Too Much Worry – How do we help our gifted kids?
Posted by gtchatmod
How do you distinguish anxiety from everyday worry? It’s extremely important to understand the difference between everyday worry and anxiety because this knowledge affects how we react to each one. Everyday worry is more generalized and prompts a problem-solving reaction. It is how we think about something rather than how we react to it. General worries, once solved, tend to go away. It doesn’t interfere with daily functioning. Anxiety equals an irrational fear. It provides a physical response that may last for long periods of time. It can affect school, work, and personal lives. Anxiety may require a diagnosis and psychological treatment.
Anxiety in gifted children may inhibit them from pursuing dreams or developing talents because it can drain their energy, cause them to be insecure, and to be absorbed by doubt and self-criticism. (Peters) When dealing with anxiety, gifted children may be faced with unreasonable high expectations from adults, bullying and social rejection due to the gifted label, and the tendency to focus on deficits. (Mendaglio) Research suggests that gifted individuals may possess traits such as coping strategies and high self-efficacy to reduce anxiety and this can help gifted children if they learn to effectively use these abilities. (Amend)
Gifted children are still children. Anxiety may manifest as ongoing worry, irritability, sleep issues, avoidance, or seemingly inexplicable changes in behavior. They may experience anxiety in the face of parental/teacher criticism or react inappropriately to being misunderstood by age-peers.
What unique sources of anxiety may be seen in gifted children? Gifted children may experience anxiety when moving from an inclusive classroom to a self-contained gifted classroom of intellectual peers. After many years of unchallenging classwork, gifted children often experience anxiety when they suddenly face challenge at the secondary level without necessary study skills. Gifted students often face criticism when they question adults, challenge authority, or display resistance to conformity; and the consequences can lead to anxiety.
Teachers can help GT students deal with anxiety at school. Helping any student at school is best done when built on a positive teacher-student relationship. Students are more receptive to teachers they trust and believe have their best interests in mind. Difficult conversations concerning the reasons for anxiety can often be made easier with bibliotherapy. Feelings may be addressed indirectly by using literature to explore the student’s needs.
How can parents help their gifted child cope with anxiety and worry? Parents should always be alert to the signs of anxiety in their children and know the difference between anxiety and worry. Introspection is a quality parents should cultivate in themselves. Overreacting to childhood behaviors, expecting too much, or failing to mind their own behavior may be the cause of anxiety in their child.
A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Taming The Worry Monster – Anxiety In Gifted Children (YouTube 1:32)
Worry Says What? (book)
Gratitude: The Short Film by Louie Schwartzberg (Vimeo 6:20)
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Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
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