Gifted Imposters!

Hello to all my fellow quarantined families! I hope that this blog post finds you healthy, happy, and filled with patience (or self-forgiveness for not being patient). Remember- we are all just humans doing the best we can.

On another note, this week’s blog goes out to the parents who have had to convince their child that no one made a mistake when they were identified as gifted- the psychologist didn’t give them only easy questions or accidently score the test incorrectly. They did not trick anyone or fake their way into the gifted program. If they had- they would have been mastermind prodigies, which would be very gifted in itself…

If this is a conversation you have had (or think you should have had), what your child may be experiencing is actually common among intellectual people who doubt themselves. It is a phenomenon called- “imposter syndrome”.

The American Psychological Association describes people with imposter syndrome as, “those who attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than ability, and fears others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.” Imposter syndrome typically goes hand in hand with perfectionism and is characterized by intellectual self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

So- here we have our amazing gifted students, who despite meeting generally the same qualifications for gifted placement feel like they don’t belong with their peers. Why do they feel like imposters?

Well- there might be a few reasons. For one, a common characteristic of giftedness is feeling different from others, they tend to overanalyze their place in home, school, social situations, etc. Another culprit is the tendency for gifted kids to struggle with perfectionism and feeling inadequate if they are not doing everything “right”.

However, it seems that the biggest contributor to imposter syndrome in gifted kids are the common misconceptions of what giftedness looks like. When parents, teachers, and peers believe these misconceptions or myths of giftedness, it can make some students feel like frauds. The National Association of Gifted Children report that common misconceptions/myths about giftedness include the idea that gifted students do not need help-they are fine on their own (intrinsically driven), that they are generally well behaved and make good class tutors/mentors, they always get As, and they are gifted in all areas. Oftentimes, people assume that gifted students will be naturally talented in and love Math and Science or will read many levels above their same age peers or will thrive with extra projects and work.

Yes- there are some gifted students who meet the criteria of all these misconceptions, but so many others don’t. These could become the kids who stop enjoying school, question where they belong, and underestimate the unique talents they possess.

If your child is one of those who has expressed their concern over the validity of their gifted test- look up imposter syndrome together. Almost every student I have discussed this with has been flabbergasted that there is actually a name for how they have been feeling.

Some other tips that can help are:

  • Look up “famous failures” and read about people like Walt Disney and Albert Einstein who didn’t seem “gifted” to others.
  • Remind your child of interesting things they did when they were little that indicated their unique talents.
  • Discuss and work against perfectionism daily- make it a conscious effort.
  • Educate nay-sayers, help inform those who have drastic misconceptions of what giftedness looks like.

Most importantly, I want to wrap this post up with the reminder that your child is more than a label, they are more than an IQ/FSA/GPA/SAT score, they are valued more than their numbers of followers/likes/friends on social media, and they-above all else- need love, kindness, and forgiveness.

I wish you all the best!

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Computer Smashers

Hi Everyone!

The above quote (cheesy kitten and all) goes out to all of you who have envisioned throwing a laptop across the room in the last two days. 


Take a deep breath.


The urge to smash the computers is a natural feeling due to the state of things. Self-control is a limited resource and many of us are tapped out right now.


That’s OK.


Many of you are not just my students’ parents but are also my friends or our kids are friends.  I know that you have stressors outside of the virtual learning conundrum. Some of you are financially dependent on the service and tourism industries in town.  Some of you may have been laid off or have had to lay off staff of your own.  There are some of you who have autoimmune diseases/underlying health conditions, kids with the same or asthma, and/or elderly parents that you are worried about.  All of you are in my thoughts. 

Don’t let the virtual school technical issues be another worry.

If you are approaching a breaking point and your self-control tank is below empty- take another deep breath. Make a short list of things that ARE going well.  Show gratitude for those things.  Now- make a list of the things that WILL go well- be grateful for them before they happen. Manifest it.

As far as our kids and virtual learning goes- here are my tried tips for the week:

  • Go through each course and group (some teachers have both) and make a weekly “To Do” list by class. Don’t forget to check BOTH materials and updates.


  • Make a list of each conference for each day and post it in a visible spot, help your child set reminders in their phones, AND have them write the dates/times in their planners (or one of the digital organizers provided by teachers- ask me if you need one!).


