In my monthly Gifted in Perspective column, I usually write about children. Most of my articles are about teaching or parenting gifted children based on my approximately five hundred years of experience :) However, this month I have chosen to write about common ways that gifted adults often stress themselves out. I believe it is important to see these stressors in ourselves because we unknowingly are modeling constantly for our children and/or our students; they are watching us for cues about what stresses us and how we handle the stress. I am imagining that at least some of these stressors will resonate with you.
These are just a few of the ways that stress creeps (sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly) into our lives. In my work as a SENG
Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted
trainer and facilitator, I have often noticed that parents and caregivers often admit to the same stressors that they worry about in their children. Knowing that our kids are watching us, what do we do about stress? First of all, I believe it is important to practice metacognition. It is important to think about our thinking, to analyze it and give it a name. In the case of stress and stressors, we could ask ourselves, “What does stress feel like? What does it look like? What does it sound like?” Over time we can begin to identify stress at its inception. Then we can proceed to the second step - finding ways to avoid, ameliorate, or reframe stress and stressors. In this article,
42 Ways to Make Your Life Easier,
author Frank Sonnenberg offers some simple, yet difficult suggestions. Practicing them over time will help change behaviors. Finally, once we have tamed some of our stressors, we need to reflect on the process. We need to analyze what worked (or didn’t work), when it worked (or didn’t work), why it worked (or didn’t work), and how it worked. And, as parents and educators, we should share what we’ve learned with the children in our care. It is important that they see our struggles and our willingness and diligence to confront those struggles; this gives them the courage and tools to confront their own struggles.
In the past few months, my husband and I have chosen to sell our home and move to a new location. The days and weeks have been fraught with stress and stressors, so writing this article has been a form of therapy for me. I hope that it has helped you too. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Together we grow.
Jackie Drummer, Past President and Current Board Advisor
WI Association for Talented and Gifted
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.