Having a gifted kid is a joy, however, there are certain areas in which gifted children might struggle. Read on to find out how to support your gifted child and ensure they reach their full potential.
Raising gifted children is a huge responsibility. You want to make sure they reach their full potential. However, you also want them to have a happy and well-balanced life. When they struggle, it can be hard to know how to help them.
Here are 8 things a gifted child might struggle with and some ways to help them overcome these problems.
1. They are given too much responsibility
Gifted children can often run rings around us. They have a counter argument for every decision we make and this can be quite exhausting. However, it is important to remember that they are children and, no matter how clever they are, they still need rules and boundaries.
Children feel more safe and secure when they have a structure to their lives and know that someone else is making important decisions about them. Giving them too much freedom, no matter how much they argue for it, can actually make them feel less secure.
Remember to make sure you are in charge of important matters such as bedtimes, food choices and schooling decisions. Of course, you may take your child’s preferences into account but ultimately, you are the boss.
2. They don’t learn to overcome difficulties
Gifted children become accustomed to succeeding in certain areas of their lives, whether in sport, art, or academia.
The problem is that talented children will at some point come up against things that they find hard. If we have not given them the resources to deal with this, they may struggle. This often comes up when they go to university and find they are not the brightest in the class and things don’t come so easily in this higher learning environment.
We often encourage gifted children to pursue the things they are talented at. This is important, however, it is also important to encourage them to do things that don’t come quite as easily to them. This will help them to build determination and resilience and teach them how to deal with failure.
3. They don’t receive enough praise
Gifted children often receive less praise and compliments at school. This is because teachers assume that things have come easily to them. But talented children have the same need for praise and appreciation as other children.
Always compliment their efforts rather than the results. Otherwise, children may feel that they are only valued because of their talents and abilities. Praise them for being kind and creative and having fun and just being their wonderful selves as well as for working hard and achieving great results.
4. They get bored
Gifted children often get bored because they are under-stimulated. In addition, if they are not challenged, they will not learn to work hard to overcome problems.
Make sure you provide challenges for your child in a range of fields. This will stimulate their intelligence, creativity, physical and spatial skills. You should make sure that they are, at times, working at the limits of their ability so that they learn to work hard to overcome challenges.
5. They become overscheduled
Although you want to challenge your gifted child, you should not cram every second of their day with activities. Children need down time to relax and play.
Free time allows them to be creative, consolidate ideas and relax. Overscheduling can lead to stress and burnout and can ultimately mean your child misses out on many of the joys of being a child.
6. They aren’t included in conversations about their gifts
Many parents worry that letting their child know they are gifted will make them big headed. Withholding information from them is unlikely to help as they are bound to know that they are more gifted than their average peers.
Having an open conversation about their gifts, what they mean and what their limitations are will help your child have a healthy attitude towards their talents and abilities. It is also important to explain to them that other personal skills and values such as kindness, manners and helping others are just as important to success and happiness as their gifts are.
7. They are used as an example to others
Using your child as an example for siblings or other children to emulate is damaging for all concerned. Each child should receive love and nurturing for who they are and never be compared with others.
Doing this will cause embarrassment to your gifted child and damage the self-esteem of others. It can also lead to other children being mean to your child because they feel threatened, undervalued and anxious about their own abilities.
8. They have trouble prioritizing and letting go
Talented children can sometimes feel overwhelmed. While they are often capable of achieving more than their peers, this can lead them to become overscheduled and add stress to their lives. They can’t do everything and need to learn to prioritize.
It is important to teach them to let go of their responsibilities at times and plan time for fun and relaxing activities. They might need guiding towards activities that allow for emotional growth and self-discovery.
Your gifted child is still a child and you are first and foremost a parent. This is a wonderful time in your life so don’t forget to make the most of it. Have fun with your child and enjoy their company every day.
The responsibilities of raising a gifted child are huge but the pleasures and joys should be embraced, too. Remember that your child’s intellectual needs and emotional needs are not the same.
They may need to be intellectually stimulated to a level more appropriate for an older child. But they still require the same play, fun, cuddles and security of any child their age.