TIDBIT # 30-Eliciting Cooperation From Your Intense Gifted Child

November 21, 2023

Navigating the world of parenting an intensely gifted child brings its own set of distinctive challenges, one of which revolves around eliciting cooperation. The intensity and depth of their intellectual capabilities can manifest in unique behavioral traits that may present hurdles in fostering collaboration and compliance. While the brilliance of an intensely gifted child is awe-inspiring, it often comes hand in hand with a strong sense of independence and a voracious thirst for exploration. In seeking cooperation, parents of these exceptional children find themselves in a delicate dance, aiming to strike a balance between nurturing their child’s intellectual curiosity and instilling a sense of responsibility and cooperation. We might find ourselves wondering how to motivate our gifted students. This delicate task involves understanding the intricate interplay between their advanced cognitive abilities and the emotional nuances that underlie their intense personalities, all with the ultimate goal of fostering a harmonious and cooperative parent-child relationship.

Gaining cooperation from an intensely gifted child can be challenging but highly rewarding. Here are some strategies for use with gifted students to foster cooperation and create a positive environment for their growth and development:

1. **Respect and Empathize**: Understand that gifted children can have unique needs and sensitivities. Show respect for their individuality and emotions. Empathize with their struggles and frustrations, and acknowledge their feelings.

2. **Effective Communication**: Communicate with them openly and honestly. Explain why certain rules or expectations are in place and why cooperation is important. Be willing to listen to their perspective and concerns.

3. **Set Clear Expectations**: Clearly define what you expect from them in terms of behavior, responsibilities, and goals. Gifted children often respond well to structure and understanding of their role.

4. **Provide Choices**: Offer them choices whenever possible. Gifted children tend to have strong opinions and preferences. Giving them some control over their decisions can help them feel more cooperative.

5. **Challenge and Engage**: Keep them mentally stimulated and engaged. Gifted children often thrive when they are intellectually challenged. Encourage their interests and provide opportunities for growth.

6. **Positive Reinforcement**: Praise and reward their efforts and accomplishments. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator for any child, but especially for a gifted child who might strive for excellence.

7. **Respect Their Independence**: Gifted children often value their independence and autonomy. Allow them some freedom to explore their interests and learn in their own way, as long as it’s safe and appropriate.

8. **Encourage Social Interaction**: Gifted children may benefit from social interaction with peers who share their interests and abilities. Encourage participation in clubs, groups, or activities that align with their passions.

9. **Individualized Learning**: If appropriate, consider individualized learning plans or gifted education programs. These can help tailor their education to their unique needs and interests, making cooperation with educational tasks more likely. Scholars Academy for the Gifted can provide this for your family.

10. **Model Behavior**: Be a role model for the behavior you want to see. Gifted children often learn by example, so demonstrating cooperation and respect in your interactions with them and others can be influential.

11. **Seek Professional Guidance**: If your child’s giftedness is accompanied by challenges such as perfectionism, anxiety, or other emotional or behavioral issues, consider seeking guidance from a child psychologist or counselor who specializes in gifted children.

12. **Be Patient**: Gifted children may be highly sensitive and perfectionistic, which can lead to frustration. Be patient and understanding when they encounter obstacles or struggle with tasks.

Remember that every gifted child is unique, so it’s essential to adapt your approach based on their individual needs and temperament. Building a supportive, nurturing, and understanding relationship is key to gaining their cooperation and helping them thrive. And, give yourself grace. Parenting an intense, gifted child is no easy task and there is never a moment when you are “off duty”. Celebrate your wins, big and small, and remember that you are making a positive difference in your child’s life. Find out more about how Scholars Academy uses these strategies to motivate gifted students at https://scholarsacademy4thegifted.org/

Dr. Laura Lowder

Director & Curriculum Coordinator

K-12 AIG, K-12 Reading Specialist, Dyslexia Structured Reading Therapist (in progress)

National Board Teaching Licensure

Scholars Academy for the Gifted & Artistically Elite

Professor of Education, Pfeiffer University

Mom of 5 highly-gifted, twice-exceptional children, 4 who are thriving at SA4theGifted & 1 who is thriving at UNC-Chapel Hill