Anyone else's gifted child very sensitive...?

Cheryl - posted on 10/30/2009 ( 74 moms have responded )

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My daughter is very hard on herself and cries or gets angry if she does not do something perfectly, even though her work is at a much higher level than her peers. I try very hard not to put pressure on her but praise her for trying her best and encourage her to do so. Am I contributing to this (I am a Virgo and have perfectionistic tendencies), or are all gifted girls sensitive, or is it just her individual personality? Any info, advice would be appreciated!

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Julie - posted on 01/15/2010

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A great book that I would recommend is "Living With Intensity" by Susan Daniels and Michael M. Piechowski. They discuss five areas where gifted kids are intense, perfectionism being one of the signs of intensity... It's a great book! My older child is highly gifted and pretty easy going. Our 4 year old is gifted, extremely perfectionistic, and very sensitive, so I don't think it's necessarily something the parents are doing (or they would both be that way). But I think we can help them through the perfectionism as you are doing. It's hard when they are always better than their peers at everything because they then feel like they always have to perform, even if you're not the one commenting. It's also good for them to know that most kids who are highly gifted struggle with fine motor skills like writing or drawing. Good luck with it all, and see what you think of the book. -Julie

Sally Thomas - posted on 10/19/2012

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My daughter is a perfectionist and highly sensitive. I have encouraged her to work towards excellence rather than perfection. When she feels that she has not done something well, I will ask her "what else the result could mean?". She feels that she has failed and she is a failure, but it may just mean that she needs to work or study on this specific are more the next time. I also share with her that she is loved and cared for because of who she is and not because of what she accomplishes. Hope this helps.

Laura Ann Brown - posted on 02/12/2010

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there has been much written on the topic of sensitivities associated with high levels of intelligence. My favorite is a Polish psychologist who studied large numbers of gifted children in the 1950's and described five "overexcitabilities." He later revised his theory and described "super sensitivities," which is better, in my opinion. the five super sensitivities are thus: intellectual, imaginational, psychomotor, sensory, and emotional. check out the Hoagies website for more. here is a link to the page that describes Dabrowski's theories as related to gifted children: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/dabrowski.h... Another good resource is "The highly sensitive child" by Elaine Aron. This book helped me to realize that my childrens' sensitivities are not unusual, particularly amongst gifted individuals, or weird, and that it didn't mean that they were going to be autistic, have asberger's or other problems, but, in all liklihood, were a reflection of their giftedness. good luck!

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Brandi - posted on 11/20/2012

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It is not a passing stage, it is part of who they are. Here are some strategies to help you help your daughter. This is directly from an issue on overexitabiliites we published in our free newsletter this month at www.giftedresources.com I hope this helps.

Psychomotor

1. Avoid activities that require sitting for a long period of time

2. Plan for movement opportunities before and after a long period of stillness

3. Involve child in a physical task; send her on an errand

4. Help your child notice signs of exhaustion or need for quiet time.

Sensual

5. Provide opportunities to dwell in delight.

6. As much a possible, foster control of the child’s own living space and work setting

7. Help the child find comfortable and appropriate clothing

8. Understand that attachments to stuffed animals and favorite blankets may run a tad longer than with other less sensually sensitive children.

Intellectual

9. Honor the need to seek understanding and truth, regardless of the child’s age

10. Alter sleep patterns as necessary

11. Teach inquiry methods and communication skills

12. Allow children to develop their own projects based upon individual interests

13. Seek opportunities to provide interaction with intellectual peers, not necessarily age peers

Imaginational

14. Encourage children to share imaginings, tell stories or draw images of imagined friends, pets, buildings, creatures, and worlds.

15. Provide outlets for creative pursuits

16. Offer open-ended activities

17. Record imaginative content and ideas in a journal



Emotional

18. Teach children to be respectful of others’ feelings or seeming lack thereof

19. Develop a feeling vocabulary

20. Teach, model, and share relaxation techniques

21. Use journaling to express feelings.

Tanyala - posted on 11/20/2012

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It just seemed like a passing stage when my 7 yr old daughter went through it. She's not as hard on herself any more.

I would say "all you can do is your best".

Then we would discuss if it was or not.

