The Social Scene at School: 5 Tips to Help Your Gifted Children

Portrait of smiling little school kids in school corridor
Portrait of smiling little school kids in school corridor

Back to school means a lot of things to a lot of people. For some of our gifted kiddos, it means back to the social grind. Many of our gifted children struggle when it comes to making friends. The five tips below can help your gifted children feel more comfortable in the social aspects of their lives:

Healthy Habits: Start off on the right foot by making sure the child is practicing healthy habits that include the following:

  • Rest – no one functions well on little sleep, and while many gifted children need less sleep, it is important that they develop healthy sleep habits
  • Eat well – well-balanced meals are the key.
  • Exercise and relaxation – both are needed in a healthy, well-balanced life
  • Playtime – gifted children are often very serious. Building in playtime, preferably with others, can help provide much-needed balance

Perspective: Teach children how to discern between the things within his control versus those things outside of his control. The Hula Hoop technique can help:

  • Imagine there is a hula hoop on the ground and step into it
  • Everything outside of the hula hoop you have NO control over
  • Everything inside of the hula hoop you have 100% control over
  • The next time you are angry or upset think about the hula hoop. Is this something you have control over, something you can change? If so, make the needed changes. If not, let it go. There is little you can do anyway.

Temperament: Learn the difference between introverts and extroverts (my post earlier this month may help) and help your child determine which one is true for them. This can help in determining the cause and solution for potential problems with peer interactions

Intensities: Help your child deal with their intensities. Here are a few specific strategies to help:

  • Teach children that their feelings are a normal part of his personality.
  • Build activity into the day.
  • Teach relaxation techniques.
  • Allow for creative thinking and creative outlets.

Social Skills: Teach your children these five success tips from 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Prufrock Press):

  • You don’t always have to be right.
  • Be a problem solver, not a problem maker
  • Never try to hide your giftedness to make friends – it won’t work anyway
  • Accept yourself and others as you are
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously

These tips will begin to help your children develop the social skills needed to develop healthy peer relationships at school and beyond.


The Benefits of Social Media for Introverted Children

Happy Thursday everyone! Today is parent advice day around the blog and I thought I would talk a bit about a recent TV segment I was in. The interview was originally going to be about helping introverted children as they go back to school. At least, that is what I thought. Instead, the host wanted to focus on social media.

You see, I am a bit of a rebel. I believe that almost anything in moderation can be a good things, and one should never throw out an idea or intervention due to fear. But mostly I believe that we, as parents, have an obligation to help our children practice the skills needed for life. When in comes to social media, that means teaching them how to get the most out of social media without putting themselves in danger.

This is particularly true with introverts. The digital domain provides a venue for introverts to be more extroverted. In fact, many introverted children and adults consider themselves as introverted in person, but extroverted online.

Before I give some specifics about capitalizing on the positives of social media with your introvert, I thought I’d show you the clip from UT-TV:

The take away from this and the information I share in Quiet Kids is that our digital world can be great for introverted children, giving them a place where they can be social without the energy “zap” that often accompanies in-person encounters. Additionally, here are a few more things to think about when considering allowing more access to our digital world:

  • Set clear boundaries with all social media. Know what sites your child frequents, and visit their pages often. Know their passwords and usernames so you can go into their pages and see everything.
  • Model internet safety yourself. Don’t post inappropriate things online, or share too much. Then teach your children the same good habits and appropriate internet etiquette.
  • Make sure your child turns off the computers, tablets, and phones every night. It is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep – for adults and kids.
  • Remember that your introverted child may not be used being as social as they are able to be via the digital world. While this discovery is good news for the introvert, it is important to remember that being an introvert is more than being somewhat withdrawn. It is about your body’s biological approach to energy consumption. Introverts still need plenty of time away from their social world. Be on the look out for indicators of fatigue and social burnout with your child.
  • Declare one day a month a “dark day” – a day in which all social media is abandoned, and everyone takes a digital break!

These tips can help you reap all of the benefits our digital age has to offer, while still keeping your child safe.

What  do you think? Are you introverted in person, and extroverted online?

Some Challenges of Being Gifted and a Parent

If you search the web for “gifted parent,” you will find many resources aimed at parents of gifted children. It is much harder to find resources to address parenting as a gifted adult.

Parenting as a gifted adult can have challenges that relate specifically to the giftedness of the parents.

For example, observe how the 5 categories of intensity known as Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities might make parenting more challenging.

