15 Strategies for Managing Your Gifted Child’s Intensities
Everything that makes your children intellectually intense also makes them emotionally intense. These intensities can be difficult to manage as a parent. Once you understand what intensities are and where they come from, you can start implementing strategies to help your child manage these overexcitabilities.
There are many strategies to help your children manage their intensities. Most importantly, it is crucial to help your children achieve balance. Balance does not mean equal time spent. Gifted children do not need to spend equal time on each school subject or on sports and art, but they do need to be able to achieve balance among these activities. Balance can be achieved through exposure to and participation in a wide variety of school subjects, physical activities, and creative endeavors. Whatever helps them achieve balance among their complex intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs is beneficial.
Here are a few ways to help your child achieve balance and manage intensities:
- Encourage a mind-body connection. Yoga is excellent for this.
- Implement quiet reflection time for the whole family. Whatever name you need to give it for it to have a positive connotation, a “time-out” is a good thing for everyone in the family to be able to have.
- Encourage non-competitive physical activity.
- Always remember your child’s answer to the question: “What brings you joy?” Let that guide how you handle situations.
- Help your child practice visualizations. Spinning Inward by Maureen Murdock provides good visualization exercises, especially for young children.
- Teach and model meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Encourage a connection to nature.
- Seek opportunities for growth for your child in all areas of Self: intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
- Encourage your child to develop a range of interests outside of the academic sphere.
- Praise your child, but make sure it is specific and sincere. Gifted children can tell meaningless platitudes from sincere compliments, so make the praise as specific as possible. For example, when praising artwork, say things like, “I like the colors you used in that painting.”
- Talk about emotions with your child early to develop a common vocabulary. This will help communication when intensities become a problem.
- Help your child understand his or her own escalation scale. Know what pushes their buttons and what pushes yours. Gifted children often know very well how to frustrate you. Knowing what pushes your buttons will help you see it coming and be ready for it. Practicing and modeling such self-awareness helps your children, as well.
- Keep calm during emotional outbursts. I know this is easier said than done, but it is very important.
- When things get out of control, keep it about your child’s emotions, not yours. When the situation is over, you can walk away and reflect on your emotions.
- Plan ways for your family to relax, reflect, redirect, and retire.
Every child is different, so some of these strategies may work better than others for your child. These are just a starting place as you begin to understand what helps and what doesn’t.
Implementing some of these strategies to achieve balance and increase communication will help your child manage his or her intensities.
What strategies have best helped your children manage their intensities? Please share with us in the comment section below!
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