How to Handle Your Family’s Reactions to Your Gifted Kid’s Comments


We already know that it is common for a gifted child to challenge their teacher’s patience Why Gifted Children Aren’t Their Teacher’s Favorite Students…. .  But what about their extended family?  Do they take everything that comes out of a gifted child’s mouth in stride?



The same reasons that teachers find gifted students less-than-adorable can create discord in your family.  Gifted kids will have a level of focus and intensity about them.  This is not a character flaw; it is a brain difference.  They also see the shades of gray in almost any situation, and much earlier than their peers.  

This means that a four year-old will ask about why their aunt cares so much about avoiding candy,  but eats around the edges of the brownie pan when she thinks no one is looking (they are!).  And because a four year-old is still…four, they say it out loud and in the presence of their aunt!  To them, this is a puzzle.  To their parent, it is a real problem.  

The aunt feels criticized, when the gifted child is simply trying to understand the logic.  They are so logical themselves that they assume that everyone around them operates the same way.  At four, the idea that other people have dramatically different operating systems inside is still fuzzy.  Gifted kids are still kids, and not all parts of their amazing brains are equally advanced.  Social skills tend to be among the last skills to bloom.  Oops.


What can you do when your family member feels insulted or worse after your gifted child has laid one of these comments out for public display?

  • You can try to rephrase the comment and put some positive spin on it.  “Aunt Trish likes brownies so much better than candy, so she picked those as her special treat.  I agree with her!”.
  • You can sympathize with your family member when they feel the sting of a shout-out from your child.  You probably have been the recipient of many similar comments.  These won’t end until your gifted child is old enough to censor their thoughts for public consumption.  That means you might as well get good at this for now.
  • You can make an attempt at explaining the illogical actions that people perform all the time, and see how it goes.  Gifted people of all ages can find inconsistency and illogical actions maddening.  Most of the time, you won’t know about it unless you live with them or if they are your supervisor.  Young gifted kids will eventually have to learn how to function with neurotypical people, so you could try to explain things now, and maybe they will be ready to consider your perspective.  Be prepared for frustration.  It makes no sense to them that Aunt Trish refused candy but ate something that has tons of sugar and chocolate instead.   

Want to read more about raising a gifted kid?  Read How To Help Your Gifted Child Handle Frustration  and  Gifted Child? Try “How Does Your Engine Run” For Sensory Processing .  

Need more coaching to make this all come together?  Visit my website Tranquil Babies  and purchase a consultation session!  We can come up with better ways to manage the challenges and find the joy of parenting your gifted kid!

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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