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I don't often post here but I had a question about personality traits. My general disclaimer is that, I know that this can apply to children of all kinds or not!

I have an almost 6 year old daughter. She exhibits many of the personality traits of a gifted child (in addition to intellectual traits); strongly empathetic, sensitive (physically and emotionally), on the one hand rebels against authority if it doesn't "make sense" and on the other hand completely tows the line if there is a logical reason to do so, long attention span, perfectionism, highly creative, passionate, really concerned about social justice...

You get the picture!

Anyway, I am wondering if being obsessive can be a part of it. I am sure there are lots of possible explanations for this but I just wondered if anyone else would read this and think it sounds familiar!

What I mean by obsessive is that my daughter seems to find things that fascinate her and she will hold on to that thing for a long time, longer than any other child I know.

For example, we went to the ballet in December and saw Sleeping Beauty. She immediately fell in love with Carabosse (the bad fairy for lack of a better description). Since then she talks about her constantly, draws her several times a day, plays games with the character and generally has created a whole imaginary world complete with imaginary characters and it's own language (it's called "Canteisa") which is beyond the story of sleeping beauty. Actually, it doesn't represent sleeping beauty at all at this point.

These things can go on for long periods of time where that remains the almost complete focus of her play. the longest was 2 years. She has even alienated other kids at school by not being will to play their games unless her characters can be involved.

So, is this kind of thing our own personal quirk or does it resonate with anyone else on here?

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I have a Son who just turned 7. We're pretty sure that he's gifted. He has major obsessions. It started when we took him to a Reds Baseball game. From that point on he was very obsessed with baseball and then something he saw somewhere triggered an obsession with the Yankees. Then it turned in to an A-Rod obsession, from there it was an obsession with the number 13 (A-Rod's number).

He is so intense about his obsessions and they consume him. He still loves baseball but is also consumed with fish...
He too spends ALL day drawing all different types of fish until he perfects them. Of course his perfectionism gets in the way of that because if his drawing doesn't look JUST like the fish he has a meltdown.

I think I did read somewhere that obsessions are part of being gifted.
Maybe someone else has some input.

I know how frustrating this can be. The obsessions not only consume my Son but they consume all of our lives because that's all we deal with all day everyday.

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Dh, ds1, and ds3 are all like this. Ds2 has obsessive behaviours but not obsessive interests and ds4 and I have both the behaviours and the interests.

Dh and I both tested pg. Our dc are very advanced in many areas, like dh and me.

For dh and I as children, this may have been frustrating to others, but from our experience, instead of interests coming and going like for others, they have just accumulated over the time we've lived and matured. I cannot think of an interest I had and subsequently lost. Everything I have become interested in has become part of my permanent roster from my earliest memories of childhood to presently. I have myriad interests and I have obsessed over each one and then while the obsession abated, the interest has remained and continues to motivate me to learn more.

I have never had a deterioration of my ability to learn such as others describe as happening as they've aged. I learn with the same fervour and sponge-like efficiency of my childhood. So does dh.

Recently, among many subjects, I have been learning about ADD and brain function (pertinent to my family) and have discovered that the negative aspects of my obsessiveness come from an overactive cingulate gyrus. I have just begun to treat this issue having realised patterns just in the past few years but not knowing from where they derived. For a long time, I thought they were inherited patterns that I could break behaviourly. I have done so with self-observation and purposed habit-changing, but the patterns in many cases remained in my mind despite the behviours being opposite or entirely different and therefore not aligned with the pattern of thought in my mind. I have recently begun to treat my over-active cingulate gyrus and when I am certain of the safety and success of the treatment, I will also treat my children who exhibit the same tendencies and behaviours.

If your daughter's obsessiveness is all learning-based and positive, then this is not relevant to you, but if it carries into severe and unhealthy inflexibility, looped negative thoughts and/or OCD or anxiety that affects her functionability, then please look into her brain function. I wish that someone had listened to me as a child and complained about the same issues for which I am now just discovering the source and treatment.

I don't know if many children would recognise this sort of malfunction, but I did and asked for help. It was not given then (actually flatly denied), but I am so grateful that the resources exist for me to research this now on my own and that I can seek the assistance of others who understand and are willing to help. What a relief!

It is wonderful to discover that I can have the obsessive learning without the obsessive behaviours and thought patterns that cause so much pain. It's even so easy to fix that it's just absurd that nobody was willing and that so many suffer needlessly now too.

I see here and other places the idea that anxiety and obsession are part and parcel of the gifted person's life, but I just don't accept that. There may be a susceptibility that accompanies certain types of giftedness to anxiety and (negative) obsession, but there is no reason to allow that to persist if it can be helped, imo. My dc won't have to live for 31 yrs before dealing with this productively. I am so happy about that!

Dr. Amen's book, Change Your Brain Change Your life, while not as academic a treatment of the subject as I would like, is a decent introduction to the practical aspects of brain function. Together with research I'd already been enjoying, it was a helpful resource for linking information. I also read his book about ADD (in a day) which ended up being a catalyst for further research and subsequent findings that are proving beneficial to my family.

So, I know what it's like. Two adults with these (and other) traits who made four children with them-- I reeeeaaaallly know, honestly!
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