The Unique Challenges of Raising a Gifted Child + How to Overcome Them
No matter who you are or where you’re from, parenting can be a challenging ride full of ups and downs. There’s no such thing as being 100% prepared for being a parent–part of the journey is figuring it out as you go along. And for some parents, there are additional unique challenges that many may not relate to, such as the challenges of raising a gifted child.
It’s easy to see why most people think, at first glance, parents with gifted children have it easy. School is a breeze for their children–they don’t even need to study to get straight As. They pick things up quickly even as other students are struggling.
There was a time when you thought you’d never have to worry about your children’s scholarly or professional success.
But at some point, something shifted and your gifted child has hit a wall. They’re struggling now when they never did before. They find it difficult to succeed or stick to their pursuits. Suddenly, studying or working is hard. They either get bored or overwhelmed by the subject matter and it’s taking a huge toll on their mental health and self-esteem.
As a result, you feel like you’re failing as a parent and helping your gifted child reach their potential.
We want to assure you that it’s normal to feel like this. You’re not a failure, and you’re certainly not alone. Without the right tools and knowledge, it’s not easy navigating life with a gifted child experiencing burnout and struggling.
The good news is, we have some solutions that can help your child succeed in many areas of life, school, and otherwise.
Why is my gifted child struggling?
Before you can take any action, however, you have to understand why this is happening.
The fact is gifted children are special needs children. It might feel strange to view your child this way, but it simply means that the needs of a gifted child are different from the needs of an average child.
Because your child did so well in school and other pursuits, they never learned how to learn, whereas a child that’s not gifted had no choice but to gradually build up their studying habits over the course of their education.
As parents, we won’t intervene or help our kids build good studying habits if they’re seemingly doing everything right.
The problem is when your gifted child starts to pursue subjects that they can’t just walk into exams without studying for, like calculus, they don’t know how to absorb the information and start to feel overwhelmed.
You might even notice that when they get excited about a new hobby, sooner than later, it gets too hard for them or they get so bored they abandon it. Their life is like 100 wells dug one foot deep instead of one well dug 100 feet deep.
When your child compares themselves to people who can study for four hours straight, they start to believe they’re not successful because they’re lazy. It’s especially difficult for them because they’re so used to being “perfect” and excelling in school. It’s painful to watch your child be so hard on themselves, but you can assure them that it’s not that they’re lazy or incompetent–they were simply never taught how to study.
Why Gifted Kids Thrive in the World of Video Games
1. The Quest for Challenge
Gifted kids thrive when faced with intellectual challenges that stimulate their minds. Video games, with their intricate puzzles, strategic battles, and demanding quests, provide the perfect stage for these young prodigies to exercise their mental prowess. As they navigate virtual worlds brimming with complexity, they find solace in the cerebral engagement offered by these digital realms.
2. A Realm of Infinite Possibilities
The beauty of video games lies in the fact that they present to players the opportunity to “live” in a vast, ever-expanding universe, limited only by the imagination of their creators. For gifted children, this boundless virtual realm becomes an open canvas where they can explore, experiment, and express themselves freely. Whether it's building intricate structures in Minecraft or unraveling the mysteries of a fantasy RPG, video games offer an outlet for their endless creativity.
3. Connecting the Dots
One remarkable trait of gifted children is their ability to see patterns and connections that elude others. This cognitive gift allows them to excel in problem-solving and strategic thinking, making them formidable gamers. Video games often require players to decipher complex systems, analyze information, and make split-second decisions—a domain where gifted minds excel.
4. A Safe Haven of Social Interaction
Although some find video games as isolating, for gifted children, who may struggle to connect with their peers due to social and emotional differences, online gaming communities can be a sanctuary. These digital realms provide a platform where like-minded individuals congregate, forging friendships based on shared interests, camaraderie, and collaborative gameplay. Here, gifted children find acceptance and the opportunity to form meaningful connections, contributing to their overall well-being.
Need More Guidance on Parenting a Gifted Child?
Sadly, many gifted kids get diagnosed with depression and other mental health disorders. While we can’t stress enough the importance of seeking professional mental health help, the reality for many of these kids is that no matter how much therapy they get, they’re never going to fully feel good about themselves unless they can accomplish things.
How much of that anguish and frustration that your gifted child feels can be eliminated if they were taught how to learn and succeed in life?
Dr. K’s experience with this in his practice is what inspired us to start HG Parent, a resource that includes a coaching program and a curriculum that parents can learn on their own. Feel free to reach out to us if you want to learn more about actions you can take to better connect with your child and help them reach their full potential.