Perfectionism and Gifted Children

October 25, 2007 at 10:50 pm Leave a comment

I just finished listening to the following podcast:

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases?id=37935

Although they have yet to be tested, our children show classic signs of giftedness.  Believe me, this can be both a blessing and curse.  We are always looking for resources to assist us on this journey.

Although I think the presentation by Ms. Stambaugh of the College of William and Mary’s Center for Gifted Education was good, I think that some of the symptoms attributed to perfectionism  may actually be a normal aspect of a particular stage of development.  For example, the tendency to see the world in black and white is part of the Conformist stage of development.  And the tendency to externalize blame is a normal characteristic of the Self-Protective stage (our son is in this stage right now and nothing is his fault even when presented with concrete evidence to the contrary). The problem would arise if this tendency persists past the normal and expected stage and becomes a shadow aspect of the personality. 

I think her recommendation to try several things to see what works is the best advice.  Each child responds differently, and the sensitive nature of the typical gifted child requires an equally if not more sensitive approach to negative thoughts and behavior. 

I also appreciated that she included the emotional perspective.  Parents and educators can get so caught up with the cognitive needs of the child, that the emotional needs are often ignored.  There can be a tendency to believe that just because a gifted child is doing school work beyond their chronological age that they have the corresponding emotional maturity of that advanced age.  This is not necessarily the case and can cause behavior issues if not recognized and addressed appropriately.

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Entry filed under: Education, Giftedness, Parenting. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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