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    #206200 - 11/21/14 10:35 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    cmguy Offline

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    Playing with older kids (as long as they are nice) might help. Or find other gifted kids (hard to do though ...).

    #206201 - 11/21/14 10:41 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I, er-- was that LOUD kid. blush

    I grew out of it. I was just so-- EXCITED sometimes, you know? It was hard to regulate my vocal range.

    I got lucky in that I understand certain things about my DD because I lived some of it as a child, as well. On the other hand, knowing that you're on train tracks doesn't necessarily allow you to avoid being run down by the train if you lack alternatives.

    Some things that my daughter did that required way outside-the-box parenting:

    • oppositional behavior that was WELL into "teen" territory. When she was 3-7yo. Take comfort-- she's been a pretty rational and well-tempered teen, however. Our investment in maintaining parental authority/credibility during those (admittedly hard) years has paid off.
    • Manipulative tendencies that would do Machiavelli proud. Book recommendation there which has allowed me to simply, calmly put my foot DOWN early, and put a stop to it-- because I recognize it-- The Manipulative Child. Which isn't about fixing the child, btw-- it's about fixing parental responses so that we can be better parents to kids with those tendencies... and WHOAHHHH, does a highly gifted child ever have the right cocktail of traits to run circles around the adults in their lives if they're unwary.
    • Resistance to punishment/discipline-- think Cool Hand Luke. This tendency is still utterly amazing to me. We've had to learn to be creative and a little bit unpredictable in our natural consequences with DD, and to allow her to see us as HUMAN early on-- which is totally counter to parenting advice, by and large. The thing is, we're her social laboratory for learning adult skills, and her abilities are already at formidable adult levels long before she has the other maturity to regulate them well. It's an odd situation. So she needed to know that people are unpredictable, and that if she calculates WRONG-- and she will, if she dances too close to the edge-- then she will occasionally have a completely disproportionate and harsh reaction from others.
    • Behavior that tempts adults to expect far too much from her. Fostering an understanding that they are NOT "little adults" and that in spite of seeming mature, they are still young children, with all that their age entails. We never placed external developmental expectations on our DD-- because she doesn't use that particular play book at all. We've instead learned to study HER history for clues as to how her developmental arc tends to look. That gives us some predictive power that we otherwise lack, and we know what signs to look for-- both good and bad.
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #206202 - 11/21/14 10:56 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: HowlerKarma]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    I am generally in favour of testing but in this case I would delay. You have to know the child will cooperate.

    #206203 - 11/21/14 11:09 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    kdoelit Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/19/14
    Posts: 32
    Thank you HowlerKarma!! That is a relief to know that you were able to control the loudness. He has told me he does it because he is SO EXCITED!!! Could the hitting of other children and being rough with his younger sister also be excitement? He has told me that he doesn't mean to sometimes, I just think he really can't control it...

    Oh boy can he run circles around adults in his life!! He had one of his 2 year old teachers about to rip out her husband doesn't get it, he thinks it is just us not being strict enough, which isn't true! We try everything we can, it just doesn't work...Some moments I lose my composure also, because he just flat out won't listen....he is misunderstood often, but even as a parent who just wants your kid to do as they are told sometimes it can feel like a slap in the face when they have 1000 different reasons and excuses why they cannot do that thing right now...I will definitely look into the Manipulitive child book. We need to nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. I really wish we could figure out what works for him. I think he needs highly structured days with appropriate choices all day long from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed...this is VERY tough on a parent to manage though. Most kids can go with the flow, he cannot....

    My husband is going to be relieved to have some insight and answers into his complex little mind. Ugh we have our work cut out for us with this one!!

    #206204 - 11/21/14 11:13 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5225
    what could be going on here?
    He may benefit from perspective-taking, respecting the others' view, and developing Theory of Mind.

    has a hard time following social cues and gets alienated.
    Direct teaching can help with this. Books such as You are a Social Detective.

    The other kids seem to be able to tell he is "different." Sometimes he wants to play but ends up hitting another child just for the hell of it... The other kids run away and don't want to play with him and he wonders why... sad for him that he was bullied ...
    Although you say he was bullied, details in your post seem to indicate that he was the aggressor, the bully, and the other children did the best they could at that young age to maintain healthy boundaries.

    ...or spitting at them
    Bodily fluids present a biohazard. Your son's actions may be considered a serious form of assault.

