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DS just turned 3 and is (likely) gifted, as well as being spirited and very extroverted. He is very advanced in language and understanding and can be a very thoughtful and impeccably behaved 3 year old--he acts quite differently than other 3 year olds I see out and about. BUT if he's not involved in something either related to discussing (not just talking!), story-telling, playing pretend with an adult/older child, quizzing, telling jokes, etc. he starts to get so fussy and clingy and demanding. I actually stopped a tantrum in a public restroom last week by asking him math questions (all of which he answered correctly and begged for more). He loved it.<br><br>
So I wanted to know from your experiences, what does "acting out" (or whatever you call it) look like in a bored or unchallenged gifted 3 year old?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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What if you frame it as typical three year old behaviour, maybe on the intense side related to personality, and that a good solution is to appeal to a personal strength - intellect?<br><br>
I always remember Roar's contributions about novelty seeking and encouraging kids to be more independent in meeting their needs with less. When you frame it as "unchallenged" it becomes someone else's responsibility, but when you frame it as I did above, it becomes about coaching the child to find ways to meet their needs. I used a lot of word and number play/games with DS to help him self-manage when he was that age, and now he does it himself (sometimes he still needs help).
 

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DD has never lacked challenge because she finds it for herself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> So, while we had plenty of 3-year-old acting out, it was related to being tired, or hungry, or high on sugar, or simply frustrated and wanting attention. Or it was related to her psychological research into how much her parents can take. I wish she'd run that past an ethics board first--they'd never have approved it. Or at the very least they'd have required informed consent from her subjects. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
You know, I'll take it back. She did get bored in the car when she was 3, and it resulted in her kicking seats, yelling, crying, and throwing things. We learned pretty quickly to start every long drive with a trip to the library to check out a big pile of books. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>joensally</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15367425"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What if you frame it as typical three year old behaviour, maybe on the intense side related to personality, and that a good solution is to appeal to a personal strength - intellect?<br><br>
I always remember Roar's contributions about novelty seeking and encouraging kids to be more independent in meeting their needs with less. When you frame it as "unchallenged" it becomes someone else's responsibility, but when you frame it as I did above, it becomes about coaching the child to find ways to meet their needs. I used a lot of word and number play/games with DS to help him self-manage when he was that age, and now he does it himself (sometimes he still needs help).</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"><br><br>
Exactly what I wanted to say, but put much more succinctly than I would have said it.<br><br>
Miranda
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">When you frame it as "unchallenged" it becomes someone else's responsibility, but when you frame it as I did above, it becomes about coaching the child to find ways to meet their needs.</td>
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I really like this. One of my big frustrations in the gifted community is the willingness of many to excuse away poor behavior on boredom. I've even had it suggested to me that gifted children who CAN control themselves are somehow less gifted. I'm not suggesting the OP is doing this. Your comment was just refreshing to me.<br><br>
As to the OP, my youngest was very difficult until about 4. Like your son, he was highly verbal, very sharp, extroverted and spirited. Instead of focusing on his being in a constantly stimulating environment (which just wasn't possible) we focused on his learning self-control, self-entertainment and respect to those around him. By 4, our lessons and his own maturity snapped into place and he has ended up very well-behaved with and without us. This isn't really a "gifted" issue at this point. 3-year-olds in general are not good at not being the center of the world. Why should they be? As infants and toddlers, they got almost constant supervision and interaction. Now that they've achieved the independance they so wanted at 2, they have to face that they may have to wait in the doctors office or mom might need a couple minutes on the phone ect.
 

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Three is a very challenging age. I am not sure its a "gifted" issue.<br><br>
ITA with previous posters: encouraging independence, self-sufficiency and ability to play on her own will pay off down the road. My mom coached me on this when DS was quite young and I so appreciated it as he got older. As per her advice, I would set him up with something interesting and step back. At 1, 2 years of age he would have a very limited ability to work on his own, but it increased gradually. We did not TV or screen time, and he was self-entertaining enough by 2 that I didn't need anything to distract him while I prepared dinner, but I had to be quick about it!<br><br>
Like whatsnextmom, I noticed around 4 it all "fell into place". Now at 5 he is great at entertaining himself and pursuing his interests. Also lovely to work with, very outgoing, and does well in groups at school or in the neighborhood, as well as one-on-one with other kids or adults.<br><br>
My daughter (who btw seems just as smart to me so far) is a *very* different kid and she is so self-entertaining. She just turned 1 last week and we kind of let her free-range around us while we do our stuff. She will very happily play and be engaged in her explorations for long, long periods of time. She checks in with me from time to time but her personality is just so different. Not sure what she'll be like at 3- I wonder!<br>
(here she comes with a big smile on her face saying "mama" so I think she's wanting attention!)
 