  • Remember- conferences won’t work with Edge or Explorer- you need Chrome or another browser.


  • If you can’t get in the conference- don’t panic! Have your child send the teacher a message to let them know that they are having issues. Most teachers are recording the conferences for later viewing.


  • Be passive aggressive with your child and let them know that if they can’t figure out how to use Office 365, they will probably be living on your couch as an adult- thus making you a failure as a parent. Just kidding. This didn’t help or motivate my kids at all.


Please let me know if I can help in ANY WAY.  If you need someone to talk you through a problem on Schoology or a pep talk to keep you from smashing everyone’s electronics- I am here.


Best of luck and try not to be one of the computer smashers!

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Coronavirus Chaos & the Gifted Brain

So… it has been quite a while since my last blog post.  The new decade presented many obstacles between me and my writing, including a move to a new house, a death in the family, the flu, oh- and now a pandemic.  As a person who consistently takes on too much, finding time to write for fun sometimes feels impossible- especially, it seems, in 2020.

However, what I am writing today is important because there are some of you out there with gifted children who are freaking out. Yep, freaking- I used the F word and I mean every bit of it.  When a morning run is interrupted by no less than 2 panicked phone calls and 3 texts by an 11-year-old who is receiving news about the latest coronavirus update- you know that things are getting real.  The problem is- we can’t keep them in the dark about this one.  Our kids are highly aware of the seriousness of this pandemic.  Stores are low on necessities, favorite parks are closed, sports are cancelled, you can only take out from restaurants, no movie theaters, no beach parking, and most importantly- SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED!

For some kids, this is big- but not Earth shattering. They are looking at it like a long vacation with a few hiccups and less toilet paper.  This may be the case with your gifted child.  They could be that wonderful balance of laid back and brilliant without a care in the world (I have one of those too).  If this is the case with your child- this blog post is not for you, but I would love for you to keep reading to understand the behavior of other gifted kids.

For parents of gifted kids who are freaking out, I don’t have a 100% cure- but I can help you better understand their feelings and behavior.  In the world of giftedness, there are multiple lists of common characteristics that many gifted children share which include being good problem solvers, creative and/or critical thinkers, natural leaders, etc.  In addition to the different characteristics that are typically seen in academic settings, there are also affective characteristics that are seen in social/emotional settings and situations.

Here are some of these characteristics and how they might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Idealism and Sense of Justice– Your child might be frustrated with the politics of the coronavirus and have concerns about how our country and/or other countries in the world are handling medical services, quarantines, social distancing, or job loss.
  2. Unusual Emotional Depth and Intensity– Your child may recognize the emotional effects of the virus and see the potential for negative chain reactions. They may show deep empathy for those affected by the virus as though they are suffering right there with them.
  3. High Expectations of Self and Others & Advanced Levels of Moral Judgement– I put these together because the behaviors of each go hand in hand. Your child might be taking the CDC and coronavirus precautions very seriously.  This could include obsessively washing their hands and refusing to go within 6 feet of anyone. They could get very upset when others are not following the same guidelines and might be outwardly intolerant to those not abiding the “rules” (think- kids who cough excessively and act like they can’t breathe when they see someone smoking).  They could be very upset over the greediness of people buying all the toilet paper or other necessities. It is important that we remind our kids that we need to just assume that everyone is doing their best, but not everyone’s best looks the same.
  4. Strong Need for Consistency Between Abstract Values and Human Behavior– You child might be upset or confused as to why people are acting the way that they are. The typical social norms and dynamics are completely different right now with changes in social behavior like no handshakes or hugging, it can be upsetting to not have the usual form of connectiveness.

If your gifted child has been exhibiting any of these behaviors, the best thing we can do is to listen.  Don’t shut them up or tell them not to worry.  Hear their concerns, let them know they are heard, and help guide them to ways they can process what is happening.  One strategy is to have them document their day to day coronavirus experience in some way- drawing a daily picture, a journal, a video diary, writing a story, creating a timeline, etc.  It is important to let them know that this is history and their documentation will be a part of that.

