Understanding a Few Problems that Gifted Children Often Deal with in School

Consider the following story as it relates to this topic.

Last year, we began the process of identifying Aiden as a “gifted” child. His teachers told us he was acting differently than his peers, spoke in a more advanced manner, and showed a lot of interest in things kids his age usually don’t care for. After he was evaluated, we were advised to enroll him in special classes. We thought it would be nothing but smooth sailing at school, but he’s now dealing with problems he hadn’t faced before. Needless to say, we’re a bit stumped.

It’s common for parents of gifted children to assume that their child will power through school without any issues, but this might be far from the case. In fact, gifted children struggle with significant anxiety and intense emotions regardless of whether their feelings are positive or negative.

This means that when temperamentally-intense children feel angry, for example, they don’t just feel a bit annoyed or frustrated. Instead, they may go from 0 to 60 very quickly, become furious, and lash out more than you might expect given the size of whatever triggered them.

In order to be most helpful to your gifted child, the first step is to understand some common problems that they might face at school, which our licensed therapists and psychologists want to highlight below.

Making Friends

It’s often difficult for gifted children to interact with their peers and make friends. Instead, they may feel more comfortable socializing and interacting with teachers and adults. Needless to say, trouble making and keeping friends or interacting awkwardly can lead to poor treatment or even bullying from their classmates.

Trouble with Directions

It isn’t uncommon for gifted children to take a more independent path when completing their assignments or following directions. Perhaps they feel like they can skip some steps because they find them unnecessary or completely ignore their work in favor of something more interesting to them. This can then lead to low grades, reprehension in class, or even suspension from school.

Trouble with Emotions

In some cases, giftedness can go hand-in-hand with lapsed maturity. That is to say, while your child may exhibit high intelligence, he/she/they may struggle with their emotions, the way they express them, and the way they deal with them.

The National Association for Gifted Children refers to this phenomenon as “asynchronous development,” whereby gifted children often show uneven cognitive, emotional, and physical development. This might lead to tension in their relationship with teachers, parents, and peers.

Making a Change

While these issues may be difficult to face and deal with, it’s definitely not impossible to tackle head-on. It works great when parents are willing to help their children in a way that doesn’t make them feel judged.

You can also:

  • Brainstorm subjects that they can discuss with their peers to help them connect and reinforce the fact that many people experience trouble in social situations.
  • Have them interact with a sibling or other child to roleplay conversations that kids might have with one another. Help your child see the value in trying to connect with peers.
  • Consider discussing your child’s difficulty in completing work or following directions with their teacher to see if they might be willing to offer some alternatives or a bit more leeway.
  • Work with your child to help them recognize their emotions, notice their thoughts, and figure out some ways to help them cope with their feelings. Some kids benefit from learning mindfulness strategies and relaxation.

Remember that gifted kids need frequent reminders that making mistakes and dealing with problems are a part of life and are to be expected!

Here for You and Your Gifted Child

At Rice Psychology Group, we know that you and your gifted child can feel a bit overwhelmed in certain situations. It’s worrying, but our Tampa psychologists and therapists can help you. We’ll take a proactive approach so that, together, we can find the best path towards feeling better. Have questions? Reach out to us in Tampa today!

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