Updated: Jul 23
Parenting any child has its joys and challenges. Raising a gifted child comes with many highs, such as the sense of pride parents may feel as they observe their young child achieve beyond their age level and meet their developmental milestones early. Raising a gifted child can also be challenging for many reasons. Each gifted child is unique and can exhibit differences in their skills, personalities, development rates, abilities and interests.
It is often the case that gifted children display areas of development that are advanced whilst other aspects of their abilities are age appropriate or sometimes below expected. This is referred to as “asynchronous development” and describes the mismatch or variable rate at which gifted children develop cognitively, emotionally and physically. For example, a gifted child may be advanced intellectually with excellent mathematical abilities but experience difficulties with writing and display less developed fine motor skills. This can mean parents and schools require different strategies to support their child’s varied and asynchronous development.
Gifted children can also exhibit challenging behavioural traits such as high energy, a strong desire for autonomy and independence, and a firm sense of justice. Some gifted children display emotional characteristics such as high levels of empathy, unusual emotional depth and intensity. This can mean they require emotional support to understand and regulate their feelings. Perfectionism in gifted children can also be evident. Children who are perfectionists can have difficulties accepting mistakes or failures in the work they produce and the activities they participate in. They may be reluctant to undertake a task, particularly new activities, unless they feel they can do it perfectly. They can also experience intense anxiety as a result of not achieving the high standards they hold. This could manifest as a tearful meltdown when they don’t place first in a competition or catastrophic thinking where they believe they will fail school entirely because they haven’t performed to the highest standard in a test at school.
Gifted children learn more quickly than their peers and need their talents and interests nurtured. Boredom and frustration can become an issue that parents may have to navigate for their gifted child. It can sometimes be the case that their abilities are not catered for within the regular classroom environment. If gifted children are not challenged, and the curriculum work is too easy for them, they may be at risk of becoming disengaged. Sometimes, a gifted child can try to ‘fit in’ with peers and even start to underachieve. It can be disheartening for parents to watch their formerly bright-eyed, enthusiastic kindergarten-aged child begin to say they are bored and feel frustrated and no longer want to attend school. There are many ways in which gifted children can be enriched and extended at school. Some schools provide gifted and talented programmes, and options such as grade and subject acceleration can also be considered.
Butterfly Psychology for Kids is highly qualified in assessing and identifying giftedness in Perth children aged 6-16. As part of a comprehensive assessment, strategies are provided for parents and schools to help nurture a child’s areas of talent, interest and strength, in addition to addressing any areas requiring support.
Asynchronous Development www.nagc.org
Parenting Gifted Children: Challenges & Tips www.davidsongifted.org
Some Do’s and Don’ts For Raising Your Gifted Kids www.sengifted.org