In the cases of our extreme worriers, starting a daily gratitude practice is a great place to start.  Giving thanks for the coronavirus blessings in disguise could be a good way to see this situation from a different perspective.  You can also use a strategy that is called “possibility vs. probability” where you hear out all the “what if” worries and decide together if they are possible and then if they are probable.  This helps your child see that you are taking their worries seriously and analyzing them together.

I hope that this blog post either makes you grateful you have a laid back child, helps you feel less alone with having a worrying child, and/or provided you with some helpful strategies to deal with this difficult and unusual time in your child’s life.  As always, if you ever need to talk about your specific child’s needs, please reach out- I am here as your gifted consultant and your child’s advocate.

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Teaching Self Love to the Gifted Emotional Messes in Our Lives

Happy Holidays!

We are right in the middle of the season of giving, kindness, and charity. There is a lot of dialogue of how good or bad everyone has been this year and high expectations of our kids to remain cheery and grateful at all times.

On top of the holiday pressures to keep it together, there is also the high stress for our middle and high school students to take their midterm exams (10% of their overall semester grade) and finish up the 2nd quarter assignments and tests. Add in the FOMO (fear of missing out- for those of us who learn slang later than others…) created by social media that makes kids feel like everyone’s life is so much better than theirs and we have an emotional crisis in the making.

Over the last 2 weeks I have had gifted students of all ages come to me in shambles because of some combination of emotional tension at home, academic stress at school, negative comparison of social lives, and/or unrealistic expectations of themselves. On the exterior, we as parents and teachers might see bad attitudes, surly behavior, and lack of motivation (laziness). Unfortunately, on the interior our kids feel insecure, out of control, and flat out not good enough.

Word for word, my gifted students tell me, “I am not good enough.”

Recently I had a high school boy come to my office after I saw him in the hallway looking emotionally worn down. This amazing student said those words to me “I am not good enough”. This is a kid that has an awesome family, a great group of friends, is involved in many extracurriculars, and smiles and waves to his dorky gifted teacher in the hallway EVERY TIME he passes by. I asked him what it is that makes him feel inferior to others and he listed: His sense of humor that others don’t get (gifted trait), his social awkwardness (gifted trait), not trying hard enough in his classes to have the top grades (just getting by with good grades and no effort-gifted trait), not being strong or fast enough in sports (perfectionism-gifted trait), not putting enough effort in music/singing (perfectionism-gifted trait), being reliable-but not working the hardest at his job (perfectionism-gifted trait), and feeling guilty that he isn’t happy with what he has when he knows that others in the world are not as blessed (global awareness-gifted trait).

As you can see, like many other gifted people, this student has a wide range of interests but is feeling like the Jack of all trades, master of none. These feelings of incompetence have given him anxiety which is affecting his sleeping habits, which has affected his energy and resilience, which makes it harder for him to manage his feelings. It becomes a negative cycle.

How many of us are doing this to ourselves? How many of us are racing around to meet unrealistic expectations of life while squeezing in holiday cheer? How many of us are putting these unrealistic expectations on our kids as well?

Personally, I always want to be the best mom, doting wife, favorite teacher, have a clean house, be in amazing shape, be highly educated, connect deeply with friends, and have happy children that show the right amount of gratitude in the right situations- and I do get down on myself when I spread myself so thin that I feel I am barely mediocre in any of these things. Like my students, I have experienced not feeling good enough at times. Don’t worry- there is a light at the end of this tunnel. We can learn and teach strategies to help recognize when we are stretched too thin and are trying too hard to keep up with the Jones’.

Here are some tips that I share with students like the one in the example above:


  • Love yourself where you are at right now. Even if you didn’t meet your previous expectations. If you can’t appreciate yourself now, you won’t be able to appreciate your progress. What I mean is, if you feel like a failure with a GPA of 3.2 and work to get a 3.5, but when you get the 3.5 you might only think you will be happy when you get a 3.7. The same goes with weight loss, will you really be happy with your body if you weigh 5 less pounds? It is okay to want to make changes in our lives, but we can’t start in a place of self-loathing. You will never love yourself more when <fill in with the change you think will make you better> if you can’t love yourself where you are.


  • Teach your kids to brag on themselves to themselves. Have them write down what makes them special and read it often. I don’t mean to have them develop superiority complexes, just to remind themselves that they bring something to the table of life.


