Blog Archives

The Strong-Willed Gifted Child

gtchat 05242016 Strong Willed Child

 

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.

 

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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:

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.

 

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Stigma of Giftedness

gtchat 05172016 Stigma

 

A social stigma is a discrediting stereotype placed on individuals with attributes that deviates from norm; exactly what often happens to children identified as gifted. They figure out quite quickly that they will be treated differently by adults; sometimes with unfair expectations.

 

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Gifted children may manipulate information about themselves to ensure they still have normal social relationships (Cross/Coleman 1993).  The stigma can extend to parents of gifted children cutting them off from support offered other parents because their children are ‘different’.

 

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Gifted students are known to employ strategies to avoid the stigma associated with giftedness. Invisible strategies include ‘not’ saying a test is easy; ‘not’ volunteering answers; asking questions when answer is known; or not telling their age when they’ve been accelerated. More visible strategies include being the class clown, obnoxious behavior, or dressing outside current styles. Disidentifying strategies include feigned interest in small talk; acting silly; asking absurd questions (Coffey). Past studies have shown gifted students becoming highly involved in extracurricular activities to ‘fit in’. (Coleman 1985)

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There are potentially negative outcomes of avoidance behavior related to the stigma of giftedness. When kids feel different and don’t know why, it can lead to feelings of abnormality. A gifted child may hide their giftedness to ‘fit in’ socially with age-peers and this can lead to underachievement. Parents are affected, too. They tend to shy away from sharing about their child’s accomplishments.

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What can parents do to help their child cope with the stigma associated with giftedness? Parents can explain what giftedness is and its characteristics so their child isn’t confused about feeling different. They should provide opportunities for children to associate with intellectual peers in an appropriate environment. Parents may also need to seek counseling or therapy if they believe their child’s well-being is adversely affected. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

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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:

The Stigma of a Gifted Child

Support for Parents of Gifted &Talented Children in Western Melbourne (Thesis p. 77 – pdf)

Coping with the Stigma of Giftedness (pdf)

The Social & Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids (pdf)

Possible Stigma of the Gifted Label

Is Being Gifted a Social Handicap?

25 Years of Research on the Lived Experience of Being Gifted in School

Giftedness & Genetics: The Emergenic Epigenetic Model & Its Implications (pdf)

Talent Development in Economically Disadvantaged Populations (pdf)

The Unique Inner Lives of Gifted Children (pdf)

The Social Cognition of Gifted Adolescents in School: Managing the Stigma of Giftedness

The Bipolar Spectrum and The Artistic Temperament: The Effects of Treatment on Exceptional Artistic Talent (pdf)

Laughing at Chaos: I DON’T Brag about My Gifted Kid

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

Academically Gifted Students’ Perceived Interpersonal Competence and Peer Relationships (pdf)

Gifted Kids Shape their Personalities as per Social Stigma 

The Talent of Being Inconvenient: On the Societal Functions of Giftedness (pdf)

A Gifted Child is Not a Perfect Child – So Why is There Still a Stigma?

Possible Stigma of the Gifted Label

Pathologizing and Stigmatizing: The Misdiagnosis of Gifted People

Special thanks to Leslie Graves, President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, for her extensive list of additional links for this week’s #gtchat.

Photo courtesy of morgueFile. Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

How Stereotypes Affect Gifted Children

gtchat 09182015 Stereotypes

 

Most parents of gifted children have a story to tell ‘about the time they mentioned one of their child’s achievements’ in a group of parents and it’s usually not a happy one. It doesn’t take long for these parents to stop sharing anything about their kids. They’ll be the first to tell you that stereotypes do indeed affect gifted children. This week at #gtchat, we decided to dive deeper into the topic of stereotypes.

In a poignant response to the blog post, “I hate hearing about your gifted child”, Catharine Alvarez PhD, explains why envy can play a role in stereotyping gifted children. Envy is a powerful emotion that is often directed toward outliers – those who possess traits not shared by everyone else.

