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Hi everybody -- I'm new here and hope that I can get some input from you about the situation that my daughter's facing at school. Please bear with me -- it's long....<br><br>
As background, she's 14, straight A's in all honors classes, wins academic awards, very talented in music (plays piano, harp, rythmn percussion, sings, composes), teachers love her, works in children's ministry at church and is a lovely, well-mannered young lady. I'm her best friend -- her mom. She and I are very close, as no one outside of my husband, our son and I (and my parents) try to understand her. She gets absolutely giddy about discussing songs she's singing in choir, plots of Disney movies (the old 1960s ones), old time musicals, funny things that happened in school and talks non-stop. We delight in her enthusiasm.<br><br><b>However</b>, her peers don't see anything her way and are nothing like her <i>at all</i>. Even those interested in musical things think that she's way out there somewhere and don't want anything to do with her. She had some old friends in jr. high (very few) that went on to another high school and haven't really kept in touch -- only if she e-mails them. She's in 9th grade at a private Christian high school that she likes a lot and so do we. We thought that the change in students would do her good. But that has not happened. No one ever calls her on the phone or asks her to do something outside of school. She has trouble finding a partner for school things when asked to do so -- no one wants her. It has always been this way with her -- she just turns her peers off. She is very knowledgeable about politics and discusses it readily (no one else wants to though). She hates shopping and can't see the value of wasting time doing it -- hates trying on the clothes. She is very self-critical, although to me she is just beautiful! She just has <i>never</i> seemed to have anything in common with her peers. I will say that she has a bossy streak, gets frustrated with others' abilities and is very quick with sharp responses and opinionated.<br><br>
Lately she has been noticing that she has no friends and that people try to avoid her. I've always tried to fill in that role, as I've seen it for a long time. However, I just am so saddened that she doesn't have that one person to share all the girly things with -- the cracking up, inside jokes, etc.<br><br>
She has gone to counseling in the past, but not much came of it. She's just wired differently and girls her age are just <i>mean</i>. She gets along great with adults (50 year olds), but that doesn't do her much good at school. Her youth group at church is the same kids as she used to go with jr. high with, so she doesn't want ot get involved with that. She is very conservative in her dress, actions and manner and is fine with that. She is usually shy until she gets going, then.... not shy!<br><br>
Please, any ideas on this? Does any one else have a bright intellectual that their peers don't understand on their hands?? What have you done to help??<br><br>
Many, many thanks,<br>
Suziee
 

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My dd is 12 and is gifted. She is liked by only a handful of people. Most don't "get" her (me included at times). She doesn't seem to care. She is heavily involved in sports which I think helps. It brings her down a notch to "normalcy" She also is involved in church but would much rather hang out with the adults. My dd is not bothered, but if your is....does your church have a camp? Sports are phenomenal IMO.....
 

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Try checking out <a href="http://www.hoagiesgifted.org" target="_blank">www.hoagiesgifted.org</a> and search out social emotional issues. It is very common for gifted kids and teens to feel they have more in common with adults than age peers. I would share that fact with your teen, along with the knowledge that almost all gifted kids and teens do find a peer group later on, generally in college.<br><br>
I would help her seek out some like-minded peers, of whatever age. Check out gifted summer programs so that she can experience feeling 'normal', if that is possible. I've heard so many parents rave about how their children finally felt like everybody else at such places. Yunasa sounds perfect.<br><br>
Have you checked out other high schools? Perhaps they would have a greater diversity of kids, giving her some more cliques to pick from? There may even be a larger subset of gifted kids if the school system is larger. Have you checked out local homeschool groups? It might not be an option for your family, but if it is you might check out the culture there. In our experience, you find more kids ready and eager to discuss things beyond the average pop culture.<br><br>
You might even check out online forums - hoagies lists some gifted teen forums. It is not ideal, and I would keep an eye on what is discussed, but any connection will give her more confidence for the future.<br><br>
You might also check out some social skills programs (probably a page on that at hoagies too). Just to help dealing with those mean girls with grace and calmness and help her be more open to friendship when it appears.<br><br>
Good luck and hang in there. She is so lucky to have you. It doesn't replace having close friends, but not having your mom there for you while you are struggling is pure torture. (I know that one from experience)
 

