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If you have a gifted boy was he bloody hard work as a toddler?

(38 Posts)
ChazDingle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:38:46

I started another thread a few months ago 'what was your gifted child like at 2-3' mainly because it has been suggested that DS could be autistic but it was mentioned he could be gifted.

Anyway to cut a long story short HV assessed him and says DS (aged 3) is exceptionally clever and reasons for the issues we've had at playschool is that he is bored and isn't being stimulated enough.

He is an academically clever boy but then compared to other children he can seem so immature in that he can't sit still at all for more than a few seconds unless he's doing something that interests him, or he'll run off or won't take any notice when i call him. He is also quite intense and i need to give alot of attention to him, although to be fair he has got alot better over last year or will now sit and watch TV/ entertain himself for a while whilst i'm doing something else.

A few people have said to me that their sons were like this as toddlers and they are now infact adults who are very clever people. they say things got better once they went to school.

HV said about doing things with him like helping him to read, putting maps on the wall for him to look at. I'm not too sure, don't want to hot house him but then again he's not the type of kid who would do something they didn't want to.

Thursday morning i got out one of my old Peter and Jane books from school (showing my age) and he knew some of the words already (they are very basic) and i told him the other words and he was so engrossed when he could read a whole page later in the book (there are not many words to a page), and later he went on the computer and just enjoyed typing different words into word. After doing this type of thing he did seem alot easier though the day but not sure if this is the way forward, don't want to push him.

cathpip Sat 15-Jun-13 20:45:24

My mil once said " if your dh had been my first I wouldn't of had another" he was a pain in the arse, he still is and is deeply intelligent!. Also my mum lost count of the amount of times she was called into preschool to talk about my db's bad behaviour, mum told them that he was bored and to let him go into the book corner to read ( he was 3 ) they had not realised that he could read, my db had taught himself as he wanted to be like his older sisters, my mum did not stop him learning just encouraged without pushing, (also very intelligent). smile

TreeLuLa Sat 15-Jun-13 20:48:52

DOn't know about gifted, but my DTs (both boys) are also hard work. THey are very active, but don't get into trouble at preschool. THey can also read a bit (maybe 20 words each), count pretty well and write their names.
We do maps on the wall, some letters at home etc - not to hot house but to give them a bit of a head start. We also spend a lot of time doing outdoorsy things - digging, playing in the garden, beach etc.

ChazDingle Sat 15-Jun-13 20:50:09

cathpip its funny you say that, one of the adults referred to in my post is my brother and my mum said if she'd had him first she wouldn't have had another!

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 04:52:49

I don't think providing material is hot housing. Hot housing is making your child use the material! My daughter wanted to know letters stupidly early. I happened to have magnetic letters someone bought us so I put them on the fridge at baby height. I didn't make dd look at them but she would often pick one up and ask what it was and I would tell her. She would look for letters everywhere out and about as a baby and now at six her reading age is pretty much adult. I think the important thing about parenting a bright child is to draw a line for yourself between learning that you are making happen and giving your child stimulation that he is looking for. If the child needs it, and has a real interest, it's just as bad to deny it as force it down their throat. My DD never enjoyed puzzles. She had several but never chose to play with them. School told me I should try and get her to practise but she wasn't interested so I didn't push it. That to me would be hot housing. As long as you keep your feet on the ground and don't get carried away I think putting maps on the walls and giving him books designed as early readers is a great idea. Just be ready to support him when he wants to play with them but don't make him sit and read or study the maps.

Pearlington Sun 16-Jun-13 05:03:40

Ps gifted kids do tend to have buckets of energy. If dd is not engrossed in something she can be like a whirlwind. Apparently that's normal.

freerangechickens Sun 16-Jun-13 05:08:22

DS is not my gifted child, and he was easy. DD is classified as exceptionally gifted, and she was horrible the first few years of her life. I can't begin to explain to people how hard life was. Fortunately, she's now 7, and other than being ultra-competative and a perfectionist, she is very easy to get along with and her TAG (I'm American, so it is Talented and Gifted) coordinator is shocked at how well behaved and accepting she is based on her level of giftedness. She did get much better when she went to school, thank goodness, because I don't know how much longer DH and I would have made it.

prissyenglisharriviste Sun 16-Jun-13 05:13:41

Some gifted kids are bloody hard work, and some aren't.

Quite often gifted doesn't equal high maintenance. And some toddlers and pre schoolers are high maintenance without being gifted.

My gifted ds was/ is high maintenance, but he is also dx ADHD with aspergers symptoms. My gifted dd's (who are both 'more gifted' ha) are not high maintenance ...

StupidFlanders Sun 16-Jun-13 05:18:38

Mine was my easiest. Now he's older I sometimes have to stop him being arrogant.

Morgause Sun 16-Jun-13 05:30:22

My first DS was a bit of a trial. I knew he was gifted from quite early on (I was a teacher) and it was a bit hit or miss finding material that interested and occupied him. His behaviour wasn't a particular problem but his constant "quest for knowledge" could get difficult at times. He had a strong sense of humour from pre school age so that helped both of us deal with it. I taught him to read quite young - or rather he demanded to be taught how to read and would disappear into books for hours. He still does.

