Category Archives: Social Emotional

Where’s the ‘OFF’ Button? Helping Parents of Young Gifted Children

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Parenting young gifted children can be a challenge! This week we looked at the intensities these kids bring into the world around them. It’s often lamented that they do not fit into society’s notion of how children should act or react. Parents describe them as ‘more’ in every aspect of their lives and it can be exhausting for everyone involved. So … where is that ‘off’ button and do you really want to push it?

One of the first telltale signs of giftedness is a child’s extremely early proclivity to ask questions; a lot of questions. And not just simple questions. Oftentimes, asynchronous development leads to highly intuitive and complex questioning of practically everything. Parents quickly realize that the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture is a false dichotomy. The best way to foster their child’s giftedness is to nurture nature and provide them with an exceptional learning environment in which those questions can be answered; no matter how often or how many. As author Christine Fonseca tells us, “we must remind ourselves that they are curious; and that’s a good thing!”

 

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In their book BLOOM, authors Dr. Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young compare intense children to flowers in a garden. Consider the quote below from the introduction when thinking about your gifted child.

 

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The intensity experienced by young gifted children extends beyond their insatiable curiosity and unfortunately can affect their relationships with adults as well as age-peers. The fact that they are labeled as gifted cannot be an excuse for bad behavior. One of the most important lessons we need to teach our children is how to optimize interpersonal relationships in a way that benefits all involved.

To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

A characteristic such as bossiness is viewed as highly unfavorable; especially when directed towards teachers or other adults. Young children who are highly intelligent may not yet understand the nuance between being bossy and  qualities associated with leadership.  Gifted children often have a wide breadth of knowledge leading them to be criticized as a ‘know-it-all’. It’s important to guide them to know how to temper their approach to those around them. Gifted kids need to harness their abilities and learn to appreciate others’ viewpoints.

Navigating age-peer relationships with kids who don’t understand their intensity can be a source of angst for a gifted child. To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

Sleep is often a major concern for parents of gifted children. Some research suggests that gifted children need less sleep; but they still need sleep and so do their parents! As with most advice on parenting, it rarely works for gifted kids. It is usually a case of trial and error to find what works best for each child. And sometimes; nothing works. If and when it begins to affect everyday life … inability to complete school assignments, being habitually late to school, displaying inappropriate emotional responses … a parent may need to consult a professional who is familiar with giftedness for help. Otherwise, the risk of misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate interventions.

Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different.

It’s important to not assume that young gifted children understand the nature of giftedness. It’s more than just being smart. Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different. It is experiencing life in a way that doesn’t always conform to social norms.

Does it ever get better? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gifted kids do grow up. They will probably continue to be intense, but they have the maturity to deal with it. Yes, it does get better. There is hope for a good night’s sleep. You may eventually even miss those early years! A transcript of this chat can 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

Links:

Giftedness & Emotional Intensity

Don’t Ride the Wave 

The “Up” Side to Being Intense

The “Up” Side to Being Intense (Part 2)

Tips for Working with Emotional Intensity

Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitability In Action

Channeling Intensity Through Creative Expression

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students (Amazon)

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Amazon)

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? (Amazon)

BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry & Over-the-Top Kids

Tips to Help Your Gifted Child Fall Asleep

Sprite’s Site: Memory Elephant in Overdrive

Sprite’s Site: Talkfest

Sprite’s Site: Perchance to Dream

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Cybraryman’s Dealing with Children Page

Cybraryman’s Sleep Page

Cybraryman’s Parenting Gifted Children Page

Strategies for Dealing with Overexcitabilities

Young Gifted Children

Laughing at Chaos Blog

Storynory (Free Audio Stories)

Living and Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities OR “I Can’t Help It – I’m Overexcitable!” (pdf)

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Young Gifted Children

Davidson Institute: FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

Picture courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Strong-Willed Gifted Child

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Strong-willed gifted children can appear oppositional and fail to respond to traditional behavior interventions. They are characterized as uncooperative, stubborn, defiant, rebellious and arrogant. They can also be thought of as passionate, idealistic, and emotionally intense. Due to asynchronous development, gifted children may have a deep understanding of a problem but lack ability to deal with it.

A gifted child’s behavior is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed by professionals. Many characteristics of giftedness may appear similar to mental health and few professionals have training in gifted issues. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate and ineffectual treatments which make matters worse.

Traditional behavior strategies don’t work because the underlying causes for the behavior are atypical for their age. A gifted child’s refusal to comply is often the result of deeply held yet inconsistent beliefs and feelings of injustice.

