is not at his level. He feels like he has no one to talk to. Therapy years ago was a disaster, he'd come home complaining that how could he talk to someone about being smarter then everyone else and how lonely that made him when even the therapist didn't understand. I'd say that being that gifted has mostly just made DH miserable. he does not relate to anyone but has made him highly successful in his work despite never going to college. We would be considered upper class I guess because of the pay his profession makes.
Yes, intellectual giftedness can compound these issues, but it sounds to me like there are social issues. I know some really brilliant people who have good social skills and some who have really lousy social skills. The two are not linked (see my above note about asynchronous development). Now, depending on your husband's profession, he may very well not have any peers. The more intellectually gifted someone is, the higher up in education you need to go before you find the people that you really click with. I found a couple in college, but not really until I reached graduate school did I have a full and interesting social life.
Originally Posted by JollyGG
My parents did the best they could with the resources they had available to them. But I cannot say that either of my brothers or my own education really benefited us much. We learned underachievement.
We also, unfortunately, developed a certain disdain for the kids who didn't get things as quickly. We simply didn't understand why others (including often our teachers) just didn't get things as quickly as we did or understand it as well. It made no sense to us and led to the conclusion that others just weren't doing something right or were just lacking some how. As adults my two brothers and I all know this is not true. But it probably took a good bit of life lessons to teach us that.
As for dumbing things down. I think that is related to others just not getting things as clearly or as quickly as I do. I sit there and think "wow, this really isn't that difficult. How dumb can they be." I have to stop myself and realize that it may not really be that easy. I have to face the idea that perhaps I really am just that smart, as bad as it sounds. I then do really need to slow down and explain things more clearly. It would be nice if everyone picked things up as easily as I do, but there are plenty of things that I myself don't find as easy as others do. They are going to have to dumb things down for me. I appreciate them taking the time to explain things in a way I can understand when that happens. I need to remember to give others the same courtesy.
I hope that with my own child I can make his education work better for him, help him learn how to learn, help him learn to appreciate the gifts others bring to the table (everyone has gifts, even if everyone is not academically gifted), and better prepare him to be a functional and successful adult.
Your post is exactly what I hope/fear for my own kids. My biggest worry is that my kids are learning in elementary school that they don't have to work hard. It's one of the reasons that dd does piano. She has to work at that. Ds does sports nad he's not a natural athlete. He has to work at those. I spend a lot of time with dd (my more judgmental kid) talking about differences in experiences and abilities that might lead some people to either not catch on as fast or to view things differently. I'm working with their teachers to make sure they have challenging work (not just MORE busy-work).