Del Siegle, PhD, Offers Tips for Parenting Gifted Children as Keynote for Middletown MIM

By Joyce M. Singer, Co-Director of Professional Development
MIDDLETOWN, CT - At CAG's March 14 Middletown Minds in Motion event, Dr. Del Siegle, Department Head of the University of Connecticut's National Center for Research on Gifted Education both entertained and educated a rapt audience of parents and educators about the importance of encouraging an achievement attitude with children. As he was gracious enough to share his presentation with us, if you missed his presentation, you can find it here.

Dr. Siegle's PowerPoint highlights his top ten tips for parenting achievement-oriented children and includes valuable lists of test-taking-strategies, note-taking tips, as well as student checklists to help your child study for success. He also includes information about goal-setting, goal-striving, and leading theories of giftedness readers will find exceptionally useful.

Parents should enjoy taking the brief quiz on perfectionism that may provide some surprises and insights about their own conduct. To help us understand the importance of addressing this topic, he makes his point by outlining unhealthy behaviors perfectionists' exhibit, explains the reasons that contribute to this approach to life, and provides suggestions for addressing this mindset. He suggests that authentic conversations about your own successes and struggles will help your children understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that they should not always believe others' opinions. Slides demonstrating the failures of well-known businessmen, as well as inventors, an author, a sports hero, an even one of our most venerated presidents remind us of the importance of remaining true to ourselves.

In addition, Dr. Siegle shared excellent advice about how to talk not only to your children, but also to your child's teachers. For example, when speaking about your child's work, avoid the use of "est" words (best, smartest, brightest, etc.), for you will unknowingly impart the message that there is no room for achievement. Advocate for your children by helping them tie their interests to their schoolwork, and model the behaviors you hope they will adopt, such as curiosity, and remembering to reward their efforts.

Children thrive when they believe that what they are learning is important and when it is personally meaningful. When they fail, they need to see it as an opportunity to learn by understanding what went wrong and then deciding what to do in the future. Above all, they must understand the role of hard work and that abilities always can improve. As parents, we need to remain positive role models; nurture our children's growth; support their achievement; love them; ensure they remain both physically and mentally healthy, and remind them they need to stand up for their beliefs, even when they may go against popular opinion.

If you suspect one of your children is not living up to his or her potential, for excellent strategies and advice on how to promote an achievement–oriented attitude, be sure to read Dr. Siegle's book, The Underachieving Gifted Child; Recognizing, Understanding, and Reversing Underachievement.

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