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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.

Unexpected Challenges of Being a Gifted Kid with Guest Ian Byrd

Unexpected Challenge copy

Photo Courtesy of morgueFile

Our guest this week was Ian Byrd of Byrdseed Gifted. Ian is a much sought after presenter at gifted conferences and a well-respected educator within the gifted community. His website, Byrdseed Gifted, and latest venture, Byrdseed.tv (subscription-based), are excellent resources for all classroom teachers. During this chat, we explored the challenges of being a gifted kid based on one of Ian’s presentations that he’ll be giving at this year’s TAGT Parent Conference in Fort Worth, TX in December.

Ian Byrd 2014

Ian Byrd

Contrary to society’s perception of gifted children, the challenges they face are numerous. As participants in the chat pointed out from personal experience, life can be lonely and full of anxiety for a gifted kid. Feelings of not fitting in with age peers, unrealistic expectations by teachers and adults in their lives, obsessive behaviors that are often misunderstood, and relentless boredom in school has a profound impact on their lives. Ian shared, “As I grew up, I became increasingly self-critical, felt that I wasn’t as great as people said, and  grew afraid of taking risks.”

According to Ian, “It’s easy to assume that giftedness will make problems simpler to solve or that being “smart” should make life easier. Giftedness can create over-thinking,perfectionism, and an overly-critical point of view. Simple problems become overly complex!” As the moderator pointed out, “Gifted kids are rarely told what to expect. Adults need to do a better job at facilitating the conversation – what is giftedness?” Often a gifted child is confused about why they feel so different from their peers which leads to further problems. Discussing giftedness in a positive manner can help a child’s self awareness. A full transcript may be found here.

As mentioned earlier, Ian will be presenting at the TAGT Annual Conference on December 4th and December 5th and at the Parent Conference on the 5th  as well. You can register for the Annual Conference or the Parent Conference at these links.

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:

Who is Ian Byrd? Ian’s Bio

“Self Control is a Limited Resource” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Amazon)

“Why Change is So Hard: Self-Control is Exhaustible”

“10 Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Make Your Class Cozy for Gifted Introverts” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Sensitivity in Gifted Kids” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

“Personality Development and the Gifted” (pdf) by Linda Silverman

“Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children & Evolution of Society” by Linda Silverman via SENG Gifted

“High Anxiety” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Make Your Worrier a Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Child’s Fears (Amazon) by Dr. Dan Peters

“Understanding the High Energy of Gifted Kids” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Living with Intensity (Amazon)

Intensities at Byrdseed Gifted

Experience and Processing The Funnel and Cylinder Analogy of Giftedness

Future U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Will Require More Brain Than Brawn

“Asynchrony and X-Men” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

Feeling Isolated by Choice

“Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitabilities in Action” by Ian Byrd at Byrdseed Gifted

The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under (Amazon)

The Gifted Family – Transforming Chaos into Calm

When I asked Jen Merrill, author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? and the popular Jen Merrill Head Shotblog Laughing at Chaos, to co-moderate this chat; she seemed to think that we might be attempting to discuss the impossible. Her exact words were “And then we’ll be discussing the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch!”

 

If you’ve raised gifted kids, family life can often seem chaotic and not just because of the kids! The parents’ intensity plays a greater role than many of us like to admit. The term ‘multiple personalities’ takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the members of a gifted family. Attempting to bring calm to a world of chaos when you aren’t sure who is in charge can prove difficult.

Undaunted … we went ahead with the chat and were pleasantly surprised not only to see many new faces, but several folks we had not seen in years. It seems that chaos rules in many households where ‘apples haven’t fallen far from the tree’ and now reside under one roof! And participants had a lot to say … nearly 600 tweets in one hour … about a tweet every 6 seconds! A list of the questions posed at this week’s chat may be found here. A full transcript is at Storify.

Our first question addressed the issue of how asynchrony, when developmental levels of gifted children collide, affects family life in terms of sibling relationships and extended family. One of the first responses, “How does it NOT affect all of life?” from Mona Chicks, set the tone for most of the chat.

