Should Gifted Children Be Told They Are Gifted?

Many people believe that it is not good to tell children they are gifted because it will cause the children to get an inflated ego. The children could become arrogant and intolerant of others. These people also believe that children who are told they are gifted can develop socialization problems and become isolated from others.

Some of these people even disapprove of the term gifted since they feel it implies a child has a “gift,” something that other children do not have. This feeling stems from a belief that all children are equal and is the same feeling that leads some people to believe that all children are gifted.

The truth is that gifted children sense at a very young age that they are not like other children. They can easily misinterpret their feelings of being different as something negative, often seeing themselves as flawed in some way, as having something wrong with them. It can come as a great relief to gifted children to learn that they are not flawed and that there is a reason they feel different.

Gifted children can often feel quite isolated and alone and develop social problems because of their being different. They may have a hard time making friends or they may feel misunderstood and disliked. In most cases, gifted children have these problems only in school settings where they are forced to create friendships with their age mates. Children who have problems socializing with other children in school generally have no trouble making and maintaining friendships with older children or with other gifted children.

Telling a child he or she is gifted will not make a child feel different; chances are that child is already feeling different, and discussing giftedness will help that child understand those feelings. Pretending it doesn’t exist will not make it go away any more than pretending a disability doesn’t exist will make that disability go away.

Your gifted child may find one of these books helpful in helping him or her understand giftedness:

by Carol Bainbridge.

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