What we're about
GIFTED CHILDREN ARE WONDERFUL; intuitive, curious, passionate, compassionate, at times driven, often detail oriented and early on supporters of fairness, justice, order, and organization. But, they also often struggle in many areas of their lives. The normal and inherent characteristics of gifted children can create challenges for them socially, emotionally, educationally and more, and many times show themselves in confusing and sometimes troubling emotions, outlooks and behaviors. Gifted kids can seem oppositional, argumentative, noncompliant, impulsive, selfish, lacking in compassion, oblivious to rules and social cues, hyperactive, distracted, overdramatic, like they waste too much time daydreaming or are in a daze and out of step with other children and the world in general. They are often labeled as "too sensitive" and can be prone to throwing tantrums or having emotional meltdowns. The fact is, that any or all of these things can be related to normal inherent characteristics of gifted and or highly sensitive and highly creative children. Many medical and counseling professionals, as well as educators and the general public, are not aware that normal characteristics of gifted, sensitive and creative children also mimic other disorders and disabilities. This has led to far too many children being misunderstood, ostrcized by the adults in their lives, bullied by peer, and assigned life altering labels such as; ODD, ADD, ADHD, Asperger's, and other behavioral, learning, or psychological disorders. However the facts show that "behavior problems" can often be understood and or resolved just by identifying the gifted characteristic or outside stimuli causing or proceeding the behavior. (More information, and help for parents of gifted children, can be found @ www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com.)
A key part to raising a healthy and happy gifted child is to gain understanding - to learn how to identify and support the natural inherent characteristics of gifted children - and to find a place where the whole gifted family can find others who understand and support them.
This is THE MISSION OF OUR MEETUP: "To bring gifted children, tweens, and teens and their families together with other gifted families, to provide a safe place for the entire family where they are around true peers who understand them and accept them." For more information about gifted children and their unique social and emotional needs (see "Why Gifted Children Have Social & Emotional Problems" (https://www.verywell.com/social-and-emotional-problems-affecting-gifted-children-1449336)or"What Is Gifted?" (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/what-is-gifted.html)).
IS THIS GROUP FOR GIFTED CHILDREN (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/what-is-gifted1.html)ONLY? Although our group's primary mission is to offer social and emotional support to gifted children who often have special needs in these areas, we are not only a gifted group. Other families or children who may identify with our group are; siblings of gifted children, families who homeschool and are looking for an inclusive and accepting group for socialization and enrichment opportunities, those who prioritize social emotional health and growth, children who are highly sensitive (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-highly-sensitive-child.html)or highly creative (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-highly-creative-child.html), have unique or intense interests, have been bullied or just have difficulty connecting with peers, and more... And so, although our group has been formed to support gifted families, any family who feels they would benefit from what our group uniquely has to offer, for whatever reason, is warmly welcome to join us!
PRIVATE PROACTIVE PARENTING COACHING SESSIONS AVAILABLE BY REQUEST (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/coaching-request-form.html)
SOME MAY ASK...AREN'T ALL CHILDREN GIFTED?
All children are special and have unique gifts to offer the world, but not all children are gifted (see "What Is Gifted?" (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/what-is-gifted1.html)). Gifted children are born with a unique physiological makeup that reaches far beyond an IQ score or specific talent. Inherent and heightened mental and emotional intensities and sensitivities envelope the whole gifted child, most often resulting in a need for special approaches to parenting (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/), education, and counseling. Gifted children experience the world in a unique and highly sensitive way, they have an "over-awareness" of everything, including world and sociological issues at a very young age, but do not posses the emotional maturity to deal with these realities - asynchronous development - as a result many gifted children struggle with early, and often life long, issues of anxiety and existential depression. They see, feel, and act in the world differently than other children and are usually aware of this, often resulting in added social implications. They experience high sensitivity and sensory perception (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-highly-sensitive-child.html)and can display subsequent behavioral intensities which are often mislabeled as disobedience, ADHD, and other learning, behavioral, and psychological disorders. Asynchronous development - the disconnect between mental and emotional maturity in the gifted child - can be frustrating or at least confusing to parents, teachers, and onlookers, and is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Most gifted children are divergent thinkers (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-divergent-thinking-child.html), this trait that may be valued in an adult who's "out of the box" thinking leads to a new invention, is often seen as disobedience, defiance, or non-conformism in the gifted child.
ARE YOU A PARENT OF A GIFTED CHILD? Is your child intelligent, sensitive and or intense and compassionate, but sometimes has a difficult time dealing with their emotions or social situations? Do your child's intense interests (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-highly-creative-child.html), sensitivities (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-highly-sensitive-child.html), and unique way of looking at the world (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/the-divergent-thinking-child.html)at times puzzle you or others, or make it hard for them to fit in? Are you looking for friends for your child that will understand them and accept them and parents who will understand what you are going through? Then our group may be the right one for you. We are a group of "Gifted Families" with children in public, private, homeschooling and unschooling environments. We are accepting of all forms of education, as our main focus as a group is on the social and emotional health and growth of our children.
AS THE ORGANIZER OF THE GROUP I am also a parent of a gifted daughter, (age 9 then, 16 now) who was bullied in school because of her "uniqueness" (Our Personal Story (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/our-personal-story.html)), I found it difficult to find local support and resources when my daughter started experiencing some of the unique social and emotional issues that can go along with being a gifted child. I tried to find a gifted or bullying support group in our area but could not find one, so I thought I would try and start one myself. I have spent the last 7 years educating myself on this new "gifted world." I have found some great resources that offer information and support for parents of gifted children.
