We are trying to figure out how to help our 18-month old with her social skills. She is verbally and physically precocious. We stopped counting words after she got to over 300 words at around 16 months and she is now speaking in short sentences ("birds funny" "mama go outside"). She is noticeably stronger than other kids her age (and less cautious) and a bit bigger (she is around the 85th percentile for height and weight).
She is very assertive (the nice way of saying "a bully") with other kids her age. She went through a brief biting phase and then a hitting phase and now we're in a pushing phase. She is very grabby with other kids and while she can play nicely (and will share when she wants to), she just seems more intense than other kids her age. We monitor her very closely in playgroup situations and jump in to make sure she doesn't hurt other kids and to help explain that her actions can hurt the other children.
I am trying to figure out whether she is just going through regular toddler behavior earlier than other kids or if her "drive" is just very strong. It seems like I read so many descriptions of gifted kids this age as "very empathetic" or "quiet, shy" and ours is the opposite! I'm curious whether any other parents of precocious kids who were like ours at 18 months - and did it persist in later years? My husband and I are both rather quiet and introverted so we don't know quite how to handle our wild child!
I would not say this is true either.
Both of mine were not shy in any way, and empathetic also did not describe it, nor did what you are describing- really the opposite of it.
Both early talkers cared far more about communication in the spoken word and would be incredibly discouraged by those children that lacked verbal communication when they spoke to them- they would just get tired of it and want the contact from the adults that did respond back. Neither ever acted physically towards other children or adults. In setting with other children they would simply get bored very quickly and gravitate away from the other children.
I'm sorry that I can't help you but I really don't know that what you are saying has to do with giftedness in this case.
Hmm, you make a good point and I was just reading another thread which made the excellent point that behavior problems can simply co-exist with giftedness rather than be linked. I guess I see her as being "advanced" from the intellectual standpoint and am trying to figure out whether I should be concerned with social maturity not tracking with her verbal ability. So few parenting books seem to apply to children under 2 years (many of them seem to reiterate that "children under 2 can't be expected to play well with others and will only play side by side"). She clearly is trying to play with others but doesn't seem to be able to control her impulses.
I do think that she gets frustrated with other kids not being able to talk back - she will run up to a new child and start to babble but then seems to get mad if they don't respond or seem to ignore her (all perfectly reasonable responses from other kids, especially much younger ones!). She plays very well with older kids but not well with kids her age or younger.
As a former preschool teacher, I'd say that at 18 months, there really is no need for her to be socializing with other children. She may be one that needs time to mature and develop better impulse control before being put in those sorts of social situations. Forcing it now, will set her up to constantly be in trouble, disliked and mistrusted by her peers and put you in the position of constantly apologizing for her. That isn't helping her to grow.
Personally, if it's not a matter of childcare, I'd pull back from playgroups and preschool for awhile. You can teach compassion at home through modeling, reading and talking. By 3 or 4, she may find her better equipped to for social situations and her peers won't be as fragile (nor their parents so worried.)
You might consider reading "Raising Your Spirited Child." My eldest didn't have these sort of issues and my youngest wasn't aggressive but he was emotionally intense. This book gave me some helpful perspective.
Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 14.
I agree. She's really just a baby, and being advanced in some areas is NOT a reason to demand a child to advanced in other areas. She's acting her age.
Loud vs. quiet is a personality trait and doesn't have anything to do with whether or not a child is gifted.
but everything has pros and cons
I agree. She really is a baby and you don't want to expect more of her than she really can do. My kids spoke early but that didn't always mean they truly understood their words. Just because she is very verbal and bright, that doesn't mean she's more mature than other kids.
18 mon is so very young and the skill sets that kids have at this age vary so very very widely and do not always correlate to future levels. Observation of other kids, toy stealing, physical contact, wanting adult attention over peers, and intensity (both internal and external) are all fairly developmentally appropriate and personality related.
Many kids gravitate toward adults/older kids. They are much more predictable, interact more, and are familiar. One of my DDs did not play with same age peers (except her sister) until age 5ish. She found them baffling, noisy, and unpredictable. They also did not want to talk about the same things she loved.
Biting/hitting/ pushing are all totally normal at that age. Depending on a kiddos personality will depend on how intense or how often you see those behaviors.
A 18 month old SHOULD be watched closely in playgroup situations anyway!
I have two DD with different personalities. One is intense, driven,and social. She always always has been- My other DD is a watchful observer, empathetic, and much more conservative. They were that way as infants and are that way as grade school age kids. DH and I feel they are fairly equal in terms of cognitive skills (untested), they have different strengths/weaknesses. Just personality differences!
My daughter was also very verbal at that age but there's a big gap in what they can say (much more than other kids their age!) and what they really understand about life. I think at 18 months it would be rare for a kid to really have huge amounts of empathy or self-control regardless. They maybe just have different things to be frustrated by. :) FWIW my daughter has very poor social skills whereas my son is very socially adept, but at 18 months (and even now, when my son is 3) there's still a lot of monitoring, redirecting, and explaining. Thinking about it, they've both developed some bad behaviors at about the same ages, even though they're very different in personality and strengths -- but even kids who are very ahead in some skills go through developmental phases at the same time as most other kids.