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Social-Emotional

Cornerstone

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

-Maya Angelou
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Cornerstone #3

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL

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The gifted child’s developing mind is not unlike the muscles of a professional athlete. With targeted exercise, the potential for growth is unparalleled.
Sounds too simple… easier said than done, right? We know all about the daunting social and emotional developmental issues that gifted children face – issues that can leave them feeling isolated and overwhelmed. You yourself are likely familiar with some of them: peer relationship struggles, anxiety, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and more.
We want to give you the tools to empower your child. Just as vitally, we also want to help empower you as a parent. Together, we’ll build your gifted child’s incredible mind and resilient spirit. It’s time to become an unstoppable force!

Inside the Social-Emotional world of gifted kids

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Click the arrows inside the box below to see more traits!

Based on Ian Byrd’s “10 Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted Child”

Versatility
Diverse abilities and versatility; may have interests in science and math with specific topics off-passion, or prefer social studies and language arts with particular researching and reading interests.
Versatility issues
May get frustrated when not given the time needed to do an activity of project and meet self-expectations; may appeared scattered and disorganized because of multiple projects in the process at one time
Growth
Their emotional, physical, and social growth is often not in synch. May be have cognitive ability and advanced skills but social/emotional skills may be more typical like same-aged peers.
Growth issues
Adults may expect the child to act more mature to match high cognitive ability and child’s emotions and expressions of feelings, and friendship making skills may not be any more advanced that non-gifted same-aged students.
Self-Doubt
The child may have doubts that he/she is really gifted. This is called “imposter syndrome.”
Self-doubt issues
Gifted children can be hard on themselves and maintain unrealistic performance expectations. They may see less than perfection in every area as failure. They are afraid of letting others down. They may be afraid of state tests or achievement test because they fear they don’t do as well as they are expected to perform as gifted students. They may not want to raise their hands in class and have other see that they don’t actually know everything. If teachers expect gifted children to prove they are gifted all the time, they will not be able to live up to their unrealistic expectations since they may not be gifted in all areas. They may take fewer academic risks to preserve their chance of failing.
Perfection
They may be perfectionistic. Seeking to be the best you can be is a good thing. Working hard and making sure they are leading exceptional academic producers is a good thing.
Perfection issues
Having unrealistic expectations can cause some students to not begin a project for fear of not getting it up to their standards or others. With perfectionistic tendencies, they may have trouble with time management and have difficulty finishing once started. They may become frustrated.
Sensitivity
Gifted children can have heightened emotional sensitivity. This can help the gifted child sense what he/she is feeling and be more compassionate and aware of others’ feelings.
Sensitivity issues
Gifted can become overly concerned about problems in the world out of their control. Their feelings can be hurt very easily. Perceived criticism can cause them to be hard of themselves.
Introversion
Gifted children may be introverted, requiring alone time to recharge their batteries.
Introversion issues
Teachers and parents may be concerned that this needs to be “fixed.” It is not a disability. The child simply needs time for introspection and reflection and gets strength from within rather than from social situations. Teachers mistakenly may believe the child needs more friends, when the child is happy with one intellectual peer as a friend.
Abstraction
Gifted children may prefer to think and work abstractly rather than concretely.
Abstraction issues
Teachers and parents may be concerned that this needs to be “fixed.” It is not a disability. The child simply needs time for introspection and reflection and gets strength from within rather than from social situations. Teachers mistakenly may believe the child needs more friends, when the child is happy with one intellectual peer as a friend.
Advancement
Gifted children need advanced differentiated learning.
Advancement issues
Gifted students need a balance of individual learning and group work. Some teachers may not be flexible to allow some choice time for work.
Hindsight
Gifted adults wish they had been better informed about their own giftedness as children.
Hindsight issues
Even though they may have fond experiences growing up, gifted adults often wish they had more early intervention to increase their own information, awareness, and abilities.
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You are uniquely suited to train your child's heart and mind to embrace life's challenges

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Keeping calm & rocking on

     Adversity is an inevitable part of life and the maturation process, yet some gifted children are better equipped to handle those unavoidable difficulties than others. Why is that? Is it simply an innate trait that you either have or you don’t, like having brown eyes or being tall? And even beyond that, many gifted children experience life’s stressors more intensely than their typical learning peers. Does that mean being gifted is an insidious burden for your child to carry?

