The frequency may be low but from time to time, we come across children with IQs so impressive that they are labelled gifted.
If you’ve got one of these, thumbs up to you, mama. Now, here are nine ways you can help your gifted child maximise their potential and live a balanced life.
1. Assert Your Authority
It is not unusual for gifted children to be argumentative or manipulative.
When these behaviours occur, acknowledge your child’s argument but be firm in your authority as an adult.
This is why it’s important to have ground rules to guide their interactions.
Even if the child presents a strong argument, refer them to your house or school rules and state simply that there are no exceptions.
Gifted children maybe more than others, value being heard.
So, use active listening techniques like getting on their level, making eye contact, and restating their concerns, but hold firm with your rules.
The child will better understand that you hear them, but that the matter is not flexible.
For example, you can say, “I get that you’re making a good point, however, it’s important to follow the house/school rules.”
2. Curb Excessive Talking
A lot of knowledge can mean a lot of talking.
Your gifted child may want to tell you all about the books they read, the science or film project they just finished, or their thoughts on a documentary.
That kind of stuff.
And you owe it to the child to make time and listen to them, engage, and ask questions.
If the talking happens at inappropriate times like while you’re working or on the phone tell him/her to come back later.
If the talking is excessively long, gently let the child know that many people don’t want to hear long accounts of things.
Ask them to try to summarise.
Also, encourage them to write, draw, paint, or use other non-verbal means of expression to help them process information.
Get them a sketchbook or a diary and encourage them to put the information there.
3. Recognise Uneven Development
Many gifted children have sharp wits or well-developed vocabularies and excellent reasoning skills, yet may still behave emotionally as their peers.
One minute the child may be discussing politics, and the next moment they may cry over toy cars.
Recognise that with brilliance does not always come with maturity and that the child is still a child.
A gifted child may understand abstract concepts but not be emotionally developed enough to deal with them.
This can lead to fears about death, sex, the future, or growing up.
Sometimes, you may be tempted to treat your gifted child like they can self-comfort or understand emotional situations better than they can.
Remember to treat your kid like a kid, and provide them with support and comfort.
4. Address Social Difficulties
Living a balanced life as a gifted child is knowing how to relate well with peers.
While it is somewhat normal that they might seek out older friends or get along better with the friends of their siblings, encourage them to also make friends with their peers.
Find extracurricular activities e.g., football, music or dance that interest your child, and sign them up.
Be sure not to put your child in an activity that you loved when you were their age, but choose one that interests them.
Point out that making and keeping friends means they don’t argue with every opinion that is different from theirs, and teach them to avoid criticising other children who are not at their ‘advanced level.’
5. Set Goals, And Help Them Stay Focused
No matter how many talents, interests, obligations, or tasks they feel they can take up at once, help them stay on track and not lose focus of the goals that are priority.
Teach them to plan ahead and manage their time so they can balance all of their obligations.
In the end, they are only human and can’t do everything.
Help them clearly identify the goals that are most important and how they might achieve them.
You can also find people, such as teachers, guidance counselors, and the likes, who can help them develop a step-by-step plan.
6. Teach Them To Handle Challenges
Remind them that challenges aren’t personal, and sometimes getting things wrong is not only part of the process, but perfectly normal.
Often, this comes off as the child being rude or trying to undermine your authority.
It is up to you to choose whether to engage the comment or not.
Alternatively, you can show that differing viewpoints are not necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, just different.
You can say, “That’s another way to look at it, thanks for pointing that out.”
7. Get Them Mentors
Connecting with someone of like-mind/ similar interests can make them stay excited and motivated to do their best.
A good mentor can also help them source challenging opportunities for their IQ level.
This person can be anyone from a teacher, an old friend or anyone else that they really look up to.
8. Help Them Manage Perfectionism
For a shot at living a balanced life, teach your gifted child to avoid the temptation to obsess over perfection in everything they do.
Otherwise, the pursuit of perfection will get in the way and undermine their ability to balance the different goals they have or even enjoy the process.
They should also know when to quit a specific task, and match the time commitment to the value of assignments.
This will keep them from doing things such as spending 5 hours perfectly outlining a biology textbook chapter instead of studying for the physics test they have the next day.
Have you read: 5 Things To Do If Your Child Hates Math
Make it a resounding anthem that the goal of education is to learn and to develop your intellect, not to achieve perfection on every assignment or in every class.
It is in their best interest to not become obsessed with grades.
Just because they are gifted does not mean they have to make an A in every subject every day.
Remember, other people are gifted in certain activities or subjects, and no one is perfect.
The goal should be intellectual growth and understanding, not perfect grades.
Raise him/her not to see everything as a competition or a chance to prove themselves.
Academic activities (and some others), should be approached as opportunities to cultivate your own gifts, rather than to beat or out compete other people.
9. Teach Them To Be Modest, Supportive, And Grateful
Teach your gifted child to always be humble when it comes to their abilities, refrain from teasing others or making jokes about others’ abilities, and instead be supportive.
Raise them to be a model for other gifted kids in how they should treat others, and do things like help or tutor friends and peers who are struggling or need assistance.
Bragging or becoming arrogant because of their abilities should have no place with them. an attitude of gratitude should be encouraged.
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