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sorry, I wanted to say one other thing and forgot.<br><br>
My son was an early and articulate talker, and could use correct grammar and discuss complex issues by the time he was 2. However, I would be so frustrated b/c he still would do the typical 2yo stuff like hitting a kid over the head when they argued over a toy, instead of discussing it. And then I realized that, despite his shall we say conceptual and verbal maturity, his social and emotional maturity (and impulse control) was pretty much right on track for his age. But it was kind of confusing for me, when there was such a gulf between them. I kept expecting that because he COULD talk about his needs and feelings, he should be able to use verbal negotiation instead of brute force... or that he would use talk to regulate his emotions...<br><br>
Realizing that he was just acting like a normal 2 year old helped me to react more appropriately (kindly and firmly redirect, redo, etc... I read the "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be" avidly at that stage of his life) and though it felt like it took forever, relatively quickly he grew out of the hitting, pushing, biting, etc.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>no5no5</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15367937"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Or it was related to her psychological research into how much her parents can take. I wish she'd run that past an ethics board first--they'd never have approved it. Or at the very least they'd have required informed consent from her subjects. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br></div>
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Perfect. Love it!<br><br>
And, what an easy thread...everyone said exactly what I was about to post.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I appreciate all the encouragement in helping him entertain himself, but I am not sure its so cut and dried as that. We are very interested in the Continuum Concept around here (well, mostly me) and by 2 he was totally entertaining himself--for up to an hour at a time. Mostly pretend play/acting out stories with imaginary friends--but for an hour with hardly a word to me (though he was very verbal). Its now that's his reasoning and deeper curiosity have kicked in that he's always wanting to converse/learn. He's seeming to be very auditory/sequential and hardly spatial, so he doesn't like crafts or drawing or even most toys. He really wants to talk and tell stories all day. He IS entertaining himself, just needs another (very verbal) human to be involved--and I'm the only one around!<br><br>
Does this change your advice at all? Or can I still teach him to self-entertain?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Holiztic</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15372145"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I appreciate all the encouragement in helping him entertain himself, but I am not sure its so cut and dried as that. We are very interested in the Continuum Concept around here (well, mostly me) and by 2 he was totally entertaining himself--for up to an hour at a time. Mostly pretend play/acting out stories with imaginary friends--but for an hour with hardly a word to me (though he was very verbal). Its now that's his reasoning and deeper curiosity have kicked in that he's always wanting to converse/learn. He's seeming to be very auditory/sequential and hardly spatial, so he doesn't like crafts or drawing or even most toys. He really wants to talk and tell stories all day. He IS entertaining himself, just needs another (very verbal) human to be involved--and I'm the only one around!<br><br>
Does this change your advice at all? Or can I still teach him to self-entertain?<br><br>
Thanks!</div>
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Both of my children are overwhelmingly verbal and we had to set boundaries or mommy was going to lose it. DD in particular had a whole alternate pretend world. We'd play together in that world - very actively and engaged, and then I'd say something like "That was GREAT! Now I need to go make dinner, so how about if you and the guys set up in the den (proximity to me) and I'll check back in in a few minutes?" This way they can continue the play with the stuffies/toys/props or imaginary friends and they're still near you. IME, the time they could do this independently lengthened with practice.<br><br>
DS is not only very verbal, but it turns out that making noise actually also meets a sensory need of his. The amount of verbiage and just noise he produces is overwhelming. I still have to work to set boundaries (ie "ok, you seem to really need that noise right now, so you've got 5 minutes, and then the rest of us need a 5 minute break"), but I also had to accept that this was part of who he is and that what he's doing is developmentally normal for him and sometimes I was just going to have to wait out a phase while working on self-management skills.<br><br>
Are you still restricting non-fiction books? It might just be that a few books with high visual impact may fit the bill. It sounds like he's looking for more input. We love books of all sorts around here, and there's a cycle of what we've read about informs our experience and our experience informs what we read about. <I don't mean the above disrespectfully, just offering what worked for us when our kids craved information in vast quantities>
 

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seriously, at my house the 2s were great (okay, social situations weren't great, but at home we mostly got along very well and found him a delightful kid to be around), it was the 3s that were "terrible" (challenging). I remember sometimes just having to basically say, "I can't talk to you anymore right now, I need a break" or "I need you to do something quiet for a bit I just can't answer any more questions". he did grow out of it (though he is still highly persistent and sometimes obsessive, he totally respects and understands that I have work to do, a baby sister to attend to, etc).<br><br>
But kids are all so different... you need to find your own way with what feels right in your situation.<br><br>
Just saying, my son's 3 was hard for me (exhausting, though great at other times), and another momma friend of mine w/ a girl who's a little over 3 1/2 has been really talking about how demanding her daughter is right now.
 

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How do you feel about books on tape?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>loraxc</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15373886"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How do you feel about books on tape?</div>
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I've been thinking about that!
 

