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Children speaking their mind...

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I have a strange question. Emily has always just spoken her mind. If she thinks that something a person said is rude, she will tell them that it was rude.

A few things have happened that make this work against her (naturally). When she was in kindergarten, her teacher misunderstood something that she said and was trying to insist that Emily said something "bad" when she hadn't. When she argued with Emily and said that she heard her say it, yadda yadda, Emily told her, "You're acting like a child!" This of course, got Emily in a lot of trouble. (though, if you ask me, the teacher really was acting like a child)

Then, when this teacher smacked the arm of one of the emotionally hurt children, Emily asked her why she was being so mean to the little girl. This caused the teacher to turn on Emily and start being mean to her as well.

Other times, she'll say something to a friend of mine. Once a friend was disciplining her daughter, but was being pretty out of line about it. Emily looked at her and asked her why she was being so mean. When the lady said that she wasn't, Emily said, "Biting her back will not teach her not to bite, it's just mean." (she was 3 at this time)

There are times when I worry about her saying something to somebody, because I know it will work against her, but she will not hold back at all.

Soooooo, she did this in front of a friend who is a therapist, and that friend is convinced that Emily has Asperger's now. I don't really understand Asperger's, but it seems like all of the things that she thinks are signs that Emily definitely has Asperger's are things that are common in children. She thinks I am in denial.... but if Emily really has this, I would want to know and help her out asap.

Here are the things.... that "not holding back" that I just discussed. Then, Emily often feels out of place with children her age. She lacks their maturity, so they tease her a little bit about things, then she uses a large vocabulary and talks about things that they are not interested in, or don't understand. She doesn't seem to feel out of place when playing with children 2-3 years older than she is, though, and they don't make fun of her lack of maturity in some areas. (she's not terribly lacking in maturity, but at 5.5 will throw a fit when it's time to leave, or cry about things that the children her age don't. She also chews on her sleeve constantly, and the other children make fun of this)

So, in your opinions, would you say that Emily is displaying behaviors that are pretty common for her age/being gifted, or should I actually worry about Aspergers?

Teri
post #2 of 45
I don't think you've given enough info to say yeah or nay. Here's what I'd do:
-google "DSM criteria asperger's" and read the actual criteria;
-google "gifted aspergerger's"
-both Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children (Webb) and The Mislabeled Child (Eides and Eides) have sections that discuss asperger's and gifted, and the differences between them.

As for your DD "speaking her mind" I think it's a parent's role to review after the fact when this has happened, and explore with the child the impact of their words and the natural consequences (ie other people are offended). In future, she can make a choice about whether it's worth it to her to speak her mind.
post #3 of 45
Share this with your friend: http://www.sengifted.org/articles_co...Disorder.shtml http://www.sengifted.org/articles_co...Children.shtml

And, this: http://www.amazon.com/Misdiagnosis-D...5468374&sr=8-1

It isn't uncommon for gifted kids to have a strong sense of justice or fairness and to be eager to speak up in those situations. One thing I would do, if you haven't already, is to talk a little bit about what problems belong to your daughter and what don't. What is she responsible to correct or step in and when it is appropriate to step back and for example let the teacher handle the situation.
post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 
Ooo, thank you! I can see clearly from the link explaining the differences that my friend is a bit off base in her evaluation.

Emily is so concerned for other people that it's almost painful. If a child is crying, Emily wants to help them and make them feel better. She is always trying to figure out how to help others out when they aren't happy. She also has a very strong sense of justice and equality.

I'm going to keep reading.... thanks!

Teri
post #5 of 45
Roar, those links are great.

DS "looks" as though he has Asperger's, ADHD, OCD.

Maybe a little OCD, definitely sensory processing disorder, anxiety issues, vision issues, highly sensitive, gifted.
post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 
Okay, I think I have my answers.....

She was thinking that Emily had Asperger's based on Emily's "not holding back" when she thought something, using a large vocabulary (that the teachers often didn't even understand and told her that she was making up words when she was actually using real words), feeling out of place, feeling impatient with other children who seem "dumb" to her, throwing fits (she doesn't do it often, but will do it). I can't think of what else she said. For the record, she met Emily for all of 3 hours of her life when Emily was 3. Other than that, she is basing her information on me talking about Emily. She thinks that Emily doesn't care about others because Emily said something mean to Christopher (who is 15 now, and Emily is 5), but they are siblings and tend to say mean things to each other sometimes. She was playing when she said it, and was only 3 (it was something like that he stunk).

