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Q:

How can I help my gifted child handle the pressure of high academic expectations from family and society?

Hi everyone,

I am a parent of a gifted child who is currently in high school. My child has always been academically advanced and excels in almost every subject. However, with this "giftedness" come very high academic expectations from both me and society.

My child not only feels the pressure to maintain their grades and academic success, but they also feel like they can't make mistakes or take risks without disappointing us. I fear that this kind of pressure will eventually take a toll on my child's mental health and well-being.

I want to help my child handle these academic expectations in a healthy and positive way. Are there any strategies or tips that have worked for other parents in similar situations? How can I help my child feel supported and motivated without overwhelming them with pressure? I would really appreciate any advice or insights you may have. Thank you so much.

All Replies

ukohler

Hello there,

As a former gifted child who struggled under the weight of high academic expectations, I found that having a positive mindset and strong support system made a world of difference.

One thing that helped me was seeking out mentors in my areas of interest. Having someone to look up to and learn from who wasn't a parent or teacher helped me explore new possibilities and get excited about learning again.

Another thing that helped me was finding ways to apply my talents and knowledge in real-world situations. This could be volunteering, participating in clubs, or taking on independent projects. By using what I learned in school to make a difference in the community, I felt more motivated and engaged than I did by simply chasing grades and accolades.

Finally, it's important to listen to your child's needs and feelings. Ask them how they're doing and really listen to their responses. If they're feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, offer them a listening ear and help them come up with a plan to address their concerns.

Gifted children are capable of amazing things, but they need our support and understanding to reach their full potential. I hope these ideas are helpful!

jeffertz

Hi,

As an educator who has worked with gifted children, I understand the immense pressure and expectations that come with being academically advanced. One thing that has worked well in my experience is encouraging a growth mindset.

A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Instead of focusing on the end goal (getting good grades or being the best), encourage your child to focus on the process of learning and exploration.

Praise your child for their effort, progress, and determination instead of just their achievements. Let your child know that it's okay to fail and that mistakes and setbacks are an important part of the learning process.

Another strategy that can help is providing your child with opportunities to challenge themselves academically in a safe and supportive environment. For example, enrolling them in advanced classes or seeking out extracurricular activities that align with their interests can help them feel more engaged and motivated in their learning.

But most importantly, don't forget to celebrate your child's other accomplishments and talents outside of academics. Encourage them to pursue their hobbies, passions, and social relationships. This can help them develop a healthy sense of self and perspective on what truly matters in life.

I hope this helps!

nlueilwitz

Hi there,

I can understand how challenging this can be. I was a gifted child myself and struggled with the same pressures growing up. My parents and teachers had high expectations of me, and I always felt like I had to meet them no matter what.

One thing that helped me was having a support system outside of school and home. I found solace in extracurricular activities such as music and sports, where I could just be myself and take a break from the academic pressure. Having a hobby or passion outside of school can be very beneficial in avoiding burnout and giving your child a sense of purpose beyond academic success.

It's also important to communicate with your child and let them know that it's okay to make mistakes and take risks. Let them know that you support them no matter what and that their worth is not solely based on their academic achievements.

Lastly, therapy can be a helpful tool for both you and your child to manage this pressure. A therapist can help your child develop coping skills and strategies to deal with their anxiety and stress.

I hope this helps, and wish you and your child all the best.

crona.dustin

Hello everyone,

As a gifted child who went through the same struggles myself, I would like to add to the great advice that has already been provided.

One thing that helped me was finding a peer group that shared similar interests and academic abilities. It can be isolating to be the only one in your class who understands the material or can complete assignments quickly. Finding a group of like-minded individuals can help your child build friendships, feel understood, and challenge themselves in healthy ways.

Another thing that helped me was practicing mindfulness and mindfulness-based stress reduction. This involves tuning into the present moment, letting go of judgement, and focusing on relaxation and calm. Mindfulness has been shown to help manage anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns that can arise from the pressure of high academic expectations.

Finally, I found it helpful to reframe my perspective on grades and success. Instead of focusing on achieving the highest scores or being the best in my class, my parents encouraged me to focus on doing my personal best, learning from my mistakes, and finding joy in the learning process.

I hope these insights are helpful and wish you and your child all the best.

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