     These are all reasonable questions because growing up gifted presents unique challenges, but make no mistake, being gifted is a gift that can and must be actuated! Granted, it does take a tremendous amount of effort for both the parent and child to make that happen. As children age and develop, they need an environment to feel appreciated, nurtured, and protected, at school, at home, and in the community. The storms of life will come, and your child’s fight-or-flight mechanism will instinctually engage, but how we condition our gifted children to respond to these cortisol-dumps is within our grasp.

     With that said, gifted children commonly struggle with different types of anxieties and over-excitabilities, which makes this slippery slope even trickier. Your child may be more easily overwhelmed by visual-auditory stimuli that floods them with sensory overload. They may have an imagination or curiosity that never stops, even despite their best efforts to turn it off at bedtime. Or they might even love moving for the sake of moving because of their psychomotor overexcitability. Gifted children are more prone to these over-excitabilities and will need help strengthening their inner resiliency to tackle those issues.

The storms of life will come, and your child’s fight-or-flight mechanism will instinctually engage, but how we condition our gifted children to respond to these cortisol-dumps is within our grasp.

     Like any other great skill in life, building resiliency takes work. While pilots and astronauts use flight simulators to prepare for every possible contingency, as humans we don’t have that ability in our daily lives. The best we can do is to train ourselves in how to react while facing the small things, so our brains might have the coping skills in place to contend with life’s most seismic shifts, like moving, divorce, or the death of a pet or loved one.

     The best possible place a child can build their resiliency (or growth mindset) is through their education. During the elementary years, gifted children have some incredibly exciting social-emotional opportunities:

  • Accepting mistakes, imperfections, and “failures” as essential to the learning and innovation process.
  • Recognizing, accepting, and appreciating ethnic and cultural diversity.
  • Experiencing how effort and persistence positively affect learning.
  • Demonstrating the ability to work independently, as well as the ability to work cooperatively with others.
  • Applying critical-thinking skills.
  • Engaging in positive cooperation with groups.
  • Developing effective coping skills for dealing with problems.
  • Using persistence and perseverance in acquiring knowledge and skills.

     Our objective at K5 Gifted is to empower both you and your child with the tools necessary to deftly maneuver through these developmental social-emotional hurdles. A gifted child’s brain is uniquely malleable and hungry for growth opportunities, so with targeted scientific exercises let’s craft the most resilient mental framework possible in your child… one that’s strong enough to grow and evolve across an entire lifetime!

Questions & Answers:
Supporting the Social-Emotional growth of gifted kids

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Click on each question below to find out more!

No, gifted children can be as different as flowers in a field. They may be introverted or extroverted, in other words finding strength for within or from the interaction with others. They can be well-adjusted or not. Intensity, sensitivity, and overexcitabilities are common among the gifted population. Gifted children have passions and like to pursue learning passions, sometimes at the expense of other areas of their lives.

Does your child have intellectual peers? Does he/she have a regular time to meet with others who are like-minded and share the same intensities or interests? Maybe your child is happy finding one other child at school that he/she can relate.  If your gifted child is an introvert, he/she may not be looking for a large circle of friends. Find out if your child is happy or is feeling like he/she can’t find someone to spend time with. If you child is happy with one or a few friends, it is okay. Everyone is not a social butterfly.

Find out why. Is the curriculum not being adjusted where he/she is learning new material? Is your child frustrated at the pace of the instruction? Maybe your child is bored because he/she is not interested in the content. With public school, they can adjust the difficulty level and pace of instruction, but the state mandates what must be taught and how much time must be spent in math, language arts, science, social studies, etc. You will get good information from talking to your child about what is causing the frustration and boredom.

Overexcitability in the area of emotions can be the cause. It is common among gifted children. Not only is your child more emotional about issues involving self but may be more sensitive to the feelings and problems of others. Your child may also experience intense feelings when reading a book or watching a show on the Discovery channel on television. Find outlet for your child’s emotions: a warm bath, playing in the sand, blowing bubbles in the backyard, yoga, swimming, playdough, etc.

Set household standards and limits for how the bedroom should be kept from an early age. Your organization system may not make sense to your child. Plan with your child and help him come up with some ways to keep dirty clothes put in the correct hamper, trash in the trashcan, and school materials in structured places.  Your child may be overscheduled. Make sure he has time set aside for room cleanliness and organization. Whatever habits your child develops early on will be the habits he/she takes into college, career, and relationships.

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