“If you talk, you are just talking.If I talk, is that bragging?”: perspectives of parents with young gifted children in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
Investigating parental and family environments is not a new subject, but is a growing interest amongst psychologists, counsellors, and educationists. The purpose of this study has been to provide a rich description of the perspectives and experiences of parents raising gifted and talented children in New Zealand. Parents who live and care for a child with special talents or abilities face a great number of different stressors compared with parents who have a ‘normal’ or ‘average’ child (Clark, 2008; Delisle, 2001; May, 2000). Research suggests that recognizing and dealing with gifted children’s advanced intellectual, social, emotional and motor skills which are different from average ability children pose challenges in parenting gifted children (Moon & Hall, 1998; Moon, 2003; Moon, Jurich & Feldhusen, 1998; Silverman & Kearney, 1989). There has been little research conducted into the experiences of parents with young gifted children in New Zealand. This thesis therefore seeks to find out the parents’ views on and their experiences of having young gifted children and understand how and what meaning they construct around living with their children. The purpose of this study therefore has been aimed at listening to the voices of parents whose children are identified as intellectually gifted and also to look at the actual experience of these parents who have the greatest influence in their gifted children’s lives. Using a qualitative phenomenology study, four parents with a young intellectual gifted child were interviewed about their parenting experiences. The perspectives and experiences of these parents have been analyzed from multiple perspectives. In-depth interviewing and analytical memos have provided a rich picture of the experiences and perspectives of these parents with their gifted and talented children. It is ix from these insights that some clarity has been gained about the understanding and challenges that these parents faced when raising gifted and talented children, and how they are interpreted by the participants This thesis explores the participants’ understanding of parenting a young intellectually gifted child, discusses similarities to and differences from general parenting, and describes the outcomes of the four parents in this study. It highlights four systematic problems that complicate their parenting: (a) community lack of support (b) education inequalities (c) difficulties in the gifted support service, and (d) social stigma. This thesis also draws attention to the need for counsellors, psychologists, and expertise in gifted education to address the issues and get an understanding of the challenges that the parents of the gifted children are faced with when they are parenting a child with special needs.