Disciplining Gifted Children

gtchat 04192016 Discipline


For a multitude of reasons, disciplining a gifted child can be difficult at best and nearly impossible at worst. Whether you are facing a ‘little lawyer’ or simply a child wise beyond their years, it is important to remember that they are still children who need guidance from time to time. Discipline should be construed as a means to teach, instruct, impart knowledge, guidance; rather than to punish. When adults confuse discipline and punishment, it’s hard for a child to learn from their mistakes. Children learn to fear failure when discipline is only conceived of as punishment for mistakes.

“Asynchronous development: false narratives around “maturity level” clashing with “IQ expectations.” ~ Tracy Fisher

The role of asynchronous development cannot be minimized when considering discipline for the gifted child. Asynchronous development defines a gifted child as experiencing many ages at once. Although they may possess an intellect that allows them to argue their position, they lack the maturity to accept reasonable limits on their behavior. Parents and teachers must be diligent not to succumb to arguing with children; consequences need to be enforced when established rules and conduct are not followed.

” Asynchronous behavior can make it tricky because the same kid who can manage calculus can’t make himself take a shower.” ~ Lisa Van Gemert

Gifted kids may experience academic success at an early age; later may revert to behavior deemed inappropriate for their age. Adults who don’t understand asynchronous development often misinterpret behavior; resort to punitive consequences.

How do we help gifted children cope with emotional intensity which may lead to bad or poor behavior?  Adults need to understand the role emotions play in the life of a gifted child; they may become overwhelming. All children experience emotions; it is the intensity of emotion that can lead to more serious concerns with gifted kids.

gtchat Discipline Photo courtesy Angela Abend

Graphic courtesy of Angela Abend

Society’s perception of conformity can affect how many view a gifted child’s behavior. Mis-perception of gifted behavior may lead adults to believing gifted kids are ‘too’ sensitive; ‘too’ perfectionistic. Some view gifted children as socially awkward; the gifted child begins to feel something wrong with them; self-doubt creeps in.

Sometimes misbehavior can be a sign of a more serious condition such as anxiety or depression rather than a discipline issue. Often a child may become withdrawn; being ‘quiet’ (beyond introversion) due to disengagement. Other signs which may signal a need for help include self-harm; aggressive behavior; threatening comments.

” Tackling misbehavior starts and ends with relationships. Talk to your kids. Treat them with respect. Teach strategies. Start with engagement. Give students a reason to be riveted, engaged, excited about learning. ” ~ Mary Phillips

What measures can be taken to prevent or reduce misbehavior in the classroom? Teachers should look for signs of disengagement and consider differentiation and/or personalized learning plans. Recognition and understanding that misbehavior may stem from boredom; early intervention with a more challenging curriculum can often be the answer. An appropriate response to misbehavior at school should coincide with a child’s age development stage. Valerie King, a teacher from Atlanta, GA, suggests, “More choice for students. More voice for students. More engagement!”

How to deal with misbehavior in the classroom? “Having reasonable expectations. Create a class culture of safety and acceptance. Anticipate. Intervene privately with kindness.” ~ Lisa Van Gemert

A transcript of the full chat may be found at Storify.

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Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com


When Did Discipline Become a Bad Word?

Discipline for Different Ages

AUS: Raising Gifted Children

School Discipline: Standing Up for All Children in the Public School System

School and Learning Issues: A Closer Look at Giftedness

The Wildest Winds

Discipline and the Gifted Child

Gifted Children At Home (Amazon)

Meeting the Special Needs of Your Gifted Child

Monitoring Anxiety in Your Gifted Child

Four Ways to Reduce Behavior Problems 

How (Not) to Argue with Gifted Children

Sprite’s Site: Boredom Bingo

8 Ways Discipline and Punishment are Not the Same

Image courtesy of morgueFile  Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.


Posted on April 24, 2016, in anxiety, Asynchronous Development, Emotional intensity, parenting, Parents, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Lisa, as always, thank you for putting this blog and Storify together! I miss #gtchat but love getting caught up later. ❤

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