Gifted and Talented and Behaviour(28 Posts)
How do you find your gifted children's behaviour and how do you manage it?
My son is six and majority of the time he is fine, low level manageable behaviour. But when he blows it's like world war three and he just gets so cross and frustrated - just looking for advice on how to handle it? xx
I know a few children talented at sports l, and they actually tend to be quite disciplined but perhaps that is the sports training.
I think all six year olds can be cross and frustrated though at times!
What us it your child is gifted at? Could he be frustrated if less exceptional at other things eg if gifted at the violin does he get frustrated with non musical activities etc
We use reward charts and keep reiterating that he is not the only "clever" child in the world and that there's someone better out there. We are finding this approach quite effective.
I will try the reward chart see if that works. I've always avoided the word clever and tried to reward effort - I think (as there is only the two of us) that he forgets he is six and I am the adult he is the child. This morning after I had told him off (which really isn't often) it was like a red mist descends and he can't control his temper - I could see he totally lost control - through gritted teeth he shouted - 'this is your fault for telling me off, you have made me so annoyed I don't know what to do' and then threw whatever was in his hand. He took himself off to his bedroom before I had chance to respond and came back down after ten minutes full of remorse and apologies - I'd just like a way of diffusing it before it gets to the point he can't control his temper but still letting him know I am the adult!
Exasperated with it all!
2014newme he is gifted academically - in the 0.01 and 0.02 percentiles for Reading, Spelling and Mathematical Computation for his age range.
Sorry - I wrote that then re-worded it and posted it without checking. He is in the 99.8 and 99.9 percentile for Children is age which means there is only 0.01 and 0.02 percent of children with a higher ability.
I really don't think it's a matter of gifted or not...
irvineoneohone I think your probably right - some of his behaviour can be attributed to frustration but this morning definitely had nothing to do with it and am really adamant not to excuse behaviour on the grounds of him being bright!
How do you know those scores. I don't know if my child is gifted but he certainly has a temper when frustrated. We focused on better ways of expressing emotions and understanding what emotions felt like.
To be honest he verbalise the usage then went off to calm down. That's very mature! I wouldn't worry!
When she was little we thought our DD was having terrible twos tantrums (she is now happy and doing well at secondary school) but it turned out to be diet related. She hadn't had many sweets and drinkswise rarely anything other than milk, water and watered down fruit juice until she was two. In hindsight I think her system wasn't used to them. She had peanut butter galore and all the things you think of might give allergies, just not sweets or colourings. Then came the parties and treats as she got older. It was hard to pin down what was causing the tantrums, we did think she had turned into a devil child. She was fine with black current branded drinks but not the red or orange ones of the same brand - she became a different child with those. We then noticed other triggers - again only some brands of squash and not others plus some sweets and not others. I just mention it as whilst it may not be the case for your son, I wish someone had mentioned the possibility to me as it went on for months and it seems blindingly obvious now but wasn't at the time. As she had good communication skills we were able to explain that the things that made her feel angry and grotty we didn't want to let her have as we loved her. By three she self regulated her food at parties and knew what to avoid. She never felt left out as it wasn't a long list and she knew everyone was different. She has grown up to be very positive about food and has always had a good and varied diet but is also in touch with how food can make her feel.
I used a star chart. She collected them for good behaviour and got a small prize for collecting ten. She could also lose them for bad behaviour. It is very important to tell them they are about to lose a star, then they can decide whether they want to continue with the bad behaviour and lose a star or stop and keep the star. This encourages them to moderate their own behaviour. It is a skill they need to build like any other.
The key is also to make sure the rate at which they collect stars is quite quick. Otherwise they soon realise it is not worth trying because they will never win.
Also do not underestimate the approval or disapproval of you as a parent. It means a lot to small children. (And big ones, even when they get to the age when they are loathed to admit it)
Some children- bright or not- are just explosive, others are not.
Out of us four, the one who really is academically gifted is my middle brother: he was also the quietest. Smiley, gentle, very very disciplined in his approach to work. The door slammer and foot stomper of the family was my eldest brother, who was probably upper end of average.
Having read your OP through again though- that is a very mild temper tantrum you describe there. Surely completely normal for a 6yo? And his managing of himself is actually quite impressive. (or have I misread it and he actually deliberately threw things at you calculated to hurt you?)
Are you sure you are not experiencing his temper as more explosive than it is because you have heard that behavioural difficulties go hand in hand with giftedness. Be careful not to turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Seems perfectly normal behaviour to me. Are you sure you aren't putting him under more scrutiny because you are seeing the cleverness before the 6 year old?
My dd has always been incredibly well behaved - never needed star charts or anything like that. She is very good at regulating her emotions and controlling her reactions. I don't think these traits have anything to do with "giftedness". Some kids are just more volatile than others.
