From experience teaching gifted children, combined with having been a gifted child in a society who did not yet recognize the needs of gifted children, this article is written with the intention to help parents understand the needs of their gifted child. Gifted children don't look for ways to misbehave unless there are underlying problems which affect their perceptions. The article outlines the areas where gifted children may feel pushed into a corner and disregarded, and where behavior which does not conform to the norm may occur.
*Being ostracized by others.
*Being singled out as different by parents.
*Lacking the educational resources to feed needs.
*Having behavioral problems due to age.
Being ostracized by other.
Can you remember the kid at school who was teased because they always had their head in a book, and didn't have the time to play with others? A gifted child is a very curious child. They are not easily amused, and often the most cruel factor can be other kids not accepting them. As a child, we don't think of the long term consequences of our actions towards others, though the ostracizing of a child merely because they are gifted sets them apart, and makes them very frustrated.
Much as another child seeks friends, the gifted child needs friendship too and will often resort to anti-social behavior simply because there is no set behavior pattern for people like them, and no way to associate with others at a similar level. They feel hurt, left out and unable to participate in the normal rough and tumble that kids get involved with simply because their minds are thinking on a separate level to those around them.
Being singled out as different by parents.
Can you image a child being singled out as different to their brothers and sisters by their parents? Often parents who lack the skills to recognize that being gifted is not a fault of birth make separate rules for one kid than they make for the others. This causes a sibling rivalry which can actually lead to instability in the gifted child, as well as alienation from his siblings. On the other hand, if parents hold the child in too high esteem because of their gift, they tend to have higher expectations of the child than those expected in a child of that age. What this does is stand the child on a pedestal and the rebellious gifted child just wants to be a kid like any other at some stage during their growing up years.
This often manifests itself in anti social behavior, which in turn is blamed upon the child, without looking at the scenario which led to that behavior, and accepting that not all gifted children will misbehave if dealt with as a child, rather than put on that pedestal in the first place. Letting a child go through the natural stages of maturity regardless of their educational gift is essential to balance.
Lacking the educational resources to feed the needs.
If a gifted child misbehaves, look at the education being provided to see if indeed it is stimulating enough to keep that child contented in their learning experience. Often children held back by age rather than learning ability will be prone to boredom. Whereas those around them struggle to keep up with lessons, they will be lessons in advance for their age.
Many schools have recognized now that gifted children need assessment, to establish the level at which they are educated and if you find that your gifted child is bored, looking into the root problem of stimulation is vital to the equation.
Having behavioral problems due to age.
Your child may be the most gifted child on earth, though this does not mean they will not go through all the stages of growing up that other kids do. Never forget they are children, and will experience all the uncertainty of puberty and growing up that other kids will. Never take for granted that their choices will be easy ones, or that their mental capacity for emotional response will also be a gifted one, since the two issues are separate, and the gifted child will need as much nurturing as the child with a normal educational capacity.
Growing up is hard. It doesn't matter whether you are a gifted child or a child who is the most popular kid on the block. At some time in life, you will misbehave. It's what makes human beings so diverse, and forms part of who we are. With the correct interaction between parents, educators and siblings, the gifted child will grow up into a balanced human being, and their misbehavior become a learning process that all children need to experience in order to grow into adults capable of coping in a competitive and sometimes harsh world.