I have an 8yr old highly gifted boy who has some social behaviours that I am not sure would be considered "normal". As we have never had any contact with other gifted children it is hard to know if it is just something that I am going to have to accept.
He seems to live in his own little world and is completely oblivious to others around him. He is constantly talking and if he has something he needs to share of ask he just has to say it, too bad if you are talking to someone else. If you ignore him he just gets louder and louder. When he is talking to his classmates or other children and they either don't "get" him or show no interest in what he is saying he gets closer and closer, Louder and Louder, to the point of being right in their faces yelling. I don't know if it's just he is so into what he is trying to say or that he can't pick up on the fact that they aren't interested in what he has got to say. Also when we go into an enviroment that isn't about him ie taking his sister to her afterschool activities he immediately starts acting up making silly noises and trying to get the attention on himself. He is also like that at his own activities. Then there is the constant hands down the pants which drives me absolutely crazy. i also notice that when he is asked a question he immediately turns away from them or looks down and answers.
These are just a few off the top of my head. I don't know if these are common issues with the gifted child or is there sommething more going on or are they just horrible learned behaviour. Then bodes the question of how do you change the behaviour? I get very anxious when we are out and about as I feel like I am being judged as a bad mother with little control over her child and as we are going it alone we don't have others around who understand where we are coming from and the issues we are faced on a daily basis.
My son (5yrs) does almost exactly the same talking thing you mentioned. He seems to have the most urgent and compelling need to say whatever it is he needs to say, often just 'stuff' not anything that I would call important :)
I used to wonder if this was something to do with my son's hearing (big issues for a long time) but having worked with gifted kids, and now hearing your experiences, I wonder if it is related to over-excitabilities / intensities. Could be a combination of having pressing need to get ideas across / understood and some learned behaviour? I don't have any answers sorry, I tend to tune out a lot (bad mother moments!)
Hi, Not wanting to scare you or anything, but have you considered that he might have Aspergers? I'm reading a book about children with Aspergers and the personality traits you describe fit it to a tee.
Hope you find your answers.
Thanks for your replys. Sonia yes it has crossed my mind but not sure that he fit's the Asperger's mould. I have thought about goning to the Dr to see if there is anyway I can get him seen by someone. Not only to rule out anything going on but also to try and find out if there is anyone out there who can help me on ways to "parent" him. I am really at a loss as to what to do with him in many ways. I am really starting to struggle with it all. As he gets older and his behaviour is acceptable for his age I get more and more stressed about it. I am beginning to notice that adults around him accept him less and he gets upset by this. I also think that the hard thing is we don't have any contact with anyone who is dealing with similar issues so it is often a very lonely difficult road to travel.
Meand3, i had similar concerns with my son, who is gifted and has mild asperger's. And although i'm not trying to imply your son also has asperger's, i would strongly suggest you go and see your doctor about your concerns. Getting our son assessed (and subsequently getting the aspie diagnosis) was the best thing that happened for him and us. It did two things for us. Firstly, it meant his teachers changed their attitude towards him, finally understanding that certain behaviours weren't about him trying to cause trouble or be difficult. Secondly, it opened up doors for us in terms of getting the help he needed in coping with certain situations. Regardless of whether there is a 'label' that applies to your son you should be able to get advice on where to go for help for the behaviors that concern you.
Not all that sure of what "normal" is myself. My daughter is not able to look people in the face when they ask her a question - she will fidget, look away, jump around or just totally ignore them. She finds people often ask questions that just have too many answers so we have practised some standard answers. She struggled with something as simple as "How are you today?" as she didn't know how much information they really wanted so instead acted silly. I finally got her to realise that "fine thank you" was an adequate answer - they didn't really want to know every minute detail of her day. She still (now 12 years old) has trouble making eye contact but is able to function reasonably normally.
No experience with hands down pants but guess it is just figetting - could you get him something else to fiddle with that is more socially acceptable.
Good luck - it sounds like you have your hands full.
Go easy on yourself. The expectations on our children's behaviour has got out of hand. Your son is your son - remember all the fantastic things about him.
My husband finds it really hard to look people in the eye, and I found this extremely irritating and embarrassing at first. But, as we talked more about it, I learnt about the cultures where it is rude to look people in the eye, and as the subject came up I came to know more and more adults for whom eye contact is hard. Now I realise he is who he is, and his not looking people in the eye is actually nice for some people, because they don't want to be looked at. Different cultures decide what normal is, and if your son was in another culture, this part of him would be accepted and cherished. My husband, in the last few years, has also practised looking people in the eye for the times that it really matters.
I think almost everyone would be given a label if they were diagnosed, so don't shy away from professional help. But the labels are a tiny part of the person, and their only use is in helping you to understand and seek help. I know aspie boys from calm homes who radiate calm good manners, and "normal" children from explosive unbalanced homes with explosive personalities. Just as dyslexic children can find reading and writing excrutiating, so school and life unravels for them, or they can find the academics fine, but remembering how to sequentially get themselves ready to go somewhere is agonisingly hard.
I would shy away from behavioural psychology, and enjoy a book like "Unconditional Parenting" (sorry if you've seen me recommend that before). Maybe some gentle discussions and encouragement and maybe fun role-playing could help your son slowly begin to respect that other people are concentrating on something else.