Brandi - posted on 11/03/2012

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I teach gifted kids, and work with incoming teachers at a local college, and these are called overexcitabilities. You can check out a training we did in this at http://www.giftedresources.com/video.php I think you will see your child in this profile. You can sign up for our free newsletter at www.giftedresources.com or join our discussions on Facebook at www.facebook.com/21giftedresources For many parents this is the first time they have heard of this and it is relieving to know that this is perfectly normal and expected for gifted children.

Chris - posted on 08/30/2012

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I don't really have an answer but I thought that I would add my experience. My son gets extremely upset over schoolwork: Math and he is also quite frustrated by directions that are not crystal clear. He is now 11. He skipped 2nd grade and we "held him back" with virtual classes because of this in hopes that he would enter middle school at the correct age without the tears, etc. During the V-school time he was much more relaxed but had much less work to do. Now he is back in a mix of virtual and real classes and he is upset all over again. He plays sports which helps I think, but he has a special level of being upset for homework when it does not go well.

Sarah - posted on 06/18/2012

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My 8 year old daugther was born premature weighing only 2 lbs. She has definately outgrown all her peers and is an ice skating prodigy! She has only been skating for a year but can compete with kids twice her age. She too is very sensitive at school and at home. I think what you are doing with not pressuring her and encouring her is the best thing that has seemed to work for us!

Brandi - posted on 06/15/2012

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Perfectionism is a classic trait of gifted children. As a gifted adult (and a veteran teacher) with a young gifted child, I find that we are both plagued by these perfectionistic tendencies. I am seeking therapy for her to help her manage and express her strong emotions and emotional reactions, which is easier said than done especially if your child is still a toddler like mine. Good luck! I have yet to find a way to combat this issue.

Michele - posted on 05/29/2012

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so here i am again 2 years later. am fascinated to see this thread still going. and now have even more insight of course. for all of us perfectionists out there who have perfectionist children, i DO have a piece of advice. guess what? YOU are your child's greatest role model! So I challenge each and every one of you to model over the summer: A) Doing something NOT perfectly. B) Showing how an adult behaves/reacts when something they do does NOT come out perfect (yes this is a hard one!).

I think "B" is a fine line between accepting that you did your best and developing a lackadaisical attitude about things. You can also learn new word choices to replace "perfect." "Hmmm...that didn't turn out like I expected." "Wow that is exactly how I pictured this project would look."

Have fun!

Sharon - posted on 05/29/2012

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We have the same issue with our 6yo son. He is in yr 1 but doing yr 2-3 math and if he gets one answer wrong he falls to pieces. It doesnt matter if we explain about learning from mistakes or how far ahead from his peers he is. He expects 100% accuracy from himself at all times. My husband and I are both gifted and we also have perfectionism issues, though I no longer go to lecturers and say "I dont GET passes!" LOL

Kerry - posted on 01/24/2012

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I have been reading "The Highly Sensitive Child" because I have a highly sensitive 5 year old daughter. It seems like the HSC traits are the same as the gifted child traits. I never thought that she could be gifted.. How do I know if she is?

Diane - posted on 02/22/2010

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I don't have any advice for you but just wanted to say thank you for the question. I have a feeling I am going to be experiencing this with my child. She is two now and already gets very upset and angry with herself if she can't do something perfectly the first time, no matter how we tell her trying and practicing are just as good as getting it right. Right now she is learning to write her name and can't quite get her hand to form the letters correctly and the temper tantrums and crying fits are extreme.

Lourisia - posted on 02/20/2010

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Just assure her not to be so hard on her self.Life is hard enough lol.But yes my 3 boy's that are gifted are very sensitive. It may be just part of who they are.

Janice - posted on 02/14/2010

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yes!!! just wrote a post earlier. our daughter struggles as well. Maybe we should pray for eachother. :)

Janice - posted on 02/14/2010

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My 11 year old daughter is emotional as well. Very trying on my 'emotions' at times because i continue to encourage her, yet it seems as though its not working at times. She is very hard on herself & gets very upset when she doesnt receive an A+ or at least 99 or 100% on papers or projects, as well as straight a's on report cards. Children are very cruel as well, she is so loving & kind & outgoing, but they just dont relate to her??? It makes my husband & me very sad! :( We have never made her feel 'less than' about grades or told her roughly that we expect her to have 100%. So we are not sure where this stems from??? One odd thing is....she is very messy with picking~up & cleaning up her things etc. This is her big downfall, and she doesnt seem to have a prob. with failing in this area. :) Any others....or advice??????? weve tried discipline, i.e. taking away items not picked up...losing priveledges...my parents tried ALL this with my husband & me as well....never worked!!! HELP please♥

Devin - posted on 02/13/2010

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My son is in kindergarten and has the same problem. I have tried telling him to take 3 deep breaths and count to 10 before he seeks a solution to the problem. I tell him that there is a solution to every problem and that he is able to find one. That has helped somewhat.

