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#1 of 11 Old 06-02-2013, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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New here and could use some parenting advice/ experiences: 

 

My son has always been difficult- in fact when he was a toddler and preschooler we wondered if he had ADHD or was on the autism spectrum. The issues were/ are: 

 

1. Highly emotional/ dramatic. He goes through these energy bursts until he melts down, cries, is irritable for a bit, then he's fine. He threw unholy tantrums as a toddler and preschooler- he's much better now, but still extremely intense. 

 

2. Difficulty transitioning from a high interest task. He doesn't necessarily throw fits anymore, but it's hard to unstick him. 

 

3. High/ sustained interest in subject matters. Used to be dinosaurs, then weather, now animals. He devours topics and learns everything he is capable of learning about them until we're all exhausted with it. 

 

4. If he is not challenged, excited (in a positive way), and occupied he can be very difficult. Whiny, demanding, emotional, mischievous. Yes, this could describe any number of kids, but multiply it by three. 

 

5. Precocious language, and talks constantly, constantly, constantly. Tries to negotiate everything- needs to know everything and if he discovers that there is any academic subject out there that he is unfamiliar with, wants to immediately try to master it.

 

6. Most worrisome is his ability to make and keep friends. He has difficulty finding kids who are interested in what he's interested in or can sustain it for a long time. He has a hard time compromising, and can be (for lack of a better word) a little, bossy, know-it-all. He takes things very personally, when most of the time it's not personal. We're working on it, but he probably won't ever fit comfortably, and I know it can make him sad.  

 

There is no real question that he is gifted- his WISC IV results were 141 for full scale IQ and General Ability Index is 146. (processing time is superior but lagged behind his reasoning ability by a large margin, warranting the GAI score). 

 

Anyone with a gifted rising first grader dealing with emotional drama, friend issues, the need help their kids develop better social skills? Want to commiserate? Anything I haven't thought about? He attends a rigorous private school and I have made efforts to provide him with challenging activities at home, so that's not the issue. It's just a bit exhausting sometimes. 

 

It's very hard to talk with friends about this, because it comes across as "jerky" and "bragging." It really does, even though it's not intended that way. 

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#2 of 11 Old 06-03-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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LOL you are describing my now 7 year old (also a 1st grader)  to a tee.  I've spent more time in the prinicpals office for him than I care to for the rest of my life.

 

We had him evaluated for ADHD earlier this year as well because of all the things you metnioned.  His test scores are lower than your sons but still in the gifted range - he also had a significant difference on the WISC IV between his other scores and the processing speed (it was just below average).

 

His current first grade teacher actually called me in to talk about him not playing with kids at recess but rather playing by himself.  She wanted to set up recess play dates for him - i told her to go ahead but that it wouldnt do any good. DS has one or 2 kids he will play with at school - i think its an interest thing.  We are in a public school and its been a nightmare so far - i'm giving it one more year then i think we will have no choice but to foot the bill for the private school that is for gifted kids.  He actually made snoring sounds in class last week because what the teacher was teaching was "so sutpid and boring" - needless to say we got a call about that.

 

I will say as he has gotten older -even in the last 6 months his emotional response has muted a little.  We always joke that no matter what happens he reacts as if somebody has just cut his arms or legs off - at least now it only lasts a few minutes, it used to go on and on.  I have found that telling him - OK you can go ahead and freak out as much as you like but you have 5 minutes and you need to go upstairs because i dont want to see it has helped.  He usually goes up and is back down within a couple of minutes.

 

As for friends - i dont push him.  I can imagine how difficult it must be to relate to some of the other kids and i know his mind goes so fast he really needs alone time to keep from melting down about everything.  Does your son have siblings?  Mine hangs around alot with his older brother (who isnt exactly thrilled about that!).

 

I chuckled at some of your descriptions - we refer to DS as the little professor, he is such a little know it all.  Worst part is he's always saying - did you know that ... and we used to argue until it dawned on us that he was pretty much always right.  His little sister walks around telling everyone he is the smartest person ever.  Oh yeah did i mention he's got quite an ego - always telling me he's the smartest in his grade no self confidence issues for sure.

