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Best Ways to Support the Gifted Teen

gtchat 06192015 Gifted Teen

 

“OK . . . let’s be honest: you cannot force a reluctant teenager to do anything, at least not for long. Whether it’s to do more homework (or to not obsess about its completion); to begin to become more social (or to cut back on the dating circuit); or to start planning for one’s college future (or to forget thinking of Harvard in 8th grade), teens have their own personal agendas, many of which tie into their newly found senses of power and independence.” ~ Dr. James Delisle

 

The teen years can be some of the most daunting years for gifted children as well as their parents and teachers. Gifted, profoundly gifted (PG) and twice-exceptional (2E) teens face many challenges not experienced by their age-peers. They often face unreasonable expectations and mixed messages about their abilities from adults. Gifted teens can have a different view of life and the world than do their classmates. They may prefer to be with intellectual peers rather than age-peers.

There was no shortage of acknowledging challenges for gifted kids:

  • There is nothing without challenge. Except learning, but he will never learn the way they want him to anyway. ~ Mona Chicks
  • For us, I think the social and emotional issues are the biggest hurdles. ~Celi Trépanier
  • My daughter is GT and basketball player. Was told she can’t be smart and a jock.Cliques can cause issues. She changed minds. ~Jodi Foreman
  • Where to start? All of them. Peers, asynchrony, divergent interests, feeling more, BEING more. ~ Jen Merrill

We next turned our attention to asynchronous development as it had been mentioned several times at this point. Asynchronous development – many ages at once – can have a profound impact on their social lives. Jonathan Bolding, middle school teacher of gifted and talented students in Nashville, told us that an “inability to connect with same-age peers may lead to social isolation.” Although intellectually ready to handle more challenging academics, they may not be able to navigate the social scene as easily.

Our third question considered sleep deprivation … how do you get a gifted teen to turn off the lights? For the homeschoolers present, this did not seem as much of a problem as it did for those with kids in public schools where early starts to the day proved difficult for most teens. It was an issue that followed many teens into adulthood. Many suggestions were offered on ways to get a teen to sleep. According to Dr. Jim Delisle, “A gifted teen’s greatest enemy is lack of sleep. Sleep is often not considered a priority for gifted adolescents. Resultant crankiness, listlessness, general “unattractiveness” are a direct result of this lack of sleep. The teen mind is often in overdrive – try to find methods of relaxation.”

How best can adults support sensible risk-taking regarding education? Risk-taking is a huge component in creativity! Teens should not shy away from actions for fear of appearing ‘different’.  They need to understand that being less than perfect is okay and not everyone is successful on the first attempt. (S. White) Learning to deal with failure and overcoming it are skills that can be learned during the teen years. Parents and teachers should both model how to cope with failure; be honest with their kids/students.

Many good strategies were discussed for developing self-advocacy in teens. Self-advocacy can be nurtured by allowing teens to experience natural consequences for their actions early on. Parents need to be less involved in ‘rescuing’ teens from academic issues and lend support to their teen. Jen Merrill suggested, “Start small. Encourage them to do things for themselves in public. Gradually work up to educational advocacy.”

The teen years can be a balancing act between ‘fitting in’ and intellectual authenticity with age-peers. It’s natural for teens to want to fit in with peer groups. Adults need to be understanding and give them some space to find their own way. Jeremy Bond, a parent, expressed it this way, “As with all teens, they should know you’ll always be there for support, but not to navigate things for them.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

This week, our sponsor GiftedandTalented.com gave away a scholarship for a 3-month subscription to their K-7 Math and Language Arts Combination Course. The winner was Virginia  Pratt, a teacher of gifted and talented students in South Carolina. GiftedandTalented.com was born out of Stanford’s EPGY. EPGY was led by Professor Patrick Suppes and they are honored to continue his legacy.  Virginia was able to answer the question – “During Patrick Suppes’ 64 years at Stanford, how many books did he publish?” (Answer: 34) Congratulations, Virginia and many thanks to GiftedandTalented.com!

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 new 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:

Tips for Parents: The Real World of Gifted Teens

Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too

10 Ways to Help Your Gifted Teen Get the Best Out of Secondary School

Parenting Gifted Teens

Parenting Gifted Children in Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom (pdf)

Deep Thinkers & Perfectionists: Getting to Know Your Gifted Teen

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense & Creative Adolescents Paperback (Amazon)

Parents of Gifted 3: Promote Sensible Risk-taking

Life Balance & Gifted Teens – an Oxymoron?

Sleep Deprivation and Teens

Exploring the Duality of the Gifted Teen

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp & Ready for (Almost) Anything (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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The Intensity of Giftedness with Guest, Dr. Lynette Breedlove

lynette_breedlove

Lynette Breedlove, Ph.D.

Dr.Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and Past President of TAGT, joined us this week to discuss the Intensity of Giftedness. Lynette will be conducting two Pre-Conference Sessions as well as presenting at this year’s TAGT Annual Conference in Fort Worth, Texas in December.

It was immediately apparent when asked what intensity looked like in gifted children that most participants at this chat had extensive experience identifying intensity. It was also noted that asynchronous development played an important role in shaping gifted children’s personalities. Dr. Breedlove explained, “When you are more sensitive and aware than others, you pick up on even slight differences in yourself and others. Most children are concerned about being different and intensity makes it a bigger deal to the child. The interplay between intensity and asynchrony makes things very complicated for students.”

