Social Behavior of a Gifted Child

by Carly Seifert

A gifted child is fairly easy to recognize when it comes to intellectual development and abilities. He's the baby who was walking and talking before anyone else, putting together puzzles as a toddler and reading as a preschooler. When it comes to emotional development and social behaviors, this same youngster demonstrates novel challenges and behaviors throughout childhood.

Enjoys Leadership Roles

A gifted child might be ready for independence and leadership roles at an earlier age than his peers, according to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization that supports gifted students. This is perhaps a result of frustration with his less-gifted peers when they are not performing to his standards. Perhaps his fellow preschoolers would rather play with the cards and game figures than follow the actual rules of Candy Land, upsetting the gifted child who knows how the game should be played. This knowledge and resulting frustration can lead to bossiness, if not handled properly.

Peer Relationships

A gifted child will likely have several peer groups because his own interests are so varied, according to an article at A gifted child might prefer older children who are more at his level of intelligence and abilities. Many gifted youngsters also prefer to be alone and surround themselves with imaginary friends. While an imaginary friend or two is common in childhood, a gifted child might have many imaginary friends and pets.

Empathy and Fairness

Linda K. Silverman, director of the Gifted Development Center, says that gifted children are morally sensitive and might become anxious about global issues. This sensitivity comes from a deeper understanding about what the consequences of immoral actions might be. This sensitivity often affects relationships -- gifted children tend to be concerned about fairness and might be especially empathetic toward peers.


A gifted child might also be the popular kid in class -- especially if he is a boy, according to an article at This might be because a gifted child is more likely to be a strong and confident leader -- unafraid of risks and challenges, which causes others to look up to him. A gifted child's tendency toward competitiveness and his empathy for others also lead him to become involved in many activities, which allow him to develop a wider variety of friendships.

About the Author

Carly Seifert has been a piano instructor since 2001. She has also covered adoption and introducing children to the arts for "Montana Parent Magazine." Seifert graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.

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