Gifted but Irresponsible and Unorganize? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a gifted daughter who does great in school, but she is irresponsible and unorganized.  She forget to bring things home from school and her room is always a mess.  I feel like it's an unusual mix of traits.  Anyone else with these issues?  She is 9 year old.  What can I do to help her be more responsible?

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#2 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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My youngest is 10 and has major organizational issues. I wouldn't say he's irresponsible because he really does try. He doesn't not do things because he doesn't want too. In situations where everything he needs is in one place, he can be super responsible. His issues are largely remembering tasks during transitions... Getting notes and work from school to home, getting work from home to school, remembering a task that was assigned earlier in the day without a reminder at the end of the day. It actually has gotten better but we still get in frustrating situations. We've tried everything but in the end, it's been Routine, routine, routine. That is what helps DS. Of course, anything outside of routine is sort of a lost cause at the moment but we take what we can get. I don't have any great ideas, just sympathy!

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#3 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 06:17 PM
 
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I don't think it's that unusual a mix of traits, but maybe that's because you just described me at 9 years old. I wish my parents had realized it was really a problem and had worked with me in a positive way to find coping mechanisms. I don't really know that I have any to offer, but I applaud you for trying, rather than just throwing up your hands and lamenting her lack of organization. :)


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#4 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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I agree it is not at all uncommon. One thing that is worth considering is if the expectations are always reasonable - sometimes we expect a lot in our culture of kids pretty early. If you think what is being expected is reasonable you might enjoy the book Smart but Scattered. http://www.amazon.com/Smart-but-Scattered-Revolutionary-Executive/dp/1593854455

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#5 of 11 Old 05-19-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post

I agree it is not at all uncommon. One thing that is worth considering is if the expectations are always reasonable - sometimes we expect a lot in our culture of kids pretty early. If you think what is being expected is reasonable you might enjoy the book Smart but Scattered. http://www.amazon.com/Smart-but-Scattered-Revolutionary-Executive/dp/1593854455

 

It's a great book and worth the read.

 

Something else to consider is that gifted kids tend to get less help with these things at school because it's assumed they can do this.  At the same time, if they are coordinating multiple classrooms for pull outs and accelerations, then their organizational expectations are even higher - and very much not age appropriate. 

 

These issues require work at both home and school, oftentimes with a coordinated effort, and reminder/reward/otherwise external organizational system lasting for much longer in time than we would think we need to do it.
 

 

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#6 of 11 Old 05-20-2011, 06:16 AM
 
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Not unusual at all. Think of the notorious stereotype of the distracted, eccentric genius who can't find his glasses --- perched on top of his head. 

 

It helps to use lots of organizational techniques and reminders. If her school doesn't use daily agendas, buy her one and get her in the practice of writing down class schedules, homework assignments, deadlines, appointments, and anything else she needs to remember. If she has a cell phone, she may prefer to use it to keep the information.  

As important as writing down the information is getting into the habit of checking it. You may need to use a lot of reinforcement at first, checking together at various points during the day. There are lots of techniques to help students with organizational skills - many of them involving developing routines, and then practicing and reinforcing consistently. Check on-line or ask the school's guidance counselor for some study guides and other resources. 

 

For the messy rooms, you can start with a view to de-cluttering and considering whether she has good, accessible storage space, including shelving and display areas. A lot of gifted students have hobbies that create large collections. We've had large rock collections, model train collections, dinosaur models, posters of birds, bugs, flowers and bats, stuffed toy collections....all of it vying for space at the same time. Does she need everything that she is trying to contain in one room (and I'd let her decide what is important and what isn't). Figuring out display and storage is a challenge, but it can be fun to "curate" it like a museum or art gallery. 

 

Personally, I try to ignore the messy bedrooms (although every once in awhile I beg them to do me a favour and clean them up!). I focus on household chores in the shared family areas - helping to tidy and clean the kitchen, family rooms, bathroom and laundry. As long as they are helping out there, I figure they have the necessary life skills they need to develop.

 

 

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#7 of 11 Old 05-20-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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It's pretty normal.

 

There's a theory that some gifted kids have delayed maturity in the prefrontal cortex. This impairs executive functioning. It makes them disorganized and impulsive and look like they have ADHD. They catch up eventually. 

 

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/cognition-without-control-adhd-gifted.html

 

I'd look at some of the skills they teach ADHD kids to help her. Check-lists and notebooks to write things down would probably be pretty helpful. One of my co-workers has an ADHD kid and he kept a notebook that  his teachers at the end of each class to make sure he wrote down his homework. He went through his notebook at the end of each day to make sure he had his stuff.  

 

For the room, at our house, my kids clean rooms every Sunday morning. Everything has to be out of the floor. Clothes go in the laundry. Dishes go in the sink. Books go on the shelf. Toys get put away. Trash gets picked up. Sheets and blankets are changed. Dad runs the vacuum. I don't care if the room is a pit the rest of the week, but it will be clean on Sunday. No TV,  no outside time, no video games, no nothing until the room is clean. After establishing a routine, I don't even have to ask anymore. They know that the rooms have to be cleaned.  My kids do it before breakfast sometimes, so that they can watch go play.

 

 

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#8 of 11 Old 05-20-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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I think it's pretty normal for ALL nine year olds. The ones with perfect rooms who always remember everything they are supposed to are the odd ones. Work on it with her, help her develop some techniques to make things easier for her, but more realistic expectations could help.

 

I think it's unrealistic for most kids to stay organized without their parents helping them create systems. My *just* gifted kid has needed more help with this than my 2E child, who is gifted and on the autism spectrum. She thinks kinda like a computer, so organization is a happy thing for her that makes sense. My *just* gifted kid is all over the place in her head and in her environment.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 11 Old 05-22-2011, 05:27 AM
 
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I also agree this is fairly typical. I also think this has a lot to do with personality as well. I have children all across the board; a couple gifted, at least one artist, and two lo's. So far, only one of my children is organized.

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#10 of 11 Old 05-22-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGirlieMama View Post

I don't think it's that unusual a mix of traits, but maybe that's because you just described me at 9 years old. I wish my parents had realized it was really a problem and had worked with me in a positive way to find coping mechanisms. I don't really know that I have any to offer, but I applaud you for trying, rather than just throwing up your hands and lamenting her lack of organization. :)


This! I was either spaced out in fantasyland, or I was deep in thought and hyper-focused. Not much middle ground. Which made my life, filled with collections and half-baked ideas, super messy. And I couldn't find my shoes if they were on my feet. I'll just say what does NOT work: "Clean up your room, I've told you a million times." What does work is more concrete "Let me help you clean your room. Let's start with all the wrappers - do they go in the keep pile, maybe pile, or trash pile? Now for the clothes...."

 

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#11 of 11 Old 05-22-2011, 05:28 PM
 
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Another thing that works is a specific task, such as the night stand, and a timer. How clean and organized could she get her night stand on 10 minutes?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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