Exploring how a teen's high IQ can be both a gift and a curse

Posted on April 23, 2016

The notion that the trajectory of smart teens is limited to an upwardly mobile platform with little struggle either academically, psychologically, or socially, is simply not true. Research has shown that smart teens typically have a heightened sense of accomplishment and failure, leading them to be more likely to be plagued by low self esteem than other teens.

Many gifted teens struggle with the constant (self-imposed or socially driven) pressure of having to be perceived as "perfect" by teachers, peer and parents. They are also more likely to experience existential anxiety. The search for purpose and meaning can be compounded for gifted teens who are typically more sensitive and self-aware than other teens, making them question their status in life more strongly and intensely. Other issues gifted teens face include social awkwardness and an overwhelming pressure to succeed.

So, as a parent, what can be done to help your gifted teen succeed and derail the psychological pitfalls of their giftedness?

Firstly, it's important to remember that this is about your child, not about you. So make sure that your own experiences and dreams do not cloud those of your teenagers'.

You should also find a balance between encouraging and punishing. Gifted teens often put more pressure on themselves than any parent ever could. So, it would be helpful to "tailor" your parenting efforts according to each teen's personality traits. For example, some gifted teens respond poorly when they get a bad grade and instantly want to punish themselves. As a result, they are more prone to anxiety and depression, making a parent's need to "punish" them obsolete. Others thrive when parents apply an appropriate amount of pressure to their academics and thrive from some stress.

Lastly, as a parent you should advocate for your teen's needs both academically and socially. Parents are always their child's biggest advocate. This is true regardless of whether or not your teen is labeled gifted. Yet some parents of gifted teens focus solely on their teens' academic success and fail to encourage their social success.

To read the full article, click on the link below.

Category(s):Teenage Issues

Source material from Psychology Today

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