How To Help Your Gifted Child Handle Frustration


Does your gifted child explode over things that seem minor?

Will your child collapse if they get one wrong answer?

Does it seem that perfectionism and self-criticism rule their day?

Well, none of this is unusual for gifted people.  Gifted kids aren’t always happy little geniuses, proofing theorems and inventing new ways to save humanity.

Being gifted comes with a whole lot of frustration.

The drive, the intensity, and the complexity that propel gifted individuals along can be tough to take.  They can see a solution, and it takes time to get there. Or they don’t have to access to the things that would solve the problem.  Or the time (they have to do things around the house, submit homework, or clean their room)!

Being able to see answers, or parts of a problem that are hidden to their peers or teachers is difficult.  They tend not to handle limitations, even their own, very well.  If they have been heavily rewarded for perfect scores or advanced work, getting that one question wrong can seem catastrophic.  Their self-esteem has been inadvertently tied into their performance, not their process.  This is not an indictment of parents; teachers and peers are often the big perpetrators here.

What can you do to help gifted kids feel less angry, less anxious, or less pressured?

  • Teach them about their brains.  Gifted kids who learn why their brains perform differently (not just better) feel understood.  Even if they still run into roadblocks, they can appreciate why.
  • Teach self-regulation skills early.  As a pediatric OTR, I always teach kids “hacks” for self-regulation.  I take out the stigma and replace it with knowledge.
  • Build self-esteem that is based on effort and characteristics that cannot be measured.  This one is tricky.  I once tried to get this idea across to a non-gifted parent of a gifted child.  Her response?  She told me that their big house and their Mercedes were directly related to her husband’s performance at Yale Law School!  While that might be true, happiness in life and a sense of your self-worth apart from your academic or financial triumphs seems like a valuable thing to me….


I just wrote a handout pack on the gifted child!  This is terrific for both parents of gifted children and the therapists that work with them.

Learn more here:  The Gifted Child Handout Pack has Arrived!

Need more information on gifted kids?  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.


Want more help with your gifted child?  Get a coaching session with me!  

Contact me by adding a comment here, and we can work on how to help your gifted child thrive!



By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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