Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gifted 9 yr old wants more freedom

In reading your article on the topic, I understood some of the underlying issues with children can often stem from having learning disabilities. Our 9 year old son presents as a child with anger overload, but actually is very bright, likely gifted- although I am resistant to having him tested. 

Are there examples and guidelines in your manual on how to deal with this type of child? We are challenged by his outbursts that are often triggered by our objecting to him engaging in activity that we feel is way above his age level, not allowing him the types of freedoms that are generally reserved for teens and pre-teens and his vehement protests to treatment toward him he feels is unjust (generally compared to his brother or others in his peer group). He has huge issues with our authority but thankfully it does not permeate into his school surroundings, Rather he has decided school, in general, offers him little and his teachers are, well...'dumb'. We are challenged every day. I'm hoping your book can assist us in putting a realistic approach in place that can help moderate his outbursts and help him cope until he matures to the point where his somewhat advanced mind catches up with his young body.

Hi,  First, what I would recommend is keeping track of what rules he feels are unjust.   What kind of freedoms does he want?  In other words, what are the issues he is getting angry about?

Then you would either try to anticipate these issues, and let him know ahead of time what the plan will be, or use "emotional distraction" (a technique discussed in the first half of my parents' manual and in other posts on this blog) to try to prevent outbursts.  You want to try to avoid a back and forth argument.  

In the second half of my book, I write about teaching your child new skills to cope with anger.  Here you want to teach your child self-observation skills and teach him about other points of view.  In my manual I give examples of how to do this.  One other technique to consider is to teach your child how to compromise.  Is there some part of what he is asking for that you would consider it he would lower his expectations?  This kind of discussion is best when everyone is calm, not in the midst of an argument.

You mention your son is bright, but also you bring up the topic of learning disabilities (LD). Does your son have a learning disability that is contributing to his outbursts?  If so, you would want to work with his school to address the LD issue, as this would likely help him deal with his anger better. 

Take care, David Gottlieb, Ph.D.  

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