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1. check out the book smart girls, gifted women -- it may be very reassuring for her to read -- it was for me at 14 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">:<br>
2. try to get her an email buddy through the davidson institute<br>
3. consider an academic summer camp like cty or davidson so she can socialize with other kids like her -- this would be the best, if possible
 

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Does she care? Does she talk about not having friends and is she upset about it? That would be the central question for me. If she doesn't care, I'd let it go.<br><br>
For what it is worth, I have decided that the only important thing about same age peer friendships is if the kid is upset they don't have them. If not, I believe they can get what they need being close to people who aren't their age. I would think a bit about what she needs from friendship and what parts of that can come from being with you, with an adults from choir, neighbors etc.<br><br>
I also agree with the suggestion of looking for a gifted summer program or other ways she can get with gifted kids. It doesn't necessarily have to be a gifted labeled program but something that tends to attract bright kids. Community theatre or drama is often a great fit for kids like your daughter who are interesting and different sort of kids. It can also be a good way to work on social skills too. Depending on her interests something like debate, robot club, etc. might be good too. Shifting the goal from finding lots of friends to one or two good friends may help too. For a lot of kids that is all they really need.<br><br>
And, I would continue to express to her that this stuff gets much easier as you get older. Many of us struggled to find people we really clicked with when we were younger but found it very easy once we hit college age.
 

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Perhaps one of you should do some reading about social skills and making friends. There are quite a few good ones.<br><br>
She sound very introverted which can cause lots of issues with friendships. She may need to learn to take the first step and innitiate frienships/groups. Also structured groups are a good place to help find like minded individuals: volunteering to tutor younger kids, or other volunteering, music groups (possibly college level), etc.<br><br>
And for some, high school just is a horrible place. Once in the real world, these issues can disapear. (forgive me, I just can't spell today <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)
 

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She sounds very much like a childhood friend of mine who was an extremely talented violinist and pianist with an insatiable appetite for discussing music, as well as academically gifted, but unfashionable and unable to comprehend many of the interests of our peers. She had a small group of friends (like me) who were similar misfits, but what really kept her happy was her involvement in every available music group. She joined everything that would let her play, sing, or talk about music, including a number of adult groups; by high school, she was playing in the local symphony! This was in a smallish town, so if you live in a bigger city I bet there are even more music-related groups available.<br><br>
I agree that not having same-age peers can be okay. If your daughter is happy, try not to worry too much! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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The two people I consider my best friends are both older than my parents. It doesn't always fall that one will find peers as an adult. An individual who is different than others will continue to be different. However, we are not artificially segregated into age groups as adults so we are free to have our best friends be 30 years older than ourselves.<br><br>
Does she also relate well to younger gifted children? I can't tell you how much I would love for my 8 y/o to have an older mentor who really got her. Perhaps you could look into having her be a "big sister" to a younger child (especially a similar child). It could be a wonderful thing for both of their self-esteem. If not that, you could look into your dd finding an adult mentor -- perhaps a musician.
 

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Basically that was me in high school. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I was in all the honors classes, music, sports, etc, but I had no real friends that I could talk to, and spent almost every lunch hour/ free time sitting alone (which is an awful feeling when everyone else is being social around you). I was really bothered by it and hated school (and also was picked on quite a bit by my peers); it's actually taken me years to come to terms with my high school experience and accept it.<br><br>
I'm telling you this because I think it's great that you are so sensitive to the issue and are concerned about your daughter (my mom, although a very caring person, never really understood even when I did try to talk to her about it). I know one thing that would have helped me is learning *how* to make friends-- not that I could have tried that with any of the kids at school who already knew me as the shy/weird/smart kid (and it is SO hard to overcome stereotypes at that age)-- but I think a summer program with other gifted kids where she does not know the students already is a great idea, especially if you talk with her beforehand about how to introduce herself to others, how to make small talk, etc. Those skills are so hard to learn for some people but so important in life-- I basically forced myself to learn them when I started college and discovered that I am actually good at meeting people once I overcame that initial shyness. I remember wishing many times in high school that I could just start over with people who didn't already know me-- though perhaps that might not have changed much, and what I really needed was for the kids around me to grow up a little. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Your dd sounds like a wonderful girl and I hope that she manages to find at least one friend who really understands her. I have spent many years feeling like I missed out on that, and have watched other teens (like my younger sister) with bewilderment as they make friends and have an active social life in a way that I never did at that age. At the very least, please reassure your dd that other people have gone through exactly the same thing and that she will not always feel this way. College was a wonderful experience for me! Good luck, I hope you find a solution! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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My ds (14) has the same problem, and always has. He is def not happy about it, and expresses lonliness often. He is doing better socially in Germany, but it is a struggle sometimes even here. Other boys his age are just not interested in the same things, at least in his experience, and he has a hard time (is unwilling) 'adjusting' to fit in. My dd (11) is excellent at adjusting herself to new social settings, which can also cause its own set of problems. She is always surrounded by a group of friends, which often causes friction/resentment between ds and dd. My heart is with you! It is SO HARD. I have read that it gets easier to find peers after HS age. But that seems a long time to wait.
 

