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<p>Do any of your gifted kids have trouble making friends? Particularly if they are NOT in a special gifted/talented program with like-minded kids?</p>
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<p>My son is about to turn 7 and is in 1st grade Montessori (in a mixed 1-3 grade class), which is just great for him academically. He is working on division and multiplication, has already been through three years of "grammar boxes" and is generally doing 2-3 grade work. However, he told me last night that "everybody" hates him and he has no friends. :( He says he stands on the playground and keeps hoping someone will ask him to play and instead they walk right past  him and ask someone else. My heart broke when I heard this. I was that kid, too.</p>
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<p>I am not sure how much of it is a gifted thing vs a social thing (he's not really shy, but can be a little reticent at first.As an example we were at a party and a boy came up to him and asked him if he wanted to play with him. My son stopped and said: "hmmm. Let me think.... OK." LOL) I think he depends on others to make the first move and most of his friends at school have been girls, who naturally are starting to form girl friendships at that age and are excluding him, too. His best friend in the world is a boy my older son's age (8, in 3rd grade) who is as addicted to Legos as my son is. Unfortunately he doesn't go to the same school and we only see him once a week or so. I just don 't know how to help him here. I think part of it is he is "different" and the kids sense that. He has more in common with the older kids intellectually but isn't "cool" and the younger kids don't get him. Any advice?</p>
 

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<p>This is indeed heartbreaking!! I would keep and refocus him on the friendship with his friend from the other school. Are there any other kids in the same situation as he is at his school? Perhaps you could find one or two kids who would befriend him.</p>
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<p>My oldest DS (11) has always found 1 or 2 kids who are like him, even though he has never gone to a special gifted program (public school). He is an introvernt so he really needs 1-2 friends to be perfectly happy... His best friend at school at the moment is the chess champion of our state for ages up to 12 and DS has several friends at orchestra who are around his age, all gifties, all string players. DS has consistently underplayed his abilities at school so he can "fit" in with the crowd... at orchestra, on the other hand, he tries really hard (as he is the youngest), as he works to earn the respect of all the high school musicians.</p>
 

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<p>I was that kid and DS1 is that kid, and I think DS3 is likely to be that kid too.  For me, honestly, the only thing that made a big difference was moving into a gifted program.</p>
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<p>Getting involved in theatre helped some as well. For me, it gave me a chance to pretend to be cool things, to bond with other kids who didn't fit in, and to be in a group where it really did help to have people with a variety of skills.  But, theatre also has a hierarchy among actors and wanting but not getting lead roles can be a source of distress for some kids.</p>
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<p>Nurturing any friendship that he does have will help.  And explicit coaching on how to make and be friends.  But, without like minded people around, meeting other kids at their level is likely to be uncomfortable for him.</p>
 

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<p>Have you talked to the school -- either the teacher or the counselor? Sometimes kids (of all kinds) need a little help learning to break into a group or in finding someone compatible. If there are any likely kids, they might be able to tell you, and you can try to set up some playdates outside of school. That really helps kids this age.</p>
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<p>Ds spent about 6 weeks reading in the library during recess last winter for precisely the reason your son is having trouble: The girls he played with in the early grades were moving on to more girl-girl stuff (that he wasn't interested in and they didn't necessarily want him), but he hadn't figured out how to play with the boys. I'm not sure how it happened, but he eventually figured something out, just as I was about to talk to the counselor. I think he found he could play tetherball well because he was tall. Ds has done 'friendship' groups a couple of times at school, and I think they help a bit.</p>
 

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<p>I was often that kid (heck, I still can be in certain social situations!) and just like hergrace theater was my savior.  it was still so. hard. but it gave me the chance to pretend, and be crazy, and I can turn that on and run with it and be a leader and attract people, even as I'm naturally the loner.</p>
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<p>Maybe see if there are some kids who are similar in temperment, ask the teacher? and set up playdates or...? sometimes I thjink it's just habits that kids fall into, who they play with, and maybe there are some potential buddies!</p>
 

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<p>This can be so hard.  My ds has friends, and is very social.  But, there is an undercurrent of not quite being the same that a little hard to express.  His best relationships are with other kids, boys or girls, who have the same deep interests, and like to talk about things.  My son is physical, and can play typical boy games, but loves to talk and delve into ideas and loves imaginative play.  In his circle, most of the boys are strictly into physical play and games.  </p>
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<p>Is the teacher aware?  It seems like there might need to be something organized so that there is an entry point for your ds into the play.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #7
<p>Well,</p>
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<p>I made the teacher aware today. I got a call that my son had lashed out at a girl in his class when she tried to take his glove. I told the teacher about what he had said and that I thought that his feelings of being ostracized might be what led to the outburst (not to excuse it at all, but to explain). She said we would work more on things after the break, and suggested a couple of kids to try contacting for playdates.</p>
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<p>We also identified a program at a local community college that has enrichment classes for gifted kids. we thought it might help  him to meet some other kids with similar interests and maybe strike up a friendship that way, even if it isn't in his school. The more, the better. They have one class in Feb on math that I think he would love. The problem is the way to get into these classes is through the public school and my son is in private. I have a call into them to see if his teacher can write something to the effect that he meets the guidelines for gifted, etc. Fingers crossed.</p>
 