Other times, my friend thinks that I don't discipline Emily. I'm not sure what makes some people think this, other than them thinking that she is "disrespectful" to adults when she speaks out. She is almost always defending somebody when she does this. But, should I teach her not to defend others who are more helpless than she is? I don't know... I've always really admired that in her.

The other things that bother some people about Emily are that she is very bossy and at times judgmental. She is very concerned with making sure that people are following the rules too. But, sometimes she just needs to hush, I think. The other day, we were at a neighbors house. They have a two year old and a one year old. Emily had observed that the one year old seems very advanced in his skills for his age. She sat and watched him for a while, and decided that he was very smart for his age. So, she said to the grandmother that the one year old little boy was smarter than the two year old little girl. They were offended by this, thinking that Emily was saying that the little girl was dumb or something. Emily was just observing and in some ways complimenting the little boy. Those are times, though, when I wish she would wait and tell me when we get home. lol

Teri
post #7 of 45
Some of this just sounds like temperament, separate from the giftedness issue.

I really like this book
http://www.amazon.com/Nurture-Nature...5476421&sr=8-1

as a discussion of differences in temperament and how they manifest in children. It was especially helpful to me since my 2nd child is quite different from my first, and it gave me some insights into dealing with each of them.
post #8 of 45
It won't help Emily go through life, but my personal opinion is that if the adults in your examples had acted like adults they wouldn't have needed to be lectured by a 5 year old.
post #9 of 45
While I'm not a psychologist, like your friend, it sounds to me like you just didn't teach your DD to be submissive to authority figures who are abusing their power. I think standing up to the teacher when she saw her hit another child shows that she is an empathetic, caring, and brave child.
post #10 of 45
i think your daughter sounds great.
she'll learn organically when its a good idea to speak up or not, i think.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollycat View Post
she'll learn organically when its a good idea to speak up or not, i think.
If learning organically means "with the natural supportive guidance of adults who love her," then I agree. Not all kids pick this sort of thing up in a timely fashion without explicit guidance.

Miranda
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
It won't help Emily go through life, but my personal opinion is that if the adults in your examples had acted like adults they wouldn't have needed to be lectured by a 5 year old.
I agree.

In reference to her being bossy . . .this article really helped me put my DD's attitude in perspective, that being "bossy" is something we only usually say about girls:

We're Bossy-- And Proud of It
post #13 of 45
I too have a psychologist friend who has suggested that my oldest might have aspergers. I know children who are autistic and on the spectrum, and I can sort of see it, but have concluded (without any formal evaluation, just peds. and me) that it is giftedness and OEs...

and the fact that he is *highly* coordinated and aware of his body and its place in space.

I think reading about OE's really helped, because he tells adults (like Emily!) when they are behaving badly, me included. He does not like being told what to do by other adults/strangers besides me or my husband (his little brother is that way, too). Not that I don't have a "mama voice" when I correct him, we don't do 'punishment' or that stuff, but I don't hesitate to correct him politely or remove them if they are being dangerous/hurtful/ damaging. If that makes sense? It is not as if I just ignore their behavior, but when I do correct them I always give lots of reasons, and if they say something in response that makes sense, we talk about it. I don't mind changing my mind...

My oldest is very intense and sensitive and emotional, he can be overwhelmingly bossy... but isn't that how most adults are to children? So when the children mirror this back to adults/other children it isn't appropriate?

Anyway, giftedness can look a lot like something to someone who doesn't really know your child and if you are worried, ask a professional with whom you have a professional relationship.

I love my psychologist friend dearly, but I don't take her ' advice.'
post #14 of 45
I'm no clinician, so I can't speak to the diagnosis here, but please listen when I beg you, do not break- or allow anyone else to break- your DD's little spirit.

She'll stop chewing her sleeve (or drinking from her bottle) when SHE decides that's what she wants. She sounds a lot like what I was like when I was a little girl.

