The Challenges of Gifted Children
Empowering Parents to Maximize Their Child's Potential
by Barbara Klein
August 2015, 156pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3338-0
$55, £43, 48€, A76
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3339-7
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Social emotional development creates relationship issues for gifted children.

Educating and raising gifted children presents highly specific challenges. This book explains how parents can learn to optimize their child's potential and work with schools, spouses, friends, and specialists to create a nurturing and stable life.

Having a gifted child is a joy, but it is also one of the greatest challenges of parenthood to help that child find the right fit for education. In this remarkably insightful text, noted psychologist Barbara Klein, PhD, EdD, explains the emotional and social issues of giftedness, identifies parental actions and reactions that can exacerbate or soothe the challenges, and describes how these key factors tie in to identifying the best school and educational program to enable a gifted child to achieve his or her goals and maximize success. The text includes many vignettes from children and families who have sought guidance across 30 years from the author, an accomplished psychotherapist recognized as a national authority on raising gifted children.

This single-volume work presents an understandable theoretical overview of the psychological problems parents face raising their gifted child and clearly explains why the parent-child interaction can be so intense and stressful—a reality that is rarely acknowledged in the existing literature on giftedness. Parents of gifted children will learn how to make decisions about their children’s social emotional development and educational future and understand how their actions can be helpful or harmful to their gifted child and his/her education. Educators will fully grasp why and how gifted kids are different and why they need different educational environments, while mental heath professionals will gain insight into their gifted patients’ emotional struggles. And gifted individuals will realize that others experience similar struggles.


  • Details how to find a school that satisfies a child's particular needs
  • Presents the ideas, thoughts, and feelings of parents in words that other parents with gifted children can identify with and understand
  • Provides information on the over-excitabilities and intensities of gifted children presented in a practical, straightforward way that helps the reader apply these concepts in actual strategies in their everyday lives
  • Identifies specific problems of parents with gifted children and outlines effective solutions to these challenges
Barbara Klein, PhD, EdD, has worked with gifted children, their parents, and public and private schools in the greater Los Angeles area since 1986. She received her doctorate in education from the University of Southern California and her doctorate in clinical psychology from California Graduate Institute. Her private practice is dedicated to assisting the special educational needs of gifted and highly gifted children. Klein has written eight books in the field of developmental psychology and education, including Praeger's Not All Twins Are Alike: Psychological Profiles of Twinship as well as Raising Gifted Kids: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Exceptional Child Thrive and her latest, Alone in the Mirror: Twins in Therapy.


"The Challenges of Gifted Children: Empowering Parents to Maximize Their Child’s Potential is a powerful framework for parents of gifted children. The examples and information provided give the reader a straightforward understanding of the challenges that parents can face in identifying and providing their child with the support necessary to succeed. Dr. Barbara Klein unlocks the definition of giftedness and offers a rich guidebook on the essentials that every parent must know for raising a gifted child."—Dr. Tracey D. Tedder, Dean of Education, Florida Southern College

"Barbara’s book is an authentic review of her observations and understanding of gifted children through her career as an educator and a private psychologist. Her book is written for educators who often know very little about gifted children – their academic and social/emotional needs. It is easy to read, not filled with jargon and acronyms but clearly and simply stated for anyone to read. It can speak to parents who want to know about their gifted children. The chapters are full of scenarios and real situations that help the reader understand gifted children better. As a long time gifted educator, I would recommend Dr. Klein’ s book is perfect for anyone who wants to know more about gifted children and how to help them reach their full potential. I found myself nodding and agreeing with all of the information in the book and thinking it would be a great first read for someone who is new to giftedness in children."—Dr. Barbara Branch, Executive Director, California Association for the Gifted