Those who envy the parent of the gifted child tend to immediately attribute their negative feelings (actually generated by the envy) to some social transgression on the part of the envied parent. In this case, the charge is “bragging”. This makes sense, because any discussion of the gifted child’s abilities makes their envy salient, and they naturally want to avoid that emotional discomfort. Parents are not only defending their own self-concepts as good parents and intelligent people, but even more vitally, they are defending their own good opinion of their offspring. ~ Alvarez

As the gifted child gets older and their abilities become more obvious to others, the more negative responses they may encounter; often reacting by hiding their abilities to avoid unpleasant situations. Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis pointed out, “Envy involves what cannot be easily obtained by all people. Stereotypes imply GT have unearned benefits.”

Another point raised by teacher and blogger, Celi Trépanier, concerned how the perception of gifted programs in schools can also affect stereotypes about gifted children and the issue of fairness. How these programs are implemented can perpetuate negative stereotyping. Entrance into a gifted program is seen as a ‘prize’ for good grades and behavior. Equality replaces equity in the minds of many. This raises the need for better and more extensive identification of gifted children.

Stereotyping is far too often an issue with teachers and how they respond to children identified as gifted. Research found here (pdf), here (pdf) and here (pdf) shows that preconceived and often incorrect information can influence a teacher’s approach to gifted children. Andrea of GiftedandTalented.com reminded us, “Often times teachers provide recommendations for GT programs, it’s important that stereotypes don’t bias the selection.”This implies an urgent need for introduction of gifted education courses at the undergraduate level.

The number one stereotype mentioned during the chat was: gifted equals achievement.  This stereotype can be exacerbated by asynchronous development when teachers believe that a child’s emotional level should equal their intellectual level. Stereotypes extend to race, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance, and disabilities coupled with giftedness; to name a few.

Do stereotypes affect intellectual identity and performance? Many times gifted kids moderate their behavior and performance to conform to social standards. As Carla Walk in Texas told us, “Beware: The gifted underachiever can surface when stereotypes turn into peer pressure.” Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis said, “YES! The GT child can doubt GT status when work becomes challenging or under-perform if [it appears that it’s] uncool to be smart. A twice-exceptional child may sadly never believe they are gifted. ” Adolescent gifted girls, in particular, choose to ‘dumb down’ in order to fit into social circles. Nikki Linn commented, “The gifted perfectionist can face depression,  anxiety, etc. when adults think gifted equal highest achievers.” Dr. Jennifer Marten added, “Stereotypes affect all students but when you combine with impostor syndrome, perfectionist tendencies, and over-excitabilities; it’s exacerbated.”

“There is evidence to show that the gifted are influenced by their peers’, parents’ and teachers’ feelings about their abilities. If they are seen as mental freaks, unhealthy personalities, or eccentric simply because they are brainy or creative, many of them will avoid the stigma through conformity. Some would rather underachieve and be popular than achieve honor status and receive ostracism.” ~ Tannenbaum

Stereotypes can also have an effect on the availability of services for gifted children in schools as well. They can influence the perception of administrators regarding existing or proposed gifted programs. Twice-exceptional students fare the worst when schools can’t see past what they feel is a disability; ignore abilities. Cindy Kruse, educational consultant in Pennsylvania, suggested that administrators “need to practice “WIN” in education..everyone gets “What I Need”. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

 

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 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:

Envy & Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy?

Nerds & Geeks: Society’s Evolving Stereotypes of Our Students with Gifts &Talents (pdf)

I hate hearing about your gifted child

Teachers’ Perceptions of the Socio-emotional Development of Intellectually Gifted Primary Aged Students (pdf p. 11)

AUS: Teachers’ Attitudes towards the Gifted: Importance of PD & School Culture (pdf)

Student and Teacher Attitudes toward Giftedness in 2 Laboratory School Environments (pdf)

What Predicts Teachers’ Attitudes Toward the Gifted? (pdf)

Teachers’ Negative Affect toward Academically Gifted Students (pdf)

A Threat in the Air How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance (pdf)

The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids (PPT) (pdf)

Coping with the Stigma of Giftedness (pdf)

Social Adjustment and Peer Pressures for Gifted Children

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Free Spirit Publishing)

Harrison Bergeron (pdf) by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Gifted Resources Film Discussion Series from Jo Freitag

GHF Blog Hop: Gifted in Reel Life

Gifted Children: About that Stereotype

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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