Thing is, I came from people who believed that a child who speaks the truth instead of being docile should be beaten until she recants. I'm not saying you'll do such a thing, but you should talk to her and let her know that there are consequences for her behavior. But she already knows this.

Someday your daughter may be a great leader or teacher. Nurture her sense of justice. The world needs more caring types IMO.
post #15 of 45
My DD chewed on her sleeve when she was in KG, too. She was terribly bored and it stressed her out. She doesn't do it anymore.
post #16 of 45
Thread Starter 
So now I wonder.... she says that she wants to be the president when she grows up. Maybe that's what she was born for.... leadership. She's not afraid to face people who could harm her, or are scary in some ways.... keeping that skill could enable her to meet with heads of other countries on peaceful grounds and discuss things. Right? She's "bossy", but after reading that article (thank you) I don't think I should say that she is bossy anymore... she's a natural leader.

I admire her. I really do. I see some of myself in her... the self that was squashed and crushed and never did re-appear. My fear has always been that school would squash it out of her..... and they certainly tried.

Emily is different. I won't deny that. Anybody who meets her for 15 minutes notices it right away. It never bothered her until she started school and people started trying to fit her into a mold that she didn't fit in.

I have always believed that you should allow their natural personalities to develop, with as little guidance as necessary.

Sometimes I think that people tend to be uncomfortable with "different" and want to treat it or correct it. Then I get worried because I fear that they could be right.... maybe something is wrong with her, and I am just oblivious.

When she started kindergarten and started suddenly having so much anger, frustration, depression, and self hating, I knew that something was wrong with the environment, but I kept looking at her and taking her to specialists to make sure it wasn't something wrong with her. I didn't follow my mother instincts because I was so afraid of being wrong, so I listened to everybody's suggestions and went the wrong direction to solve these issues. In the meantime, my daughter was being mistreated and screaming out to the world that the environment was completely wrong for her.... and I kept my ear plugs in for two months. It's just amazing how many times I have listened to others instead of myself, and I was the one who was right.

Nobody knows Emily like I do, and when I really look at her and watch her, I don't think that anything is wrong with her. Not at all.

Why does it bother people SOOO much that she chews on her clothes? I buy (or make) her clothes, not them. What is she hurting? Nothing but a piece of fabric. So what? From now on, I'm going to correct people when they tell her to stop chewing on her clothes.

Why do people dislike it so much when children speak their minds, but admire that quality in adults? Where do they think it came from? That adult was once a child.

I'm just so frustrated with people right now. Thanks for understanding. I wish they saw the Emily that I see.

Teri
post #17 of 45
Teri,
I don't know your daughter, and of course you know her better than anyone--- so I think it is wonderful that you are standing up to what other people think and letting your daughter be herself.

I just wanted to share, though-- I think I had some similar traits when I was a child. I definitely did the clothes chewing (and hair and nails too, sometimes), had a hard time relating to my peers, and I remember very clearly wanting to be President. Mostly, I wanted to be President because I wanted to tell other people what to do.

I wish that my mother had lovingly discussed with me how my "assertiveness" and "concern for justice" and "sense of correctness" could hurt other people. To me everything was black and white, but I was very slow to develop a sense of what was appropriate in each situation. It sounds like sometimes your daughter is in the right, but that sometimes (saying the 1 yo was smarter than the 2 yo) she can be hurtful. Maybe the 2 yo didn't notice; but I remember when I was 5 telling a smaller than average 4 yo that he was way too small, that I couldn't believe he was really 4. I did not understand that I hurt his feelings. He was sobbing, and I kept saying to my Mom, "But he is small! He just is! How does it hurt him for me to say it?"
The worst was when I went through a phase of correcting my (very wise but not well educated) grandmother on things like grammar. I shudder even now to think about it. She finally sat me down and told me very calmly that i was hurting her feelings and being disrespectful. My mom told me later that her father was an alcoholic, that my gmother wanted to go to college but couldn't because she had to use all of the money that she earned by working to escape her abusive family. I felt AWFUL. Maybe this was a bit much for me to process, but I needed to know how hurtful my sense of "correctness" could be.