  • We are not perfect and if you think that others around you are perfect- you probably don’t know them very well. Teach your kids that social media isn’t an accurate depiction of the lives of others. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Instagram and Facebook can create picturesque holiday vacations and celebrations from an outsider’s perspective, and it might be a good time to log off or have frequent conversations about the above quote. 


  • Choose two areas that you want to improve upon and put your energy there. If we expect to be the best at too many things, we will never make any progress in any of them. This might be better than making a New Year’s resolution. Instead of changing something about yourself, build on one or two things you are already good at. Don’t let the gifted curse of perfectionism get you!

Winter break is just days away- if you have been noticing a decline of self-love and happiness in your household-despite the expectation of holiday cheer- take the time to talk to your kids about loving themselves where they are at. Help them find the good in themselves (and yourself) despite the plates that fell while spinning too many this first semester. Instead of talking about the things they are not good enough in, help them narrow down where they want to improve (no more than two things) and start putting energy there.

I hope you all have a happy and relaxing holiday break.

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Time Management with Gifted Kids, Ugh.

This year, many parents have reached out to me to help their child with time management. A few have been concerned that their gifted child is on the road to underachievement, not being straight forward about their homework and building a steady list of zeros in the gradebook. On the other hand, some parents are worried that their gifted child is taking too much time on assignments and creating unnecessary stress for everyone in their home. These are both extremes in the time management pendulum and while very different, they are equally frustrating as a parent.

There are probably some of you reading this that do not have either of these issues with your gifted child and they magically get all their work done in reasonable timeframes- what a blessing! Giftedness is a spectrum of many traits, both wonderful and maddening. We can’t compare our children’s struggles with their siblings, friends, peers, or anyone else. One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” You have not failed as a parent if your child isn’t doing their homework and your neighbor’s kid is.

Truthfully, if time management is an issue for your child, you are not alone! We live in a crazy, busy world where we start our days intending to do it all and end our days feeling like a tornado picked us up sometime after our morning coffee- then dumping us out at bedtime feeling frazzled and unaccomplished. With a mixture of work, school, sports, theater, clubs, church, appointments, therapy, or whatever combination of activities that your family navigates through weekly, time tends to slip through our fingers. It is no wonder that our gifted kids struggle with time management.

Even without busy schedules, the gifted brain is naturally susceptible to problems with homework which have nothing to do with their ability to do the work. For example, look at some common gifted characteristics and potential difficulties below:

Characteristic Potential Homework Difficulties
Persistent, goal-oriented, and intense on topics of interest Does not put time and energy into topics or assignments that are not of interest
Prefers complex and challenging work Does not want to do mundane or “pointless” assignments that are not worth the homework grade
May possess high energy levels Has a hard time sitting down to do work after school or difficulty focusing
Perfectionism Will do and redo over and over to get just right, or won’t start at all out of fear of failure
Idealism and sense of justice Would rather focus on the unfairness of the homework than take the time to do it


These, and many more characteristics make it hard for our gifted kids to be motivated to get their homework done. Unfortunately, telling teachers that you are too busy or unmotivated will not benefit our kids. So- it may be time to try out some time management strategies.

The first thing that you need to know is that developing new strategies and habits takes support. So, my tips to help your child with time management will require your involvement, especially if they have a history of struggling with executive functioning. In which case, each step should be taught slowly with direct instruction. I have created a basic printable PDF (Time Management Graphic Organizer) that you can use to plan out homework time, or you can use any of the tips below independently. These strategies may not be the answer you are looking for, but hopefully they give you a place to start.

1. Have your child make a list of everything that needs to be done. Go subject by subject and include both daily requirements (e.g. nightly reading) and long-term projects (e.g. science/history fair). If they have no clue of what they need to do or what they are missing, look in HAC for zeros, on Schoology (middle/high), teacher emails/newsletters, email the teacher, or have them call/text a classmate. There are MANY ways to find out- don’t let them fool you into thinking the information is unattainable.