A gifted child’s strong affective memory can cause problems in the school environment. Memories can seem so real that the child may feel they’re re-living painful past experiences; sometimes over and over again. Teachers, counselors, administrators should learn about and understand these intense feelings; not try to minimize them. Lynette reminded us, “Students can have emotional reactions that seem unrelated to what’s happening in the classroom at the moment – tied to a previous experience. You can’t rely on students forgetting something to help them move on or get over it. It is extremely important that parents, teachers, and counselors LISTEN and HONOR the students’ feelings.”

The remainder of the chat centered on how parents and educators can work with gifted children to minimize negative experiences and redirect behavior toward positive outcomes. A full transcript may be found here.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:

Excitabilities and Gifted People (YouTube 7:54)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children by Leslie Sword at SENG

Intense Behaviors of the Gifted: Possible Roadblocks to Academic Achievement

Breathing in I Calm My Body: Intensities in the Gifted from the Institute for Educational Advancement

Tips for Working with Emotional Intensity by Christine Fonseca

Emotional Intensity

Emotional Sensitivities and Intensities of Gifted Children (pdf)

Gifted Intensities: Liability or Asset? (pdf) by Lori Comallie-Caplan

Intensity & the Highly Gifted & Highly Sensitive Person

Living with Intensity by Dr. Susan Daniels and Dr. Michael Piechowski

Being an Emotional Coach to Gifted Children (SlideShare) by Christine Fonseca via @Giftedkidsie

Channeling Intensity Through Creative Expression by Douglas Eby

Intensity+Sensitivity+Overprotection=Social Emotional Disaster  from Duke TIP

Lynette’s Breedlove’s Bio

Intensity in Gifted Children (YouTube 16:39)

“Is There a Dimmer Switch for the Memory Elephant?” from Sprite’s Site by Jo Freitag

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Intense Like Me by Jennifer Marten

GT Kids and Behavior: Seven Strategies to Help Kids (and Parents) Cope by Christine Fonseca for SENG Gifted

Gifted: Overexcitabilities and Asynchronicities by Amy Harrington

Cybraryman’s Yoga Page

 

 

Why Smart Kids Worry with guest, Allison Edwards

Our guest this week was Allison Edwards, author of Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help. Allison began working with gifted kids 15 years ago as a school counselor. She was responsible for identifying, placing and coordinating resources for gifted students. Allison had to learn very quickly what gifted students needed and how they functioned inside the regular classroom. 8 years ago, she started a private psychotherapy practice where she specializes in working with gifted and anxious kids.

Our first question was to ask why smart kids worry. Allison told us that smart kids worry because their minds take them places they aren’t ready to go emotionally. They have the ability to intellectually understand things they can’t emotionally process thus creating anxiety. The ability to think about advanced topics is an asset inside the classroom but can be a detriment outside of it.

What signs should parents look for if they suspect their child is unduly worried? Parents will want to look for changes in behavior. These include: resistance to participate in previously enjoyed activities, stomachaches, headaches or loss of appetite. Kids who process anxiety outwardly will talk incessantly about their worries and/or ask repetitive questions about fears. Kids who process anxiety inwardly will withdraw, pull away and be resistant to talking about their feelings.

What advice did Allison have for parents to help their children to not worry so much? She would advise parents to acknowledge their child’s feelings and resist the urge to rationalize the anxiety away. When parents try to rationalize with an anxious child, children feel devalued and will become defensive and resistant. The best way to help kids handle anxiety is to teach them anxiety-reduction tools. The tools will empower them to handle anxious moments and learn to self-soothe. A partial transcript may be found here.

Allison Edwards Pic

Allison Edwards will be speaking at the 2014 TAGT Annual Parent Conference in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday, December 5th at 12:30 PM. You can register for the TAGT Annual Parent Conference here.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT 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 Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About 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:

Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help (Amazon) by Allison Edwards

Why Smart Kids Worry Book Cover

Allison Edwards’ Bio

Allison Edwards’ website

“4 Anxiety-Reduction Tools” for Children from Allison Edwards @CounelingBits (video)

Anxiety Trapper App for iPhone (iTunes App Store)

Allison Edwards’ Blog

12 Traits of Anxious Children (free download) from Allison Edwards

Allison Edwards ‘Why Smart Kids Worry’ (YouTube)

Why Smart Kids Worry on Facebook

Asynchronous Transitioning to Adulthood

This chat marked our return to two weekly chats on Twitter at Noon and 7PM EDT. The discussion centered around the topic of how to help gifted teens transition to adulthood especially when they are dealing with asynchronous development. Participants shared their personal stories of what it was like to make this transition when they were that age. The transcript for this chat may be found on this blog.

Several suggestions were made to help ease the transition in high school by using flexible ability grouping to allow students to interact with intellectual peers. Dual-enrollment when available is a good way for teens to experience the rigor of college courses before attending full time. Students who decide to go to a university at a younger age can find it easier to attend a school close to home to avoid residential issues. Mentoring by older students with similar experiences is another good option. Dating/sexuality issues need to be discussed in an open and frank manner.

Links:

Gifted Ex-Child

Intelligence Does Not Equal Maturity from @TxGifted

“‘Play Partner’ or ‘Sure Shelter’: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship” from @SENG_Gifted

Exceptionally Gifted Children: Different Minds

Genetic Studies of Genius (Terman)

Creative But Insecure

Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It (book)

 An Introduction to Combined Classes

EQ Versus IQ

Transition from Gifted Child to Adult Producer

Psychological Factors in the Development of Adulthood Giftedness from Childhood Talent

The Transition from Childhood Giftedness to Adult Creative Productiveness: Psychological Characteristics and Social Supports

The Adolescent Gifted Child

When Gifted Children Grow Up

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