I try to stay positive in my outlook on life and parenting. I am an eternal optimist. Always have been. Everything happens for a reason and it is always to teach us a lesson that saves us from something worse. I have cultivated this attitude for some time now. It works well and it keeps me sane and peaceful. Until, the moments unfold mocking my positive outlook because real life is slapping me in the face with intense children who espouse volatile emotional outbursts and this time it caught me underprepared. Peacefulness wanes when everyone is intense at the same time.
I try to keep it together and I do a fairly decent job thanks to all that mindfulness and breath work that I infuse into my every moment. Parenting is a tough job and gifted kids push parental boundaries to a different level or, at least, mine do. I love my children wholeheartedly and provide them with tremendous freedom and unwavering support which sometimes renders me depleted. It takes effort to be mindful with two extreme dependents who constantly question everything while bombarding me with information overload. It is always entertaining, generally insightful but quite often it is mentally draining. I am a tough girl and can take the intensity of my children, my husband and myself like a pro. We live in extremes and the intensities vacillate moment to moment. For some this would feel like chaos; for us, this is daily life.
I catch myself telling my children to tone down who they are when in an overexcitable state. It sounds controlling but really it comes from a place of needing a moment of stillness over enduring one child channelling Jim Carey while the other one embodies the Incredible Hulk. Sometimes, I tell myself to do the same. I can’t even take all of who I am at times. It can be so much to experience and I am the only one who has built up the stamina to make it through without losing my cool. Most of the time, anyway. I honor who my children are but I also guide them to appreciate the context of the social world and those who inhabit it. Peace and quiet are sometimes needed.
Tone it down. You are too loud.
Chill out and take a deep breath.
Take it down a notch. It’s too much.
TOO MUCH. That tends to sum up gifted children. They are a lot to take in when in their natural state which is what we foster in the house of anything goes if it makes you feel good and doesn’t harm others. Intense emotions. Intense physicality. Intense sensitivities. Intense imagination. Intense, creative intellects. Intense moodiness. We all have subversive personalities. I didn’t plan for having such an intense family life but it is our reality no matter how much yoga I practice. My children are the window into my own childhood. Since I would never want to break my children’s true spirit while they enjoy their own unique journey in life, I cultivate an environment of guided introspection to help my kids understand who they are. Authenticity reigns. Celebrating our unique personalities is all we know.
Overexcitabilities can be tough to live with and while they evolve and sometimes entertain, they don’t necessarily go away. Understanding how neurological wiring affects behavior in gifted children is a crucial step in gentle parenting. It is futile to get upset over a child’s behavioral quirks that are part of their brain wiring. Behavior that is different from the cultural norm doesn’t mean that it should be fixed. Understanding the root cause of behavior within the context of the environment helps determine how a gentle parent may respond. Overexcitabilities really impact our life and as parents, we need to respect our children’s developmental path while guiding them to be their best selves.
Both my offspring are high in psychomotor overexcitability as am I and this energy needs to get released or it may negatively impact one’s mood. But for my daily yoga practice, I would be a stressed out ball of overwhelming energy with limited patience. Yoga helps me release intellectual, psychomotor, sensual and emotional overexcitiabilities creating the balance and stability needed to be a patient, loving parent. My children release their overexcitabilities in their own unique way and have benefited by my infusion of mindfulness and breath work into our life. Being present and aware in the moment helps us connect more respectfully with one another.
The upside to radically unschooling gifted children is multi-fold. They teach me so much about life, their interests and technology and it is a joy to experience them developing into complex iconoclasts that push me to evolve into the person I am meant to be. Our relationship is stronger and more deeply connected based on our lifestyle choice and I am always learning something new while being entertained. The quick wit and comedic timing of my little abstract thinkers sometimes takes me off guard in the best way. Their argumentative nature and moral high ground are inspiring and intellectually engaging. These characteristics are my favorite part of the gifted parenting experience though they may offend traditionally minded adults. Children with strong personalities and a clear sense of self stand out and confront the notion of well-behaved children. My children thrive on pushing the status quo, exuding non-conformity and are the embodiment of divergent thinking. All the disquietude elicited from overexcitabilities and asynchronous development is offset by their razor sharp cognitive acumen. Our radical unschooling lifestyle offers them all the support they need to stand out and shine brightly. They are free to follow their passions and become specialists in their areas of interset.
I am raising independent thinkers, not blind followers.
One of the challenging parts about raising gifted children is finding the balance between all the disparities in abilities and temperament. The intensity of their entire beings radiates throughout the day with few off moments despite our mindful approach. Another harsh reality when radically unschooling eccentric little humans with advanced abstract reasoning skills and staunch individuality, is cultivating a social network in real life. Raising gifted children can be an isolating experience. Radically unschooling freethinkers limits our relatable social circle even more. I am fortunate to have an amazing online social network of like minded individuals but my children’s range for relevant social experiences is definitely limited. This reality is the hardest part of raising a prodigy as most people don’t appreciate that a child may require depthful communication at an intellectually and creatively stimulating level as part of a friendship dynamic. Matching up like minds for my children is a daunting task. We try participating in homeschool social meet ups and the kids enjoy taking some outside classes but, in terms of hanging out socially, we really prefer being home together. We relish enjoying our own passions and sharing them with each other.
I love our together alone time at home where we can relax and be exactly who we are with space to engage our minds and bodies in a way that serves as best. We veer toward reclusive which serves the introverts in the family quite well and when we need a little more stimulation we venture out into the world and entertain others with our in-your-face personalities.
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