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<p>Did the teacher agree that the rest of the class was avoiding him? Have you gone and watched him at school during recess? The reason I ask is I remember when my older son was in 1st grade, he would come home telling me he never played with anyone at recess and I was worried about it, thinking of him being alone at recess. However when I would be there and see him at recess, he was always playing on the play structure with a lot of kids and my neighbor had noticed the same thing (her dd was in the other 1st grade class). Maybe he thought that "playing with" someone meant playing a game or something one on one with another child. So it is possible that something else is going on other than what you think. My younger son who is in 1st grade now was just telling us the other day how he never plays with anyone at recess. I asked him why he had told me about playing 4 square with Kevin and Michael if he never plays with anyone. And he said "Well, that's at outdoor recess. This was indoor recess today." So one day of him cleaning out his desk by himself at indoor recess apparently equaled never playing with anyone in his mind.</p>
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<p>Good luck with the enrichment programs. They do those here but they are always very short term. Does your son do any sports? Both of my boys made a few friends through soccer. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>I totally agree it could be a perception thing on his part. I do think he is playing alone a lot of the time, because I see him doing that other times as well. That is how he is. However, when I talked some more to him tonight I tried to sound him out about why he thinks kids "hate" him. I asked if anyone had said that and he said no. It is more that they don't talk to him or ASK him to play with them. I think he is interpreting that as "hate" and taking it as rejection when (at least in some of the cases, hopefully) it may not be. His teacher has not observed anything in the class and says he works fine with the other kids. However, she is not on the playground with them, the assistant is. She said she would ask her. The assistant is a really sweet woman who seems to like my son, so I think she will have some input one way or the other.</p>
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<p>As for sports, no he is not in any at the moment. His older brother does soccer, but we gave him a choice between that and piano lessons and he chose piano (limited funds on our part). Plus, he doesn't really like competitive things and gets really upset when he can't do things well. We might consider it at some point. But my much more social older son made acquaintances at soccer but no good friends. I don't know that would be the best outlet for my middle DS to bond with someone, unless it is someone in school. He is in Tiger Cubscouts, which is a mix of school kids and kids from outside the school.</p>
 

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<p>I was reading an article recently, but I can't find it right now that was suggesting that many kids develop more advanced notions of friendships early.  This also feeds into the "lack of friends" feeling, even if it looks to the outside like they are doing fine.  Basically, it was talking about how young kids think of friends as simply people to play with, but as we get older, we look for friends to be the people we share our deeper selves with.  Many gifted kids apparently develop the desire for more mature friendships several years before average.</p>
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<p>It complicates things, because even if a kid isn't excluded, they may feel that they don't have friends.  And, many gifted kids are excluded for being different.  It can be hard to sort all the pieces out.</p>
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<p><br>
Is it this one?  There's a longer version of this article, IIRC, but this one covers the concept of "sure shelter."</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.sengifted.org/articles_social/Gross_PlayPartnerOrSureShelter.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.sengifted.org/articles_social/Gross_PlayPartnerOrSureShelter.shtml</a></p>
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<p>My DD has great social skills - makes friends/playmates in lines etc. - and has been like this since 2.  But she hasn't found her sure shelter as yet, and struggles with that.<br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>hergrace</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285834/friends#post_16124751"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I was reading an article recently, but I can't find it right now that was suggesting that many kids develop more advanced notions of friendships early.  This also feeds into the "lack of friends" feeling, even if it looks to the outside like they are doing fine.  Basically, it was talking about how young kids think of friends as simply people to play with, but as we get older, we look for friends to be the people we share our deeper selves with.  Many gifted kids apparently develop the desire for more mature friendships several years before average.</p>
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<p>It complicates things, because even if a kid isn't excluded, they may feel that they don't have friends.  And, many gifted kids are excluded for being different.  It can be hard to sort all the pieces out.</p>
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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>joensally</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1285834/friends#post_16125180"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
Is it this one?  There's a longer version of this article, IIRC, but this one covers the concept of "sure shelter."</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.sengifted.org/articles_social/Gross_PlayPartnerOrSureShelter.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.sengifted.org/articles_social/Gross_PlayPartnerOrSureShelter.shtml</a></p>
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<p>My DD has great social skills - makes friends/playmates in lines etc. - and has been like this since 2.  But she hasn't found her sure shelter as yet, and struggles with that.<br>
 </p>
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<p><br>
That's the one. Thanks.</p>
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<p>Thanks for posting that article.  My DD is 7 and for Christmas she wants "a true friend at school".  Sniff.  At least now I can understand it better.  </p>
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<p>She is really social and definitely an extrovert, so she has no trouble making acquaintances.   She still has not found a best, best friend at her new school.  For her, I just schedule tons of playdates to keep her connected with her friends at school.  Even in preschool she always sought out this "safe shelter", the friend she would stick like glue to all day and want to play with after school too. But she does have a really close friend in town (a year older), and I try to get them together twice a week for swim lessons and a playdate.  Actually she just won an essay contest in her grade for her essay about her BFF.  </p>
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<p>It's good that you spoke with the teacher.  I just recently did the same and she actually suggested scheduling playdates with a certain boy in the class - we haven't done it yet, but will after break.  She noticed that DD wants to play different kinds of games than the other kids, and gets a little frustrated by their games.  </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #14
<p>That is an interesting article. I do  notice that my gifted son seems to be emotionally more give-and-take invested in his one best friend than my older son, who is far more social, but superficial in his friends. For example, we were talking about how his friend had just gotten a pool/ping pong table at his house and his response was: "Why are they buying so much stuff. I don't want them to become poor." His friend's mom is getting a divorce and I think he was worried that they wouldn't have enough money.</p>
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<p>I did contact one mom of a boy his teacher recommended for a playdate for my son. They sound interested so we'll see.</p>
 
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