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How do you teach a gifted child its ok to be different?

(11 Posts)
mrsshears Tue 20-Sep-11 17:57:12

My dd is 5 and has just gone into year 1.
Its become apparent to me that dd is trying to hide her abilities to fit in.One example being that dd did a project in the holidays about a historical event which she was very keen to take into school to show,dd has been telling me for the past few days that the teacher hadnt been able to let dd show this as she was too busy,however in dd's home learning book tonight the teacher is asking where this project is as she knows nothing of it?? and low and behold its still in dd's bookbag.
She also greatly plays down her abilities in class but luckily the teachers are fully aware of them,she does this partly because of shyness(she has had selective mutism issues in the past but we have recently made alot of progress in this area)but also think she does this because of the other children.
Also dd was watching a programme she likes this morning(horrible histories) and was really enjoying it and concerntrating on it but when her friends walked in she straight away said "i'm not watching this programme its really boring and not at all interesting".
There are other examples too but i dont want to drone on too much.
Does anyone have any tips on how i can teach dd that it is ok to be different and that it really doesnt matter that she is interested in different things to other children.

shineypenny Tue 20-Sep-11 18:05:19

It is easier to teach them that noone is 'average' or 'normal' and that everyone is different in their own special way.

My ds was the same (and still is at age 13), regarding not wanting to show off in class and playing down his abilities. It is good that your dd is switched on enough to realise that this could be a problem. She is only trying to stay popular within her peer group, which is sad, I know, but it is about survival in school.

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Sep-11 18:11:42

exactly the same way you teach them it's ok to wear glasses/ drool/ use a wheelchair/ like gardening/ swimming/ have the ability to put your feet behind your head.

it's just appreciation of difference.

you might want to read 'cinderella ate my daughter' though. it gives a pretty clear idea why girls this age just want to fit in with their peers. and reassures you that at some point they do appear as individuals if you're lucky. smile

but you'll go through it again at about 14/15 when she doesn't want to be putting off boys and playing dim (although i suspect she'll have the strenght of character not to care at that point)

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Sep-11 18:15:19

and she isn't different grin, not really. her behaviour demonstrates this very clearly. grin

can i ask why the validation from the teacher re the holiday work is important to you? (you, not your daughter - it's nice to share, but she isn't comfortable with it at present, so i'm wondering why you are pushing it? she's fully aware that you want her to show the teacher - even making up excuses to placate you. obv a very clever girl, but don;t make it a bigger issue than it needs to be?)

mrsshears Tue 20-Sep-11 20:05:28

Thank you both for your replies

madwoman It was actually dd's idea to take in the project,she was really full of enthusiasm about it,the children are also encouraged to take things in for show and tell and this looked like it would be a good choice as we also had some family history linked to it,which dd found really interesting.

I have just had a chat with dd about school and it emerges that dd had taken this project out of her bag and tried to show it to some children and tell them all about it but unfortunatly they told her that it was boring and ran offsad
Which i'm sure it probably is to most 5 year olds.

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Sep-11 21:19:37

yup. and even the ones that would have found it v interesting subconsciously know that wouldn't 'do' with their peer group.

<see book suggestion above>

dd is perfectly normal. they do lots of 'difference' stuff at this age anyway. but it's a rare kid that ignores peer pressure at that point, however much we will them to.

iggly2 Tue 20-Sep-11 22:08:31

Peer pressure eh...... At the moment the gender divide is starting to show (Ds is 5, nearly 6). On watching Horrid Henry he said "Urgh, yuck all girls school" . I had to stiffle a giggle as all Ds's best friends are female grin.

madwomanintheattic Tue 20-Sep-11 22:23:26

oh iggly, how funny! and long may it last, although usually yr 2 kills girl/ boy friendships stone dead. sad

exexpat Fri 23-Sep-11 17:42:08

Can I recommend another book? DS's favourite book at that age was Weslandia, about a gifted boy who doesn't want to fit in, but when he invents his own civilisation over the summer holidays, everyone else joins in.

Also, aimed at a bit older, but possibly worth considering is Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar. I think DS read that one when he about 7, and it was a good talking point about the difficulty with being different/brighter than friends. Might be a bit advanced for her at 5, but possibly worth trying.

mrsshears Fri 23-Sep-11 20:02:44

Thank you so much exexpat,i will be ordering weslandia.

kistigger Fri 30-Sep-11 13:53:12

mrsshears - DD is also 5 and just gone into reception... she baby talks with her friends, and now refuses to speak out in class because she knows she is different, knows other children are giving the wrong answers, doesn't like the teacher telling the children they should be more like her and doesn't want to be seen as a know it all. Unfortunately History is a concept that many Y1's still don't understand, so it may be a little while before her peers can appreciate some of those kind of projects. Just remember you are fortunate that your DD's teacher is aware of her abilities, my DD's teacher has yet to see me as anything more than an annoying pushy parent and my DD as anything more than just a good reader!! Hopefully our DD's will become less shy in class as they get bigger (DS only started speaking out in class when he moved up to juniors). I have shown my DD how other children are different to her and to each other, showing that x can ride their bike but y can't, y is really good at football but z finds it really hard, z is good with numbers etc, though it did backfire slightly - she decided she had to ride her bike cos x could and proceeded to teach herself, but that aside it helped slightly!!

exexpat - think I might too try that book, thanks.

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