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Bored and Disruptive

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a 7 year old boy. He has become very disruptive in class and during sports practices. Sports that he loves and excels in. He does well in the games, but during practice he will talk over the coaches, not want to do what he is told and says he is bored.

In class he is similar. In both situations he has become somewhat of the class clown as well. He is smart and learns quickly, he just says he hates school and it's boring.

Some other things he does is negotiates all the time, with everyone. He does not want to try his best or put much effort in to things like writing, reading or full effort into his baseball practices. Even though he is ahead of many of the other students and team mates.

My question is, is this a "gifted" issue or a self discipline issue or maybe even both? Or something else all together? How can we help him? It is becoming a very big problem.

A: There are some indications that some of the manifestations could be distinct characteristics of giftedness but it is best not to jump into conclusions without objectively assessing him. A child who is gifted could also have any other common issues with their peers. Discipline issues are across the board for any child regardless of gifts.

You may need to find out the main reason for him to behave in such a manner. Is he seeking attention? If so why? The reason for attention seeking attitude can vary from one child to another. If he is a class clown, how did you find out? From the teacher? How is the teacher then handling this behavior? Is she/he getting angry, stressed, or tensed? Negative reaction would only lead to more negative behavior. If attention is what he is seeking, any attention from the teacher (negative or positive) would be an encouragement. Speak to some one who may be able to help the class teacher handle this situation.

If he is really bored and finds the lessons less than stimulating, perhaps he needs more challenging work. They say “an idle mind is a devil's workshop”. If his mind is not stimulated to fulfill his needs, he would look for that “thrill” elsewhere. Get the teacher to keep him busy or give him more challenging worksheets or tasks. This is the same with his sports - he may have already mastered some learning and perhaps not getting enough attention from the teacher who may be focusing on other children. Again speak to the school to find out what best can be done. First, find out the reason for his boredom - ask him specific reasons for feeling bored. Next, speak to the principal to see how they can manage a child like him. He is only 7 and not loving school is not an option at this stage. Therefore, if there really is a problem in school, it should be identified and tackled.

Wishing you all the best and I hope he gets the education he deserves to cater for his needs regardless of whether he is gifted or not. Good luck!


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