What info could be shared with teachers to help them understand this behavior as it relates to giftedness? Few teachers have a background in gifted education; basic information is a good place to start. Teachers need to know that gifted students don’t always know what they are good at; guidance may be needed to direct students to a place of understanding.

Scaffolding, a technique used in teaching, can be applied to helping gifted children deal with their emotions. It is a way to provide positive, but temporary support to a child during an emotional impasse; and can foster emotional growth as it leads to a positive, non-argumentative resolution of behavior issues. Scaffolding with gifted children promotes self-esteem and self-efficacy with long-term impact on reducing negative behavior. (Malonai 2016)

What positive steps can parents & teachers take to help strong-willed gifted children thrive? Parents can help their child discover who they are, their strengths by providing opportunities for recognizing personal strengths. Teachers can encourage students to follow their passions through school activities that challenge and validate them. Both parents & teachers need to provide positive supports before issues arise; celebrate good behavior when demonstrated. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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

 

Links:

7 Ways to Help Your Strong-Willed Gifted Child Thrive

5 Discipline Tips for When Time-Outs Don’t Work

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children: Mood Issues with Gifted Child

Helping Gifted Children Soar: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers (Amazon)

Living With Intensity: Understanding Sensitivity, Excitability, Emotional Development of Gifted Children (Amazon)

The Strong Willed Child, Limit Testing & Why Giftedness Matters

Are Strong-Willed Children Gifted?

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

Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy & Successful Gifted Children (Amazon)

Emotional Regulation and the Gifted Child 

Laughing at Chaos: Real Life Scaffolding 

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster

 

Photo courtesy morgueFile  CC BY 2.0   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

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Our guest this week was one of our own #gtchat advisors, Lisa Van Gemert, chatting with us about perfectionism. Lisa Van Gemert is well-known in the gifted community for her keynote addresses, presentations and as a consultant to American Mensa. You can read more about Lisa at her website.

According to Lisa, “Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work. Perfectionists also typically overgeneralize failure, seeing it as a sign of catastrophic, systemic personal failure. They are often hyper-aware of how things could be & think that means that is how they must be.”

“Perfectionism is a setting of unreasonably high expectations combined with a lack of self-love and includes an unhealthy concern for others’ opinions of one’s work.”  ~ Lisa Van Gemert 

We learned there are different types of perfectionist gifted kids. They include those who avoid taking risks, those who continually try to perfect their work, or the overachiever. Lisa told us that kids aren’t always perfectionistic across the board and thus may appear meticulous at home but chaotic at school.

“Perfectionism is multidimensional. Recent research (Stoeber 2015) established self-prescribed, socially-prescribed & other-oriented.” ~ Dr. Cait Fuentes King

The relationship between perfectionism and underachievement is a complex one. “Perfectionists can underachieve when they fail to turn in work because it’s not at the level they wanted. Perfectionism can lead to hopelessness which is a straight ticket to underachievement. It is another word for misalignment and perfectionism is misalignment of goals with reality/desirability,” Lisa said.

The consequences of perfectionism are many. Lisa listed them as, “stress, decreased social acceptance, workaholicism, and a neglect of other interests. Also, fear, underachievement, anxiety, limited social interaction, limited risk taking, rigidity, eating disorders, self-harm,  and unhealthy dependence on external evaluation/acceptance.” Perfectionism can bring ‘living a full life’ to a halt; narrowing one’s focus to ‘not seeing forest for the trees’.

What strategies can be used to deal with perfectionism? Parents can serve as role models for their children; don’t insist on everything being absolutely perfect. Teachers can also consider task requirements and make modifications when necessary. Lisa suggested, “Let the child set his/her own goals, learn appropriate goal disengagement, and teach good self-talk. Avoiding authoritarian parenting is key. Make sure you let your kids see your own failures, mistakes and risks. Avoid only rewarding high grades. Sometimes we act like the lowest grade is in a different color ink. Celebrate risk taking and build risk-taking experiences into the family where it is safe.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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

Links:

Examining the Construct of Perfectionism: A Factor-Analytic Study (cgi)

Helpful Tips for Parents of Perfectionistic Gifted Learners

Voices of Perfectionism: Perfectionistic Gifted Adolescents in a Rural Middle School

Letting Go of Perfect: Overcoming Perfectionism in Kids (Amazon)

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control (Amazon)