2. Go through the list of assignments together and estimate how long each should take. This is tricky to do at first, but after a few attempts your child should know how long it really takes to write a few decent paragraphs. The best way to get a good idea is to estimate and then time how long each task actually takes. Did it really take an hour to do that project or was it more like 30 minutes? Did you spend 2 hours on something that should have been 20 minutes? Why? This will give you and your child an idea of how much time is wasted or how much longer you needed than you thought.

3. Prioritize the assignments: What is due tomorrow? What is due next week? Do you want to start with easiest or hardest? Do you want to start with shortest or longest time commitment?

4. Add up the entire time commitments. For example: Math HW- 30 min + Study for Science test- 30 min + Rough Draft of Essay- 45 min = 1 Hour and 45 minutes estimated of HW.

5. Consider your child’s extracurriculars for the day. For example: If your child gets home from school at 3:30, goes to soccer practice from 5:30-7, and has bedtime at 9. The only timeframes to get homework done is between 3:30 and 5:15 or 7:15- 8:45.

6. Calculate how much free time your child gets when you subtract extracurriculars and homework. Is it worth wasting that time fighting over doing it? They might even see that they get WAY more free time than homework time. This is especially good for kids who feel like their homework takes up all their time (hence the injustices of it all).

7. Rethink overcommitting your child, even if they beg for it. Gifted kids tend to have many interests and want to pursue all of them. When you look over the estimated homework and the allotted time, make sure there is still free time. Whether they know it or not, a little wiggle room to do nothing is good for kids. This may also alleviate scheduling stress on you.

Yes, this is a lot. Yes, it is frustrating at first. No, it is not guaranteed to work. However, it will give you a good grasp on your child’s time budget and how to help them use it wisely. If you are at your wit’s end with your child’s time management and read this whole post in an act of desperation- please give it a shot. Let me know how it goes or if you have any tips of your own to share!


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Looking For the Good in Our Gifted Kids

There have been a few situations this year that have pulled on my heartstrings and beckoned me to write this post on (in my opinion) the most important aspect of teaching- looking for the good in EVERY child. I know most of you are not teachers, but as parents, you do engage with children that are both yours and not yours daily. Whether teaching, coaching, or carpooling, it is crucial that we take the time to look for the good in the kids we spend time with. Some kids don’t even notice if you like them or not, your approval means nothing. However, highly observant, sensitive, and/or gifted kids will 100% be able to tell if you don’t like them. In fact, they will be able to tell how their teacher feels about them and every child in their class.

Spoiler alert: The gifted child is not immune to being disliked by adults or teachers. Not everyone sees the good in gifted characteristics because sometimes they are, frankly, annoying. There are what we call “concomitant characteristics”, the good and the bad of each gifted characteristic. For example, some gifted children are persistent and can concentrate, so they can focus on a task at length and learn in depth. On the flip side, have you ever tried to get a kid like this to hurry up and change activities? You might be looking at a full-fledged meltdown. One of my own children is an over participator in class like I was as a child (and let’s face it, as an adult too). We both want to answer every question and comment on every personal connection, which can be seen as inquisitive in one light, but disruptive in another. My other child has an amazing sense of humor but can be a class clown if it is not channeled in the right way. It is my hope and prayer that their teachers each year look for the good in my children, because both are the type that will notice when they don’t. This will, inevitably, impact their learning and self-esteem.

