Gifted Children Challenging Authority

Having a gifted child can be as equally frustrating as it is rewarding. The most common reason for head-butting between parent and child is just differences in the way that you think. It can be difficult trying to communicate with your child when you don't understand how they think. Here are some tips for managing the communication clash between you and your gifted child.

My son and I had just finished up a particularly aggressive exercise in mathematics one homeschooling day some years ago and he was still hyped when I handed him his next assignment. Naively, I thought it would be a cake-walk for him...a basic language arts practice sheet of context clues. Boy was I WRONG!!

It wasn't the assignment that started the intellectual wrestling match - but the directions! "Mom, these directions don't make any sense!" was the first thing he bellowed. My response only triggered more rapid-fire questions from him. Instantly, three sentences of publisher instructions turned into a thirty-minute discourse delivered with bewilderment and a near threat of banishment of privileges for the rest of the day!

After I perceived that my son wasn't obnoxiously poking holes in the directions just for kicks - it hit me square between the eyes that this kid really was a "different kind of thinker". The first time I learned this was during our teaching moments when he creatively found ways to solve Algebra equations at age six! What I took for granted as mere basic directives meant something entirely different to him. It wasn't as if he was trying to be difficult and when the storm clouds cleared and I simmered down, I noticed that his questions were actually valid! Thank goodness the examples given with the assignment as well as those (and explanations) from other sources brought him round to the publisher's intentions.

Many of us with children of "gifted" ability will definitely find ourselves waging verbal battles with our children and it can be a disheartening experience. Try to realize that the children typically don't mean any harm at least not in every instance. It's just their nature to question anyone and everything in their quest to make sense of the world. In fact, the more you understand your gifted child, the more you'll gleam his/her INTENSE need to fully comprehend the ideas and suggestions of authority figures, especially if the logic is more subtle. As reported with many gifted children, failure to receive adequate responses to assist in their mentally processing what's required of them can lead to profound aggravation.

As expected, parents and teachers are on the front lines in managing these talented minds decked in super hero pajamas. The more educated we are about "why" they question everything, the better equipped we will be to handle their burning curiosity. In educational settings, children with gifted ability are often labeled as difficult, arrogant know-it-alls who ask too many questions and dominate conversations. Yet, when they are paired with educators certified in gifted education the outcome can be quite different. Certain behaviors are understood to be consistent with children with high ability yielding more rewarding experiences in the classroom.

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