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I have an 11y friendless gifted dd. She is very introverted and when I asked her if she wanted friends she said she had plenty of friends already. I asked her who her friends were and she replied:<br>
1.Her family (no lack of people there as she has 6 siblings)<br>
2.Her music teachers (two of which are family members<br>
3. A girl who is her sisters best friend<br><br>
Those were the people she was fine hanging out with and just being around. When she was little she would play with other kids and interact well. One mom actually said she didn't want her kids to join our history club because:<br>
1. They would seem "stupid" next to my kids who have all been labeled gifted.<br>
2. My kids are a "bad influence" because they roam around free all day.<br><br>
I told her that her kids weren't stupid they just weren't labeled and that if my kids were so smart then roaming around freely all day must be good.<br><br>
Anyway, she is almost friendless and yet she is not bothered at all. So maybe your daughter is happy this way?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>EnviroBecca</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8149199"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She sounds very much like a childhood friend of mine who was an extremely talented violinist and pianist with an insatiable appetite for discussing music, as well as academically gifted, but unfashionable and unable to comprehend many of the interests of our peers. She had a small group of friends (like me) who were similar misfits, but what really kept her happy was her involvement in every available music group. She joined everything that would let her play, sing, or talk about music, including a number of adult groups; by high school, she was playing in the local symphony! This was in a smallish town, so if you live in a bigger city I bet there are even more music-related groups available.<br><br>
I agree that not having same-age peers can be okay. If your daughter is happy, try not to worry too much! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"></div>
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This sounds so much like my eldest dd! Musically and academically talented. Unfashionable, in every music group in town. Greatest wish is to play in the symphony.
 

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Her interests are different from mine but I was a big loner and honestly found socializing on the internet through chat to be the best thing for me. It was just a bulletin board service with a chat room back then, but now I am sure there could be some great forums out there that have her interests, and people who want to talk about the same stuff if she's feeling lonely.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Meg_s</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8165362"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Her interests are different from mine but I was a big loner and honestly found socializing on the internet through chat to be the best thing for me. It was just a bulletin board service with a chat room back then, but now I am sure there could be some great forums out there that have her interests, and people who want to talk about the same stuff if she's feeling lonely.</div>
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I was going to say that the internet would be a great thing for a girl with unusual interests. You can always find someone who likes what you do, and learn about summer programs and afterschool activities where you can meet like-minded people.<br><br>
I came of age before the internet, and was anyway neither as gifted nor as lonely, but I used to rely a lot on sending letters and notes. I loved writing.<br><br>
There are two ways of thinking about friendships: either you make friends with whoever is nearby, or you find people who would make you good friends by searching them out. If the first isn't working, then the second is the way to go.
 

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Like previous posters, I see some of myself in your daughter. Two more suggestions that I don't think have been mentioned:<br><br>
1. One of the very most helpful things for me in high school was to volunteer with developmentally disabled kids (often my same chronological age.) They were very accepting of me, and I gained a lot of self-esteem and happiness interacting with them. I would even say that I became friends with one of them for several years. If this doesn't appeal to your daughter, perhaps she would like to volunteer with seniors or at an animal shelter. That might accomplish the same thing.<br><br>
2. Find a young adult mentor. I didn't have one in high school (wish I did) but I've been one as an adult. Perhaps there's someone you would trust through your church. I was the mentor to a non-gifted child, but one who had social issues with her peers, and it really helped her to hang out with me and do some fun things with someone who was accepting and didn't expect a lot of social skills from her.<br><br>
best wishes -
 
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