One of the most challenging things about parenting a gifted child is that your child's personality can sometimes be unique. Also, gifted children often experience strong emotions. They may feel frustrated, angry, or bored, and these feelings can lead to emotional outbursts. The root cause of this is the fact that gifted children are often not given the opportunity to fully express themselves and their emotions are often suppressed by other people in their lives.
What is an emotional outburst?
An emotional outburst is a term used to describe the sudden and intense outbursts of emotion experienced by gifted children. It can be likened to a burst of anger, usually with little or no warning, and often in response to something so trivial that it shouldn't be the cause for such an extreme reaction.
Gifted children are often described as having high levels of intellect, but this does not mean they don't also have emotional issues. In fact, gifted children tend to have high levels of emotional intelligence, which means they are able to understand and express their feelings in a way that others can understand them. But for some reason, gifted children don't always understand their own feelings or understand how others feel about things—and when this happens, an emotional outburst can occur without warning or explanation from the child themself.
These outbursts may include:
- Loud, angry yelling
- Running away from home or school
- Throwing things
- Blocking other people around them (including adults)
- Refusing to do homework or work on projects
Parents need to understand that these emotions are normal for gifted children. They also need to learn how to manage them effectively so that they don't negatively impact their child's learning environment or social life.
How parents can help
Here are some tips for helping your gifted child deal with the emotional outburst:
1. Keep a journal
To better understand what’s behind the outburst, note it in your journal. Some episodes may be different from the past so it is better to jot down each outburst. Gifted children usually experience emotions more intensely than others but it could vary for every experience. This might be handy when the time comes when you seek professional help for you and your gifted child.
2. Be the friend they need
Talk with your child about what happened when they erupted in anger or frustration earlier in the day. Listen carefully to what your child said about what made them feel so upset—was it something specific? Did they argue with another person? Did they get into trouble at school? Ask questions about what was going through their mind during these times, so that you can better understand why.
3. Introduce the Breathing Technique
There are free tutorial videos that you can find on the internet about ‘Meditation’ or ‘Breathing Technique.’ This is a great way to teach your gifted child to control their emotions before bursting out. Also, breathing exercises help our mind and body calm down.
4. Acknowledge their feelings
Don’t tell your gifted child that they’re overreacting or ask them to stop acting like a child when they’re having an emotional outburst. Tell them that their feelings are valid and let them know
that you’re there if they want to talk about it more. Also, make them understand that you won’t leave them alone after hearing something upsetting again and again. To a gifted child, the world is vivid and to the point of being almost overwhelming.
5. Practice appropriate discipline
We all want to fully nurture our gifted children, and one of the most important things we should establish at home is age-appropriate discipline. This is the consistent application of our values and rules as parents and adults. Explain to them the consequences of good and bad behavior. Furthermore, you can enforce it with a reward system.
Gifted children need to take care of themselves emotionally as well as physically by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. As we know, gifted children usually have high IQs and often have an emotional intensity that is much higher than other kids. Gifted children have a different way of seeing things and often feel misunderstood. Let them understand that this is a strength, not a weakness.
- Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Child psychiatry. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/child-psychiatry
- Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). The drama of The gifted child. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/suffer-the-children/201206/the-…
- WebMD. (2000, August 15). The anxious child. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20000815/anxious-child