    When asked why he keeps doing this his response "I just like making other people feel bad..." should we be concerned about this or could it be part of being gifted in some way?
    This is a red flag. Be concerned.

    It took awhile to find but there is this old thread with an article linked in the original post which discusses kiddos without conscience, empathy, or compassion. Interestingly they exhibited strength in manipulation, what some may call leadership, and also organized "teamwork" in their scary, dangerous, antisocial behavior. Fortunately the article contained hope in the sentence "Physiology isn’t destiny.”

    These children may be the opposite of those who exhibit a common trait in gifted children, often listed amongst identifying characteristics, which is alternately described as "advanced moral reasoning", "well developed sense of justice", "moral sensitivity", "advanced ability to think about such abstract ideas as justice and fairness", "empathy", "compassion". Links to lists of gifted characteristics include several articles on the Davidson Database here and here, SENG (Silverman), SENG (Lovecky).

    #206206 - 11/21/14 11:30 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    Platypus101 Offline

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 675
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: kdoelit
    My family even just thinks we don't discipline enough or that his behavior is a result of our parenting which is highly unfair. Nobody understands what type of child we are dealing with. It's bad, but I really hope I have some answers so I can explain to family and friends that he may have some exceptionalities that make him act the way he does. It doesn't excuse it by any means, just helps explain it and takes the blame off of us! It's so alienating sometimes for both him and us!

    There's lots of great advice here from some very experienced people. I just wanted to pick up on your comment above, that made me smile and wince all at once. I've learned to deal with the fact that friends and family fairly universally think the only reason DS was a difficult baby and child is because we *allowed* him to be that way, and if we had just.... and not.... and didn't... well, spoil him so much, he wouldn't be so sensitive and intense and demanding and high needs. Yes, it's alienating, and it can hurt coming from people we care about, people we would expect to be more able to understand.

    But there is extremely low awareness of the scope of fun "extras" that can come with the gifted label. Heck, I never related any of this stuff to gifted! Gifted kids are independent and self-motivated and ace all their classes without trying, right? Ummm - not so much. So do your research, and when the time feels right, get the assessments that help you understand what you're dealing with and how you can best help him. Maybe that will help people around you see your parenting differently too - but don't count on it. Do it for yourself, and when you need understanding, and to escape the judgement, come here to these wonderful BTDT parents above.

    #206208 - 11/21/14 11:33 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Ahhh - so much to say here. This is long, long, long. But I would have drunk it up when I was in your shoes. So I hope it's helpful to you.

    First of all my DS7 (PG and 2e-dyslexic) has had a similar "life cycle" to other kids described here. IF ONLY I had known about this board when he was 3 years old. It could have given me a glimmer of hope and a bunch more self-confidence.

    Re parental responses: You really have to toss out much of what you will be told will help your child. Sure - try it. But when it doesn't work, don't lay awake at night questioning your parenting. As you've seen here, lots of strategies that work for neurotypical (NT) kids, are at best useless, at worst counterproductive for GT kids. Here are few examples that I can smile about now. These are all quotes that my DH had the prescience to write down:

    (a) At 2.5: "Mom, I don't want to do it. Why would a sticker change my mind?"
    (b) At 3.5, when put into a timeout: "You can make me sit here, but it WON'T MAKE ME SAD." Yes, timeouts were counterproductive.
    (c) At 5.5, when he declined to go to a pirate party: "Mom, there's just going to pretend swords, and chaos, and somebody's going to end up getting hurt." This was one of the first times he self-regulated re activities, based on knowing they would be overwhelming to him.

    Re behavior and impulse control: DS has had many of the same struggles you and others describe. The biggest battle in supporting him has been to get the individual teachers, principals, etc. to understand that this really isn't volitional behavior on his part. Over time, I have developed some responses to classic comments:

    (a) "He made a bad choice." No - he didn't. If he could have chosen he would never have done this. His impulse overwhelmed his capacity for control and he acted badly. Let's work on the behavior together, because it is unacceptable. But you won't get anywhere with him until you are on board with the fact that his behavior is not a choice.

    (b) "He did [x bad thing] and it was totally unprovoked." No - it wasn't. You don't see the provocation, but it's there. Maybe it's something the kid did days ago. Maybe it's something that wouldn't provoke NT kids but that drives my PG/2e kid wild with upset. Or maybe it's something my uber-intuitive-pattern-spotting DS knew the kid was ABOUT to do, based on the same pattern playing out over and over. The [bad thing] is unacceptable. Let's work on it together. But you will never get anywhere with him until you are on board with the fact that his actions are never "unprovoked." They are always rational (at least to him) and responsive - even if you don't see it.

