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    #245980 - 09/01/19 04:34 PM How to harness potential without causing stress?
    OutnumberedDad Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 03/01/18
    Posts: 1
    Hi all, poster from the UK here!

    My daughter is 3 and 3/4 and loves learning. Based on Davidson’s levels of giftedness I would tentatively place her at around Level 3 / possibly a 4.

    She learns quickly. At 2, she learnt to count to 10 in four additional languages in just a couple of days after it randomly popped up on YouTube. The same applied to lists like the planets, colours of the rainbow etc..

    As you can imagine, it’s tempting to harness this potential and teach her lots more but as parents we are wary of causing her stress. More importantly, she is fiercely independent and prefers to do things on her own terms. For example, she can read simple readers but prefers being read to and resists encouragement to read herself so we don’t press her.

    As kids do, she develops deep interests in subjects and then finds something new to engage with.

    Recently her love of maths has been really developing, largely in part to an excellent TV series in England called Numberblocks which is helping her to understand the things she has memorised (odds and evens, counting, simple addition and 2, 5 and 10 times tables). We look for opportunities to question her and help her think and reason mathematically but recently it has had some impact on her normal day to day activities. She’ll say things like “did you know 86 is even?” or “81 is a square” while we are playing another game. While we are very proud we don’t want her to be over-thinking, particularly since she sometimes can’t switch off at bedtime. She has also become a bit of a perfectionist and she gets stressed quickly if she can’t do something.

    What do we do? We’ve taken a step back with our questioning but should we block any educational shows / apps for a while? Many thanks in advance.

    #246073 - 09/13/19 09:44 AM Re: How to harness potential without causing stress? [Re: OutnumberedDad]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3463
    Welcome! Sorry no one saw or responded to your post earlier. New posters often are held up in moderation for a few days, and can get lost in the shuffle.

    I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences, but I'll just start off with my high-level criteria for these kind of questions: is your daughter healthy, happy, and growing? Does she feel loved and secure? Are you following her lead with her intellectual and other interests, or are all these enrichment activities adult-motivated?

    At her age, learning should feel like play. At the same time, "failure" should be a common and unremarkable opportunity to develop and problem-solve, much like falling is typically a common and unremarkable part of learning to walk. Pressing her to attempt things that distress her is certainly not required (possibly with rare exceptions related to safety), but it can help to model, verbally and visually, the process of failing and trying again as a normal and healthy part of life at every stage of life.

    #246074 - 09/13/19 06:42 PM Re: How to harness potential without causing stress? [Re: OutnumberedDad]
    Portia Offline

    Registered: 03/17/13
    Posts: 1766
    Hello and Welcome!
    Thanks aeh.

    Your concerns indicate you are a parent with your child's needs as top concern. This, in and of itself, will help guide you. I have only parented a gifted child, so I have no idea what parenting a neuro-typical child is like. Given that, I have found that whatever book or advice there is out there in mainstream society does not apply. The only advice that helps is to listen to the needs of your child. Sometimes the communication is hard to interpret.

    Aeh, as usual, gave excellent feedback.

    Sometimes I find if a child is insecure in an activity, s/he will go to knowns to boost confidence or to soothe the self-doubt.

    If she is becoming a perfectionist, find ways to create safe environments for things to not go according to plan. We used experimental time which was designated with a predetermined activity. The idea is something emotionally safe (and possibly fun) when things go awry.

    Prepare yourself. When the cognitive development goes full speed, it can take your breath away. For us, we found it occurs in spurts. I cannot tell you how many times I came to this board in a moment of panic during a cognitive spurt. I have found that it is helpful to allow those spurts to run their course, feeding the curiosity as best I could. If you overreact, you may give the signal it is not normal. Although it is NOT normal, it may be normal FOR HER.

    Also be careful of asking her to "show off" what she knows in front of others. This will be cute for a short period of time, but as time goes on, others may get hostile or she may refuse to cooperate which can lead to different issues down the road.

    As for reading, mine is 12. I still read during our reading time. He can outread me, but enjoys the closeness and bonding time. You mentioned you do not press her to read, which is another great parenting move.

    There is a difference between having good quality resources available for a child to pursue or request on his/her own versus forcing one to spend time on activities not enjoyed. If you take reading for example. Chances are that you introduced the activity. Once introduced, the child likely either requests reading time or enjoys set reading times rather than running to the other room to escape reading time. Bed time may be a different story.

    You are doing a good job. Your concerns indicate you will continue to do a good job. You may not find much support in real life. In fact, you may be judged harshly. Even family dynamics may change. You can come here. We even have a brag thread.

    #246076 - 09/15/19 01:01 AM Re: How to harness potential without causing stress? [Re: spaghetti]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4146
    Originally Posted By: spaghetti
    Lots of kids will rebel at being a specimen.
    Well said! smile

    #246077 - 09/15/19 02:15 AM Re: How to harness potential without causing stress? [Re: OutnumberedDad]
    puffin Offline

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2014
    Just relax. Of course don't block access to educational stuff if she likes it but don't push it. Provide opportunities for outdoor play and exploration, music and singing, playing with other kids etc.

    #246081 - 09/17/19 06:50 AM Re: How to harness potential without causing stress? [Re: OutnumberedDad]
    madeinuk Offline

    Registered: 03/18/13
    Posts: 1440
    Loc: NJ
    It can be difficult when you have a bright kid whose brain is permanently in overclock mode. Anxiety over things that others do not bat an eye over is a condition that our DD (now 14) has oft been prone to. We have restarted CBT again to see if she can now learn tools to talk herself down. When we tried this earlier it was helpful but puberty has turned the dial up to 11 again.

    For us at least, recognizing this condition and trying to have our DD acquire tools to both accept it and mentally ‘talk herself down’ is our goal. Things like CBT involve commitment and executive function that our DD didn’t honestly have at 9 when we last tied it - also it is very, very hard to find a therapist who will work with a gifted young kid. Hopefully things will stick this time.

    Edited by madeinuk (09/17/19 06:50 AM)
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