  • Psychomotor: Children crave the physical and mental presence of their parents. As a parent with psychomotor overexcitabilites, slowing down enough to really notice what is going on with your children may be challenging. Or maybe it is hard to slow down enough for kids to follow what you are saying. Maybe you have have trouble speaking in the short, direct sentences that are easy for developing minds to process. Maybe it is hard to stop talking and let the kids have a chance to speak.
  • Intellectual: Parents with intellectual overexcitabilities run the risk of analyzing everything their children do, never being able to simply enjoy a moment. Reading all the parenting books and the scientific research on education and parenting may be interesting, but if it detracts from paying attention to the child in front of you, is it helpful? Or imagine the parent who when asked a question says, “Let’s look that up” and reads the relevant Wikipedia page and all of it’s hyperlinks even though the child’s question was answered in the first sentence. What about the need to feed an exhausted adult brain with something intellectually challenging?
  • Emotional: General parenting advice often starts with advice to maintain your calm presence at all times in order to provide a stable ground for your child. Emotional overexcitabilities make that exceedingly hard advice to follow.
  • Sensual: Hypersensitivity to sounds can make challenging young people a challenge. Children make noise, their toys often make noise. Children are messy; parents with heightened aesthetic responses or sensitivity to textures or smells can find that mess stressful. Finding art and music that appeals to children and parents may be tough.
  • Imaginational: A parent who can always imagine the worst-case scenario may become over-protective out of fear.

Overexcitabilities are not the only characteristics of gifted parents that can prove challenging. This is only the beginning. There are few enough resources to help struggling gifted adults out there at all. Finding parenting specific resources is almost impossible.

I am curious to know what wisdom you either have or would like to get about the impact of parental giftedness on parenting. Maybe we can become a resource for those who need advice or companionship. Please share in the comments.

Gifted, creative, or ADHD?

The last few weeks have brought several articles on ADHD and its impact on kids. SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) had a news release on how it plans to alert pediatricians on the similarities of ADHD and gifted traits (and for this I am grateful). The New York Times released a controversial opinion piece on how ADHD drugs don’t work long term, and the Times’ Motherlode blog replied with a thoughtful post. Finally, the Wall Street Journal’s article on Ritalin and creativity suggested that creativity is greatly dampened by ADHD medications.

Well. Great. More noise about ADHD and how it is over-diagnosed and over-prescribed and not a danged thing on what to do about it. Drives me batsnot crazy. See, our 2e son has ADHD.

Or does he?

Could it simply be that he is gifted and his wiring just keeps his body moving non-stop? That school bored him to the point that he tuned out? (Um, yeah, it did…but that’s a post for a different day). That our parenting in his early years affected his brain development and thus his behavior?

Possibly, absolutely, and are you freaking kidding me?

A has always been on the move. Always. In utero he did laps until he played soccer with my kidneys. I stopped wearing shoes with laces when he was two, because I couldn’t get them on fast enough when he’d bolt from Music Together classes. When he was three I asked his pediatrician if he thought A was ADHDish. The answer was yes, but too young to make an official determination. At four we embarked on a yearlong quest to find any other reason for his hyperactivity and difficulty paying attention. Occupational therapy, vision therapy, diet changes, sleep studies, and a tonsillectomy for sleep apnea followed. All this time the curiosity intensified, and he was deemed to be twice-exceptional. At five we finally caved and put him on medication.

And saw this:

This picture means more to me than most. This was the first time my son voluntarily sat down and quietly drew out an idea he had in his head. December 2006. I still have the intricate picture he was working on.

The last five years he’s been doh-see-dohing with various medications, trying to find that delicate balance of efficacy and acceptable side effects. The biggie is loss of appetite. For me that would be awesomesauce; for my 25th percentile son it’s a very fine line. On meds he can focus enough to read, work on inventions, do school with me, has a higher frustration tolerance, and is basically easier to live with. We see the giftedness. Off meds he pings around the house and talking to him is like shouting through a waterfall. And I’m not just talking evenings; he went 18 months off meds a few years ago after some scary side effects joined forces with weight loss. He went back on last spring when it was either that or I was going to wring his neck. That’s where the other E comes out to play.

So are we medicating him simply for our benefit, to make parenting him easier? Are the medications inhibiting his creativity, his ability to express himself? Is his gifted wiring just such that he has to move nonstop and get lost in his own mind, unwilling or unable to listen to others?

Or are these articles simply noise? None of them seem to be written by a parent of an ADHD kid. Sure, it’s easy for an adult to say having ADHD as a kid made him more creative, but I bet his parent was at wits’ end most days. My job is to get this kid to adulthood in one piece, ready challenge life on his terms. If meds help get him there when everything else has failed, does that mean I have failed him? Of course not. I already beat myself up that he’s so thin because of the side effects, I don’t need that joining in.