 

I find myself trying to keep it to myself as well because i feel like i come off as an a--hole talking to people about how hard it is to have such a smart kid, and how the schools dont do enough for him.  I've actually been toying with starting a support group in my area cause i'm sure there are others out there with the same issues who feel the same way.  Not sure what area you are but might be something to look into.

 

My DS is a total video game addict too - is yours?  I mean he would play forever - he's been on a minecraft fix for months now.  We dont allow them during the week but if we let him he wouldnt see the daylight on weekends.  The video game time is the only bargaining chip we have found that even remotely works with him - he could care less about earning rewards or being sent up to his room but losing video game privileges - yikes!

 

What has your school done for academically?  Mine seems incapable of doing anything significant.  We are getting a new principal this summer which is the only reason we are giving it one more year.

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#3 of 11 Old 06-03-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good to know there are others in my boat! I am extremely proud of my son and often exasperated. A support group would help- intense, gifted children can be quite challenging- to the point of exhausting their parents. Also, I don't think my husband or I are gifted- smart and educated, but probably not in the same league as our son. It makes some of these behaviors and abilities new territory. We were both fairly compliant as kids, and have had difficulty relating to the "boundary pushing." Yes, I am absolutely certain that my son would adore video games- we are delaying until he is more emotionally mature (basically, I don't want another thing to battle over;)

Private school tuition is a drag, but if you find the right fit it's worth it's weight in gold. I figure that a good education may be the only thing that kids will thank their parents for later;) My son's school differentiates (truly) and he is getting a wonderful education. Some of it is review, but thus far his school emphasized "depth " and "mastery." It's a tragedy to see a bright person lack confidence or fail due to a lack of fundamental preparation.

Does your son have obsessive long term interests? I confess, this is one of the things that I love- dinosaurs, buildings, redwood trees, tornadoes, scary creatures (apparently most are in Australia) it's amazing to see a young kid excited about the marvels of our world.

I am learning not to push with friends- I tried a bit and got notes from the school every day for a week - apparently in his zeal to make friends (probably to please me) my son began to seek attention during class (not good).

I think that other parents imagine than we are making comparisons. There's no getting around it - an IQ score is a comparison between the potential intellectual abilities of one child vs. everyone else who took the test. I don't believe that all children are intellectually gifted, the same way that i don't believe all children are potentially great athletes or artists- but I do believe that all children are precious and unique. I am especially impressed by children who are innately kind. I occasionally see older children looking out for younger siblings or hear about a kid in my son's Taekwondo class who confronted bullies to defend a friend. I know I would swell with pride if my child shows that courage and character.
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#4 of 11 Old 06-04-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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I agree - DH and I are always saying its scary when you have a kid thats smarter than you, and both of us are also highly educated. 

 

I was trying to think of what (aside from video games) DS has been into long term - he liked dinosaurs when he was younger, like a few years ago.  Last year he got interested in the great artists because they did a unit on it in Kindergarten, he couldnt get enough of it but he's over it now.  Lately its space and most recently insects (not my favorite!) - i'm guessing he will be tickled pink when the cicadas emerge, the rest of us will be hiding inside!  He LOVES to watch brain pop videos and has been begging me for the paid subscription so he has access to all the videos - i'm on the fence because the last thing he needs is another reason to be in front of a screen.  I'm actually super anxious for summer because he goes to a great daycamp that he loves and they do all sorts of outdoor activities and games that he usually doesnt do much of during the year.  Its like he actually acts like a kids for those couple of months. 

 

I hear you about school being the best gift but this private school's tuition is as much as college tuition, so if we spend that much a year for grade 2-8 (they only go up through middle school), then the high schools they feed are all ulta expensive as well then nobody will have a college fund!

 

How does your son like Tai Kwon Do?  We thought of that for ours and we even did a few trial classes but he was messing around during class i figured it would be a disaster.  We've tried baseball, soccer and hockey and have struck out with all of them.  I'd love to get him in some sort of a sport to burn off some of that energy.  He shares a room with his older brother who really needs his sleep but DS wont stop talking and moving and messing around at night, keeping his older brother up who is then a nightmare in the morning (DS not a problem kid doesnt ever seem to run out of energy).  I keep threatening to split them up but nobody wants to bunk with their younger sister, and we dont have enough rooms for everyone to have their own.