Laura Ann Brown - posted on 02/12/2010

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you know, it occured to me that something that helped us a lot was to define "perfect" vs. "precise" and "perfection" vs. "precision"to our gifted 5 year old. His aunt and uncle are architects, and have described Maxwell as a "precisionist" as opposed to a "perfectionist." Maxwell loves it. Even before this, I worked hard to help him understand the subjective nature of "perfect," and that there really is no such thing. No one is perfect, and why would you want to be, anyway. that would make life very boring. no one else is perfect, so whom would you relate to? besides, if we were perfect, what would be the purpose in life? nothing to learn, may as well be God. it's really important for these children to learn to enjoy the process of learning, which includes making mistakes. Take Edison, for example....a good bio to read to the kids, one to which the highly gifted can relate well.

Chantel - posted on 02/11/2010

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I have one dd like this and another completely opposite. I think both are equally gifted, though with different emphases. As a toddler, she was extremely sensitive to textures, etc. She wouldn't wear little jewelry, although she wanted to, and she was picky about the textures of fabric she would wear. She is a perfectionist and has high anxiety (although we keep it under control the best we can with relaxation techniques -- visualization, breathing, muscle tensing and relaxing, etc. -- and our own brand of "cognitive behavior therapy," or having her "just get used to" things she can't avoid and live normally).

I try to avoid comparing her to anyone, labeling her at all (i.e. "she's the artistic one") or locking her into particular expectations, because she is extremely perceptive to expectations and will go to extremes not to disappoint (i.e. dishonesty, hiding, etc.)

I also try to not cover for my own mistakes. She needs to see it's okay to be imperfect and it's okay, in fact, desirable, to laugh at oneself. I was a lot like her -- a perfectionist -- as a child, and learning to laugh at myself is not easy. But I recognize it as a good way to reduce the stress of perfectionism and participate with all the other folks who make mistakes! I hope I can help her learn this, as I'm learning it, too.

Jessica - posted on 01/30/2010

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I was a gifted kid myself, and very likely also an Asperger's kid, and would go off to the side, or hide somewhere to practice a new skill so it looked like I were doing it perfectly the "first" time I did it (at least, where someone could see me). One possibility that might be helpful is to give your kids a chance to mess around in areas where "mistakes" can't really happen, and can even turn out better than overly planned, "perfect" outcomes. Art (especially photography and clay sculpting) and dance/movement arts are ideal for this. Just a thought! Be kind to yourself and her as you feel your way through this difficult terrain.

Cheryl - posted on 01/27/2010

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Both of my sons are gifted and unbelievably, I have the same problems with them. My 12 year old is a lot better but is still very much a perfectionist which is very typical of gifted children. My 9 year old still cries at homework time. He does his homework and I give him a calculator to check it with. If he gets one out of 50 wrong, he is in tears. It's very frustrating for me because day after day, I have to tell him he's dong well and everyday, we deal with the tears. When I ask him why he's crying he says, "Because I got it wrong." I have told him on numerous occasions that homework is for making mistakes. it's meant to challenge you and allow you to practice for the test so you won't to make as many mistakes and so that you can see what you need to study or improve upon. Because I've been down this road before with my 12 yo, I hope it will not continue much longer, but every child is different. It's pure agony while you're going through!! I've read and read but have found no cure for this. I frequently tell friends that giftedness is a blessing and a curse. It is special needs in reverse and VERY high maintenance.

Aliza - posted on 01/26/2010

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I tend to be a perfectionist myself. I constantly have to remind myself that I am human. To err is human. There is no such thing really as a perfect human being. A quote from Thomas Edison on his past attempts at the lightbulb: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Just remind her of all the great minds in history, and all their flaws. Learn from her "mistakes" and move on. I know this isn't much, but hope it helps you to help her.