I was better prepared when second DS was gifted as well and he benefited from my experience with DS 1.

Both are working in academia now. Their (state) schools were very encouraging and they were rarely bored in school. I was very happy to hand them over to "the system" which worked very well for them, while I concetrated on being a supportive mum rather than a teacher.

triballeader Wed 19-Jun-13 07:58:51

Yes- to the point I gave in and ended up using a specilaist nursary for five mornings a week just so I could get some sleep. [He does have aspergers and ADHD] I have to say his teenage years have been a lot easier on me than his toddler ones mainly because he has learnt to occupy himself and safely follow his interests in engineering, maths and sciences.
If you and your son are doing things that are fun to do together then your not hot housing; that would be forcing him to do things just so you felt good about what he can do. Best advice I had from NAGC now potential plus was to ignore the pressure from others and be child led. That meant letting Ben set his own pace and explore what he wanted to think about and work out. Your doing that by letting your son see words and then type them out. If he loves words at the moment go with it- fridge letters, white boards, writing in sand, decorative letters heck make letter biscuits that can make words and be eaten. Just have fun spending time together.

Ingles2 Wed 19-Jun-13 08:33:46

exactly what prissy says...
my ds1 is considered gifted in a number of subjects at a selective grammar and he was extremely easy as a toddler.

SofiaAmes Wed 19-Jun-13 08:57:10

Both my dc's are gifted and neither was particularly difficult as a toddler. I think a lot has to do with my expectations though. It never bothered me that they (particularly ds) didn't play with toys conventionally or do much of anything the way other children did. Ds' teachers complained constantly about him....I could never figure out why they were so irked by his behavior at the time. Now that he's at a school that specializes in gifted education (although not all the students are gifted), I realize that the issue was that the expectations were conventional in the previous school and neither of my dc's are terribly conventional.
For example, ds learned to read quite late. His teachers were sure that it was a sign of academic inability. It didn't really bother me....I figured he would read when he was ready (which he did and became by age 8 the fastest, most advanced reader in his year). Perhaps if I had spent time fussing over his reading and trying to make him "practice" to catch up with the rest of the class, he might have been unhappy and difficult and we might have had battles and then maybe I would have thought of him as a difficult toddler. Another example...dd has to do things perfectly before she will do them publicly. So she walked late (19 months), read late (6), learned how to ride a bike late...etc. Again, I wasn't really bothered and figured she would do it when she was ready. Maybe if I had pushed or battled, we might have had issues.
As is, neither child ever had tantrums. I don't think ds ever cried/complained/whined once through all his toddler years (he's making up for it with grunting and eye-rolling now that puberty has hit, though)

yamsareyammy Wed 19-Jun-13 09:06:06

I wouldnt say one of mine was gifted but v v bright.
V difficult to bring up, but education wise, by far the worse time was before he started school. He didnt start till 4 because he couldnt where we live at the time.

I used this, but 20 years ago, it was in book form.
[and not sure now whether a pirates and princess theme will go down well with some people].

discalimer. I do not know how good it is nowadays, but back then it was exactly what I needed.

yamsareyammy Wed 19-Jun-13 09:12:38

He said last week, if I have a child, and it is like me, I am in trouble aren't I?
And I said, yes you are grin

Turniphead1 Wed 19-Jun-13 18:47:53

My DS is harder work now at 7 than he was as a toddler. My memories of him as a young toddler are very much his ability to concentrate for very long periods and how he used to sit endlessly pulling books out of the bookcase and going through each page.

Mind you my sister tells me I have forgotten how intense he was - and how he used to scream for the 20 minutes between getting up and his breakfast being ready at 3, when most kids can wait.

I have found a few things that have helped us very recently (his behaviour was becoming dreadful and he controlled the whole mood of the family). A book called Raising your Spirited Child (dreadfully American and not for gifted kids per se but as someone said upthread there can be an overlap between very high IQ and intensity of emotion/senses etc). But not always.

Also we have started using the 123 Magic system (dr Thomas Phelan) for the whole family - which has been a bloody marvel - although it was blimmin painful to read as a non-American. That and Misdiagnosis of Gifted Children are two amazing MN recommendations that I am most thankful to have read.

Bit of a tangent. More of an answer to your original thread which I had meant to answer. I am still a bit hmmabout your HV "assessing" anything - but to be honest I think most parents know if their kids are way above the norm. But most of us doubt it until formal assessment - if that is ever done.

