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Learning No Fun for Gifted Nine-Year-Old
Q: Our nine-year-old, who has been the subject of awe and attention, wishes she wasn't so intelligent. She also wishes she was with her age peers in school, even though she wants to be with her intellectual peers for the challenging interaction.
We try to provide for age-peer relationships. She seeks relationships with older children while wanting to remain in the fun-loving atmosphere of younger children. She complains that older-grade learning is "no fun" and wonders why she can't have the "fun" that she had when she younger. Do you have any suggestions to help her feel good about being intelligent and to understand that learning might not always have a "fun" component?
A: Your gifted nine-year-old is at the stage where she wants to be like other kids, and you are wisely providing her with time for age peers. Her older classmates are entering puberty and may be heading towards social relationships she has no interest in yet. That's why they're "no fun."
I would recommend The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (for Ages 10 and Under) by Free Spirit Publishing. It will provide her with an age-appropriate understanding of her giftedness, and give her some good ideas for not giving up on learning just yet. Good luck.
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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.