It’s common for parents to be irritated by their young children’s impatience, emotionally intense reactions, stubbornness, and seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and questions. When frustrations build into what feels like a battle of wills, parents naturally seek counseling for new parenting methods or send their kids to therapy to learn how to listen and better manage stress.
Teachers too – in their need to maintain a disciplined classroom and provide an approved and so-called age-appropriate curriculum designed for the middle of a mainstream – often see inattentiveness, over-persistence, and “clowning around” as disruptive. Students who continually act out get referred to school counselors for evaluation.
But a growing body of research identifies the possibility that these behaviors could be signs of frustrated giftedness. James Webb, et.al., in Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis in Gifted Children list the following as traits displayed by children with an above average intelligence or creative ability:
- Quick to grasp information details
- Internally motivated to ask many questions
- Like problem solving challenges
- Prefer logic to feelings
- Insist on fairness and truthfulness in others
- Like rules and systems that efficiently organize effort
- Use large vocabulary naturally
- Tend to be perfectionistic, demanding, self-critical
- Like new or unusual experiences
- Has fun inventing new methods
- Resist interruption and interference
- Sensitive to perceived criticism and rejection
- High level of energy
- Prefer non-conformity and independence
- Have wide range of interests
- See absurdities that others don’t “get”
If your child is showing a number of these traits, before accepting a mental health diagnosis or mind-altering medication for him or her, you might seek an evaluation from a professional who is experienced with helping gifted kids and their parents thrive.
I’m happy to discuss your questions about what counseling for gifted children and their parents might entail.