Deborah - posted on 01/22/2010

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The perfectionist. You should be able to find some books out there to help you with this. Since I don't know your daughter's age my advice might be to juvenile. The advice I have read is as the parents you need to purposely make mistakes and model how it isn't the end of the world. It's really good if the child who is the perfectionist picks up on your mistake and you show her how to laugh through it.

Michele - posted on 01/21/2010

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My son is 8 years old and highly emotional. I have heard that gifted children often have a high sense of moral injustice. They have the ability to reason the big picture of things that could happen but not the maturity to process that it probably wouldn't happen to them and/or that we can only do what we can do and you can't beat yourself up about the rest.
My son was recently playing some imaginary animal game and I told him I would help him clean up his pet shop (excuse to clean his room!) He said, "This is NOT a pet shop! No one OWNS these animals!" sheesh!
For perfectionist children (and us adults), I highly recommend this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Perfectionism-What...
don't know if that link worked.

ANN - posted on 01/20/2010

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I have learned that gifted children are indeed very sensitive by nature, and somewhat 'emotionally immature' for thier age. My 10 year old son is the perfect example fo this! They think TOOO hard about things - wanting to be the 'best,' My son worries about 'adult problems' such as poverty, and gets extrememly frustrated when he does not immediatly know the right way to do something. I am also wondering if other moms are the same boat with their kids. Any suggestions!

Laura - posted on 01/18/2010

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One thing we found out with my oldest is he is gifted, but suffers from an anxiety disorder too. My father had anxiety as well so he comes by it genetically along with the gifted as my dad was brilliant. Anyway, my son is now on zoloft and the sensativity/anxiety/meltdowns are much smaller. he used to have what I called gran mal tantrums even at 6 & 7. worse than a 2 year old. He is now much calmer. If your child has what you feel is anxiety talk to your ped and see if there is a specialist in the area. The gifted child's mind runs a 200 mph if you add anxiety in it never stops and they are amped all the time. I know giving medicine is extreme, but we needed too. I fought it for 1 year because of all the issues. However he is better. If there is a specialist they can also help the child learn coping skills vs taking meds.

Lisa - posted on 01/17/2010

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My 17-year-old use to be a perfectionist. Even in elementary school, her work had to be perfect (to the extent that she did not even want the positive comments from her teachers written on her papers, as it messed up the presentation of her work!). She gets straights As and has since she was a child. As a highschool aged child, and a junior, she is enrolled in all AP courses, and spend 3-4 hours per night studying. She gets disappointed when she is not able to do her best. Her best is 200%. There are nights when i get up (3-4 a.m.) and tell her to go to bed and the "hell" with her homework! She is very sensitive about giving her all and her best, as she holds herself to an incredibly high standard. But she has grown out of stressing out to the extreme!
My daughter's "perfectionist tendences" is part personality and part environment (a highly academic household).

I don't know how old your child is, but i believe that she can achieve some balance with this aspect of her personality if she is given greater challenges and can achieve both success and a lackthereof. Opportunities where there is a lack of success are great opportunities to grow and learn about onesself, and to learn to cope with adversity.

Anonymous - posted on 01/17/2010

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My younger daughter is also very hyper-sensitive. She even cries when there are scenes in movies that are very sad. The only thing I would suggest is to give her a big hug and tell her that you're proud of her. Let her know that she's doing a great job and to take a deep breath when she feels anxious about something she's doing. I also tell my other daughter to walk away for a few minutes and to go back to her work when she feels a little more calm. That helps a lot! It's good that your daughter cares about her work and I would encourage her to always do her best but not at the expense of her sanity. Perhaps you can tell her to have an outlet when she feels like crying or getting angry. If she likes music, for example, have her walk away when she feels frustrated and listen to calming music. Another outlet could be to close her eyes and picture something that makes her happy such as being at her grandmother's etc. I hope this helped. I'm new at all of this also.

Phoebe - posted on 01/15/2010

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My daughter has always been very sensitive. She has always been at the top of her class and "got" things quicker than her peers. She has always been an A honor roll student. This year she moved to AIG classes and at first she hated it. She REALLY thinks about everything and she takes her time. Mostly checking and rechecking herself. Which is wonderful when you think about life, but the 1st 3 weeks of school all quizes were timed. 100 questions 3 minutes. Talk about torture! She brought home her first B and when she handed me her paper, her eyes filled with tears and she started telling me how she could do better and that next time she would. It broke my heart to think that a B was so terrible to her. She thought it meant that she wasn't good enough to stay in AIG classes. Since, the timed quizzes have become no big deal. She simply finishes it all and THEN checks and rechecks herself, but what happens when she gets a C?!!!

