Category Archives: Emotional intensity

Empathy and the GT Child

 

Empathy is an expression of emotional well-being which speaks to the social-emotional needs of gifted children. The definition of empathy has evolved over centuries from ‘feeling another’s emotions’ to being viewed as a ‘complex construct’. In “The Caring Child”, Christine shares 4 distinct processes – emotional sharing, emotional mimicry, mental imagining of another’s emotions and differentiating self and others.

Who is iGen and how do they differ from previous generations? The ‘iGen’ is the generation after Millennials – kids who began graduating from high school in 2013. They are the first ones to grow up with Smartphones. They are more vulnerable; isolated and lacking in social skills; and vastly unprepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. The iGen is super connected but unable to engage in ‘irl’ (in real life) experiences. It is the premise for a real-life dystopian future.

For gifted children, the very early years provide an opportunity to nurture empathy by teaching mindfulness and developing an ‘emotional vocabulary’. Young gifted children can be encouraged to become self-aware with an understanding of how they ‘fit’ in the world through stories and play experiences with others. They should have opportunities to express kindness in social settings as reflected in the actions of adults around them.

Empathy is a social skill that is developed through human interaction. When young gifted children experience positive relationships based on their ability to express empathy, their ability to face adversity, trauma, and pain (aka resilience) is enhanced.

The educational needs of iGen have radically changed the way schools look at how to teach this generation. Past pedagogical approaches do not suffice today. Teachers (educators, parents, adults) must be flexible, responsive to student voice, and be willing to embed SEL (social-emotional learning) into the curriculum. Education for the iGen needs to be individualized and involve the measured use of technology that empowers learning.

What are some strategies parents can use to build social-emotional learning skills? In ‘The Caring Child’, Christine delineates social-emotional learning skills as cognitive, social/relational, emotional, character and mindsets. Building social-emotional learning skills involve simple strategies sometimes overlooked by parents of gifted children as being ‘too simple’. Cognitive skills can be built through the use of puzzles, language-based games, or word searches. Bibliotherapy and cinematherapy help develop emotional skills. Role playing/improv improve social skills. 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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/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.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

Resources:

The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children (Prufrock)

Teaching Empathy and Embracing Intensity

15 Ways to Help Kids Develop Empathy

The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion (Amazon)

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy & Completely Unprepared for Adulthood & What That Means for the Rest of Us (Amazon)

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (pdf)

Empathy and Compassion

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (Prufrock)

I’m Not Just Gifted: Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Children (Prufrock)

The Neural Pathways, Development and Functions of Empathy (pdf)

Developing Compassionate Empathy in Gifted Children

“I feel your pain”: Empathy and the Gifted Child (.docx)

Teaching Empathy: Strategies for Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Students (Prufrock October 2019)

Try Something New With Your Kids: Focus on the 3 C’s

Mind Matters Podcast Episode 36: Empathy with Intensity – Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Cybraryman’s SEL Pages and More

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Disclaimer: Some resources include affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Dreamstime (Free photo 85156667 ©creativecommonsstockphotos (CC0))

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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Living With and Managing Intensity

Intense gifted behaviors are expressed in many ways and often misinterpreted by professionals who lack training in recognizing them as related to giftedness. Intense behaviors for gifted individuals may include emotional outbursts, preferring to be alone, excessive talking, stubbornness, being ‘bossy’, or even appearing conceited.

Why shouldn’t these intense behaviors be pathologized in gifted children? Giftedness is not an illness. It should be understood; not diagnosed. Pathologizing gifted behavior can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate responses can harm the child. Pathologizing typical behavior for a gifted child can make the child feel there is something wrong with them; that they are somehow abnormal.

Asynchronous development, many ages at once, can exacerbate feelings associated with the maturing process. It’s essential that adults … parents, teachers, professionals … respect the child’s feelings regardless of chronological age.

Teachers can seek professional development about giftedness and how it relates to academics and SEL independently. They can develop a plan in advance (GIEP/IEP); watch for escalation patterns or signs of impending situation; and be prepared to take action such as removing student to a neutral setting. Teachers can advocate for modifications to the student’s learning experience and respect student voice.

Parents should actively build strong parent-child relationship based on respect, authentic conversation on intense emotions, empathy, and time spent together. They should refrain from threatening language keeping own emotions in check, learn to listen and anticipate intense situations, and practice their responses in advance.