    (c) "He just needs to stop and think." Well, yes. But do you think if he COULD stop and think, he wouldn't? This kid is all about thinking. It's the stop part that is eluding him. Please help me help him to FIND that moment for reflection. When he has it, these problems will evaporate.

    The upshot of all this: traditional rewards, punishments, discipline whatever you want to call it don't work for many gifted kids for the fundamental reason that they are based on anassumption that the kid has a CHOICE and is DECIDING to act badly. When that faulty assumption dictates strategies, the kid is left feeling horrible, defective, stupid and many other bad things. I could go on and on. This really is the fundamental point. I think we should make the kid work HARD toward finding the moment to stop and think. But don't pretend they have that moment when they don't.

    Just a look down the road ahead for you: Things are not perfect for us, but they are really, truly improving. When DS is rested and fed and not overwhelmed, he is IS able to find that moment to stop and think. And sometimes, when his most trusted adults are close by, he can even find that moment if he is tired or overwhelmed.

    I try to collect these times in my mind, so I can show them to him when he despairs. Because, that's the hardest thing right now - his despair. He's in the soup so to speak, so he cannot see that he is doing better and better. Instead, he says things like "I was just born to be bad and I'll never get better." And of course for a perfectionist kid (like yours probably is), "better" has to mean "perfect." It's dark times for me as a Mom, when he says stuff like this. But thank goodness I can trot out specific examples of how he is taking control of himself, bit by bit. I appeal to him "as a scientist," and he has to admit what the data show!

    If you need it - there's hard science to help explain some of this. Gifted kids tend to develop impulse control later, and the more gifted, the more delayed (as a generalized statement). And honestly - having cold, hard, kid-specific data (IQ, achievement, etc.) to tell me just how much of a brain difference he is handling, has helped me stay on an even keel on the tougher days.

    I wish you the best as you go through the time that was toughest for us (from 3.5-5.5). Just know that your little one is trying so hard to deal with things other kids don't have to handle. And YOU are dealing with things other parents don't have to handle. And even by asking these questions, you are doing a great job as a loving parent.


    #206209 - 11/21/14 11:37 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    kdoelit Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/19/14
    Posts: 32
    Really? But he is just 4 years old. And JUST turned 4. I don't think he is the only kid who spits occasionally. They don't know it is a biohazard...That is a new thing also, he didn't used to do that. Back when he was 3 he did not do the spitting or hitting when he was at his old school...the kids still shunned him based on the fact that he got in trouble a lot in the classroom for not listening and following directions and they didn't want to be associated with him. Back then I do feel like he was bullied and now he retaliates on others because he wasn't allowed to play with the other kids. He is with different kids now (we moved out of state). But I do think that early social shunning has affected him and he has now become more of a bully physically at times. It's so random though, it only happens sometimes. He is capable of having good interactions with kids also.

    What would you do about those red flag antisocial type behaviors then? They aren't so pervasive that I can't take him anywhere...usually he does great out in public as long as he is engaged in something interesting. It's only when he is in close quarters with other children like in a play date setting especially if they are younger than him...I am concerned but it doesn't make me want to jump and get a negative diagnosis just yet because there may be other reasons for these behaviors

    #206211 - 11/21/14 11:47 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5225
    I am concerned but it doesn't make me want to jump and get a negative diagnosis just yet because there may be other reasons for these behaviors
    An experienced neuropsychologist, familiar with gifted, directly observing your child, working with him, and having your complete family history on the intake form, is likely to provide more reliable information for your specific child than all the well-meaning parents on a forum sharing our best BTDT advice, cautionary tales, and lists of helpful resources.

    That said, a diagnosis is not necessarily negative. It is information. If reliable and accurate, it can help you begin to work with your child earlier rather than later, and lead to better social relationships and a happier life much sooner.

    #206212 - 11/21/14 11:49 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    howdy Offline

    Registered: 10/04/13
    Posts: 279
    How about a really, really good social skills group run by counselors. Maybe someone like a school counselor or school/educational psychologist or pediatrician can recommend one. Like someone else said, social skills and executive function stuff can be taught. Teaching it at age 4 may make life a lot easier at school age.

    Edited by howdy (11/21/14 11:50 AM)

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