HLP Parenting: Wellbeing for Carers

Key Points for Parental Wellbeing

  • Prioritise your emotional and physical health.
  • Do not feel guilty if you need a break.
  • Ensure your child is safely cared for and take some time for yourself.
  • Find healthy ways to de-stress that work for you.
  • Eat and sleep well.
  • Seek out a support network of like-minded families at school, in your home education community or by joining an organisation like Potential Plus UK.

Raising a child with High Learning Potential (HLP), can be both unexpectedly rewarding – and unexpectedly draining! Of course, every child, whether HLP or not, comes with a unique set of challenges, abilities and ways of bringing joy. However, high potential learners often seem to drain that extra drop of strength from parents and carers who can struggle to deal with aspects such as their energy, enthusiasm, opinions, social interactions and educational needs.

What is HLP (High Learning Potential)?

Potential Plus UK has been supporting HLP children and their families for over 50 years since launching as the National Association for Gifted Children. It offers HLP assessments for children and explains:

“High Learning Potential individuals include children and young people:

  • With exceptional abilities
  • Who have the ability to achieve; but who, for whatever reason, are not achieving their potential
  • Who are dual or multiple exceptional (gifted with special educational need or disability)
  • Who are profoundly gifted (approximately 0.01% of children)
  • Potential Plus UK uses the term ‘high learning potential’ to mean the same as the term ‘gifted’, […] ‘gifted and talented’, ‘exceptional’, ‘more able’ and ‘most able’. […They all refer] to an ability to understand information well, make quick analyses and use memory capacity to learn quickly. […] HLP children are commonly defined as those with cognitive abilities in the top 2-5% of the population”.

 

A Challenging Role for HLP Carers

To have high learning potential sounds great! Who wouldn’t want their child to be ‘able’? Yet sometimes the traits that allow HLP thinkers to analyse, learn and respond quickly can be the very ones that make them frustrating and exhausting companions!

Perhaps your child is very sensitive to food textures, light levels or itchy clothes labels? Maybe they are clearly advanced intellectually in some areas but fall well behind their peer group in emotional development? Do they ‘spoil’ games by overcomplicating them or being a stickler for the rules? Such things can be daily occurrences in HLP families, but may cause friction with your wider family or friends as they struggle to empathise. This naturally brings another layer of stress as you attempt to help your high potential learner at the same time as keeping your cool with their outbursts – and worse still, all under the judgemental eye of an irritated adult friend, shopkeeper or young playmate.

These kinds of experiences can be very draining. Go easy on yourself, be proud of all the good you have achieved and be sure to find moments in each day to top up your mental and physical wellbeing.

On Call 24-7

It is common for HLP guardians to struggle with tiredness because their children – and therefore they, too – are constantly ‘switched on’. Often there is no respite even at night-time as their child sits up reading aloud long after the adults have gone to bed. More exhausting still, Potential Plus UK are familiar with tales of how HLP children and teenagers routinely fail to sleep through the night and go in search of an adult (or pet!) to talk to about the universe, a word game they have invented or to seek comfort about a moral issue that has caught their attention.

These same topics may well dominate the daylight hours, too. Unchecked, this can build up inside any carer and lead to feeling overwhelmed, worn out or even angry and resentful. This is totally understandable. The important thing is to take your own wellbeing very seriously, so that you have the mental and physical strength to cope calmly and lovingly – not just with your own challenges, but also with those of your high potential youngster.

Key Points for Parental Wellbeing

  • It is important to prioritise your emotional and physical health.
  • Do not feel guilty if you need a break.
  • Ensure your child is safely cared for and take some time for yourself.
  • Find healthy ways to de-stress that work for you.
  • Eat and sleep well (even if you struggle to get your child to follow your good example).
  • Seek out a support network of like-minded families at school, in your home education community or by joining an organisation like Potential Plus UK.

Useful Resources for Parental Support

 


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2019-03-05T10:52:04+00:00March 5th, 2019|Categories: Focus on Potential, HLP Parenting|Tags: , , , |
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