Gifted Children: Boosting academic confidence?

The topic of "gifted children" sure hit a cord with many of you. My email box is loaded with questions. I'll try to answer as many of your questions as possible here on my blog. Read through some of these questions, and feel free to leave one of your own for the future.

My son has been nominated to participate in the gifted program the last two years, but his lack of self confidence holds him back from being accepted. Is there a way to boost his self confidence? --Laura

There are many ways to boost a child’s self-confidence. Allow him to experience situations that are just slightly more of a challenge so he feels success. Identify one (no more than two) specific strengths that deserve praise (like special knowledge about dinosaurs or a kind heart) and continue to remind him of that strength in little nuggets until he describes the trait to you (you'll know it’s been internalized and is impacting his self image). Find him social avenues like one or two good buddies that can make him feel good about who he is. If the problem is shyness then read The Shy Child and teach a few anxiety reducers so he feels less stressed in a group. And most importantly, love him for who he is. Don't stress that gifted class so he gets the notion you're letting him down because he is not in the program.

All that said, there is a red flag here. Why is your child being declined to a gifted program because he lacks self confidence? First, a strong characteristic of gifted children is that they are sensitive by nature. Second, the basis for nomination into a program for gifted children is high intelligence. So look over the list of characteristics of gifted kids. Does your child show many of those traits? If you still feel your child is truly gifted, ask for an individual IQ test. You'll have to show grounds for the test (it might be high achievement scores as well as those characteristics).

Bottom line- lack of self-confidence shouldn't be a reason for holding a child from a gifted program if he is truly gifted.

More Q&As about gifted children:

  1. Are we pushing too hard?
  2. Should she go to public or private school?
  3. Should I even bother labeling my child as gifted?
  4. Why are parents embarrassed of having smart kids?
  5. How can I boost my child's academic confidence?


12Secrets_Borba.jpgDr. Michele Borba is the author of over 22 books including 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know .

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