ChazDingle Wed 19-Jun-13 20:39:28

turniphead> When i say assessed it wasn't really an assessment as such she just came round for an hour to see what she thought as it had been suggested he may be autistic. Obviously she can't say he's definately not but she thinks its unlikely and that he is very clever so has made a few suggestions. I'll still keep an eye on him and go back if i'm concerned about anything. My gut feeling on the autistic thing is that there was nothing wrong but i am also aware i'm not in a position to be totally independent and didn't want to be in denial if there was/ is something wrong.

ouryve Wed 19-Jun-13 21:22:04

The two aren't always mutually exclusive - DS1 is gifted, particularly in maths and visuospatial activities and also has ASD and ADHD. He was also a PITA as a toddler (and still can be!)

farewellfarewell Mon 29-Jul-13 18:22:30

he was busy busy busy! mentally and physically and at 11yo he still is! well behaved though and v empathetic.

GibberTheMonkey Mon 29-Jul-13 18:34:37

Ds1 was that child.
I cannot describe him well enough, walked at 8 months always on the go, never ever slept. Always knew he was 'different'. at age 2.5 the woman who ran the local playgroup dropped the age from three just so he could go as she knew us and could see he just needed more. Reached a peak at about 7 where school were just blaming us for his behaviour. Apparently we were 'those types' meaning the type who blame our child's bad behaviour on the school's lack of ability to stimulate when they think we were just bad parents.
He was being assessed and had an original working diagnosis of ADD possibly AS when we changed his school to one where he is stretched and stretched and he's a different boy. His behaviour has improved ten fold and his results are outstanding now he is ten. I think this change of schools also corresponded with his emotional maturity catching up with the rest of him.

It's so hard to encapsulate him in one post but yes, he was bloody hard work and yes he's very academically intelligent.

I guess he's still hard work now but has more ability to entertain himself and can also be reasoned with.

GibberTheMonkey Mon 29-Jul-13 18:40:54

Oh and giving them materials is not hot housing. Fill his world with magical stuff to look and and play with

JemimaMuddledUp Mon 29-Jul-13 18:47:17

I love this thread.

DS2 was that child too. He never slept, he had the most amazing tantrums, he was exhausting.

He taught himself to read in his first language at 3 and his second at 4. But he drove his nursery teacher mad as he wouldn't sit still and just listen, he would be jumping up and down wanting to know answers to questions that were on a total tangent from what they were meant to be doing.

His first few years in school can only be described as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I was called in so often that I practically had my own chair in the school office.

Things got better when he went into Year 3 and had a very understanding teacher who worked very, very hard to help him. He was diagnosed as mildly dyspraxic and also saw SALT, both his motor skills and speech were way behind the speed his mind was going and that made him frustrated. He was also put on g&a and was given IEPs to stretch him academically and also improve his behaviour. But his behaviour improved anyway as he became less frustrated.

He is now 9 and goes into Y5 in September. His new teacher's plan is to keep him so busy that he doesn't have time to play up grin He is still hard work at times, but a lot easier than when he was a toddler. Plus the library lets him borrow 20 books at a time which keeps him too busy to be a PITA wink

wearingatinhat Mon 05-Aug-13 15:09:07

My DS is gifted (IQ top 1%) and was a 'very difficult' toddler unless kept entertained. I had difficulty controlling him in classes (a nightmare session in Gymboree springs to mind and we were virtually banned!) and he was very strong willed and would ignore me when it suited him.

He loved books and was reading from aged 3 and loved typing into word. He did not like playing by himself but naturally gravitated towards other children and settled in exceptionally well at nursery. His behaviour and concentration levels could be incredible, when stimulated, and he would happily read for 45 mins or so from the age of 4. He has always been exceptionally well behaved at school and all reports are glowing. However, when he is not stimulated his confidence suffers and he becomes quite withdrawn. We changed school because of this.

I do not think showing him things like maps, letters, books, numbers and encouraging areas where he shows an interest is 'pushy', it is just simply showing an interest in what makes him tick.

As others have said, it is possible to be exceptionally gifted and on the autistic spectrum. No-one will give you a professional diagnosis that does not fit. As well as being 'difficult,' I would expect to see some difficulties with socialising, repetitive and 'stimming' behaviours and the need for routine. Of course, all toddlers display these behaviours from time to time as part of their job description, but a diagnosis is more likely if these behaviours are frequent and impact on day to day life.

Many people who see children exceptionally advanced in one or two areas seem to think ASD and I know some thought that about DS. It was particularly hurtful when some mums, who knew of his abilities, started talking about it in the playground. However, DS is clearly not on the spectrum and appears 'very normal', but exceptionally able, these days.

BeckAndCall Wed 07-Aug-13 08:41:10

I'd like to buck the trend on the positive correlation between gifted and hard work as a toddler. My DC are all much older - 2 left school and one in upper sixth. All three are what would now be described as G&T ( we didn't have such a term when they were in primary, and they don't use it in the private sector anyway). All three have nothing but As and A* at GCSE and A level.

And they were not difficult or demanding toddlers. The youngest was a little of a challenge from her boundless physical energy but not from anything else.

Possibly for the younger two, there was always plenty around to stimulate them in any case as they are naturally exposed to what the older siblings are doing - so reading their school books, copying their sums and spellings, perhaps?

BeckAndCall Wed 07-Aug-13 08:42:13

Should have said, the eldest is a boy, the younger two are girls

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