Megan - posted on 01/14/2010

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I am a mother of son who is gifted and also a gifted facilitator. The website that I recommend to parents about social and emotional needs is www.sengifted.org. Another site that would have good info is www.hoagiesgifted.org. My oldest son has been extremely sensitive all of his life. There have been points that we have had large temper tantrums every day for weeks, and I feel like I am going to pull my hair out. It has gotten better over time. He is now 6 and in 1st grade. This year has gone fairly well in school - he excels at the academics but seems to be behind in the social-emotional aspect, which is typical for a gifted kid. He is better when there is a lot of structure, so we have more problems during PE and art or when we are out of school for a break. We just had him tested for gifted this year in hopes that we might be able to help him with his social-emotional issues if we were to get him into the gifted program (our state has IEPs for gifted students). Many gifted kids are born with perfectionistic tendencies, so don't beat yourself up. I have thought this myself for a long time, and although I know I may sometimes add to the issue, I need to remember that he was born with his own personality.

Amy - posted on 01/13/2010

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Oh, and, one tip I've heard is to not only praise him for doing his best, but to also praise others in front of him for doing their best.

Amy - posted on 01/13/2010

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I have been doing some research on this very thing - yes - most gifted kids are very hard on themselves and get upset when they don't do something perfectly. In my son's case, it even prevents him from trying new things because he doesn't know how, therefore can't be perfect at it.

Nicole - posted on 01/12/2010

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My older son used to wear the heck out of pencil erasers. Stray marks on his paper or letters not written perfect frustrated him so much that often he would rip his paper by his incessant erasures. His teachers learned to keep extra sheets available for him just as I learned to make extra copies of anything before he started any writing. But he is very competitive. Sometimes I think too competitive. He doesn't know how to play anything just for the fun of it. His mission is to basically seek and destroy which doesn't bode well when he loses. Trying to consistently use better coping skills is an area that he is still working on some 4 years later and and he knows that I won't let him use his ADHD for any excuses otherwise. He's progressed to the point of taking AP classes in 9th grade but will often falter for a week if he doesn't make the highest grade on an exam or class project. His teachers, counselors and I spend many hours on emails back and forth on how to best support him as he gets older but with him also becoming more rebellious, I wonder just how long he will survive in the real world when he'll be part of groups that wouldn't be as concerned about his sensitivity issues.

Anna-Marie - posted on 01/12/2010

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It can be personality. My older son is very much like that & I call it "first child syndrome", the younger one who is gifted is the opposite & is very laid back & easy going with his learning and knowing way more than others in his class. My older son (who's now 6) used to screw up pictures if they weren't right & if he got a word wrong in a book he would start the book again. He would put so much pressure on himself to be perfect we found it very hard to deal with. We found playing games like board & card games where their not always going to win or get the answer right helped him a lot, it's hard at first but making it fun & by them seeing you not care if you lose can help. Another thing that helps is sports, my son does gymnastics and athletics. Being beaten by others or not winning the ribbon is hard for him but we stress to him how important it is that he tried his best & he did very well. Over the past year it seems to have sunk in and he is not so competitive & has even asked to play soccer this year which is a HUGE step for such a competitive child, (having to rely on others to pass the ball etc & having to relinquish control of the situation is extremely hard for a perfectionist). I am also similar so I've had to force myself to try and just have fun with things & not get stressed so that my son can see it's ok too. They learn the most by copying their parents so it's up to us to change the cycle.

Shelia - posted on 01/12/2010

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Andrea you have got to be your gifted childs advocate. Do Not Let Her Teacher Treat Her Like That. Go to the Principal and complain. Gifted children can not be treated like that, as you can see, it bothers her badly. If not corrected soon, she will learn to hate school and will not have much respect for teachers. Has she been tested for Giftedness??? If so, do they have a program in her school system for the Gifted? If not, you might try to get her advanced or consider another school or Home School if you are able to stay home and do that. I had to take my son out of the school system and Home School him. He was much better adjusted at home, learning at his pace and not the norm. B/C of some ignorant teachers, life can be hard on a Gifted child in school.

