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My gifted child is struggling with underachievement, how can I support them to reach their full potential?

As a parent of a gifted child, I am facing the challenge of my child struggling with underachievement despite their intelligence and potential. I have noticed a lack of motivation and interest in academic pursuits, and a tendency to procrastinate and avoid challenging tasks.

I want to help my child reach their full potential and excel academically, but I am not sure how to do it. I am open to any advice, tips or strategies to support my child in overcoming obstacles, finding their passion and achieving their goals. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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As a former underachieving gifted student, I can speak from personal experience on this topic. One of the things that helped me overcome underachievement was finding something I was passionate about outside of traditional academics. By discovering my love for computers and programming, I was able to take initiatives and create projects outside the classroom. This project was rewarding and helped me discover my potential and focus on what I was passionate about. Here are a few ideas for parents to help their underachieving gifted child find their passion:

1. Expose them to a wide variety of activities: Allow your child to explore their interests and offer them opportunities to try new things. Take them to museums, play games together, experiment with different forms of art, join sports teams or clubs. Encourage them to find something they enjoy doing.

2. Encourage Collaboration: Collaborating with other children who share their interest can help them learn to work with others, exchange ideas, and develop deeper knowledge and skills.

3. Volunteer work: Volunteer work can provide opportunities for learning and growth outside of traditional academic settings.

4. Encourage curiosity: Students learn best when they are curious about a topic. Encourage their curiosity by supporting their exploration and questioning of new ideas.

5. Celebrate their achievements: Whether it's a good grade, a new skill or a completed project, celebrate their accomplishments. Celebrating achievements helps boost their confidence and motivation levels.

It is important to remember that every child is unique and different approaches may work differently depending on the personality, learning style, and interests of the child. Parents should remain patient, encouraging, and supportive throughout the child’s exploration, discovery, and growth.


As a professional career coach who has worked with gifted children struggling with underachievement, I would suggest that parents encourage their children to have a growth mindset. I have observed that many gifted students who struggle with underachievement often hold a fixed mindset, which can hinder their growth and success. Here are some practical tips to help foster a growth mindset in your underachieving gifted child:

1. Emphasize the importance of effort and hard work: Encourage your child to see effort as a path to mastery, rather than a sign of weakness. Teach them to embrace challenges and accept that failures are opportunities to learn.

2. Celebrate learning, not just grades: Overemphasizing grades can create pressure and anxiety for gifted students. Instead, focus on the joy of learning, exploring, and discovery.

3. Encourage them to take risks: Encourage your child to take risks and try new things, even if they don't always succeed. This can help them develop resilience, persistence and courage to tackle more challenging tasks.

4. Use positive reinforcement: Provide positive reinforcement when your child shows improvement or takes on a new skill that helps to build confidence and independence.

5. Encourage self-reflection: Teach your child the importance of self-reflection. They should reflect on their progress, acknowledge their strengths, and identify areas where they still need to improve.

It is important to approach the underachievement issue from a place of understanding and empathy, rather than frustration, which can cause more harm than good. By helping your child develop a growth mindset, you will be equipping them with valuable tools to overcome challenges, embrace lifelong learning, and achieve success.


As someone who has experienced something similar, I would suggest the following things that could help your child to overcome their underachievement:

1. Communication: Encourage your child to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Talk to them about their goals, ambitions, and what they aspire to be. This can help create a positive dialogue and promote healthy communication.

2. Create a supportive environment: Providing a supportive home environment and showing that you believe in your child’s abilities and talent can do wonders. Recognize their achievements and encourage them continuously, even in the smallest of accomplishments.

3. Identify their interests: Sometimes, children simply need to find their passion in something they love to do. Find your child’s interests by exposing them to a range of activities such as sports, music, art etc.

4. Set realistic goals: Assign attainable goals and encourage your child to work towards them gradually without overwhelming them with too much pressure.

5. Enrichment opportunities: Look for opportunities that can enrich your child’s learning experience. This could include after-school programs, summer camps or online courses that cater specifically to your child’s interests.

Overall, it is important to remember that each child is unique, and it will take some time to experiment with different approaches to find what works best for them. Keep positive, be patient, and most importantly, stay invested in your child’s growth and accomplishments.


As a parent to a gifted but underachieving child, I faced a similar situation not long ago. My child seemed disinterested in school, lacked motivation, and consistently avoided challenging tasks, which frustrated me to no end. With guidance from professionals and experts in child development, I was able to support my child significantly. Here are a few things that worked for us:

1. Redefine success: As parents, we often place too much emphasis on academic performance, grades, and standardized tests. However, it is essential to encourage your child to find success outside of traditional academic settings. Success could mean excelling in a musical instrument or participating in extracurricular activities that challenge them creatively.

2. Identify the source of underachievement: Underachievement could be due to a lack of challenge, poor study habits, or trouble with certain subjects. Identifying the cause can help you address the issue and find a solution.

3. Set achievable goals: A great way to motivate your child is to set attainable goals. Start small, and build up their confidence by giving them small wins to work towards.

4. Promote a positive mindset and self-awareness: Teach your child to adopt a growth mindset and to understand when they need to ask for help or support. Encourage them to view failures as a learning opportunity rather than a setback.

5. Seek professional help: Consulting with a counselor, psychologist, or educational therapist can provide insight and tools to help your child overcome underachievement. They can also help you establish ways to support your child’s growth at home.

Remember, every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Keep an open mind, try different things, and most importantly, be patient and supportive in helping your child reach their full potential.


As a teacher who has worked with many gifted students who struggle with underachievement, I have found that it is essential to consider the student's perspective and challenges. Some of the strategies that I have found to be effective in supporting underachieving gifted children include:

1. Individualized instruction: Gifted students often need differentiated instruction that addresses their unique learning needs. As a teacher, I try to provide my students with personalized instruction that is tailored to their interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

2. Encourage independence: Allowing the student to have more control and independence in their learning can increase their motivation and sense of responsibility. Offer opportunities for brainstorming, decision making, and self-reflecting to help them become more self-aware and actively participate in their education.

3. Stress on Goal Setting: I try to work with the students to develop achievable goals that align with their aspirations, values, and long-term objectives. Ensure the goals are SMART i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound to make them more productive.

4. Mentorship: A mentor can be another teacher, professional, or even another student, someone who can offer additional guidance, support, and inspiration to the child.

5. Communicate: Regular communication with parents/guardians can help identify areas in which the student requires additional support. This is also a way to exchange information about the student's academic progress and to ensure that everyone is working to achieve common goals.

In conclusion, it is vital to understand that attempts to support a gifted underachiever should be a collaborative effort between the school, parents, students, and professionals in the child's life. A significant part of helping these children overcome underachievement is to provide meaningful support and guidance while empowering them to take control of their learning.

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