One of the articles I found in my search for answers was an article interviewing a teacher of gifted children for over 26 years, who was also part of a study back in the 70's to develop a program to fit the needs of gifted children in the public school system. An excerpt from that article is below, it sums up the article nicely and also describes the mission of our Meetup group:
"In trying to help determine the type of program to develop for the gifted in the district, many models were explored. Some of the earliest research on the effectiveness of gifted programs was difficult to interpret, as it seemed that whatever format was used showed gains for the gifted, not just in their intellectual pursuits, but in their social and emotional growth. A conclusion that was drawn from this was that just by putting gifted students with their peers, they thrived. I definitely witnessed that during my 26 years of teaching gifted students in several different programs. They need a peer group who accepts them, understands them, values them, and challenges them. It can be lonely to be the “only.”
Another gifted professional talks about what can happen when a gifted child is not supported, understood, or accepted: "Because I have seen too many gifted and highly sensitive children (HSC's) whose depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem prevent them from expressing whatever talents they have. The gifts are there.... How can we tell if a child is gifted or say he or she is if that child is too afraid to ask questions, too upset to learn big words, or too depressed to have a subtle sense of humor?"
The quotes in the two paragraphs above, are something I agree with wholeheartedly and have witnessed personally. This Meetup group and the true peers and friendships my daughter has found, have been a key part to her recovering from extreme emotional bullying in the public schools, and debilitating anxiety and depression. It has also helped her to grow her self esteem and an acceptance and positive awareness of her uniquely gifted traits. (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/parenting-links-articles--resources.html)
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO START SHARING AND GAINING SUPPORT from other gifted families in our area, please consider joining our group! If you need immediate or further support or resources, you can find links to gifted related websites, articles, blogs and more under the "Pages" tab at the top of our Meetup page. For additional or personal parenting support, private Proactive Parenting Coaching is also available with the Oganizer by appointment. (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/coaching-request-form.html)
A great way to be an active and supportive part of our Meetup is just by attending Meetups, children are looking for like-minded friends who will understand and accept them. Even better yet, by occasionally hosting a Meetup of your own, you can set the scene and choose a day and time to Meetup that fits into your family's schedule. This can be as easy as inviting others to join you on a planned family outing! A goal of our Meetup is to have a monthly Park Day in every city of Riverside County! If you would like to host an occasional Meetup of your own, or a monthly Park Day at a favorite park, just contact the Organizer (http://www.meetup.com/Riverside-County-Gifted-Children-Meetups-And-Parent-Support/members/52984772/) if you need help with details or creating your Meetup page.
We look forward to meeting another family going through some of the same things we are, and to growing a group of friends who will support us as we raise our very unique children and help them reach their highest potential socially, emotionally, and academically.
For the 2018 year - yearly dues have been eliminated. We hope this change will help our members to Meetup and find the support they are looking for - as well as help to strengthen and grow our Meetup for the years to come. In the future - yearly membership dues of $29.50 may be required after an initial 30 day trial period, however, dues-exempt positions (https://www.meetup.com/Gifted-Children-Meetups-And-Support/pages/21866278/DUES_EXEMPT_POSITIONS_FOR_RCGC_MEETUP/)will always be available, just contact the Organizer (http://www.meetup.com/Riverside-County-Gifted-Children-Meetups-And-Parent-Support/members/52984772/) to request your position. Our Meetup has chosen the mandatory dues option offered by Meetup.com in the past (or active participation in a dues-exempt position (https://www.meetup.com/Gifted-Children-Meetups-And-Support/pages/21866278/DUES_EXEMPT_POSITIONS_FOR_RCGC_MEETUP/)) as a way to; encourage an active group and member participation, to cut down on no-shows to Meetups (groups that do not require dues have a much higher rate of no-shows), to keep a small and supportive atmosphere available to our "unique-needs" membership (requested by most members), and to continue to provide quality Meetups and clubs to our members.
Looking for more resources and support? Visit our Proactive Parenting Blog (https://www.facebook.com/theproactiveparentingcoach/) in support of the unique social, emotional, and educational needs of gifted, highly sensitive, highly creative & other unique children, or take a look at our coaching website at The Proactive Parenting Coach where you can learn to identify the need behind your child's negative or confusing emotions and behaviors, and to better identify, understand and support their unique social, emotional, and educational needs.
My daughter Abbey has her own website at Cartoon Dreamer, (http://www.cartoondreamer.com/)where we share more about her story, the gifted and bullying organizations we support, and how she is now sharing her own creative passion in hopes of helping other kids like her who; are gifted, highly sensitive, highly creative, have been bullied, or just have a hard time fitting in, to know that, "You are awesome just the way you are, and that although you may be a little different, you are never alone."
Hugs, Julie & Family - Meetup Founder and Organizer, Homeschooling Mom, Gifted Advocate, Life, Relationship, Family, Homeschool & Proactive Parenting Coach. (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com)
My daughter Abbey & I wrote a little 12-page fully-illustrated eBook called "Anna Is Gifted." Abbey did all of the illustrations for the book. It is a book for gifted children, their parents and anyone who knows a gifted child. It is written from the perspective of a young gifted child and is written in a way that helps us understand how it "feels" to grow up gifted. Emotional and sensory sensitivities and intensities along with other uniquely gifted traits can leave gifted kids feeling overwhelmed, and alone. Anna Is Gifted lets them know that they are not alone in their struggles, that what they feel is normal for their "sensitive and unique makeup," and that "being gifted is actually awesome!" Footnotes on each page let parents of gifted children see what inherently gifted traits and subsequent needs lie behind their child's confusing or troubling behaviors.
Learn More Or Get Your Own Copy Of "Anna Is Gifted" Here (http://www.theproactiveparentingcoach.com/booklets--ebooks---anna-is-gifted.html)