Many gifted kids are diagnosed with or thought to have behavioral problems before anyone realizes they are acting out due to their high level of intellect. Children who are smarter than their peers may be bored in class, for example, leading them to not pay attention or to misbehave. This may come off as a sign of ADHD or even earn the child a reputation as a delinquent until the origin of their behavior is understood. Here are some signs that teachers and parents may misconstrue as bad attitudes instead of giftedness:
Kids who are smarter than average are also often highly emotional. They may take little conflicts and turn them into big problems. For example, if a group of children didn't invite a gifted boy to sit with them at lunch, the boy may bawl or throw a tantrum thinking they hate him. In reality, the kids likely had no ill will and simply assumed the boy would sit with them and didn't require an invitation. These heightened feelings can lead to misunderstandings with classmates, overreactions with teachers and major difficulty taking constructive criticism. Gifted children may earn the reputation of being dramatic when they truly can't help that they genuinely feel things more than their peers.
Low academic performance
While it sounds counterintuitive, many gifted kids don't do well in school. They have the brains to tackle all their homework, tests and projects with ease, but they may not feel the need to participate. Gifted children sometimes don't do the work because they already know the information and have moved on to more difficult subject matter. Some of these students also have trouble with authority, so they act out in defiance of their teachers. As a parent this can be particularly frustrating to watch. Knowing your kids are capable of excelling but they are choosing not to can be a major issue. This is why it's important to work with your children and their teachers to ensure the kids are being challenged in class and therefore feel the need to partake.
Gifted kids are on both sides of bullying. Some feel that their intelligence entitles them to rule over their same-age peers. Their smarts can give them a sense of power that may lead to hurting other kids' feelings or even bossing them around. Other gifted kids are the victims because they feel different and don't stand up for themselves. Gifted children who take classes with older kids are especially prone to this possibility as the older students may see gifted kids as a threat and pick on them. Parents and teachers should look for signs of bullying by seeing how gifted kids are treated and how they react around their peers. Also, look for any physical signs like bruises or stolen phones. Kids may bully smart students into doing their homework for them, too, so be sure to talk with your gifted children daily to ensure they are not involved in bullying.