Consider the following story as it relates to this blog’s topic.
My friend, Alice, recently found out that her youngest child, Tyler, is gifted, as in more advanced than his classmates when it comes to learning. My immediate reaction was to congratulate her. However, her response to my excitement took me aback. She looked worried and told me that she felt stressed about not knowing how she would go about raising Tyler. She knew things were obviously going to be different for him in school and at home, but it scared her to not know what to expect.
With giftedness, we almost always tend to think of it as an absolute blessing. After all, giftedness guarantees a successful life, doesn’t it?
In reality, giftedness can be a struggle for some children, especially if their environment fails to support or meet their needs. And this struggle can be overwhelming for their family, too. However, there are certain steps that educators and parents can take to ensure that gifted children have an easier path towards a successful future.
More of a Problem than Blessing?
According to research by Polish psychiatrist and psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski, giftedness often goes hand-in-hand with “overexcitabilities” (intense behaviors). A high level of intensity can lead to teasing at school or on playgrounds. It can also create stressful and even damaging situations for a gifted child.
Additionally, for some gifted children, this overexcitability isolates them from their peers who don’t get why they are so intense. It can also strike at their well-being because, alongside this overexcitability, many gifted kids are quite emotionally sensitive. While giftedness can sometimes feel more like a “curse” to children and their families, it can also (and happily more often) lay the foundation for greatness!
Gifted kids often strive for perfection or something close to it. As you may know, it can feel like you are living in a pressure cooker when nothing short of perfection is acceptable. However, if managed correctly, giftedness can be a catalyst for great things later in life.
Our job, as educators and parents, is to support gifted kids to help them reach their full potential.
Making a Difference in 3 Steps
First, one of the most important things to keep in mind about gifted children is that, like the majority of us, they benefit from being around others with whom they have things in common. This provides a sense of belonging and satisfaction in their achievements and can reduce their feelings of isolation.
The next thing we must consider is their need for an environment that challenges them, such as honors, advanced placement (AP) classes, the International Baccalaureate (IB), and after-school activities such as Odyssey of the Mind. These types of settings can keep them motivated and working towards the educational achievements that may not be available in regular classes.
Finally, it’s important to discuss our inclination toward treating gifted children too differently from other kids. It’s our job to understand that these kids may be gifted in certain areas like math or science, but they’re still kids. Simply being labeled “gifted” can come with complications, so in many ways, treating gifted children the same as their siblings, friends, and peers can help to make them feel comfortable and more as a “part of the group.”
Schedule Your Child’s Visit in Tampa
If you’ve already determined that your child is gifted, many questions might be flooding your mind. You may even be equal parts excited and worried! At Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, we know it can be a difficult thing to handle, but our team is here to help. Our methods of testing to determine giftedness are designed to keep your child from feeling overwhelmed or stressed. For more information about our services, contact us in Tampa today.