Dealing with teasing of gifted child in public school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-17-2007, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mamas, I am heartbroken tonight Just had a long talk with my 8 yo gifted guy , after learning that he was crying at piano lessons today because he's getting teased at school. He told me he has no friends in his class (his one very good friend, who was in his gifted seminar, moved away this summer) and that everyone on the playground calls him "Elmo." His exact words were "I'm the dork in my grade. No one wants to be friends with me, because I'm different and they think I'm a geek"

He completely understands the reason behind why these kids are teasing him - because he's so much more intellectual and different from them. But that doesn't really make it any easier to deal with emotionally day in and day out.

I know that he's certainly not the first (nor the last, unfortunately) gifted kid to endure this sort of shunning and teasing. I'm at a loss for how to help him cope with it, though. How have those of you who have been here helped your child deal with this sort of thing?
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#2 of 10 Old 09-17-2007, 10:36 PM
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Have you considered a grade skip? It's easier to make friends with kids who are your mental age rather than kids who are merely your chronological age.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#3 of 10 Old 09-17-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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Hugs, both of you. Been in his place, but not yours (yet).

It only takes one friend, really, to take the edge off of the general ostracization. Is there any other kid that can be nurtured to that position? Doesn't have to be another gifted kid... my best friend in those days was not gifted, but we had the same temperament (introverted and immature--or maybe just not "worldly" yet). External activities can also give him something to look forward to (e.g., even if school environment stinks, there's always the pool/scouts/volunteer work after school).

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#4 of 10 Old 09-18-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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I'm sorry your son is going through this. I agree with Supervee that external activities may help. By the time I was in 3rd grade or so, my standard reply was, "You're making fun of me because I'm smarter than you?" That usually stopped anything in its tracks, but I also realize that it takes a good deal of self-confidence to do that.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#5 of 10 Old 09-18-2007, 04:50 PM
 
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You need to bring this to the schools attention. Bullying is very serious and there are many more laws and such to help parents and kids deal with it. If the teachers and principal (and even superintendant) won't help with this, start looking up the laws regarding bullying in scholl (www.wrightslaw.com).

Outside activities can help or just someone to talk about it and brainstorm ways to deal with it or change it. I dealt with a lot of bullying when I was a kid. Having a third party (a bible study leader) chat with us about it really helped. Also, I was involved in 4-H and other group activities that I chose and I liked. That really helped.

Good luck. Don't let this slide!

Courtney wife to geek.gif and mom to 4 boys: chicken3.gif   . I need caffix.gif !
They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
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#6 of 10 Old 09-18-2007, 05:50 PM
 
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I just wanted to give you a because we're not there yet, but I anticipate that we will be, and I know it must be heartbreaking.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#7 of 10 Old 09-18-2007, 10:05 PM
 
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I read this book quickly in the waiting room at a physicians office. I thought it had some good and interesting perspective - and I believe it talked about being teased (bullied.) You might want to read the reviews on Amazon and see what you think. I plan to pick this up because I thought it was different from a lot of gifted information because it specifically addressed gifted boys and their specific challenges:
http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Boys-Tal...0160064&sr=8-1

I also second the pp's advice on talking to the teacher. Teachers miss a lot of what happens on the playground and lunchroom. S/he might not be aware that there is an issue.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#8 of 10 Old 09-18-2007, 10:22 PM
 
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This was happening to my nephew, also 8, whio had just moved and was not only the really smart kid, but smaller than everyone else AND the new kid.

He didn't tell anyone until it got so bad he was making himself sick worrying about going to school. A talk with the teachers and principal helped, as did getting him involved in karate - not to fight back physically, but to teach him to take the high road, and to give him something to look forward to. He also started playing trumpet in the school band and that helped him make friends.

Hope things turn around for your little guy. I remember being the "nerd" in elementary school, but thankfully I had a couple friends who helped me through. Must be so hard on him to feel all alone.