As a teacher, it has always been my rule to look for the good in every child in my class. A long time ago, I had a student that challenged this rule daily. He was very bright, but he did not always (or ever) use his knowledge for good. This was the student that knew exactly what buttons to push with every kid in the room and could literally bring my most patient, do-gooders to their last nerve in seconds. He never did anything bad per say, but if chewing noises bothered you- he would chew next to your ear. If pencil tapping was your kryptonite- he was tapping away. If you didn’t like the smell of dirty socks- his shoes would magically fall off right under your nose. Everyday was a new day, but at the end of everyday I was glad to see him go. I was constantly looking for the good, but I am not going to lie, it was hard. Then, one day, there it was. Our classroom was an outdoor portable on cinderblocks, not a slab, so whenever kids were moving- the room was shaking. On the way out to recess on the Friday before a holiday break, there was a surge of excitement and energy and my students were a herd of elephants stampeding to the door, shaking the room like an earthquake. My favorite mug, one in the shape of an owl, a gift from an intern that I adored, vibrated across my desk and shattered on the floor. It was not any single person’s fault, just a natural consequence of the chaotic exit. I sent the class on a short guilt trip explaining that their choices led to the destruction of my mug, but quickly shooed them out to burn off their energy.  Then, this student, this mastermind of annoyances, stayed inside from recess and without my knowing, picked the broken pieces of my mug from the garbage and scotch taped it back together. He presented me with the mug saying, “You can’t drink your coffee out of it, it’s just tape so it will leak. But you can use it for pencils or something and it will still bring you happy memories.” There it was, the good in this child I was looking for, empathy and attention to detail. He knew the mug was special to me just like he knew what bothered everyone around him. He paid close attention to the smallest details. Once I found the good, I could pull it out in academic situations that required this type of hyper focus, looking for patterns in the details in Math, Social Studies, Science, etc. It also turned out that while he knew what got under everyone’s skin, he also noticed when things were amiss with his peers and was quick to point them out to me. He always knew who was missing, sad, hungry, or lying. This student ended up being one of my greatest gifts that year.

Your children and mine are wonderful future adults that are going to change the world with the things that annoy us the most right now. There is darkness and light in every attribute, it is our job to guide their gifts to the light. It is also our job to advocate for our children and help others see the all the good they have to offer. Below you will find some links to helpful documents on the concomitant characteristics of gifted children (1st- origin unknown, 2nd- (Nordby, 2002) . I hope that you will share them with people who work with your child.

Have a wonderful week.

Concominant Behaviors

Characteristics PDF

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Social Anxiety Strategies for You or Your Kids

Hi everyone! We have a long one this week, but if you or your child struggle with social anxiety- it is totally worth the time. Thanks for reading!

One of the most common problems that I encounter each day while consulting with gifted students is a generic form of social anxiety. I say generic because of the different manifestations the anxiety shows itself in. Some gifted students struggle with developing friendships, they feel as though people won’t or don’t like them for who they are. They try to interpret the facial expressions, body language, or voice tones of their peers to determine if they are accepted, ignored, or flat out disliked. Other gifted students have a hard time with their teachers, finding them unapproachable or believing that they don’t like them for some reason. A teacher who assigns a bad grade without much explanation, rearranges seating without notice, or seemingly targets specific students can cause social anxiety to spiral quickly. Due to the tendency for gifted people to be both highly sensitive and able to perseverate at length on true or untrue assumptions, managing any type of social anxiety during the school day can be torturous.

There is no one right solution for social anxiety, however- I would love to share with you all some helpful advice that I have gathered from two of my favorite authors/motivational speakers, Brene Brown and Byron Katie. The tips are in no way a cure for extreme social anxiety, but they are tools that you or your child can choose to try out.

The overanalyzing brain is always trying to make sense of every situation, good or bad, to make the person feel better or understand what happened. Unfortunately, the brain likes to fill in the unknowns of every situation with made up details to create a story for you to believe- even if the story isn’t nice!

For example, a co-worker/classmate/friend makes a weird face in your direction and your brain struggles to find a reason:

Did I say something that made them mad? It must have been yesterday; they didn’t get my joke. They probably told everyone what a jerk I am. I sit with them at lunch, now I will sit alone. I should probably call someone to tell them my side of the story so that I can salvage my reputation. They are so awful to put me through this; I will never be their friend again. I will never have friends again and will be alone forever. I probably deserve it too.

These are what Brene Brown refers to as “silly first thoughts” or “SFTs” and they can take a person on an emotional rollercoaster in seconds. Here’s the thing, there is no proof to any of these stories. The brain is taking the strange face and filling in the rest with negative assumptions. The hard part is, in the moment- the brain can’t analyze these thoughts to sift out what is true or untrue. Brown urges people to write down their SFTs in a private journal before acting on their fears (calling a different friend to tell their side of the story or preemptively sitting alone at lunch). Once you read the thoughts on paper, the brain can recognize the inconsistencies in its story. It is as though the brain takes every uncomfortable situation and turns it into one of those silly math word problems in elementary school that you can’t solve because it is missing key parts but tries anyhow- and trusts its answer! Reading your SFTs can help reduce social anxiety because it allows you to analyze the negative assumptions from outside of your head and see the gaps in facts. In the end, you may just find out the weird face your co-worker/classmate/friend made was about the strange morning they had at home- that they can’t wait to tell you about at lunch.

