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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Emotional Intelligence and Gifted Children

By Andrew Loh

There is a popular myth and a general misconception that gifted children are more adept at handling stressful situations and emotional instability when compared to other children. People also tend to believe that gifted children are happier and better acclimated to their surroundings. Sadly, in many cases the opposite is true and even gifted children can face severe emotional disturbances in their life. For most gifted children, their childhood is one good mix of pleasure, thrill, enjoyment, contentment and rewards. In fact, such children derive maximum pleasure and enjoyment from life challenges as well as school work. However, it is the essence of childhood that is supposed to be more painful, challenging as well as stressful; it is a well known fact that gifted children may feel that they are left out from their peers because of their high expectations and hopes.

Gifted children own and master unique perceptions and feelings that are entirely different from to those exhibited by other children. Gifted children tend to make their own connections with the surrounding world; gifted children possess traces of abstract thinking and highly sophisticated and polished methods of conclusions at a very early age. In reality, such perceptions are unique, powerful and special. The way and manner in which a gifted child grows and develops are entirety different than his or her peers. Because of their specialty, most of the gifted children are often isolated and they feel left out of the group.

In a typical scenario, parents tend to treat gifted children just like any other normal children. Though their intentions are perfectly alright, this approach may not be really suited for gifted children. In a classical scenario, parents may practice the following method of parenting to raise gifted children:

  • Attempts to tackle a gifted child's feeling of isolation by giving more adult attention and care.

  • Excessive adult care and attention may actually increase the problem.

  • Inadequate or insufficient care and attention may also result in problems like emotional instability

Gifted children tend to perform well with those children who are emotionally near and intellectually similar. In fact, gifted children need peers to feel better, safe and emotionally secure.

While the feeling of isolation is an added advantage to gifted children, sudden emotional loneliness and feelings of desolation may actually hinder their normal emotional development. On the flipside, gifted children can perform exceedingly well when they get enough encouragement by their parents, teachers and peers.

People attribute very poor social skills with gifted children. In many case, a gifted child may be completely impervious to his or her immediate social circle because of a blind screen erected in the process of emotional development. In other words, gifted children may feel their intellectual capacities are so strong and robust that they need not develop emotional intelligences.

To empower your gifted child with necessary emotional intelligence and assorted skills, you may want to follow these simple methods and guidelines:

  1. Teaching the basic principles of emotional capabilities and making your gifted child understand that emotional capability is as important as intellectual abilities.

  2. Teaching your gifted child the most basic social skills of interacting with other family members, teachers, friends and peers. One of the best methods of teaching social skills is to arrange a weekend party for your child's friends and teachers.

  3. Teaching your gifted child the importance of empathy and sensitivity. Tell him or her why helping people in need are the best kind of services and how people benefit by empathizing with other people.

Several other compounding factors may act as potently emotional stressors. Under such potential situations, you may need to device your own methods and ways to train your gifted child:

  1. Gifted children may display poor self-esteem and self-image. As a parent, you will need to tell your child the importance of projecting himself or herself in a confident manner especially in front of others. Take your child to week end parties and gatherings and make him or her mix with other children.

  2. A number of gifted children may face severe emotional upheavals and disturbances in their early school years because they may encounter a number of academic failures. This is possibly the most critical stage in your gifted child's life. You may wish to make your child realize that failure is the steeping stone to future success.

  3. Gifted children could be great risk or chance takers. With every second of risk they take, there is an equal probability of failure and eventual disappointments. Risk always carries a big negative baggage called danger. As a parent, you will need to teach your child the potential dangers of taking risks and how they affect their academic and non-academic performance.

Gifted children and emotional intelligence are two contrasting issues! Parents may face acute problems when handling their gifted children, especially when they are under severe and stressful situations. Learning the basic methods of emotional intelligence will help you assist your gifted child become more successful in personal and professional life. 


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