Resiliency Part 3 – Emotional Intensity

  Hi all! Time for the final part of my resiliency series. Two week ago we talked about Building Connections, and before that, Mastery. Today we are talking about emotional reactions and the impact of these on resiliency.

Emotional reaction refers to how a child reacts emotionally to adversity or problems. We already know that Gifted Kids are highly intense. But this emotional reactivity, while actually a good thing, does bring with it the potential for difficulties in the area of resiliency. Some factors that impact a person’s overall emotional reactivity is the depth of their intensities, the time it takes them to emotionally bounce back from a set back, and the level of impairment the emotional intensity may cause.

Gifted children, being more intense than their non-gifted counterparts, have some unique challenges when it comes to emotional reactivity and intensity, including:

  • Extreme Intensity
  • Rigid thinking that makes recovery difficulty
  • Lack of emotional tools
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help your child learn to manage their emotional intensities and reactions to events in their lives. Some of these include:
  • Build an emotional tool bank
  • Teach your child an emotional vocabulary to discuss feelings, and then discuss them regularly
  • Discuss perfectionism and imposter syndrome issues openly and often
  • Discuss and work through fear of failure concerns
As you can see, the beginnings of working on managing intensities starts with open and honest communications in this area – something that can be hard and scary for most parents and kids. I will be writing some posts in the upcoming weeks that look at Imposter Syndrome, Perfectionism, Building an Emotional Vocabulary and anything else you all want more info on.
But first, it’s your turn…what do you see as some of the road blocks to building resiliency in our GT kids?
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6 thoughts on “Resiliency Part 3 – Emotional Intensity

  1. My roadblocks (let’s call them speed bumps): My own emotional intensity –clouds my thinking in the moment. Of course the best time to build resiliency is during a time when an emotionally intense moment is NOT happening –but then, either I forget (the peace is so nice, and I just get lost in it…), or I fear that even bringing up any issues with our daughter will provoke an outburst –as has sometimes happened in the past.

    I’m looking forward to future posts on this –also looking forward to your post on Imposter Syndrome– I’m planning on lightly touching on that idea in my next post :-)

  2. This is just what we need at the moment! The rigid thinking is so hard. And the perfectionism thing. I am looking forward to reading about the emotional tool bank – I’m not sure what this is, as I had just assumed it was developing a vocabulary and discussing emotions, but seeing as that is a separate dot point I must have been mistaken.

    Thanks for all your posts!

  3. Thank you for this series. I have been hindered by my own lack of resiliency and I want to give my kids to tools to avoid some of my issues.

  4. Great topic. I’m reading the book The Elegance of the Hedgehog and it’s all about this! Would love to write a full-on analysis of the book, but basically the elder gifted woman has so many more resiliency resources that the younger, suicidal gifted teen does not. Both elder and younger gifted characters face existential depression when contemplating starving Africans (I used to do that), vapid ridiculous people who surround them (I used to do that too), and death, even of people they didn’t know or like very much. The elder gifted woman knows how to suck emotional restoration from a book, a movie, a work of art, a friendship, a discussion with her cat, even from a quiet place all her own! And I think (haven’t finished the book yet) the younger one is going to learn it. It’s just beautiful and I recommend the book highly.

    They don’t suffer from the imposter syndrome though. They are too busy trying to hide their brilliance and appear dull so as to not attract attention. I didn’t suffer from the imposter syndrome either, until I got to college and was surrounded by brilliant people. Hope noone from my high school is reading this. … I doubt it.=)

    oops now I am late!

  5. My daughter wants me to write that she has emotions too. And her birthday is soon and she get overwhelmed and mad about that. age 7
    (about what?) about my party
    (what about your party) planning it.
    (what happens) I don’t know which way to put it.
    (what happens to your brain) stress, perfect – hides head.
    =(
    (is there a way you could…)take a break
    (what else) sit in your lap cuddle
    (how bout imagining an imperfect party and liking it) I don’t
    (How bout a catastrophe at the party) mad or shy at the party
    (How bout something bad happens and it’s funny) that never happens
    (how bout things go in a different order than you planned) it won’t because I planned it. Please keep it my way.

    off to school

  6. An emotional tool bank ( I use box) comes in handy. Different means of rejuvenating and managing the emotional roller coaster helps with the resiliency. Multiple stressors – of course with intensity – impacts the resiliency. Results – emotions on the sleeve, exhaustion, withdrawal. Use of various tools minimizes the extreme response and allows for pacing and consistent functioning.

    The balancing act – using the tools (some which can develop to being barriers in themselves) helps with daily interactions.

    Looking forward to the upcoming information.

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