Another strategy to help with social anxiety that has been especially helpful to me personally comes from author Byron Katie. As a teenager and young adult, I often experienced social anxiety. Showing up to school, work, or what should be fun events where I would be meeting new people was an internal battle that others couldn’t see. Instead, what they saw was a veil of fear that covered my true self. Unfortunately, most people don’t recognize this veil as fear, they perceive it as shy, mean, stuck up, unapproachable, and/or awkward (no denying the awkward though!). In the end, the fear of being unaccepted or judged causes exactly that to happen. Many of my gifted students unintentionally put up this same invisible shield every day due to their own social anxiety. The fear that their teachers don’t like them causes them to seem standoffish or unengaged in class. The fear that a group won’t think they are cool enough causes them to not show the very things that make them awesome. The tip from author Byron Katie that has worked wonders for me (and hopefully for some of my students) is to walk into every situation as if every person already accepts you and adores you. This sounds silly and unimpressively too easy, but it has worked for so many people. Whenever I feel the anxiety rising as I prepare to enter a new classroom with an unknown teacher and students, I pull back the veil of fear and act as though I am already their favorite teacher and co-worker. At the soccer field, when I am standing with a group of parents I don’t know well, I talk to them all as though they have already known and liked me for years. If it happened that in the end, I am not their favorite and they do not like me, I know that I have shown them my true self and it is best that we are not friends if we are not compatible.

So, my advice to gifted students with social anxiety is to write down and analyze their “SFTs”, treat every teacher as though they are already their favorite student, talk to every potential friend as though they are already accepted and loved, and to lift off the veil of fear so they can show their inner light. This is easier said than done and for some, requires A LOT of practice and frequent role playing. Neither strategy is a quick fix, but I will tell you from experience that they can be extremely beneficial in your child’s social anxiety toolbox.

Have a great week!


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Recognizing Self-Control as a Limited Resource


Hello K-12 Gifted Families,

If you are reading this, it means that you subscribed to my newsletter- so thank you!

I don’t know about everyone else, but this start of the school year has been tough, like softball to the face tough, tears every morning before school tough, choking anxiety at bedtime tough… you get the picture.  In our case, it has been a combination of having to get 2 middle schoolers in the school by 7:30 am, over commitments of extracurriculars, and the sheer fact that self-control is a limited resource- for everyone.

As parents, we have to practice self-control in the morning when we are trying to motivate our kids to make it to school on time prepared, clean, and fed.  We go to our jobs or run errands and interact with people all day- none of which we (usually) scream at for cutting us off in the car or relentlessly hitting “reply all” for every work related email they send.  We smile as we carpool with other people’s kids, coach teams, or volunteer.  It’s all fun and rewarding, but challenging to stay positive when things get difficult.

Eventually, unfortunately, the self-control runs out with those we love the most at home-our family.  These are the same kids that have practiced self control all day at school, sitting still, walking in lines, having to ask to use the restroom, trying to be fair on the playground, working in unwanted groups, not calling out in class, doing homework, going to sports/theater/dance/music after school, and having to fit into so many different groups that it would make your head spin.

We come together in the evenings, with our self-control banks empty.  If we are not careful, it can be a recipe for disaster.  If we take every rude comment, grumpy face, or complaint personally and allow every disagreement to escalate, we will not give ourselves time to rejuvenate for another day.  Instead, we need to offer our loved ones grace. You can extend grace to your family by not taking the bait when someone wants to argue with you, listening without offering advice to an angry vent, and finding a moment to express gratitude together.

It can be hard for gifted people to manage their emotions and we tend to over-feel our feelings.  This is one of the more troublesome side of the “gifts” we are given.  I wanted to share this message with you today as a reminder that we are all human and in tough times, like the start of a new school year, we tend to lash out the most on the ones we love.  Take a deep breath, create a mantra reminder when your kids (or spouses) are beasts at the end of the day: “self-control is a limited resource”, and do your best to offer grace, even if throwing plates seems like a better idea.

Happy October!


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