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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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!

Angela - posted on 12/21/2009

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We're having major sensitivity/emotional issues with our gifted 5 year old. Our almost 12 year old is also gifted, and he isn't as sensitive, but is a bit. He's more laid back overall. I ordered a book by Dabrowski to see if it will help me learn how to help my youngest because I just don't know what to do. He's fine at school because he's such a people pleaser, but by the time he gets home he's so stressed out and exhausted from being perfect all day that he falls to pieces. If he makes any tiny mistake it's as if the whole world is going to end. My husband and I are very relaxed, so I feel bad because we tend to look at him like he has 3 heads because he's so high-strung. I'm hoping the book will help.

Sallie - posted on 12/18/2009

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I googled "gifted and talented" when my daughter first tested as "GT" (she is now 21 and at UT Austin). I found alot of information that was extremely helpful. I also found out from her teacher that GT children are actually classified under Special Education (her teacher's children were GT so she had great insight into GT children's issues). They have their own set of issues because their brains operate differently than other children. I wish I had read up earlier because it would have been tremendously helpful. Each individual child has his or her own set of issues to overcome. I highly suggest researching. Sensitivity is one of many possible hurdles...

Rebecca - posted on 12/10/2009

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My son is the exact same...He started kindergarden this year and after the first six weeks of school I had to change his teacher. She had adopted this behavior system in her class where a child would have to pick a stick from bucket & put it in a slot with their name on it every time she had to call their name for a "bad behavior". My son loves to help other kids out with thier work & tells them the "right way" to do things. She called his name several times everyday & he got so depressed over it that he "didn't way to go to school ever again because he could never do a good job". He was so depressed over the whole thing! I ended up placing him with a special ed teacher (public school) which everyone was against. I think it may have been the best thing for him. He gets to help teach the class now. He reads to them during story time & has regained his confidence in himself. She also has scheduled one-on-one time with him & he's loving to learn again.

Trina - posted on 12/09/2009

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My son is very gifted also and is very hard on himself. He hates trying new things because he is afraid he will fail. He is just like all the kids from previous posts. What we've been telling him is it's ok if you don't get it first try. That's what practicing is for. No one can do things first try. You get better at it with practice. This seems to help him a lot. He is very sensitive and gets his feelings hurt easily. He refuses to do things if it's hard for him because he's so used to everything being easy. He gets lazy sometimes. I've done a lot of reading online and all these things are very normal for highly gifted kids. You are doing the right thing by encouraging her and telling her to just do her best. Remind her that everyone needs to practice things and it's ok if it's hard at first. With practice she will figure it out. Not everything in life is easy. Good luck and as you can see you are not alone!

Cynthia - posted on 12/07/2009

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My son did the same thing and still does from time to time. I use to think he got it from his serious father. I'm a goof ball. The older he got (now 11) the more he seemed to take on more of my traits. He stopped taking himself so seriously and accepted himself. I taught him how to take loosing a little less serious by beating him in a few games of chess normally I would let him win. I would make bets with him in which he both lost and won. When I lost I would react appropriately showing both disappointment that I lost but also pride at his good effort and ask that he do the same when he lost. The more human I showed him I was the more he felt comfortable failing in front of me. I always tell him he is perfect with all his imperfections. Its his favorite line.

User - posted on 12/07/2009

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Oh yes, gifted kids are very very sensitive. And if they are the first born, they have a double dose of perfectionism it seems. My son would refuse to do new things till he knew he would be able to do it perfectly. One thing that helped our son was showing him when we messed up and modeling the appropriate response. We would color with him, for instance, and then go outside the lines, show him, then shrug it off and keep on coloring. He's gotten better. But, he still struggles with doing things that he finds difficult. He doesn't have a meltdown any more, but he does resist. Wearing shoes with laces for instance. Oy. He can do it, it just isn't as easy as velcro.

It helped me a lot to read books about gifted kids. It taught me that being gifted doesn't just encompass the book smart stuff. It helped me to see that while he wasn't "normal", he was normal for HIM. That he wasn't alone in his/our struggles.

Good Luck!

Liane - posted on 11/29/2009

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Yes and no. I have two gifted daughters 9 and 7. The 9 year old is extremely sensitive and has begun having tons of problems with her peers this year as a result. The only time she doesn't seem to struggle at school is the day she attends her gifted program. Of course, she is then surrounded by children that "get" her. My 7 year old daughter is very compassionate, but not quite so sensitive. However, she is a perfectionist and will crumple up any papers that are not perfect and start over until it is just right. I do believe it is normal for gifted children to "feel" more as they understand situations and such at a much deeper level than the average child! Keep encouraging her, it definitely can't hurt!

Ena - posted on 11/26/2009

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haha.. sorry wasnt a bad laugh...just ur question popped out at me because of m y son. I would call highly sensitive an understatement ...I just cant win. If something is not perfect or I mispronounce some word its as if the world has ended!!! hes only 5 . I was a gifted child so who knows?? maybe we feed off each other..lol

Tanza - posted on 11/25/2009

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Some good books are: 'A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children' from James Webb/Janet Gire/Edward Amend/Arlene DeVries, another is 'When Gifted Kids don't Have all the Answers:How to meet their social and emotional needs' from Jim Carlisle/Judy Galbraith.