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#5 of 11 Old 06-05-2013, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Taekwondo is awesome for kids- any kid, but especially one in need of learning discipline and respect. It teaches the "right" kind of confidence- the kind born of hard work, good character and the ability to take care of one's self.
It takes a *long* time for the right messages to begin sinking in with Taekwondo- it's a patient process for teacher, student, and parent. My son used to mess around horribly when he started - now, after 2 1/2 years, he is a model student. Is turn around would have to be seen to be believed.
If martial arts don't work for your son, have you tried swimming? We were in a year round program- taking lessons even In December. It's hard to screw around in the water without sinking- even the most incorrigible kid won't take too many risks swimming. It also makes kids tired and isn't the "psychological" game that you may find in team sports. We're finding that team sports like soccer elevate my son's anxiety to beyond tolerable.
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#6 of 11 Old 06-06-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamMom View Post

1. Highly emotional/ dramatic. He goes through these energy bursts until he melts down, cries, is irritable for a bit, then he's fine. He threw unholy tantrums as a toddler and preschooler- he's much better now, but still extremely intense. 

 

2. Difficulty transitioning from a high interest task. He doesn't necessarily throw fits anymore, but it's hard to unstick him. 

 

3. High/ sustained interest in subject matters. Used to be dinosaurs, then weather, now animals. He devours topics and learns everything he is capable of learning about them until we're all exhausted with it. 

 

4. If he is not challenged, excited (in a positive way), and occupied he can be very difficult. Whiny, demanding, emotional, mischievous. Yes, this could describe any number of kids, but multiply it by three. 

 

5. Precocious language, and talks constantly, constantly, constantly. Tries to negotiate everything- needs to know everything and if he discovers that there is any academic subject out there that he is unfamiliar with, wants to immediately try to master it.

 

6. Most worrisome is his ability to make and keep friends. He has difficulty finding kids who are interested in what he's interested in or can sustain it for a long time. He has a hard time compromising, and can be (for lack of a better word) a little, bossy, know-it-all. He takes things very personally, when most of the time it's not personal. We're working on it, but he probably won't ever fit comfortably, and I know it can make him sad.  

 

Hi I don't drop by much anymore. But for what it's worth...

1. Observe the energy highs and lows and put the brake on before he hits the point of meltdown. I am quite good at it, DH isn't as good but he is getting better. One way that always work for my two boys (6 and 9) is to offer them some food and then switch gear. As they get older, they get better at understanding themselves.

 

2. If it is something that I know I cannot tear him away from, we will have an agreed time and day for him to indulge in it uninterrupted for a specific number of hours or on a certain day. During that time, he does not have to leave the spot and does not have to go out for dinner with us. We will buy it back for him (mine is older). When the time is up, he must stretch and do some exercise.

 

3. I can help get him the materials but I have excused myself from going through everything with him.

 

4. I no longer try to entertain them positively beyond a point. I may suggest some activities and occasionally source new materials for them to work on. Or I may play some board games with them. Or give them material to set up a fort. Or try to set them loose outdoors. But when I've had enough, they can either choose to do some written work for me (hahaha, and once I start I give them no peace) or entertain themselves in an acceptable way. They will usually choose the latter.

 

5. DS2 is the one who talks constantly. It is like water dripping on a stone and he can go on from morning till he falls asleep. He even talks in his sleep. Everyone moans privately about it (grandparents, aunties, DH, DS1 and me) but eventually we tune out. There are two things that really keep him quiet for an hour - drawing/art and audiobooks. So we have a constant supply of art materials and infusion of audiobooks from the library.

 

6. DS1 went through something similar when he was 4 and felt rejected by other kids who were much less verbal. I took him out of school for a while, and as he got older, it was useful to introduce the idea of talking to your audience. ie he should adjust topic and details according to the person he is talking to. Not just the age, but the other person's interests and level of knowledge. As he gets older, you can also introduce the idea that different people come from different background and circumstances/belief systems and hence behave differently.

Sports and outdoor games are a great way to bond regardless of knowledge base, popular culture like pop songs and movies also provide common topics with others.