All of that is just to say-- most fabulous, wonderful traits also have a flip-side. What sometimes manifests as a passionate love for justice and right against wrong will also sometimes manifest as rudeness and a hard time admitting when one is wrong. Sometimes the adults will be right, you know? Sometimes another child will be wrong, but she should not say anything about it.

Hopefully she will learn this herself as she grows, but you may save her (and others) a lot of heartache by discussing these issues with her now. If she is as strong-spirited as she sounds, loving guidance from her mother will not harm her!!

Mpp
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rising Sun View Post
She's "bossy", but after reading that article (thank you) I don't think I should say that she is bossy anymore... she's a natural leader.

I admire her. I really do. I see some of myself in her... the self that was squashed and crushed and never did re-appear. My fear has always been that school would squash it out of her..... and they certainly tried.
The one thing I'd caution against is a kind of either or thinking where it is either you are disrespecting your child by labeling her with a disorder. Or, you are respecting her by only viewing her traits in the most positive terms and deciding the world will do the same, when in reality they may not.

It is okay to really respect and appreciate your kid AND to provide guidance on social concerns. Some bossy kids do need to learn to see things from other people's perspective. Some kids who seek justice need to be told it is okay that they aren't responsible to correct every misstep and every injustice. Otherwise that's a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a young kid. I know it was a huge relief for our son when we started to talk about not all problems being one he was responsible to fix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rising Sun View Post
Emily is different. I won't deny that. Anybody who meets her for 15 minutes notices it right away. It never bothered her until she started school and people started trying to fit her into a mold that she didn't fit in.
Is it okay for her to want to be accepted and not to be teased?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rising Sun View Post
I have always believed that you should allow their natural personalities to develop, with as little guidance as necessary.

Sometimes I think that people tend to be uncomfortable with "different" and want to treat it or correct it.
I think it is possible to be very comfortable with different AND to think that different kids really need support and guidance. I was a very different kid and I am parent to a very different kid. My goal has never been to change my child's personality. It is to be there with information and support because I know it can be tough to be different. Different kids need loving acceptance and understanding and that includes an honest acknowledgment of what they are dealing with in life and some help finding what works for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rising Sun View Post
Why does it bother people SOOO much that she chews on her clothes? I buy (or make) her clothes, not them. What is she hurting? Nothing but a piece of fabric. So what? From now on, I'm going to correct people when they tell her to stop chewing on her clothes.
You mentioned in your first post that other kids are teasing her about that. Do you really think mom stepping in and correcting other kids is the best way to handle the situation?

As far as why it bothers other people - is that a rhetorical question? I think it bothers parents because they recognize that it may reflect a nervous discomfort on her part. Other kids probably don't like it because it looks babyish. My suggestion would be to look carefully at the behavior as a possible sign of anxiety or sensory discomfort and try to work with your daughter to develop other more socially acceptable and comforting ways to cope in public. I can understand that yes, in all fairness it shouldn't be something other people notice or comment on, but when she's getting teased for it, I think she deserves more than mom telling other kids to stop.

What I'm advocating is not telling your daughter to change her personality. But, honestly acknowledging that the challenges she's facing are real and that it is okay if she learns new ways to cope. It is okay to help her with social information and with ways to cope with anxiety. That isn't a lack of acceptance of her but lovingly providing support for the person she is and helping her find ways to feel comfortable and happy in the world.
post #19 of 45
Just a thought, I think Emily sounds like a great young woman, but perhaps she might benefit some conflict resolution training? It's not just about the message, but the delivery. She may find it helpful to learn different techniques to influence people and situations.

As someone much like Emily, the fact has been, for me, that people don't like the bald truth. I have often found that while I have been the voice of reason that effected long term changed by pointing out injustice, I usually pay for it heavily socially and politically. Change in established groups is rarely effected, ime, via the lone voice shouting 'that's wrong'. Especially when that voice is the underdog without formal authority.

So, I would not seek to change her, but to guide her in (age appropriate) ways she can be more effective and sensitive to the group dynamics as a whole.

V
post #20 of 45
She might have fun looking at information on management styles.

It is too stupid how we obsess about not lying and then turn around and get mad when kids speak out. But really "It's the truth, it shouldn't bother you if it's true." is one of the most aggravating sentences ever.

Is it...
kind?
helpful?
true?

If it's not at least two of those, don't say it.
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