Helium – Why Gifted Children Act Out – Susie

Blog #5 Taken from Helium Article

Why gifted Children Act Out

Every child is gifted. You hear that especially from the parents of the child who is not building castles, but eating the sand in the sandbox. That child is exploring his world, his way. Maybe his gift has yet to mature. Maybe he is artistically inclined or a creative genius. Not all gifts are immediately recognized. Every child needs to be given the freedom to figure out where their special talents lay. Yet a child who shows early promise is immediately labeled “gifted” and set above the rest. These children often are seen for what they can do, not for who they are. With gifted children the bar has been raised, and so much more is expected. So when do they get to be kids?

There are many reasons why gifted children act out. Let’s start with boredom. A child who is not being challenged to their fullest capacity will quickly find other ways to amuse themselves. In doing so they distract those who need to focus, and disrupt the lesson at hand. The bored child needs work that will stimulate and motivate. The work is too easy, then s/he needs a more difficult task. Boredom, however mainly causes problems at school. The bigger issue in terms of behavioral problems, I believe, is caused by the adults perception of how gifted children should be handled.
Gifted children are often treated as “little adults”. The expectations for them are set higher. These poor children are no longer treated as “kids”. A bright child is still a child. Being able to read at an advanced level or do calculations that are above and beyond does not mean that emotionally they are advanced as well. A gifted child is expected to do more, be more, excel, excel, excel. No wonder they act out.
Childhood is sacred. It is the time in your life when your days should be uncomplicated, carefree and fun. Being gifted is not the same as being grown up. A child who has special talents should be encouraged and taught to nurture and appreciate their gift, but not at the expense of losing what is most important, themselves.
Gifted children are tested, channeled, set apart, and suddenly they are no longer a regular child. Adults and children alike begin to treat them differently. So what is the answer? In a word, balance. Parents and teachers need to treat these children as they would treat any other child of their age group. They need to instill a respect and a desire to achieve in regards to their “gift”, but they also need to foster their desire to be a regular kid. A child who is socially well adjusted, has a good home life where after school activities are encouraged, and plays with children his/her own age will be less likely to have issues and act out.
The emotional and social welfare of a child is key to a happy, healthy upbringing. While it is alright to mold and guide and nurture whatever is special about your child, it is also imperative that the child has the freedom, with no pressure or agenda, to learn and grow. Acting out is a cry for help. The child is saying “look at me. See me. I am not getting what I need”. Talk to your child, as children should be spoken to, at their level, not yours. And listen. Listen carefully. Together, you’ll figure it out.


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