Raising a talented student-athlete or performing artist brings a unique set of challenges to both the child and the athlete. Sport Psychologist Dr. Eddie O’Connor is here to help identify and navigate the biggest problems faced when raising a gifted child.
1) Learning how to work hard
Success may have come easily. At some point, when competition increases, more intentional effort – which can be less fun – is needed. Your child will ultimately find themselves at a point where they can’t rely on their natural talents, and actually have to work hard to reach their goals.
2) Who wouldn’t want to be their best?
The work and sacrifice it takes to succeed at higher levels requires a specific lifestyle. Talented athletes may feel like they “have to” make these sacrifices, which leads to a lack of enjoyment in the work. Some kids may find themselves at a crossroads: do I REALLY want to become an elite athlete, or do I just want to live a normal teenage life? Parents must walk alongside their children and support them during this process.
3) Is it worth the investment for parents?
The cost and time required by the family can be significant. It is fair to discuss expectations of effort and commitment with the child, but stay away from expectations of results.
Raising a gifted child is an incredible responsibility. As a parent, it’s hard not to worry about your child, even when they’re excelling in their particular field. Open communication with your child during this exciting and challenging time in their lives is key.
Dr. Eddie O’Connor is a nationally recognized clinical and sport psychologist, and has traveled the country speaking to schools, universities, teams, business organizations, and academic conferences about how to overcome obstacles to excellence.