What are some important factors when choosing a mental health professional? When looking for a mental health professional for assessment or counseling, parents should meet alone with them before introducing their child. They need to feel comfortable talking to them. It’s essential that mental health professionals self-identify as having worked with gifted individuals and have specific training in understanding giftedness.

A transcript of this chat can 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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/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.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa 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

Resources:

Where’s the Off Switch?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

The Intensity of Giftedness

Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

Why Can’t They Loosen Up? Intensities of Gifted Youth

The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Living with Intensity Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (GPP)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (2nd ed.)

Parenting Gifted Kids is an Emotional Rollercoaster Here’s How to Find Great Peace

Befriending Anxiety to Reach Potential: Strategies to Empower Our Gifted Youth

Supporting Students with Gifted-Talented Potential In High Need Schools: A Portraiture Study (pdf)

The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Giftedness and Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children (pdf)

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Intense Emotions

Giftedness and Intensity/Complexity

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

Coping with Emotional Intensity (pdf)

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (Silverman)

Talented and Gifted Presentation by Jim Delisle (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat Labels: Good, Bad or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and Theory of Positive Disintegration

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

The Columbus Group

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright (website)

Living & Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children

 

Photo #1 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #2 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #3 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #4 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #5 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Overexcitabilities: Myth or Reality?

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT our guest was Dr. Chris Wells, the director of qualitative research  at the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development  of the Gifted Development Center in Westminster, CO. Chris has been studying OE and the Theory of Positive Disintegration with Michael M. Piechowski for the past 2 years. Her archive of Piechowski’s works (and other works related to TPD) can be found here. She is also the Executive Editor of Third Factor Magazine, a webzine for intense divergent thinkers striving to live up to their ideals of both critical thinking and compassion.

Dabrowski (1972) wrote: “One could say that one who manifests a given form of overexcitability, and especially one who manifests several forms of overexcitability, sees reality in a different, stronger and more multi sided manner.” ~ Dr. Chris Wells

What is overexcitability and what are some positive descriptors?  Dąbrowski identified 5 areas of OEs: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual and emotional. “It is the zing you experience when you are with certain people who seem to radiate excitement.” OEs represent intellectual curiosity, profound empathy, abundant physical energy, capacity for fantasy & deep aesthetic appreciation. (Silverman, 2016)

Dabrowski and Piechowski at the 1973 APA conference in Montreal.

OEs, most famously researched by Kazimierz Dąbrowski, became associated with giftedness through his work with Michael Piechowski. After Dąbrowski’s death, Piechowski continued his work through to the present time. OEs are often misunderstood and misrepresented by enthusiasts who fail to consider the possibility of co-morbid conditions such as ADHD, SPDs, ASD, etc.

Dabrowski studied the relationship between OE and eminence from his earliest work and he also studied gifted children in Poland. A few of his books mentioned this connection. His colleague, Michael Piechowski, brought the OEs to gifted education. Piechowski’s original OEQ research was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Laboratory for Superior Students. A 1979 book by Nick Colangelo and Ron Zaffrann included a chapter on “Developmental Potential” by Michael ~ Dr. Chris Wells

Why is the concept of overexcitabilities so controversial? Controversy lies on the fault lines between those who see innate abilities and those who see GT as achievement only. There are researchers who only accept findings that can be measured with control groups; otherwise, it doesn’t exist. There are numerous studies involving OEs which differentiate between gifted/non-gifted. Studies have validated the existence of OEs; i.e., Gallagher 2013 and Silverman, Falk & Miller 2015.

For many years there were attempts to connect OE with gifted identification. Research has NOT supported OE as useful in GT identification. Misunderstandings about OE arise when it is removed from the context of positive disintegration.It is possible to study and measure OE without bringing in the entire theory of positive disintegration. But without the theory as a lens, there seems to be increased potential for misinterpretation.  OE has been measured almost exclusively with self-report instruments, including Piechowski’s open-ended Overexcitability Questionnaire (OEQ) and later, the OEQ-II. There have been some criticisms of the OEQ-II that are currently being considered and addressed. We’re working on an update to the manual and the instrument itself.  ~ Dr. Chris Wells

OEs should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior. Far too often OEs are portrayed in a negative light. They shouldn’t be used to excuse bad behavior, but recognize exceptional behavior. Behavior should be viewed in relation to a full-range of potential causes which may coexist with OEs.