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My advice would be the same. It's really not about the ability to self-entertain. I think that only came up because you mentioned it being a problem when he was bored. For me, it's about learning to delay your own gratification when it's infringing on the needs of others. This is a big lesson at this age particularly with those whose needs can be invasive to others.<br><br>
My DS was truely the same as you are describing but he had the misfortune of being born to a very introverted mother. My DD as well, very introverted. When she was a toddler/preschooler, we'd spend hours quietly and joyously doing our own seperate activities, connecting between each project to share, laugh, wrestle and play. When she was done interacting, she'd toddle back to her bookshelf and I wouldn't see her again for an hour. We aren't shy. We enjoy social interaction. We just find it draining and need quiet and solitude to recharge and reflect. Then comes DS who is an extreme extrovert. His need to constantly interact and to bounce EACH and EVERY thought that popped into his mind off us was driving us to distraction. Extroverted DH welcomed the interaction but he'd be at work all day. Just before DS's 3rd birthday, I enrolled him in a wonderful preschool 2 mornings a week because I was falling apart from the overwhelming intensity of him. It was the best thing for us. I got a few hours to regroup. DS got 3 teachers and older children to interact with. Then, he turned 4 and he started to understand every person is different and has different needs. He finally got that he doesn't get to dominate our every waking hour with his musings because it's his own preference.... that it was innapropriate to force us into interaction through whining, tantrums, ect. We were able to strike a balance that works for us all. At 9, he still is extremely extroverted but I can say "honey, I am really excited to hear about your plan! Give me 15 minutes to regroup from the Girl Scout meeting (or whatever caotic social situation we just came from) and I'll be able to really focus on you."
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376058"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My advice would be the same. It's really not about the ability to self-entertain. I think that only came up because you mentioned it being a problem when he was bored. For me, it's about learning to delay your own gratification when it's infringing on the needs of others. This is a big lesson at this age particularly with those whose needs can be invasive to others.<br><br>
My DS was truely the same as you are describing but he had the misfortune of being born to a very introverted mother. My DD as well, very introverted. When she was a toddler/preschooler, we'd spend hours quietly and joyously doing our own seperate activities, connecting between each project to share, laugh, wrestle and play. When she was done interacting, she'd toddle back to her bookshelf and I wouldn't see her again for an hour. We aren't shy. We enjoy social interaction. We just find it draining and need quiet and solitude to recharge and reflect. Then comes DS who is an extreme extrovert. His need to constantly interact and to bounce EACH and EVERY thought that popped into his mind off us was driving us to distraction. Extroverted DH welcomed the interaction but he'd be at work all day. Just before DS's 3rd birthday, I enrolled him in a wonderful preschool 2 mornings a week because I was falling apart from the overwhelming intensity of him. It was the best thing for us. I got a few hours to regroup. DS got 3 teachers and older children to interact with. Then, he turned 4 and he started to understand every person is different and has different needs. He finally got that he doesn't get to dominate our every waking hour with his musings because it's his own preference.... that it was innapropriate to force us into interaction through whining, tantrums, ect. We were able to strike a balance that works for us all. At 9, he still is extremely extroverted but I can say "honey, I am really excited to hear about your plan! Give me 15 minutes to regroup from the Girl Scout meeting (or whatever caotic social situation we just came from) and I'll be able to really focus on you."</div>
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SOOOOO much of that rang true!! I am too very introverted, very! Not shy either, I just NEED quiet time to think and reflect, too. We're seriously considering preschool (for the second time) to start in the fall (at 3.5). But I wonder-- how does your DS' constant talking work in preschool? Does he talk over others? Does he cut them off? Do they have to ask him to be quiet? To wait? To listen? How does he respond?
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">SOOOOO much of that rang true!! I am too very introverted, very! Not shy either, I just NEED quiet time to think and reflect, too. We're seriously considering preschool (for the second time) to start in the fall (at 3.5). But I wonder-- how does your DS' constant talking work in preschool? Does he talk over others? Does he cut them off? Do they have to ask him to be quiet? To wait? To listen? How does he respond?</td>
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Well, we were very careful about what preschool we sent him too. His was purely developmental. There was no "seat" time required at all. While they didn't discourage kids from learning letters and such, they really focused on science, nature, creative play, sensory experiences, stories, emotional growth, ect. Empathy was HUGE in that program. The class was small... 15 kids for 3 teachers (and each was a full teacher as opposed to aides.) I know for a fact he talked their ears off but they continued to speak fondly of him (maybe because they only had him 6 hours a week lol.) We found them by accident... actually, DS found them during a park trip... he walked into the classroom and decided not to leave lol. We were lucky as I know he wouldn't have thrived in any sort of focused, academic, over-structured program at that age not only due to temperment but due to his already knowing what most preschools teach. His teachers were total hippies who didn't think twice about fixing his sock seams every day after outdoor time. We were SO lucky to have them.<br><br>
We had talking issues in kindergarten (he was an older 4 when he started) but then we transfered him to a foriegn language school for 1st grade where much of the work in the early grades is done orally. Because they WANT kids to use their new language, the tolerance level for interacting and talking in class is high (as long as you use the right language when you do it!) It helped bridge the gap between when he struggled to control the talking and now where he can read others better and get when they are involved in his train of thought and when they are lost or uncomfortable.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15376399"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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We had talking issues in kindergarten (he was an older 4 when he started) but then we transfered him to a foriegn language school for 1st grade where much of the work in the early grades is done orally. Because they WANT kids to use their new language, the tolerance level for interacting and talking in class is high (as long as you use the right language when you do it!) It helped bridge the gap between when he struggled to control the talking and now where he can read others better and get when they are involved in his train of thought and when they are lost or uncomfortable.</div>
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Just wanted to say what a great idea. Yay for creative solutions <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 
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