Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gifted Children and Social Behavior

There's no doubt, gifted children march to the beat of a different drum, especially when it comes to social behavior. You'll remember from our previous blogs that gifted children aren't motivated by the same things that motivate other children. This might often be most readily apparent with their social behavior, including who they select as friends.

Gifted children will pick friends who not only possess the same interests as they do, but also who are their intellectual peers. Basically, gifted children tend to seek out other gifted children to hang out with (so it could be said that one way to determine if your child is gifted is whether they befriend other gifted children).

Because their selection of peers might tend more toward intellectual capacity, gifted children might not recognize normal social barriers and see no problem befriending adults and discussing with them topics that might pose challenging even between two adult peers. One of our favorite stories of our own son is that, at about 10, he had no problem discussing the biology of human reproductivity at dinner out one night with another couple, including details of how "squirms" (he meant the plural of sperm) were able to swim on their way to fertilization. The gifted child is comfortable with discussing the facts with anyone willing to listen!

Just as there are differences in types of intelligences (and perhaps directly related to these differences), social behavior can differ among gifted children. Our son was (and still is) highly selective with his friends, and their play tended more toward intellectual pursuits than otherwise (exploring rather than playing, building and constructing rather than exercising). Our daughter, on the other hand, was (and still is) much less selective but much more creative and representing much more complex relationships. If you haven't guessed, our son tends to be more analytically gifted while our daughter tends toward creatively gifted.

There may be some truth to the stereotype of the antisocial super-intelligent child (or adult, for that matter), but it's less a matter of antisocial behavior and more a matter of fewer and fewer intellectual peers for them to interact with. They are, after all, in the thinning end of the IQ bell curve. This is another reason why we believe so strongly in gifted education: it gives the gifted child more opportunity to identify intellectual peers.

Students software at 85% off!

No comments:

Post a Comment