What to Do When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough: Real Deal on Perfectionism: Guide for Kids (Amazon)

Freeing Our Families from Perfectionism (Amazon)

You’ve Gotta Know When to Fold ‘Em: Goal Disengagement/Systemic Inflammation in Adolescence (Abstract)

Perfectionism: The Presentation

The Perils of Perfectionism

Lisa Van Gemert’s Website: Gifted Guru

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Developing Social Skills in Gifted Children

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“The day a child is identified as a gifted learner life changes for them and their families.” ~ Angie French

Social skills are necessary skills that allow children to get along with others; especially age-peers. These skills include self-control, good manners, and being able to cooperate, communicate and engage with others. These skills are not innate; they must be taught and gifted children are no exception. Too often adults mistakenly think all gifted children can develop social skills instinctively.

“Social skills is a huge area encompassing all the ways we get along with other people – parents, peers, teachers, etc. [They] include a vast array of “hidden” and “zero order” skills – things only noticed when they fail. GT kids may need extra help with social skills, as their peers might be few and far between ” ~ Dr. Peter Flom

Academic placement can affect social competency. Poor and inappropriate placement exacerbate its development. When gifted kids enter school without social skills, behavior can be misinterpreted as being spoiled rather than being bored and unchallenged. (Ruf)

Who should be responsible for teaching social skills – parents, schools, or both? Although both parents and schools need to teach social skills, it initially starts at home. Basic social skills need to be in place long before the child enters school. For gifted students, schools need to differentiate instruction taking asynchronous development and individual needs into consideration.

“Parents can be their safe place of acceptance. GT kids often feel different – being OK with self can help with social anxiety.” ~ Shanna Weber

The conversation then turned to where and how should social skills be taught in schools – regular classroom; pull-out sessions; with intellectual peers? Social skills can be incorporated into all phases of school life. Pull-out classes can deal with issues associated with giftedness. Regular classrooms provide the opportunity to practice social skills with age-peers. Particular skills may need to be taught when gifted kids are working with older intellectual peers; new circumstances. Margaret Thomas added an important reminder, “GT kids don’t want to be singled out, condescended to, or lumped with label of lacking emotional intelligence.”

“Let kids problem solve social issues. Don’t rescue them but guide them. Nudge them to get comfortable with uncomfortable.” ~ Valerie King

What are some things parents can do to teach social skills at home? Modeling good behavior at home is an important part of parenting. They can be vigilant in discussing the importance of other’s feelings (empathy) in response to one’s own behavior. Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources and Sprite’s Site suggested, “Parents can role play possible situations with their children to try various outcomes.” Parents need to set clear rules and family standards; have high, but reasonable expectations. (Pfeiffer) They should look for signs of aggressive or anxious behavior; consider professional help when necessary. Carol Bainbridge, gifted expert at About.com, added, “Responses children get from parents, peers, and teachers helps them learn what is and isn’t appropriate social behavior.” A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

“Final thought: Just as we never stop learning, we never stop building social skills. Everyone can develop confidence with others.” ~ Jeremy Bond

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

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

Links:

Highly Gifted Children & Peer Relationships

Raising a Well-Adjusted Gifted Child: Value of Promoting Social Intelligence

Social Skills

Social & Emotional Issues 

Teaching Social Skills to Young Gifted Children: Why & How

AUS: Behaviour, Emotions, Social Development: Gifted & Talented Children

How to Teach Social Skills to Gifted Kids

The Psychosocial Concerns & Needs of Gifted Students (pdf)

Tips for Parents of Gifted Children: What Most Parents Wish They had Known

How to Help Your Gifted Kid Thrive

The Relationship between Placement & Social Skills in Gifted Students (pdf)

Practical Strategies to Enhance Gifted Students Social & Emotional Skills

Turkey: A Qualitative Study to Understand the Social & Emotional Needs of Gifted Adolescents (pdf)

Develop Non-Cognitive Skills to Assure Students’ Success

Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners Role of Non-cognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance (pdf)

Early Identification of High-Ability Students: Clinical Assessment of Behavior (pdf)

Socioemotional Competencies, Cognitive Ability & Achievement in Gifted Students (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Socialization

Sprite’s Site: Making Connections

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids (Amazon)

Humanoid Robotics and Computer Avatars Could Help Treat Social Disorders

Hoagies Gifted: Social Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health Page

Cybraryman’s Social Skills Page

Living with Gifted Children from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Photo courtesy of morgueFile.  Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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