What can happen with "gifted" kids though is that parents can develop unrealistically high expectations of their behaviour. A very mature and articulate 6yo can seem much older than their chronological age at times, and it's easy to forget how small they really are. I know that I have occasionally had to remind myself that dd is still just a kid.
99.8 and 99.9 percentile for Children is age which means there is only 0.01 and 0.02
Not quite you mean 0.1 and 0.2
I've met a fair number of gifted mathematicians and they have a wide range of personalities, just as the general population do.
Thank you for all the replies - lots of food for thought!
And so sorry I am only just replying - I some how managed to hide the message and have only just figured out how to get it back!
All has returned to normal and after some self reflection I think maybe that 1, he is just a child with a quick temper (probably from me when I think about it) and 2, I think because he is so grown up and well behaved that when he actual behaves like a six year old I forget that it's just normal behaviour.
Thanks again for all your responses - being a single mum sometimes you need someone else's opinion - especially if your overreacting!
Hey. As somebody who wasn't gifted but was reasonably bright and having been in a class full of dumb students for two years of math (bottom top set) i can fully appreciate his boredom and frustration. I spent every math class on the verge of tears having done tge hardest questiond in 4 minutes. Then everyone wpuld bombard me with questions to which (probably looking rude) i would snidely reply "i am not the teacher." the teacher would ignore me then tell me off for the smallest mistake. Guess what.
I quit math. It took me half a year to start the alevel because i was so traumatized. At which point i was happy because i found the work CHALLENGING.
And there were kids in there who'd been bored since year6! I am lucky. But if i'd been given my right to education, how good would i be now?
How on earth do you know those score? Did school tell you?
And why on earth do those have a bearing on your ds's temper?
I am interested how you got those score as well... we never tested our ds.
I heard that a lot of gifted have quite a skewed score; some part very high, some low.
Is he determined gifted, not anything extra?
If a child is behaving badly because they are tired or hungry, their behaviour is not their fault but yours, and they just need you to correct the problem.
However, if they are having a tantrum for no acceptable reason, they need to learn how to control it. Regardless of their academic level, they need to be encouraged to moderate their behaviour.
Just as they had to learn maths or reading, they need to learn how to behave and some children will be quicker at this than others, just as some are quicker at learning reading or maths.
Part of the normal teaching of a normal six year old needs to be how to behave.
I agree with a PP - that's a mild outburst dealt with quite maturely for a 6yo. My 5yo does exactly the same, but takes longer to calm down in her room and then she needs a cuddle to get back to normal. I see it as a good thing; they're learning about expressing emotions and needs, managing strong feelings, calming down, saying sorry and moving on. Lots of adults can't do that!
I do have two bright children (never measured, but academically able, articulate etc) and I think it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking of them and treating them as older than they are, because they're so articulate.
I think the 'scores' are an issue. Why would you get a six year old tested and by whom? I would doubt accuracy as data and interpretation in a six year old. What has being bright got to do with behaviour? The obvious answer is bright kids should be able to understand rules and norms better. The other answer is that getting a poor six year old 'tested' infers a certain pushiness and attitude from parent - that their child needs to prove achievement and perfection. Give the child a break. If they are clever, they don't need a label or testing at six. If they are clever they'll do just fine through primary and achieve whatever. If there behaviour is bad (and they all have the odd moment) then that needs addressing regardless of intelligence.
Having reread your post, given the scenario you described of going off to his room to calm down, I would have praised rather than reprimanded dd if she had done the same and would have followed it by a discussion of what she could do in future to stop herself getting wound up and seeing if in future she could try to control her temper more. IME teaching children how to behave requires as much listening as it does telling. (Actually that applies to anything you teach them)
Give the star charts a try. It may work or it may not. I had friends who used the naughty step idea. For us that just escalated an already bed situation. Children are different and what works for one may not work for another.
Oh my goodness, even when you own up to your mistakes people like do like to judge!
Firstly, I didn't get him tested or requested it - school asked if I would be happy with the Ed.Psych completing a variety of tests which I agreed to if it meant they could better meet his educational needs and they gave me the report with all the results in. (Also these have been reviewed twice now and haven't changed by more than (0.1).
Secondly, I only advised the results because someone asked how I knew he was gifted and in what area.
And thirdly, I admitted that I over-reacted and it was probably not related to him being 'gifted' but just behaving like a six year old.
And fourthly, on a different matter all together user1485042215 you have just described one of the issues we are currently having with school - nightmare! I'm hoping it gets better the older he gets.
Can I just say that I posted for perspective which lots of you have given and it had really helped. Judgement is not required, I am not a perfect parent and I damn well know none of you are either. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have. Be kind!
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