If you have a child who is like this, is there anything that you do to mitigate that tendency? A couple of weeks ago, someone was making fun of another child at soccer practice, and DS stepped right in and stood up for the other kid. Yay! I was really proud of him, especially given my previous concerns about his social acumen. The thing is that the other boys listened to him - no questions asked. His teacher says that he's definitely the leader of the class.
I spoke to an educational specialist just in passing after an event a couple of weeks ago, and he suggested putting DS in something that we think would challenge him. To be clear, I have 2 concerns. 1) He is developing an inflated view of himself. 2) I want him to learn how to handle challenge and even frustration in healthy, safe ways.
Wondering whether we had taken this really interesting discussion too far OT, I went back to re-read the OP's original post, and this really stuck out for me.
I think as far as character-building goes, if you continue to build on this, you're sorted.
I hate it when people insist that a gifted child has special responsibilities just because he is intellectually gifted, to be a role model (pretending you're working hard and need to pay attention in class for your A's in order to set a good example for others comes to mind), to be a leader and run the school newspaper or orchestra to "give back", or to have to go into medicine to find a cure for cancer even though you'd rather raise sheep or something.
I think, however, that the gift of being a leader, having other children look up to you and want to emulate you, does give you a special responsibility, because it gives you a lot of power over other children, to manipulate them (into bullying or stupid dares, for instance) or to make them very unhappy. by giving and withdrawing favours. I feel that a child with this power ought to be taught to use it wisely and for good.
While I totally agree that running a household well is an important skill that needs to be taught, especially to kids who just don't hang out with a homemaker anymore but spend all their time in school or with after-school activities, I agree with others that I do not think cleaning bathrooms builds the kind of character or provides the kind of challenge I think the OP is looking for. I am imagining a conversation sort of like this.
OP's DS (wonderingly): "Mom, I really think there is no one in my whole school who can do math as well as me."
OP: "Mhm. Quite possibly. You missed that piece of lint on the toilet though, didn't you notice?"
I'd look into serious math enrichment for that one!
MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and