Does your gifted child get along better with adults than kids own age?

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Does your gifted child get along better with adults than kids own age?
11
Tue, 07-24-2012 - 12:49pm

If so, do you consider this a problem?  Ignore, or try to work on it, and if so, how?  Not so noticeable during the school year, because his whole class is gifted kids.  It's more noticeable at camp; his counselors are not sure what to make of him.

Gwen

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Registered: 05-18-2005

Amen, sister!  My BFF and I have talked sci-fi and traded books since childhood.  On a side note, I am amused by M. behaving like a perfect little Tiger Cub last night, despite my "let kids be kids," limited scheduling parent philosophy.  After doing an ELA worksheet in his summer bridge workbook, he popped in his Suzuki violin disc and curled up to read a chess book while listening to his upcoming pieces.  Then he retired to bed to finish the last few chapters of a novel written for kids several years older.  I swear it's all coming from his own initiative!

Gwen

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Registered: 04-09-2006
It's great to have geek friends!
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Registered: 05-18-2005
M's best buddies are the class math prodigy and a few other born nerds like himself, even if their particular fortes are different. He butts heads the most with the kids whose Tiger Parents pushed and prepped them into G&T irrespective of their interests and inclinations. Camp is harder, because he has a harder time understanding where the typical kids are coming from. They are doing ChessNuts in camp this year, which is turning into his favorite activity and a place he can happily get his geek on.

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Registered: 04-09-2006
Jumping in late to agree that it isn't the difference in ability that makes kids relate better to older kids (and after a certain age, younger) than their own age group....I've almost never met a preteen kid who didn't. That said, I have noticed that high ability kids do tend to form friendships with high ability age peers, even though (as another poster noted) they are not "mirrors" of one another.

Deborah
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Registered: 12-06-2010

This was initially an issue with  ODD, who is thirteen. Odyssey of the Mind, lacrosse and European honors orchestra did wonders for her. She needs a good deal of time to trust others enough to form friendships, and these activities were great in helping her to find kindred souls and understand kids who were different from her.

My younger DD, ten, is quick to make friends her own age. Most, but not all of her friends would probably qualify as gifted. There are no gifted programs in place in our community, so there is no labeling. Most of her friends are "different" in their own unique way, either due to family or lifestyle circumstances or their own gifts and talents. One of her closest friends is a competitive gymnast who practices for hours every day; another is a trilingual staight-A student; others have well-developed special interests and talents that are hard to sum up in a sentence but which make for all-around extraordinary kids. DD has found common ground with each of her friends and knows what to expect when she plays with them. I find that this kind of experience is very important, as DD can't expect to find a mirror soul in each friend. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it would be terrible if she did!

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Our ds6 is a hyperverbal one, too. Adults are either driven bats by him or find him incredibly funny and entertaining. He doesn't have Asperger's, but my brother does, so I know what you're talking about.

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Registered: 06-14-1999

My 6 year old, loves playing with kids his age, but they get exasperated with him.  Adults put up with his idiosycrasies more, and are more appreciative and amused by his constant chatter.  He also has an Asperger's dx, though, and that is common for kids on the spectrum.

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Registered: 01-04-2002

My 14-year-old son currently has no friends his age and never did except for one that was in cub scouts with him.  His doctor and an educational psychologist told us that older friends were okay because they were closer to his mental age.  Most of his friends were several years older and in the same musical theater group.   They enjoyed the same books and video games and television shows.  They invited him to their birthday parties and sleep overs.  Those friends are now 18 or almost 18.  Most of them quit the musical theater group as they got older.  My son had to take a break from it also when he started wearing a more painful brace for more hours each day.  The brace really limits what he can do especially in the summer.   He now has a lot of online "friends" that are college age and he enjoys talking to them.     

I think his sister has always been his best friend even though she is 18 years older than he is.   She makes sure to call him every day and they sometimes talk for hours.   They give each other advice and support.  

I would say that my son definitely gets along better with young adults than kids his own age.  He can carry on a conversation with older adults because he enjoys talking about the latest news and politics but he worries that he will offend them if he expresses a different opinion.    He feels that young adults are more open minded and he can say what he thinks.  He is very aware that we live in an area where people who are different in any way are shunned.   We dropped out of a homeschool co-op when an entire family was kicked out because their beliefs were not exactly the same as the others in the group.  

   

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Registered: 09-13-1999
Re: Does your gifted child get along better with adults than kid
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 11:54am

Well put Miranda.  I often read posts from parents (not you, Gwen) that talk about their gifted children relating better to adults and older children with a suggestion that this is due to their advanced abilities.  My inward response is that most children, gifted or not, find it easier to relate to older children or adults for the very reasons you've explained.   What I hadn't really considered and what you have described nicely is the ability of some, more naturally social, children to relate to their peers from an earlier age.  

My eldest is a very socially adept person and she's always enjoyed the company of many, ranging from peers to adults.  As a very little child, others would try to befriend her.  She was always surrounded by friends and friendships were important to her.  At the same time, she very much enjoyed adult relationships.  The balance shifted in high school when her closest friends were her teachers..  I think she had become frustrated with the drama of her peers during that time period.  Now that she is a young adult, she seems to interact well with bosses, peers, and subordinates.  (I've found myself breathing a happy sigh of relief and a wee bit of pride too that she's become such a happy and fulfilled young woman.) 

My middle dd is not naturally social in the same way and tends to relate more superficially, but has an instinctive ability to sense what's needed in any interaction and to supply it.  She's seemed to do this with all people, making no age distinctions.   Even as young as K, her teacher saw this in her and purposefully grouped her with several quieter kids, knowing that she would bring them together.   In high school, she took to dropping by the principal's office, just to say hi and see if there was anything she could bring her.  In college, she's really shone.  Professors see her competence and positive attitude and she's become something of a campus leader.  She gets along with peers easily and well. 

My youngest is a different creature altogether.  In her case, there's a natural reserve and less developed set of social skills that have made interactions with peers and adults difficult and intimidating to her.  She's very shy and very wary and is slow to warm up to others.  Adults have found her difficult to get to know--possibly more so than peers-- but yes, she's relied heavily on those she's trusted.  She's developed peer friendships as her social skills developed and does have many friends who she enjoys and who enjoy her, but I still see that sense of distance in her.   It's been a surprising but welcome development to see her approach her teachers in high school for extended discussion.   My sense is that she has to steel herself to manage all social connections.

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Re: Does your gifted child get along better with adults than kid
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 10:11am

That could be beneficial. I know I worked with DD a great deal in the toddler/preschool years and with DS in the middle elementary years. It would have been nice to have another sort of support coach.

I don't want to make it sound like my kids have all the social stuff down. DS 11 is very untrusting and so tends to look visibly annoyed when a kid initiates a friendship with him. He is better at long term friendships though. DD 15 is instantly popular and the center of attention in any environment but is really bad at friend maintenance. She doesn't think anything of not calling a person she knows actively cares about her for months (and people don't always want to be the person that reaches out.)  It's not that she doesn't care, she's just clueless about it.... and now introduce dating... yeah, she certainly doesn't have it down. Relationships with adults are still far easier because the expectations are so different.