So here’s what I want to say to all the ADHD OpEd writers (with the exception of SENG, which I think is doing the absolute right thing in raising awareness of ADHD/gifted similarities): Be quiet. Stop. Enough. You do not speak of nor represent all those who have to cope with ADHD. For some the diagnosis and medications were a last resort, and even then the second guessing doesn’t stop. I am not damaging my child by keeping him on ADHD medications, nor am I dulling his creativity. I am providing what he needs, when he needs it, to get him to where he needs to be.

The rest is just noise.

Party Friday!!!

Hey all, HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

With a successful end to the blog and book tours, I thought I’d use this post to celebrate a few things AND give you deets on my epic end-of-the-tour giveaway going on this weekend.

Let’s start with the fun signing from last night. Barnes and Noble did an epic Teacher Appreciation night. I got to give a little talk, along with two amazing authors – Anne Bromley, author of an amazing picture book THE LUNCH THEIF, and Dawn Knobbe, author of a YA adventure book, RUNAWAY STORM. I met other teachers, a publicist, a few parents and some store execs. It was a fab night. But don’t take my word for it…I have pics

Two areas were set up in the store – one where the other authors and I talked, gave workshops, etc, and one for signing books. And YES, I kept the very cool signage! (yep, I am a geek)

First, I talked with the crowd:

Then, I made friends:

And finally, I signed a few books!

 AN EPIC night all the way around. I stocked signed a few copies for the store, so if you live near Oceanside, CA and want to QUICKLY get a copy of the book (it is still a 4-week turn with Amazon), stop by the Barnes and Noble and check it out in the parenting book section!

Next up, the blog tour. There are still a few chances to win a signed copy of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS in a few remaining contests:

Needs more reasons to enter the contests or leave comments during the tour…

As a THANK YOU to all of you that have made this launch so darn amazing, I am giving away an EMOTIONAL INTENSITY SWAG PACK of bookmarks, sticky notes, note pads, magazines, and one last SIGNED COPY of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY.


  • Leave any comment, anywhere throughout the enter tour. I will take ALL COMMENTS from this post and the ENTIRE TOUR and draw a single winner! It’s that easy. Click here for links to every stop on the tour. Contest is open internationally and closes at 11:59pm (PST) on Sunday, 10/17. I will announce the winner here on Monday morning!


Check out these bloggers that have posted their reviews of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY. I have to say, I did not get to see these until this morning, and reading them has left me…well…


I am truly humbled.

Here are today’s reviewers. Be sure to leave comments on their blogs as well – I will include them in the giveaway.

Thanks again for making this an unforgettable couple of weeks. Next up…several speaking engagements and I really MUST finish a very important project over the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend and thanks for all the support during the tour.

The Tour, 10/12 through 10/14

Well, we are into the home stretch of the tour – three more days and a final review-fest. What a crazy-fun whirlwind it has been. Some of you have asked what’s next? Well, I have additional book signings throughout the state in the works, several speaking engagements locally and hopefully some conferences. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I am very busy trying to finish up my companion book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. This is such a fun book to work on, with advice from older gifted kids, little quizzes and 101 Success Secrets!

Then of course, there is the fiction part of my world – something I am pretty anxious to dive back into. Yep, pretty busy in Christine-land.

But onto the remaining stops on the tour:

As with the other stops along the tour, there will be a few more chances to win a SIGNED copy of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS.

Which reminds me – there are still some fabulous giveaways going on for the book this week. Many of them have under 15 entries, so the odds are definitely in your favor to win the book. Just stop by and leave a comment:

On Friday, we are featuring an EPIC roundup of reviews on EMOTIONAL INTENSITY! And one MASSIVE grand prize drawing for a great assortment of swag and a signed book. Be sure to check it out! I’ll be drawing one name from ALL of the comments throughout the tour and from the reviews. WOO HOO!!!

In other news, my Publisher has ordered more books so I am hoping that Barnes and Noble and Indigo (in Canada) have it available for purchase this week, and Amazon gets it in stock soon. Until then, you can always order from Prufrock Press directly for a faster turn around time.

Of course, if you live in Southern California, be sure to stop by the Oceanside Barnes and Noble on 10/14 from 4 – 7 for my book signing. I will be doing a little chat at 5, followed by a book signing. Hope to see you there!

I hope you guys have enjoyed the tour. I will be back tomorrow with an author interview and finish the week with my Bookanista review and a recap of the blog tour. This has been a great ride – I thank you guys for sharing it with me.

On unrelated news….I think….THINK….I have a shiny new idea for NaNo. Must stew on it and see if it gels. Who is doing NaNo with me???