The gifted community out here had Dr Webb here to speak to parents and he was wonderful. Also SENG often has Webinars.

Felicia Neikolle - posted on 11/25/2009

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My son is the same way and since his school isn't doing anything about the other kids giving him such a hard time it's getting worse. He's been in 2 fights in 3 months ... he's NEVER had that problem before. He's just tired of everyone calling him the weirdo or making fun of his family. And if he doesn't get something the first time ... he calls himself stupid. He used to hit himself in the head (finally got that stopped by age 4). He's always been so above everyone in his class but where I live there aren't really any programs for gifted kids. I feel badly for him ... and would love ANY and ALL help that others can offer on this matter too!! Thank you SOOOO much for asking this question!

Tanza - posted on 11/16/2009

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A great resource for this is SENG ( Supported Emotional Needs of the Gifted) www.sengifted.org.

Yes our gifted children are very sensitive - esp our daughter. She is highly sensitive to the emotional chord in any room - more than many adults. That can throw her emotionally for a spiral that she then can't accomplish anything academic or structured. Since gifted children are known to be more sensitive, the challenge to us as their parents is how to be empathetic to their feelings while still needing 'structure, rules and discipline'.

We found great resources in our area through SENG plus they have workshops for parents and educators of the gifted as well as sessions for the kids.

Letisha - posted on 11/08/2009

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I am dealing with the same issue. My 6yo son thinks that if one thing on the workpage isn't perfect, we deal with a big meltdown. Everything I have read suggests that this is very common. Not sure what to do about it, but we are doing the same thing that other parents are, talking to him and telling him that no one is perfect.

Stephanie - posted on 11/08/2009

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I think that our children are so academically gifted that they get short changed a bit when it comes to the balance of emotions. They have such high standards for themselves and as their parents we need to help them learn not to sweat the small stuff! Our daughter is just in second grade and we've chosen not to allow her to skip because she needs to learn those interaction skills with the other children her age. I know that is a lot of huey to the homeschool moms but I myself was homeschooled and I KNOW firsthand the issues that apply. Thankfully our daughter is very outgoing but she is sensitive to what others say about her and even how adults speak to her. I am here to help her navigate and I do so as needed but I also try to help her deal with a good many situations all on her own. Being sensitive isn't a bad thing but it can get tiresome. Take a deep breathe and teach your little brain to do so too. :)

Juliana - posted on 11/06/2009

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I may not have any advice for you, but I'm looking for advice on the subject too - I have a gifted son (age 11) who is VERY hard on himself and it is causing huge problems. Perfectionism is common among gifted children. I have found that his school guidance counselor has been very helpful, because she knows a lot about gifted kids and the problems associated with being gifted. There must be books on the subject but I haven't found any yet. I will look and let you know if I find anything.

Kim - posted on 11/01/2009

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Please post the website you found. This is one area that I have just tried to work on myself. But would love some resourses to help me. I live in a very small town and have not found much support for this type of issue.

Mindy - posted on 11/01/2009

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My son was that way for a very long time. Every thing had to be perfect or he had a melt down. We have had to be VERY patient. A lot of long talks about how it was ok if everything wasn't perfect. We even used nature as an example because he loves science. We showed him that nothing in nature is perfect, but we all still love nature. He's 10 yrs old now and is doing much better at relaxing!

Penny - posted on 10/31/2009

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My son is also very sensitive. Both with finding fault with himself and others finding fault with him. Up until this year I have had to hand pick his teachers each year because if they have a loud or forceful personality, he simply shuts down and cannot perform at his best. He absolutely will not answer a question he is not 100% positive of, and on the rare occasion he gets a poor grade on a paper you would think it was the end of the world (or at least his academic career). We just encourage him to learn from his mistake and improve on it next time. I tell him that is the true measure of success, not repeating previous mistakes and always move forward.

Julie - posted on 10/31/2009

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My daughters school actually does talks every year on this. Yes it is VERY common for gifted children to be more sensitive and not tolerate making ANY mistakes. Often gifted children do not like trying something new because they are afraid of not doing it well. I will try to look for the books about the emotional development for gifted children. They have told us that it is not uncommon for them to emotionally be very immature for there ages. Try amazon if I cant get you some other specific names. Good luck. PS... if there is any local schools for the talented and gifted... talk to their social workers... they will have a lot of resources.

Cheryl - posted on 10/30/2009

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After posting I found a link to a website that helps w/social & emotional issues of gifted kids. I am going to check it out! Still would appreciate any advice!

Kim - posted on 10/30/2009

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I was talking with another mom the other day. She was telling me about her daughter coming home from school very upset. Her daughter was upset because she had "failed" her spelling test. As the mom looked over the test she told her daugther, no you did not fail your spelling test you made a 97 on it. The daughter replied almost in tears 'I have never made a 97, I failed the test....

This is just one of many stories I hear from other parnet and I live thru myself. My daugther is 5 and most of the time mild mannered, but when she does not do things to what she thinks 100% the melt downs comes.

I have no advice, just a 'I know what you are talking about'

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