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When to Be Concerned About Giftedness: Possible Problems with Talented Kids

By Keren Perles

Although some people believe the myth that raising gifted kids is easy, parents know the truth. If you are a parent or a teacher you should be aware of possible problems that may come up both at school and at home.

Educational Issues

One of the most nerve-wracking of all of the problems with gifted and talented kids is the clash that the child might have with the education system. Although both the public and private schools will try to accommodate all students at different skill levels, often the number of students in the class prevents the teacher from being able to challenge each student as much as possible. Unfortunately, gifted kids often get the short end of the stick. Struggling students are easily identifiable, and school systems often focus primarily on them, trying to bring them up to grade level. In order for gifted students to receive individualized attention, however, parents need to be particularly proactive.


Many gifted students have difficulty fitting in with their peers. Some may be so focused on their objects of academic interest that they do not show interest in their peers at all. Others would enjoy becoming more friendly with their peers, but lack the social skills to do so. Parent concerns for gifted kids include a lifetime of little socialization, few real friendships, and a lack of love for other people.

Sibling Relationships

Parents may also worry about the effect that their child’s giftedness will have on their relationships with other siblings. Siblings may feel frustrated because of the ease with which a gifted child may float through school. After all, struggling over five math problems seems even more exasperating when your younger sister just zipped through twenty of them. A gifted child’s lack of social skills may also manifest itself in this area, making siblings less tolerant of the differences between them.

Flaunting Authority

Parents of gifted kids may also be concerned about their child’s respect for authority. After all, if the child is brighter than her teachers in certain subjects, she may exhibit a certain intolerance for those who seem to be undermining her interest in learning. Many gifted students also think in “black and white,” and parents may worry that their child will lack patience for rules that they feel make no sense. She may also be seen as hyperactive or rebellious, when in fact she is simply bored and frustrated. Although problems with gifted and talented kids, like gifted kids themselves, can be extremely varied, these four issues seem to be most concerning to many parents of gifted kids.