Gifted children need different kinds of relationships

I have written a little less this weekend. As a family we got to spend the weekend together in the Sacramento area. Chris was speaking at a WordCamp and it was my dad’s birthday. So, we piled in the car and made the long drive north and we were all excited to spend the weekend with another family in the Word Press world.

Hanging with the Bourns

I was introduced to Brian and Jennifer Bourn at WordCamp Phoenix. Their kids were not there, but Jennifer and Brian shared with my kids their love for legos and my kids were hooked.

Later we got to meet the Bourns at Legoland where Christian got to meet the entire family. Immediately he shared a connection with both kids, but especially with their son. Both boys love Legos and have similar personalities.

Emily was sad because she missed meeting them. Eventually she did meet them and it was a great match! Emily and their daughter became great friends.

Since then we have spent time with them at a beach house in Oceanside and in Cabo San Lucas. It is fun to watch the kids connect and enjoy each other. I think it is rare to find family friends where both parents and all the kids equally enjoy each other.

Being with them isn’t work, it’s just fun!

So far you may be reading this and thinking, “What does this have to do with gifted kids?”

Relationships are tricky for my kids.

Emily struggles with peer relationships.

She finds that she doesn’t often understand kids her age. She would much rather hang out with adults. She will frequently sit in the midsts of the adults and feel like she has the ability to have input into the conversations.

Unfortunately, this is often inappropriate. So, Emily ends up feeling disconnected in social situations.

Christian loves people and wants to play with everyone.

He loves video games, but he doesn’t want to sit in a room playing them alone. He loves to swim, but he doesn’t want to swim in a pool alone. He also loves playing outside, just not alone! He has been known to bribe and beg his sister for a few minutes of playing a video game with him or getting her to have a sleepover with him.

Different Kinds of Relationships

The relationship with the Bourn kids is incredibly valuable.

It is so rare for our kids to have friendships that are low-drama and easy. I can’t tell you how much joy I get watching both kids engaged with other kids in a meaningful way.

I’m watching kids laughing, making art, creating “shows,” and working out┬áconflict through compromise with each other. It’s awesome!

When we started realizing how Emily was wired, we began reading about kids with her abilities. One of the things it emphasized was creating space for our kids to have three different types of relationships.

Age-based Peers

Peer relationships are friendships with kids who are the same age. We have created this through Sunday School and Kung Fu.

Academic Peers

Relationships with kids who are academically the same as our kids is another important group. Each child is in classes at school and outside of school with kids who stimulate them academically. This is also a fairly easy group for us to find.

Gifted Peers

The hardest group to find is the group of kids who are also gifted. Over time this group is slowly growing. I am meeting parents through our charter who are also trying to figure out this unique journey. We have worked to get our kids together. It’s an interesting group because they also deal with sensory, relationship, and emotional issues just like mine. It’s good for them to find kids who are “just like them.”

The Bourn kids are a hybrid.

They are similarly aged, also brilliant, and enjoy similar interests as my kids. This friendship is worth pursuing and encouraging. It is good to learn early that friendships don’t need to be only built on proximity.

When you find friends worth pursuing, you build in, you make choices for, and you grow the relationships strategically.

One thought on “Gifted children need different kinds of relationships”

  1. Melissa – I am SO HAPPY we met! I am even more happy that our entire families (each person) genuinely like and enjoy each other. We have never found that before and it is amazing.

    It is such a joy to be able to relax and just let the kids play. No forced conversation, no pretenses, no pressure, no feeling like we have to be “on.” We can just be. I love that.

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