Andrea - posted on 01/11/2010

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my 5 year old daughter is the same way! Most days when she's in class the teacher calls on her last because the teacher said "jayla always know the answer and she has to see if the other kids know the answers" Jayla feels left out if the teacher calls her last and has a melt down

[deleted account]

My gifted son was also very hard on himself. At a very young age, he would get very upset when he was learning to write, if his letters did not come out perfectly. He is perfectionistic in many other ways too. Some of his tendencies have improved as he has gotten older and handled emotions better, and some changed as he matured and mastered new things more easily. He is still an extremely sensitive child, but as some of the other parents have said, you just have to keep being patient with her. I think your encouragement is good, but let her know you don't expect perfection--just the best she is able to do.

Tina - posted on 01/09/2010

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My almost seven year old highly gifted son is very much like this - emotionally sensitive too. it frustrates me but have learned how to cope.

Sarah - posted on 01/07/2010

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My daughter is the same way. She just turned 5 and started kindergarten this year. She gets frustrated at the slightest thing and cries about it. I never thought of her as "sensitive" until I started reading this thread. Maybe that will help how we deal with her. I was really starting to think she had mastered the art of manipulation. Lol.

Shelia - posted on 01/06/2010

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I have a highly gifted son. He is very sensitive about many things in many different ways. He is very concious of every little thing around him and everything about himself. He can't stand the seam on socks so wears them inside out. He is harder on himself than anyone else could be. He is a perfectionist. If he can't do something the best then he doesn't want to do it. You are her advocate, she is different than most children. Stand beside her and up for her especially in the school system. It can be very stressful having a gifted child. Just keep her very, very busy. Their minds are like sponges and they can not be manipulated and reverse psychology does not work on them, they are 10 steps ahead. My son still at 17 has anger issues at times when he can't do something the way he feels he should be able to do it. I kept thinking, he'd grow out of it, still waiting. Don't get me wrong, he is very loving and caring, I'm very thankful he is hard on himself and not his peers. He does tend to get along better with kids a little older, always has. They are a little more at his level. Just be supportive, it is just part of their nature. My son loves trying new things. He self taught himself how to play the guitar and piano and plays very well. When he wants to try something new, I get it. He owned his own computer at the age of 4. If he wanted to take something apart to see how it worked, I let him. Don't surround her with boundaries, the sky is the limit. My son is now 17, will be going to the Air Force Academy in June, wants to be a fighter pilot. I support him in whatever he wants to do. I did end up taking him out of the public school system after 4th grade and home schooled him. Best thing I ever did. But, we live in a small town and there just wasn't enough in our school system for him. They just didn't know what they were dealing with and how to handle him. Best of luck to you and know that she is acting perfectly normal for a gifted child, don't worry.

[deleted account]

I think i comes with the terriory.my on was so sensitive to senory (sound, sight, touch) he sarted ticking badly (lots of anxiety). We moved him to a private school that was very very small and looey goosey and he thrived there (ticking went away immediately...whew!). Just 20 kids in the whole high school. Also he finally found some friends he could relate to. The public school couldn't have helped him in the way he needed.

Amy - posted on 01/03/2010

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my oldest is extremely intelligent and when she was younger 4-8yrs old everything had to be perfect and if she couldn't do something perfect the first time, she wouldn't try it. She is also an empath with make the situation worse. Her stepfather and I would constantly have to reasure her that nobody is perfect and constantly take her into situations that are new to her such as paint ball, 4wheelers, etc to make her realize that she has to ask for help and rely on someone else. Her school has offered since 3rd grad adademecally gifted program that she is in. This gives her the opportunity to be with kids like her and gives her the ability to take special field trips and learn things that she would never otherwise learn in the public schools. All of this has helped her become a more stable and more well rounded 13yr old young girl. We still have issues with her trying to please everyone and not feeling like she fits in, but she's a great kid with a hopefully great future

Maureen - posted on 01/03/2010

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My son, almost 13 now, has always been that way. I used to say, "he is his own worst critic"! He has been better about not getting himself so upset as he has gotten older, but it still surfaces at times. I don't think us perfectionists purposely contribute to it, but I think they learn from watching us, and possibly it is hereditary. I encourage him to review his mistakes, and learn from them, and always to do his best. He is extremely sensitive about failure, and maybe that will help him later, however I realize it is a delicate balance, since he will surely battle with this all his life. I plan to review some of the suggestions from the other posts, and some of the links. I would recommend patience, and continued encouragement. But, remember at some point your child runs the risk of completely giving up on it all and choosing the wrong path because it is less stressful. So, with that in mind, I think continuing to praise good work and recognize their efforts is very important, especially during those rebellious teenage years we are about to face.

