Gifted kids of all ages like to ask questions. Most of the time, they have an intensity that means they frequently interrupt people. It is one reason why they like books and online media. They can turn the page, scroll fast, and toggle back and forth without waiting for you!
As understandable as this behavior is, it is still impolite and annoying. This is a problem. Gifted kids aren’t always the kids with the most friends, and highly gifted kids are so far off the developmental path of their typical friends that sometimes they have only one friend. Or none.
Teaching a gifted child how to behave socially is important for their long-term and short-term mental health. They aren’t trying to be difficult or rude. They need adults to help them manage their gifts. Here is a suggestion to manage the chronic interruptor:
Give them MORE information than they asked for, using technical terms that you think they don’t know, and more details than you would offer another child of the same age.
The gifted brain looks for three things: intensity, complexity, and satisfaction of the drive for learning, novelty and perfection. Giving a gifted child an answer in this way, rather than shutting them down, is like giving a thirsty man a bottle of water.
If your child sits back and thinks about your complex answer, their shoulders relax, and their tone softens, you know you hit pay dirt. You got it right.
What if they become more aggravating?
The child that, instead, is being a real PITA, who wanted your attention but not your information, the child that wanted to jerk your chain? They won’t react by calming down. They may even get more aggravating. When your child draws a line in the sand and baits you, that has nothing to do with being gifted. They are defying you. Different problem.
But the gifted child, who was simply expressing that drive, intensity and complexity? They should be much happier, and they could even smile at you. You understood them, you got them. Responding this way to my clients and getting a positive result is one way I know I could have a gifted child in front of me. Giftedness is rarely formally tested under 5, but it emerges early.
My handout pack on the gifted child has answers. Lots of answers.
You can bring these sheets to IEP meetings, PTA conferences, doctors appointments, and more! Knowledge is power. Go to Your Therapy Source to take a look, and read more about it here: The Gifted Child Handout Pack has Arrived!
For more information on helping gifted children thrive, read Why Gifted Children Aren’t Their Teacher’s Favorite Students…. and Raising a Gifted Child? Read “A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children” For Successful Strategies To Navigate the Waters . One of my new posts, Gifted Child? Try “How Does Your Engine Run” For More Peace at Home and School , describes a program occupational therapists use that teaches a gifted child how to manage their drives in a positive way.