Support for parents of gifted and talented children in the western region of Melbourne

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Free, Sally-Ann (2014) Support for parents of gifted and talented children in the western region of Melbourne. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Parents of academically gifted children can encounter a range of specific difficulties with the education system, professional services, family and friends. These increase the stress parents experience. Fewer social support structures are available to parents from either the education system or the rest of the community. This research explored the nature and usefulness of support for parents of gifted children in the western region of Melbourne. First, by means of interviews with parents and second, through the development of a self-help/mutual aid support group. Twenty three parents (16 mothers and seven fathers) were interviewed. The data gathered from the interviews and the observational notes from the group were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The findings indicated that parents’ well-being was adversely affected by different stressors from those usually experienced by other parents. Stressors such as the additional needs of their gifted children, the difficulties encountered with schools, educational policies, and the negative attitudes of giftedness in the wider community. The stress experienced was exacerbated by a lack of social and educational support together with the social stigma of being a parent of a gifted child. Parents reported major frustrations from their unmet social and emotional needs, which often resulted in them being isolated from others. To address this need, an informal support group was established. The support group is considered successful by its longevity and the formation of a sub-group and further proposed sub-groups. It is recommended more support groups be established to address support shortcomings in the western region of Melbourne. This helped to empower parents by providing networks of support and information, and assist with the promotion of psychosocial wellness for parents of gifted children and their families.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords giftedness, parenting, parents, fathers, stress, social support, self-help, Melbourne, Australia
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