"Dr. Barbara Klein's book The Challenges of Gifted Children: Empowering Parents to Maximize their Child's Potential takes the elusiveness out of the label of being gifted. Before reading this book, I narrowly viewed giftedness as a number on an IQ test. However, Dr. Klein delves into the many ways a child can be gifted (musically, artistically, mathematically, etc.) along with the asynchronous tendencies that come with being gifted. Dr. Klein provides the reader with concrete examples of what gifted children and gifted families go through on a day-to-day basis by inviting us into the world of her gifted parenting groups. With all the pleasures of raising a gifted child, Dr. Klein shows the readers the many trials and tribulations that families of gifted children also encounter and how being a good-enough parent may help with raising such a special child. Parents who seek help in raising a gifted child will find solace with Dr. Klein’s narrative. Educators will be enlightened on the many types of giftedness and may need to rethink the paradigm of gifted placement programs in the public and private school settings.”—Sarah Moukhliss, Educator Librarian, MLIS

“After reading every mainstream parenting book, attending baby groups, toddler play groups, sleep training courses and parenting lectures I believed that my child’s stability and happiness was in large part a consequence of my ability to enforce good habits and assert authority effectively. While there is some credence to the value of routines and boundaries, gifted children seem to require more flexibility. Generalized parenting guidelines can be ineffective and damaging. Dr. Klein’s research and understanding of the needs of gifted children has liberated me as a parent and empowered me to respect my child’s intensity and learning differences rather than fight against them. Power struggles seem to be intrinsic to the dynamic between gifted child and parent. Reframing how parents think about that struggle is invaluable.”—Alison Hersel, Parent of a gifted child

“In The Challenges of Gifted Children, Dr. Klein provides a comprehensive and essential resource for parents and pediatricians alike. From the recognition of giftedness in a child to all the possible associated complications, Dr. Klein teaches us the questions that we need to ask as well as giving us solutions to the problematic issues that come wrapped up with children’s gifts. Dr. Klein generously provides many clinical case examples to illustrate how to connect with gifted kids. These case examples bring to life the nature of the problems faced by parents of gifted children, as well as defining the psychological bases and approaches to solving these issues.”—Marianne Finerman, M.D., pediatrician.

“As I read the chapter on intensity and over-excitabilities, I kept saying yes, that describes my children, that describes me or my husband. Over and over again, all the battles and conversations we had had with school administrators, teachers, psychologists, and doctors to help our sons fit in better were replayed for us in Dr. Klein’s stories of other families with highly gifted children. What a relief to finally know that we are not alone in our experience or determination to see our children happy and comfortable with their utterly unique selves.”—Lisa Ramos-Oakley, Parent of gifted children

The Challenges of Gifted Children provides invaluable guidance through a mix of sound science and personal stories of families making their way through the maze of gifted parenting. Parents of gifted children need resources that are tailored to their experiences and not just general parenting techniques. This book is a true gem I the sea of parenting resources available today.”—Kristen Cruz, Parent of a gifted child

If you are on the, sometimes tumultuous, journey of raising a gifted child, you could not do better than immerse yourself in this new book by Dr. Barbara Klein. She writes from hands-on knowledge gained both within her own personal experiences of being and raising a gifted child, as well as years of rigorous clinical research and professional experience specifically with the gifted population. She gives you the practical and personal what-to-do advice that you can use immediately, delivered in a style that is both comforting and authoritative. This book will provide you with a deeply informed philosophy of growth as it pertains to your wholly unique son or daughter."—Angela V. Tanner, PhD, Parent of two gifted children; Founder and Director, The Knox School of Santa Barbara for Gifted and Talented Children

"Dr. Klein brings to life the voices of gifted children illuminating new insights of their special strengths and developmental needs. Issues that thwart parent child interactions are discussed and help parents overcome developmental blocks, replacing parental uncertainty and despair with a new confidence.”—John McNeil, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA

"Dr. Barbara Klein provides an invaluable resource for parents with The Challenges of Gifted Children. Drawing from over 30 years of clinical expertise and working with gifted youth, she uses practical vignettes to illustrate how to identify and cultivate the gifted child. Dr. Klein guides parents through the common challenges that families with gifted children face - from daily obstacles to choosing the right school and advocating for their unique needs. As a mother of two gifted children and a pediatrician, I highly recommend this book as a must read for anyone attempting to stay afloat while navigating the rocky yet exhilarating waters associated with raising gifted children."—Toya Tillis, MD, FAAP, Pomona Pediatrics
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