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Friendships of the highly gifted + child....

(147 Posts)
KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 10:13:42

ds1 and I just got back from a chess event this weekend. He has made friends with a few of the lads he sees regularly at these events (most are older by 2 or 3 years). There is one boy however whom he gets on with like a house on fire. This other boy is also very highly gifted in many different areas like ds1 and it was so, I don't know, exciting just to see ds1 have someone who "gets" him. Who not only gets him but is like him. Who thinks like he does and ds1 isn't awkward or reserved or anything, he can just be himself and the other lad is the same. I've gotten to be friends with his parents and the boys talk on the phone and play chess all the time and they just thrive in each other's company.

It is such a marked difference from ds1's other friendships which aren't really comfortable and easy. And I do think it's because his brain is different from most children's. It was so marked this weekend, the two of them together. His parents, particularly, his father and I were talking about it.

I know that everyone here likes to say, oh well, my child is so popular and that's the most important thing in the world to me I couldn't care a less about his intellect et. etc. etc. BUT these kids are different and denying it is just insulting tbh.

But if your child is highly gifted + how do you really find his friendships and does he\she have opportunity to come in regular contact with kids as bright as they are and do you see a difference in their interactions and just comfortableness when this happens? Like they just "click".

Twiglett Mon 09-Jun-08 10:19:31

excellent .. have him over for the weekend

there is nothing like finding someone who thinks like you do

I don't think people talk about popularity being the most important thing in the world, and I don't think that people negate the difficulties of being hyper-intelligent either .. what people say is that it is an important tool to develop to be able to 'get on' with people from all walks of life and with all abilities.

some people have to try harder and be given more tools that's all

but how lovely for you that he's found a soul-mate, there really aren't that many in the world for people, no matter how your brain is wired

flamingtoaster Mon 09-Jun-08 10:23:47

I know a lot of people do not approve of The National Association for Gifted Children (and I do not approve of their "It's Alright to be Bright" campaign but that's another story!). However, it is wonderful to see how at Explorer's meetings these children just relax in each other's company. The really wonderful thing is that often in breaks and after the main activity has finished they will just all pitch in together and e.g. fly paper airplanes (OK sometimes they will also discuss aerodynamics while they are doing it!) or invent games. As you say it is so great to see the level of acceptance they experience and that they all do "click".

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 10:27:23

twig - he's 2 hours drive away so we really only see them at chess events but they talk on skype all the time and play chess on line against each other at least 2-3 times a week. Listening to them talk to each other while they are playing chess on-line is like listening in on a whole other world. But they just so get each other. And even though ds1 is 3 years younger his friend is very cool with him.

flaming - I'm in ireland so not NAGC orgs over here. sad

Twiglett Mon 09-Jun-08 10:35:13

so can't you drive halfway and they drive halfway to drop him off and pick him up and you can have him for weekend?

flamingtoaster Mon 09-Jun-08 10:43:49

KerryMum - Sorry the boy who "clicked" is so far away. Still with skype and playing chess online at least they are getting some contact.

There are quite few areas of the UK where there are no Explorers Branches. In some of those people organize groups - and just meet up somewhere to do things together (e.g. museums, wildlife centres, ice-rink or whatever). It may not be feasible but does your local education authority have someone responsible for G&T - they cannot release other's details to you but, with your permission, could give your details to other families with G&T children so they could contact you if they wished and you could suggest a date and place to meet up informally.

ingles2 Mon 09-Jun-08 10:49:14

Oh Kerrymum you going to hate me...
I'm sorry but I just don't think this is just a "gifted" issue really and I think highlighting that is really unneccesary.
Don't get me wrong I'm not down on G&T infact ds1 is...He has no problems making friends, adapting to others or empathising with them.
ds2 on the other hand is not G&T, but is individual and has yet to find someone he clicks with. He struggles day to day with friendship as most children are not on his wavelength but actually I think this is a problem of his...he has yet to understand how to really listen, relate and respond to others. Yes his brain is different, everyones brain is different.
Obviously I'm thrilled for your ds that he has found someone he really likes but tbh I think you should be spending time encouraging him to make friendships with children who may not be on his level academically but may far surpass him socially and emotionally