Michael [Piechowski} says that “Being intense is an ineradicable part of the gifted self.” Patience and compassion are both essential for responding to OEs. The support of caring adults is critical. ~ Dr. Chris Wells

How should parents and teachers respond to overexcitabilities? Parents should embrace their child’s OEs and provide a supportive environment where their child can express their feelings and abilities in a positive way. Teachers can support a student’s OEs by providing a responsive and challenging curriculum, quiet time when necessary and opportunity for movement if needed.

Please check out the links below for more resources and find more insights from Dr. Wells in the transcript of this chat 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 NZST/Noon AEST/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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa 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

 

Resources:

Interview With Prof. Kazimierz Dabrowski (YouTube 22:38)

Overexcitability: Where It Came From, Where It’s Going

Conceptual Evolution of Overexcitability: Descriptions and Examples from the Work of Kazimierz Dąbrowski (pdf)

How Exactly Overexcitability Relates to Giftedness: A Fine-Grained Look via Findings of a New Meta-analysis

Discovering Dabrowski’s Theory

Openness to Experience rather Than Overexcitabilities: Call It Like It Is

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Overexcitability and the Gifted

Overexcitabilities: Gifted Students Unexpected Intensities (YouTube 1:01)

The Intensities of Giftedness

The Truth about Overexcitabilities (Silverman)

Five Unexpected Traits of Gifted Students

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child

Young Minds, Grown-Up Worries: 5 Resources for Parents and Educators

Overexcitabilities (pdf) Piechowski 1999 in Encyclopedia of Creativity Vol. 2

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Overexcitabilities (pdf Piechowski 1999)

Therapy for the Highly Gifted and Highly Excitable

Excitable Reads: Mellow Out by Michael M. Piechowski

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Gifted Personality from 3 Perspectives (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Personality Development through Positive Disintegration: The Work of Kazimierz Dabrowski (Amazon)

Michael Piechowski (Research Gate)

Photos courtesy of Chris Wells. Image courtesy of Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Disciplining Smart Kids

 

43 participants and attendees from 22 states, D.C., and 5 countries joined us this week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter to discuss disciplining smart kids!

So often, discipline is confused with punishment which should not be the intent. Discipline should serve as a teachable moment. Gifted children know when others are trying to control them. They will better appreciate attempts to show them alternative ways to behave.

Gifted children can be a challenge to discipline. They are astute observers of others’ behavior and are ready to apply that knowledge to their own situation. In most cases, gifted children are fully aware of how they should behave; but still are kids. Their knowledge base alone necessitates that their parent/teacher ‘be prepared’ to answer questions.

Asynchronous development – many ages at once – has a pronounced effect on behavior for gifted children. Maturity and intellect are often out of synch. Their ‘want to dos’ far exceed doing what is expected of them for their age. It is not something the gifted child may have control over and may not even recognize when they are younger; especially if they haven’t been identified yet. Asynchronous behavior can be a sign of giftedness; even before identification as gifted.

How can discipline issues in the classroom be prevented? Communication – honest and explicit statement of what is considered appropriate classroom behavior can go a long way in preventing discipline issues. Recognition and understanding of gifted characteristics can also head off inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Build a teacher-student relationship where the teacher can serve as mentor and role-model for their students.

Parents can reduce negative behaviors at home by providing a loving and caring atmosphere that values children as members of the family. They should build a relationship with their child built on honesty, respect for their opinions, and on quality time spent together. Parents can keep the lines of communication open and positive with school personnel and share concerns before an issue arises.

What are some strategies involved in using positive discipline? Strategies for positive discipline should include expressing clear expectations, involving their child in developing expectations, and taking the child’s feelings and abilities into consideration. Positive discipline should be about teaching behavioral skills, adults serving as role models, and remembering to express positive reinforcement whenever possible. The transcript may be read 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 NZST/Noon AEST/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.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa 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

Resources:

Discipline and the Gifted Child

Four Ways to Reduce Behavior Problems

Disciplining Gifted Children

How to Discipline your Gifted Child

Tips for Parents: Positive Discipline for Gifted Children

How to Not Argue with Your Gifted Child​​

Our Take on Positive Discipline: From Stickers and Star Charts to Dean’s List

Want to Have Your Heart Broken? Take a Close Look at an Angry Gifted Kid

Gentle Gifted Parenting Defusing Tantrums and Meltdowns with Love

Fostering Self-Discipline

Description of Parents Knowledge of the Nature and Needs of Gifted Children and Their Parenting Styles (pdf)

Managing Life with a Challenging Child: What to Do when Your Gifted but Difficult Child is Driving You Crazy

Today’s Disruptors Can be Tomorrow’s Innovators

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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