On Monday I said I wanted to talk about fitting in. As I mentioned in that post, it can be very difficult for gifted children and adults to feel like they “fit-in” – to acquire that sense of belonging all of us need.
But why is it so hard?
The truth lies in the very characteristics of giftedness itself.
Take a look at this list:
- Early moral concern
- Poor risk taking
- Highly sensative
- Emotionally intense
With these typical attributes, why wouldn’t a gifted person have some difficulties – especially in the early years. As parents, we need to help coach our kids into better management of the more difficult aspects of their personality. In doing this, we begin to help them shape their reactions – and soften the way in which they interact with the world.
The characteristics of giftedness aren’t the only barrier. Sometimes adults – well-meaning teachers and parents – can also be a source of the problem.
Often we try to pair our child up with peers that are not actually THEIR peers – they are not their intellectual equal, they aren’t a good match for interests or social demands.
What happens when we do this? The child feels yet another defeat with reference to fitting in.
Instead, let’s try to guid our children towards true peers – people with similar cognitive and social/emotional development. This way, there is a better chance that they will find solace in each other.
One more word on that – why is it that we push our kids into sports, when they don’t like them? Or music when they have no interest? It needs to be okay for our kids to develop interests different from our own. When they do, fining opportunities to belong happen more naturally.
Friday’s post will look at what to do after your child already feels like an outcast.