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 10:56:47

twig that might be a possibility actually once his parents and I get to know each other better. I wouldn't let ds1 to them though because of his allergies, etc. But they might let their ds come up to us I'd say.

ft - I've explored all these avenues and haven't come up with much. There is a university in dublin that does courses for gifted kids round the country and they just started one up on the local IT here this year. He met one lad there but missed the last two classes so couldn't get that lads details to contact him over summer.

ingles - ds1 isn't just gifted tbh. and I don't want to get into semantics but he's "out there" and not just academically but basically anything he decides to pick up he excels at. The brains of these highly gifted and above kids are different. I don't want to get into a debate about it. When you see them together (not just ds1 and his friend but others like them) it is just a completely different ball of wax. ds1 DOES, actually have friends and I've been told recently by class alpha mum and teacher that he is getting quite popular in school but that is something completely different.

ingles2 Mon 09-Jun-08 11:09:51

Ok... when you say Out there I'm not sure what you mean? Does he have other special needs? If so that's a different issue..Otherwise I don't understand why you would want to define him by his intellect. Surely you would want a rounded child who is happy and able to function in the majority of circumstances rather then pigeon holing him in a "I'm different and highly gifted box" Sorry If this sounds antagonistic, it's not meant to be. But I am interested. smile

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 11:40:17

sigh. no I don't want him defined by his intellect. BUT his intellect makes him a bit different from most other kids. It's not something concrete that you can identify. But if you see these kids together (not just my two but others like them with each other say) it is just different from other friendships. They "get" each other.

he only has health related sn. Nothing intellectual like asd or anything.

seeker Mon 09-Jun-08 12:02:19

I have a friend who has Down's syndrome. We "get" each other. We don't have the same intelectual abilities, but we connect on so many other levels.

Good friends "get" each other, but you only find a few of them in a life time. Fabulous that your ds has found a soul mate, Kerry - some children never do. My non-g&t dd hasn't found one yet, although she has lots of friends. My g&t ds has - and the friend is intellectually miles behind him. The important thing is that emotionally and socially they connect.

ingles2 Mon 09-Jun-08 12:10:14

I'm trying to say the same as Seeker (but badly probably)
I don't think it really has anything to do with his abilities that he's found someone to click with...he's hit the jackpot but it could have been anywhere and with anyone. Not just with another HG&T child.

snorkle Mon 09-Jun-08 12:32:36

I think people are more likely to form close bonds with people like them actually. Of course being of the same intellect & similar personality and interests is not essential to a strong friendship, but I do think it helps a lot. I've always been struck how my dcs have both tended to pal up with similar friends seemingly by chance rather than design. Glad he's found a pal Kerry, hope you manage to get them together a little more often too.

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 12:32:49

I honestly don't know why I ever bother posting on this topic.

no actually he wouldn't just "click" with anyone. they think alike. their brains work alike. if you don't get it you don't get it. that's fine but please don't presume to tell me I've no clue as to what I'm talking about.

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 12:34:35

xpost with snorkle.

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 12:35:32

most people I speak to who have children this advanced same the exact same thing as I am saying when they are in groups.

seeker Mon 09-Jun-08 12:37:59

I don't think anyone did say you didn't know what you were talking about, did they? And certainly no one said he would just "click" with anyone.

KerryMum Mon 09-Jun-08 12:38:56

I give up.

If I have issues\concerns\discussions to have about giftedness in future I will post them on a board where these issues can be discussed without people dismissing them compoletely in some attempt to...I don't know what.

I honestly think this topic should be removed as there is no support here and people can't even have discussions about Gifted kids without a bunch of crap thrown in. It is rather useless tbh.

There are other boards out there which I will frequent in future to discuss gifted issues. If anyone wants referral to them they can email me at babs1827 at yahoo dot com.

frogs Mon 09-Jun-08 12:41:08

It's a good question, Kerry -- why do you bother posting on this topic, when you always reject the advice you're given?