 

DS1's best friend is not his intellectual peer, but someone who accepts him for who he is and vice versa, including each other's tantrums. His best friend has similar vision difficulties as him, and they had both muddled through the last year of kindergarten together in a state of confusion and that had formed a strong bond till today. They just play, swim and eat together, and generally forgive each other for outbursts, but ds1 does not talk to him about history, science or books that he is reading. He does this with his grandfather who is a teacher, and us. My younger son similarly plays with other children but does not talk about his other interests with them.

 

hth.

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#7 of 11 Old 06-06-2013, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate your input- especially your strategy for switching gears and being mindful of energy levels.

I think some of the social skills need to come in time- right now, he enjoys playing with girls and/or older children. He seems to either have conflict with, or not enjoy the company of boys his own age. (Not always true, but generally). If an older girl pays attention to him, that is his version of heaven.

I also like to hear that you're not a constant "playmate." I love spending time with my son, but I want him to be more independent in choosing productive activities for himself both for my sanity and his own resourcefulness.

The "talking" for my son is about relating information that he read or saw on television. Most other kids don't care about his interests and will walk away- it hurts his feelings:( he doesn't have Aspergers (we considered it for awhile),, he just loves to read and learn and talk about it. I like your strategy for knowing yor audience. We all have to adjust what we say or how we say it, depending on who we're talking with.

Thanks for your ideas.
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#8 of 11 Old 06-06-2013, 07:55 PM
 
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If I was close by, I'd definitely join your support group!  My DS is not a first grader yet - he's 4 and has 1 more year of preschool before K.  Your kids sound very similar to my DS.  The talking NEVER ENDS!!!  The perfectionism - drives both me and him crazy, and he require perfection not just of himself, but everyone around him.  He is always correcting both kids and adults about pronunciation, grammar, facts, whatever. So far, correcting other 4 year olds, doesn't cause him to lose friends, but I'm sure it will as the kids get older. He mostly plays by himself anyway.  Major Drama Queen - I always say that he is never happy or sad, but rather ecstatic and devastated.  Sustained periods of total obsession over certain topics- letters, dinosaurs, space.  

 

Completely exhausting, but lots of fun at the same time.  The only way I can keep his emotions and reactions on an somewhat even keel is to be "On" and on top of every situation all the time.  It really isn't possible. I'm just hoping it gets better with age.  


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#9 of 11 Old 06-07-2013, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Pranava it will get better with age! Four was our toughest age so far. i saw marked improvement by five and 1/2. The core intensity does not end, but coping mechanisms start kicking in. I just started a book called "Smart Parenting for Smart Kids," and so far, I would say that the author gets it. I am going to try some of these techniques. You may find that some of the traditional parenting advice that works for other kids doesn't work well for gifted kids. For instance, we found to time outs to be a disaster at four. However, the advice to "be consistent" whatever our consequences for behavior, seems to be doubly important.
Good luck!
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#10 of 11 Old 06-08-2013, 07:04 AM
 
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My son is 6 and we decided to do an online public school because we were concerned that a regular brick and mortar school would be bad for him. He loves to talk all the time and he wants to learn, hear and talk about his interests and he tries to engage others in his intersts (mainly sharks, dinosaurs). Even with his interests he has very specific interests and talks about Dilophosaurs' and Thresher sharks all the time but he also reads books about them constantly.

He is part of cub scouts and he really enjoys going.

However we've noticed a problem which we've always referred to as "bad sportsmanship" where he really can't handle not winning. He has a complete breakdown and starts sobbing, saying he hates himself and we try and tell him that it's not about the winning it's about whether or not he had fun.

I've been working on trying to have conversations with him so that he can understand that there is suppose to be a give and take of information and that the other persons interests should be included. We've started playing lots more board games and card games in an effort to get him use to following rules and not always winning (although he actually tends to win all the time while I lose-so it's not a totally effective system).

Someone recommended using social stories with him and I've read up on high functioning autism and that doesn't sound like him-just the part about tantrums-

It's funny that another poster mentioned Minecraft-he has talked about Minecraft for two weeks and we don't even own it-he saw his cousin play it and that's all he wants now.

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#11 of 11 Old 06-10-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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I can't read all the replies any more beause I need to go to bed but have to come back - I think you must be talking about DS1, honestly!

Things have gotten much better with him enjoying his school, loving his teacher and having found friends in his class. But all the issues you describe are still there, in varying intensity.

 

When I am well rested and fed, I am enjoying it, you know.


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