It's OK to Be Exhausted by Your Kid
Parenting a gifted/2e kid can be intense in both joyful and exhausting ways
When I talk with groups of parents in my group coaching program or in other group settings, someone often mentions how exhausting it can be to raise their gifted or twice-exceptional kid.
Parents often feel guilty or ashamed to admit that their kids exhaust them.
But parenting any kid is exhausting, and parenting a gifted kid has its own flavor of exhaustion.
Do any of these describe your kid?
They seem to have an insatiable need for new information and cognitive stimulation.
They talk about their interests, passions, and thought processes - a lot.
They like things to be complicated - they make up new rules to games and daily tasks, or want to discuss complicated ideas beyond your expertise (like nuclear energy or the nuances of Dungeons & Dragons).
They like things to be accurate - they offer corrections and commentary about others' ideas.
They wake up ready to go at full speed - they have a head full of plans they want to enact, or they feel bored and want your help thinking of something to do.
They don’t forget things, so you’ve learned to monitor what you say - if you ever mention or promise something, they’re bound to ask about it later.
They channel their curiosity into projects that may require adult help or intervention (depending on the complexity, safety, and level of mess).
They want to play with you constantly - play pretend, do mental sums, play silly word games, quiz you on their favorite topics or vice versa….
As you can see from this list, intense gifted/2e kids are intense in both joyful ways and exhausting ways.
So it’s okay to feel exhausted by your kid or kids, or to wish parenting were easier. Good parents feel exhausted by their children. You can feel exhausted by your child and love them at the same time.
Every month, I facilitate a free chat for parents of young bright kids, called Talented Tots. During introductions, we share joys and exasperations from the last month - and for many parents, their joy and their exasperation are the same thing.
You can adore your child and wish you had more breaks from them.
You can love nighttime snuggles and mourn the loss of your own bed.
You can delight in your child’s hilarity and long for more moments of quiet.
You can enjoy your child’s creativity and feel exhausted by their energy first thing in the morning.
You can admire your child’s deep passions and feel like you can’t listen to them talk about Pokemon, dinosaurs, or social drama for another minute.
You can admire your teen’s sense of justice and wish they didn’t correct you and other family members.
You can respect your child’s emotions and feel irritated or triggered when they yell, cry, protest, or melt down.
You can love your child's strong will and wish daily interactions could be easier, with less negotiation.
What are your joys and exasperations in parenting your intense gifted/2e child? How many of them overlap?
So many parents of gifted/2e kids feel guilt and shame because they sometimes feel overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated in their parenting journey. Every time I host a conversation among gifted parents, parents share the same comments as they listen to each other talk. Parents say “You could have just described MY kid,” or “That happens in OUR home too” or "We also struggle with that."
It melts away shame to hear that others deal with the same frustrations and challenges - and that other parents get as exhausted or exasperated as you.
If you'd like to discuss the hard parts of parenting (and the joys!) in a supportive group of parents who understand, you might be interested in Support Your Intense Gifted/2e Kid, my small-group coaching program for parents. It's an 8-week coaching experience where you learn strategies to parent intense gifted/2e kids and get lots of support applying them. You also get to connect with other parents and talk about gifted parenting to melt away isolation and shame.
As one previous participant said:
"In the group, it was helpful to share struggles and hear that other parents with gifted kids experience the same struggles we do. It’s hard to parent an intense gifted kid but this experience normalized the difficulty for me. Now I feel less shame and guilt over parenting because I’ve realized we are already doing so much."
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If you want more ideas like this directly to your inbox, sign up for Gifted Lab Notes, my weekly email with tips and information for parents of intense or sensitive gifted or twice-exceptional (2e) kids.
If you want to learn more about how to work with me, check out the page for Support Your Intense Gifted/2e Kid to see all the details.