Amy - posted on 01/01/2010

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well my son collin is highly sensitive hes reading on an extremley high grade level and he has a little trouble with math and he gets so mad if he dosent get it right off. i just try to encourage him all i can. hope this helps your not alone.

Julie - posted on 01/01/2010

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My daughter is also highly gifted. However, thankfully she is not a perfectionist to this degree. She is a perfectionist in "girly" things such as clothes, etc. but not in what others would consider big things. The only time I recall when something took her by surprise and she did cry was when she received her scores on her college aptitude test. She was 1 point below perfect. She was shocked! This had never happened to her before. She studied a little prior to the test, but other than that... I pointed out to her she still passed, but I could not console her. As we all know, this was like a failure to her. About 15 minutes later she stopped crying and we were joking about it! What a joy she is :)

Melissa - posted on 01/01/2010

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My son is 15 and is gifted and is exactly the same way. I try to praise the effort instead of the grade. "I can see you worked very hard on this". He already makes straight A's but it takes the emphasis off the grade and onto the effort. I struggle with this less as he has gotten older but it has always been a struggle.

Julie - posted on 01/01/2010

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Well I will speak of personal experience. I am a highly gifted adult and for years I expected perfection from myself and a little less from others. In college I took majors that would challenge me, etc. In my profession, I am a perfectionist period. Over the years, I have had to force myself to tone it down quite a bit and found life flows much smoother. I am even healthier because of this! I don't know if there is a way around this when it involves a child - I know it took me years to get where I am today, but I do recall getting upset when I was young because it just wasn't perfect - not to the point of meltdown, but upset. For me, no amount of encouragement helped because well, it was not perfect!

Sandi - posted on 12/30/2009

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This is so common and so challenging. I have a gifted son and am head of a private school for gifted children, so see kids all the time who are perfectionists and really hard on themselves. My son is not only hard on himself if he can't do things perfectly, but he also tends to avoid things he isn't sure he can be perfect at from the beginning. We've really had to work with him to get him to reach out of his comfort zone and try new things.



If you haven't already looked at www.sengifted.org, you should check it out. There are great articles there about supporting the emotional needs of gifted kids, and especially about dealing with perfectionism. I've found many of them really helpful for me and for the families of my students. Good luck!

Angela - posted on 12/29/2009

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I don't think it is anything you are doing wrong. I have two very gifted girls, and both their father and I are in the genius range of the IQ test. My oldest daughter is very sensitive, about everything, not just grades. I remember a time she flipped out because someone else used a green cup that she wanted, we didn't even know she liked the cup. I am very hard on myself, I remember every test I have ever scored less than 100 on (which is only 3.)

But my other daughter is not like that at all. She's way too smart for a 7 year old, but she is also very practical and doesn't get upset over little things, or what others in the same group would view as big things. So I guess what I'm saying is that some gifted kids will act this way, and others wont. It has nothing to do with how you raise them, it's just in their personality. I know it doesn't help, but I hope it eases your mind a little.

Sharron - posted on 12/25/2009

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My daughter expects complete perfection out of herself and others at all times. God's standards aren't even that high! She suffers from a very low self esteem because of it, even though she is very popular with kids and adults.

Glenda - posted on 12/22/2009

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Boy, I have found my kin!!! My son is "twice exceptional" gifted with a learning disability. On top of that he suffers from Lyme. I've had the school suggest he be moved to a school for emotionally disturbed children because of his melt downs. I had a school psychologist suggest to me that I take him to a mental institution when he has a melt down to "scare it out of him". All I can say is make sure you get a good fit teacher. Sometimes its hard to learn what that is--I thought strict and organized was what he needed (cuz of his ADD) but I was wrong, loving and patient is the key for him. That is also how I try to deal with him. I could go on and on and on!!! But loving and patience is what I've found to be the key. Also, when he melts down, I hug him and not let him work on what is frustrating him until he calms down. Can't do that at school, but it helps him learn his own coping mechanisms. Good luck and thank you for your post!

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