A gifted individual is a quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters. Autonomous, curious and passionate. A sensitive and emotionally rich person, living intensely. He or she enjoys being creative. -definition of giftedness written by the Netherlands Study on Giftedness in Adults

Monday, March 17, 2014

Adolescence: A New World

Parenting an adolescent has a bad rap. For every parent who loves this stage of growing independence, raging hormones, and intense emotions, there are 10, maybe 100 or 1,000, who want to run and hide. Add to typical adolescence the challenges associated with gifted intensity and twice-exceptionality, and you have a dangerously challenging mix, right?

Contrary to how the rest of parenting has been for us, adolescence has been kind in our household. Yeah, we have some eye rolling and a little 'tude every so often, but overall the teenage years have so far proven to be more pleasant than any other stage we've been through as parents.

I'm sure there are multiple reasons for this, but I believe there are two main reasons why this stage is so much easier than earlier ones. First, we have been fighting the adolescent battles for many more years than he's been a teenager. Second, those raging hormones have fast-tracked the maturity that has been dragging behind - way behind - in earlier stages.

Let's take the teenage battles first. Teenagers are known for emotional outbursts that rival the "terrible twos," and frustrating parents by making irrational decisions. The Teenlet's special mix of high IQ, hair trigger emotions, over-excitabilities, and immaturity that has complicated every aspect of our lives, have given us a 14 year history of "doing the teens" already. We've fought many of the battles we've watched other parents of teens fight,  but we did it when our son was 5, 6, or 7, when the consequences of poor decisions were difficult, but not life-changing. He knows we are his parents, he knows we mean business, and though he has us pushing him towards independence almost more than he is yet striving for it, he knows that we are there supporting him but he will always have to face the consequences of his actions - good or bad. His decisions have become wiser, not perfect by a long shot, but he is learning responsibility and the freedom that comes with it.

Pair that growing wisdom with hormones that have shot his maturity through the proverbial roof (relatively), and it is fantastic to see this child, who has been wringing tears from my heart since he was in preschool,  flourishing in ways I sometimes thought if I would never see.

I used to dread these years, thinking I couldn't imagine things getting worse, but that's all I had heard about adolescence - how challenging it is for parents (it's no cakewalk for teens, either). And we may still have that coming. But for now, I love seeing him grow into manhood - becoming independent, passionate about his interests, accepting challenges and stepping up to meet them. I love seeing him stretch his executive skills to work out his own system of organization, and watching him take responsibility when it falls apart and he has to try again.

It is, indeed, a new world. But it is the same one, too.


This post is part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop on Homeschooling & Parenting Gifted and 2e Kids

8 comments:

  1. I love this. Love. So hopeful for something similar.

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  2. Excellent point about the "teen years" of some gifted children arriving (and leaving) earlier than normal. Your son is lucky to have your calmness and understanding.

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  3. This is a great post Mona - so true that many are "doing the teens" much earlier. It is so great that you are enjoying watching your son grow into adulthood.

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  4. Thank you for this. I needed a taste of hope that things will not get worse.

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  5. I am hoping for a similarly smooth sailing teen experience. I don't fear the teens as much as I used to.

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  6. God I hope that's the case here. Soooo hope.

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  7. I loved this post, Mona. It has been our experience too - I was dreading these years (could they possibly get worse?) but have been pleasantly surprised so far.

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  8. I have heard similar tales of "already done that" when it comes to gifted teens. Your message makes me feel better - especially the executive function piece(s). Thank you :-)

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