There are other people here who have experience parenting children with IQ scores above the 0.1 centile, which is highly gifted by any standard, if you like that terminology (I don't, myself). But when we try to share our experiences you reject anything we say that doesn't fit with what you want to hear, particularly any advice that suggests defining a child by his/her giftedness is not always helpful.

You asked how we find our own children's friendships, and people are telling you. But you don't actually want to hear.

cory Mon 09-Jun-08 12:47:08

Sounds lovely that your ds has found somebody, Kerry. I would also spell out to him that this is something that will happen more for him when he grows up. He will no doubt go to university and there he will find like-minded people. And with a bit of luck he will find himself a job that is also done by other people that he can connect with. And he will go to conferences (or whatever is done in his field) and again he won't feel alone. It can only get better!

I was rather isolated as a child, but life improved no end once I left my small town and went to uni. Funnily enough, I find intellectual differences much less important for friendships now that I'm grown up, but they were a barrier when I was 10. I needed to see first that I was not a freak. Once I'd done that, I could afford to be more relaxed and to keep my own personality on hold at times to accommodate other people's.

Dd doesn't seem to experience the same difficulties: she is well aware that her best friend is not where she is intellectually, but says she has other qualities that make her worthwhile. That would have been much harder for me at her age. Dd's take on it is that she can discuss her real interests at home with me, and work on them at her leisure, so she doesn't mind if her friend can't meet those needs. She just seems so much more confident than I was at her age. envy

seeker Mon 09-Jun-08 12:48:23

Please point out the crap that was thrown? I do find that quite offensive, to be honest. I thought this was a discussion about friendships and I was finding it really interesting.

Piffle Mon 09-Jun-08 12:53:27

kerry for years I wanted a friend like that for ds1 (highly gifted) he found one a girl in yr6 but stuffed up badly with her by letting her down one afternoon (mr messy in his head to blame) and lost her as a good friend - he was bereft.
Funnily enough his closest friend now has cerebral palsy is a gifted historian, sun reader and hopeless at maths science and art.
Polar opposites in fact.
However they get on and support each other and are good loyal friends.
I thought for years it was all about the same wavelength possibly intellectual compatibility that would cement him in a friendship but it is not
ds1 is yr9, aged 14 now.
Ds1 does find online buddies via The Haven (linked off via Hoagies) and has "good" cyber mates in France and Canada.

Twiglett Mon 09-Jun-08 12:54:12

god Kerry .. that's so out of order

ProfessorGrammaticus Mon 09-Jun-08 12:57:27

Kerry I don't normally post on your threads - in fact I usually hide them. This thread reminds me of the reason for that. Why are you so aggressive to people?

pagwatch Mon 09-Jun-08 13:00:17

I thought it was interesting too

Ds1 is very very able - not sure if he qualifies as gifted as most of his school friends are very able ( one of his peers was invited to a series of lectures at Cambridge recently aged 14 )but there has always been a certain element of distance in his relationships until recently.
I think it came in part from having a severely SN brother - I am not sure that he ever really felt comfortable trusting other peers around his brother.
Since he started GCSE's and the streaming
has naturally intensified he has become way more relaxed. I think he is much more comfortable and is more confident as he gets older. He has also started to realise that he is good looking too which helps grin.
I think age does help. His friends seem more comfortable in their own skins as does he. And that becomes a rolling process - as he is more confident he can relax into friendships more feeling less guarded and sure that should he have a bad experience he will be able to cope.

So I think your point about peers is valid KM but I think there is an element where it is just to do with feeling safe around friends because interestingly his new friends are a highly eclectic bunch, his best friend being a boy who is probably slightly less able but has a razor wit.
I think they find a comfort level in themselves that allows them to be more widespread in the pool of friends as they get older.
I suspect that every positive encounter your DS has will help and that whilst he is probably more comfortable with his peers just now increasing confidence may help him spread his 'friendship pool' a little wider.
( grin blush isn't friendship pool a hideous phrase )

( pst - and he has a girlfriend now . But don't tell him I told you grin)

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