Addressing an angry gifted child

Gifted children often experience heightened emotions. Teachers and parents hold them to higher standards than peers of their age because of their high IQs, and that can lead to anger. While these kids are smart, they are also still kids and can buckle under the pressure their families and teachers place on them to succeed. When your gifted child gets angry, how do you deal with it? Here are some tips:

Acknowledge the anger
If you've ever witnessed a tantrum, you may understand the temptation to simply pretend it's not happening until the situation calms down. While this reaction may seem like a good idea, this can actually show children that you don't care about their feelings. Instead, let the child know that you understand his or her anger. The Davidson Institute for Talent Development recommended telling the child that it's OK to be angry. By acknowledging these feelings, you show empathy, an important trait for all people to develop.

Don't become angry
In some situations, you may find your voice rising and temper flaring to match that of your child. This is often counterproductive and can even lead to screaming matches that leave both parties feeling worse. In the event that your gifted child is angry, make sure to rein in your emotions to emanate a sense of calm. Show the child you are listening and care about this feeling. Even if something happened that could make you mad as well, it's important to stay neutral and be respectful of your child and avoid blowing up emotionally.

Discuss your feelings
Michelle Borba, an education consultant, told Parents.com that many kids become angry because they are frustrated and aren't yet able to discuss their real feelings. If your gifted child is quick to get mad, you may need to discuss other emotions. Children often exhibit the same level of anger for both small and big things that upset them. For example, a child may get red in the face and scream over a lost backpack and if a sibling steals a toy. In an adult, these happenings would incite varying degrees of anger. A temporarily displaced bag is not as big of a deal as stolen property, and a grown-up can normally show emotions relative to these instances. You can teach your child how to show emotions by discussing different feelings like being mad, frustrated, angry and irritated. Then, the child can better label his or her feelings and explain what's upsetting.

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