Life is indeed chaotic in the gifted family and most participants agreed, ‘calm’ is a refuge rarely achieved. As Jen noted, “It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what age/behavior will appear. Extended family may only see one ‘age’ or only see the kid outside his comfort zone. I think asynchrony causes the most pain with extended family that doesn’t ‘get it.’ Sometimes [you get] judgement when you most need acceptance.” Amy Harrington added, “Asynchrony is pervasive with no off switch. It is all consuming and mixed in with Overexcitabilities [OEs] can be entirely overwhelming at times.

We next considered, “What strategies can parents use to calm their own emotional intensities while dealing with their child’s OEs?” Pamela Price of Red, White and Grew, recommended that “Honestly? They need to IDENTIFY their own intensities and seek separate support for them, including their own counselor.” Angie French from TeachaGiftedKid added, “You must take care of yourself so you can be the best caretaker of the ones you love.” Susanne Thomas, new Online Education Director at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, had some sage advice for the group, “Finding your tribe. Hands down. Anyone that ‘gets’ it even in concept needs to be cultivated and cherished.

Additional questions included dealt with:

  • the added pressures that parents face as mediators for their child when behaviors don’t match cultural norms
  • how discrepancies in a child’d development affect educational options
  • what effect gifted parenting has on marital relationships and increased financial burdens due to such things as homeschooling and/or early college entrance

Our final question of the chat was meant to allow participants to express some of the unexpected joys they had experienced with their gifted child. Jen shared a recent newspaper article, Moving Picture: Libertyville Computer Whiz Has Big Plans, about her son and his intense interest in computers. Comments shared were truly inspiring!

  • It’s that moment when someone who had low expectations figures it out and is in AWE of his ability. Seeing the connections happen in his brain. Amazing!” Mona Chicks
  • I get to school him here, and help him make connections, and watch his face light!!” Care M. 
  • Knowing that if there’s more spirited, divergent and creative thinkers out there like her, humanity might have a hope!” Celeste of Oz
  • Saying ‘my kid can code in 4 languages!'” Susanne Thomas
  • An off the wall sense of humour. Watching them think – the brilliant leaps from go to OMG where did that come from???” Gluten – Free Mum
  • His humor and original jokes! Oh, the jokes he spontaneously makes up!” Celi Trépanier
  • Beyond joy about rediscovering his “old”, happier self. Proud of us for stepping up to plate as parents. Flip side of public judgment–enormous appreciation 4 strangers who genuinely like your kid.” tedra 
  • Constantly impressed with their insight, creativity, kindness, seeing new patterns.” Justin Schwamm 

Have you found your tribe? People who ‘get’ giftedness and how it affects your life? Consider joining us at Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented on Twitter and find your tribe! Each week we discuss timely topics related to gifted children, adults and education. Questions are posted the day before and an edited transcript is posted after each chat.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #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 byTAGT 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:

Life in the Asynchronous Family” by Kathi Kearney

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child” Neville, Piechowski & Tolan, eds.

Off-the-charts cover

Educating Exceptional Children Chap. 10 Exceptional Gifts & Talents” (Excerpt – Google Books)

A Review of Research on Parents & Families of Gifted Children” (1983)

How Gifted Children Impact the Family

Parenting Strategies for Parents of Gifted Children

Family Counseling with the Gifted” Linda Silverman” (pdf)

Parenting a Gifted Child: Lessons from the Andrakas” (video)

An Interview with Therapist for the Gifted Family, Mika Gustavson” by Suki Wessling

The Burden of Raising a Gifted Kid

A Year of Small Gratitudes” from Jen Merrill

Serving Highly & Profoundly Gifted Learners”  (pdf) in the Gifted Education Communicator Winter 2009

Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at School and at Home (Amazon 8th Edition) by Barbara Clark

Facing the Challenges of Growing Up Gifted (audio) on NPR

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young & Bright by Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. (book)

Mellow Out Book Cover

Coping When Extended Family Doesn’t Get Giftedness by Lisa Conrad

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Sprite’s Site Post for New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour

 

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