Also, try to talk to him about finding stuff in common with the kids in his class - if he can find someone who shares his loves of snakes, and another who loves astronomy (or cars or music or whatever), he'll find it easier to be "befriend-able."
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#9 of 10 Old 09-25-2007, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittin' in the Shade View Post
Mamas, I am heartbroken tonight Just had a long talk with my 8 yo gifted guy , after learning that he was crying at piano lessons today because he's getting teased at school. He told me he has no friends in his class (his one very good friend, who was in his gifted seminar, moved away this summer) and that everyone on the playground calls him "Elmo." His exact words were "I'm the dork in my grade. No one wants to be friends with me, because I'm different and they think I'm a geek"

He completely understands the reason behind why these kids are teasing him - because he's so much more intellectual and different from them. But that doesn't really make it any easier to deal with emotionally day in and day out.

I know that he's certainly not the first (nor the last, unfortunately) gifted kid to endure this sort of shunning and teasing. I'm at a loss for how to help him cope with it, though. How have those of you who have been here helped your child deal with this sort of thing?
Is there any way you can homeschool? I'm sure I'm not the first to suggest this idea and maybe there's some really compelling reason why you can't, but man -- your kid is going through some of the same antagonism and persecution I dealt with in school for eight years, and I would have given just about anything to be homeschooled (except that it didn't really exist as an option back then). Really, I would've given just about anything to be invisible and to be left ALONE.

It's one major reason we're HSing our daughter. We're trying to break the cycle, KWIM?
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#10 of 10 Old 09-25-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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Theresa,

I am SO sorry this is happening to you and your ds. Is he in 2nd grade? I have a 2nd grader who has loved school -- and this year he is being targeted by a girl in his class. It breaks my heart and makes me think some very uncharitable things.

Someone suggested skipping a grade, which might help, but there is another side to it; I know that my brother and I were both recommended to skip a grade (me, fourth grade, and my brother, sixth grade) and our parents chose not to. I am really glad they didn't, because I made some of my best and lifelong friends in fourth grade. My brother is also glad he wasn't advanced a grade, because he was socially awkward at that age and felt a grade skip would have made things even worse.

Some of the things we are doing is working VERY CLOSELY with the school. I am not assuming that they are going to handle things. He is one of 150 second graders and it is simply impossible to monitor the children all the time. I had a conference with the classroom teacher, the auxiliary teachers, and the school counselor, and gave them some information on teaching positive peer interaction. Basically, it tries to build empathy among peers by showing that we are all alike, and we are all different. "Who likes to ride bikes? Everyone? Wow! We all like to ride bikes in our class. Who likes to eat ice cream? Lots of ice-cream eaters, too. Ok, who likes to play chess? Ahh. Just a few chess players. Isn't it interesting, how we are all alike in some ways, but we are all different too?" Blah blah -- you probably get the picture, but it's a good program (I think) for that age group. I want to empower my son to be able to handle negative interactions AND I want other children to know a better way of talking to their peers. I know it helps my son tremendously to focus on how everyone is alike, rather than on how he is different, and it changes their perspective too.

Do you know any parents of children in his class? The first year my son was in a traditional school, I made friends with several parents, and their children were his playmates. Some of the friendships stuck, some didn't, but it helped him to have people at school who were inclusive and friendly. School days are too long to feel isolated.

I also volunteer in his classroom -- it gives me a better feel for what happens in the day. I can tell from his face if it's been a good day or a hard one.

Another thing we do in our family is really downplay the "smart" thing. Yes, since preK he's been labeled "the smart kid" but that isn't who he is, and his self-worth shouldn't be caught up in that title. He loves to play basketball, likes sports, geography, telling jokes, lots of things. Those are the skills and areas of interest we are trying to build on, for now. The academics come effortlessly to him, so the challenge is the social stuff; and when we focus less on the differences, and more on the samenesses, he feels better about himself. We are all alike; we are all different

Good luck to you -- I know how hard it is, and your heart must ache for your ds. I would just advise being very proactive and keeping on top of the situation.

JS
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