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Parents look at their children in great admiration and are proud of how they progress in life. In the early stages of life, there might be instances where your child seems a lot more talented or sharp than the kids of his age or seems to grasp things very quickly and discover things that you wouldn’t have even thought of quite easily. Recognizing the right signs and understanding if your child is gifted or not is key to ensuring they are raised and developed the right way.
What is a Gifted Child?
Before identifying gifted children, it becomes necessary to define them first. A gifted child has a high level of mental ability or is extraordinarily good in a specific area of knowledge. Most countries consider a child to be gifted if his IQ score stands at 130 or beyond that. However, a gifted child could be great in different areas, such as verbal, mathematical, visual, art, musical, or even interpersonal communication.
Common Characteristics of Gifted Kids
There are certain common traits of a gifted child that can easily help you realize if your child is one.
1. Learns Rapidly and has Strong Reasoning Capabilities
Your child is able to learn new things faster than others and can reason each aspect of learning clearly and concisely.
2. Talks Confidently Early in Life With a Good Vocabulary
Your child has comparatively less fear of public speaking or making his opinion heard, and is able to spell out his thoughts using the right words and sentence structure.
3. An Avid Reader and Asks a Lot of Pertinent Questions
Your child likes reading a lot and does not hesitate from asking questions.
4. Extremely Curious and a Very Strong Memory
Your child is generally curious about a lot of things and seems to recall many things instantly from memory.
5. High Levels of Concentration for Extended Periods of Time
Sitting for long periods of time and concentrating on a single problem or a book does not seem to be difficult for your child.
6. Pursues Anything that Interests them Right to The End
Once something catches his attention, your child will make sure to pursue it until it is completed.
7. Enjoy Solving Problems and Find Unique Solutions in Strange Ways
Brain teasers and puzzles light up your child’s eyes and he ends up solving them in ways that are quite unusual.
8. A Vivid and Unusual Imagination
Your child tells stories and talks about fantastical worlds or inventions with a lot of detail.
9. Has Strong Opinions and Believes Strongly in Justice
Being fair and just with everyone is how your child usually is and doesn’t feel fear to take a stand.
10. Prefers Spending Time with Adults than Children of Their Age
Your child is more comfortable having conversations with adults than playing around with kids his own age.
Gifted Children Problems/Challenges
As special as they might be, there are gifted child behavior problems that parents need to be aware of and handle with care.
1. Burnout and Exhaustion
Gifted children are usually high on energy and pursue their interests by giving it their all. This causes them to get exhausted soon and deplete their energy reserves since their body is just catching up in growth. Moreover, taking care of the usual tasks of completing homework, keeping everything organized, being perfect at everything, can get extremely stressful for them, and leave them not wanting to pursue what they want to.
2. Issues Regarding Attention and Organization
Gifted children tend to think of things in abstract ways and abstract thoughts, and get bored of normalcy quite easily. This leads to them having issues with paying attention or keeping things organized.
3. Difficulty in Making Friends
This is one of the major problems gifted children face. On the outside, they may seem extremely mature when it comes to social interaction, but internally they feel lonely and sad amongst their peers. They may find nothing in common with their classmates or may have difficulty in joining in group activities. This could primarily be because of their tendency to do things better than others which results in them being perceived as arrogant.
4. Difficulty in Being Patient
If they encounter something they cannot quickly understand or might not be good at a particular activity at the beginning, they get angry at themselves or may abandon the activity altogether. When it comes to other children, they get frustrated by the fact that their classmates take longer to understand simple concepts that they have grasped already.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
Gifted children expect highly of their own selves. If they have been getting consistently good grades, a single low grade can destroy them from within, and be a shock for the parents, too. They tend to set extremely high expectations for themselves and are immediately distraught when they fail to meet them.
6. Issues Regarding Control
Most gifted children like to run things their own way. You may have noticed where kids insist on doing things themselves and hate it when parents interfere. Over time, this nature of doing things a particular way might make others interpret it as arrogance or being bossy, which also might lead to them being fearful of taking risks.
7. Being a Perfectionist
It always has to be perfect for gifted children. This makes them high-achievers throughout life. They might procrastinate a lot or spend absurd amounts of time getting things right down to the finest detail. On seeing an average performance in other aspects of life, gifted children might tend to add even more effort in those areas, without realising that it consumes a lot of time, leaves them tired, and affects their health as well.
8. Feeling Guilty
Yes, gifted children feel guilty about being gifted. They recognize their own talents and may feel a yearning to give it back or share it with others in some manner. This might manifest in good social behavior where they help out others and contribute to causes, but when powered by guilt, they might go the extra mile and lead to being taken advantage of as well.
9. Issues Regarding Self-Esteem
At times, this gift can become a curse for children, making them feel isolated and different from their friends and classmates. Gifted children end up being bullied at times or even have to combat depression. Many studies have shown that gifted children struggle a lot with social difficulties and feelings of sadness. They tend to talk themselves down and be negative towards their own behavior, leading to mood swings and erratic habits.
How can Parents and Teachers Help Gifted Children?
Parenting a gifted child is no less than a challenge. Not only does it come with the usual difficulties of a child, but it also has the extra responsibility of protecting and caring for the gift they come with.
- Allow them the space to do their own things in situations with no specific outcomes.
- Give them opportunities to take risks and let them fail in non-threatening ways.
- Find other gifted children and try to make them a part of the community
- Request your child’s teacher to spend some time specifically with your child to cater to his needs.
- Give them activities that teach them the necessity to balance urgent work and one requiring deep thought.
- Introduce them to a questioning process that is structured to bring into action their higher-order thinking.
- Let them take the initiative and solve problems while giving them minimal instructions.
- Provide them with opportunities that help them develop their skills in the direction of their choosing.
- Encourage them to use alternative techniques that stray away from the norm.
- Provide them work that challenges their creativity and imagination.
- Give them projects that have clear instructions as well as ones that don’t have any.
- Have an internal understanding that social maturity isn’t connected to intellectual prowess.
- Make them experience a variety of teaching and learning techniques.
- Try to reduce repetitive work and replace with acts that help in enriching what they know.
- Allow them to understand the differentiation amongst various activities and strategies.
- Give them time and opportunity to figure out things for themselves.
- Support them in times of need and give them the emotional guidance that kids generally require.
Difference Between a Bright Child and a Gifted Child
People usually term extremely bright children as a god gifted child. But, there are some differences between bright and gifted children that are described below respectively.
- One knows the answer while the other asks more questions.
- One is interested while the other is very curious.
- One pays attention while the other gets fully involved.
- One has good ideas while the other has unusual ones.
- One works really hard while the other scores better with minimal work.
- One answers the questions while the other further asks questions to the answer.
- One tops the class while the other is in a separate class of themselves.
- One listens attentively while the other portrays strong opinions.
- One learns easily while the other is already aware of it.
- One masters it in 6-8 repetitions while the other gets it in a couple of those.
- One understands ideas well while the other creates abstract theories.
- One enjoys with friends while the other seeks out adults and older children.
- One understands the meaning while the other creates a theory.
- One completes assignments while the other starts new projects.
- One is good at copying while the other is good at creating.
- One absorbs information while the other applies knowledge.
- One is a technician while the other is an inventor.
- One enjoys clarity while the other enjoys complexity.
- One memorises well while the other guesses well.
- One is pleased with his performance while the other still wants to keep doing better.
Gifted children are rare and having one of them is bound to make your life a roller coaster ride. Give them the time and support they need and allow them to blossom on their own accord. A star needs to shine by itself and it will.