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Gifted Child Behavior Problems

by Christina Schnell

Gifted children are unique, and not just in problem solving and verbal ability, but in their advanced understanding of complex situations, their heightened emotional sensitivity and they're strong sense of concentration and independence, reports Gifted Canada. And, while none of these behaviors are automatically problematic, functioning in a standard classroom or among non-gifted peers could intensify certain behaviors, making it difficult and frustrating for gifted children and those around them.

Hyper-Concentration

Having strong concentration skills isn't generally a problematic behavior, but in gifted children, this intense focus can mean resistance to other necessary tasks. A gifted child may concentrate so heavily on disassembling a telephone, for example, that he stubbornly, almost defiantly, refuses to leave his project for dinner or bath-time. It's this focus that enables gifted children to identify so many intricacies and complexities that other kids either miss or aren't interested in, but this focus can also make these children challenging for parents.

Perfectionism

Gifted kids often hold themselves, and others, to a very high standard. This can be problematic when interacting with peers or during group projects. For example, when the class is building a massive block tower together, a gifted child may be upset when his peers' sections aren't as ornate. According to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, this deeper understanding of complexity, combined with intense perfectionism can lead to bossiness or withdrawing from group play, as gifted children become frustrated by what they perceive as sub-par performance in the projects their classmates have made.

Need for Stimulus

Gifted children crave complex stimulus. While other children are reading "The Cat in the Hat," gifted children may be reading young adult historical novels. Doing the same curriculum or activities as other kids can leave gifted children feeling bored, resentful and frustrated. Such feelings can cause a range of undesirable behaviors, from defiance to anti-social behavior, reports an organization called Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted, SENG, which is dedicated to supporting the emotional needs of gifted children in through outreach to schools, families and youth organizations.

Emotional Sensitivity

Gifted children often have an advanced sense of justice, fairness and empathy, reports Canada Gifted. For example, a gifted child may become extremely upset after seeing his peers mistreating a frog on the playground. Not only is he upset by the frog's suffering, but after confronting his peers about their cruel behavior, he may become enraged when they see no reason to stop. Gifted children may also experience a broader range of emotions, reports SENG, and this can cause them to experience anxiety and depression long before their peers.

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