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Too Smart For Their Own Good: Gifted & Struggling

Your child is so smart. Off the chart intelligence. You watch their mind work - standing in awe of the way they can think around corners. And yet...they just cannot seem to find their motivation to use their gifts. They seem stuck in a rut, spinning their wheels. How could someone so brilliant not be able to improve their own future?

So many things get in the way of success under typical circumstances. One factor we know that helps with growth, trauma and resilience is intelligence. The more we have, the more it can protect us from difficult times. So here's the quandary many parents find themselves in - you're raising a child with little to no problems, and yet they still struggle to rise up to their potential.

When we start to break down barriers to success, we see a few patterns emerge. Our children and teens struggle mightily with anxiety, sensory issues, self esteem and motivation. Underlying it, they all appear to have a deep rooted belief that nothing they will do will change things. Self-efficacy is the belief that we can succeed in large and small tasks.

You may remember a time that you doubted your own self-efficacy, maybe you started a new job, you thought you'd never run a 5k, or that paying your bills on time was just not your strong point! Many times we believe we cannot and then we prove to ourselves that we can. Kids that are gifted often seem to put up cogent, well reasoned arguments that stop them from even trying. In other words, they have learned to not try to challenge their beliefs about self-efficacy. They have learned not to try.

Years ago I read a wonderful poem by Marianne Williamson. It starts off with - "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Imagine what it must be like to believe that. That the fear of shining outweighs the fear of failing, of being smart, of trying. What a burden!

How do we combat that? Connecting with them using and challenging their intelligence is integral to engagement and change. At Berger Counseling Services, we utilize a number of experiential activities, art, play, games and horses. Experiential activities are like puzzles to gifted kids. They have to seek out the solution. This pushes them into their discomfort zone in a safe and playful manner. They get to practice doing, trying, failing and succeeding.

If you have concerns that your gifted child is floundering instead of flourishing, contact us to schedule a free, 15 minute meet and greet in person at our outdoor setting in Parkland or virtually.


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