15 Strategies for Managing Your Gifted Child’s Intensities

Help your gifted child achieve balanceEverything 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:

  1. Encourage a mind-body connection. Yoga is excellent for this.
  2. 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.
  3. Encourage non-competitive physical activity.
  4. Always remember your child’s answer to the question: “What brings you joy?” Let that guide how you handle situations.
  5. Help your child practice visualizations. Spinning Inward by Maureen Murdock provides good visualization exercises, especially for young children.
  6. Teach and model meditation and relaxation techniques.
  7. Encourage a connection to nature.
  8. Seek opportunities for growth for your child in all areas of Self: intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
  9. Encourage your child to develop a range of interests outside of the academic sphere.
  10. 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.”
  11. Talk about emotions with your child early to develop a common vocabulary. This will help communication when intensities become a problem.
  12. 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.
  13. Keep calm during emotional outbursts. I know this is easier said than done, but it is very important.
  14. 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.
  15. 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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4 responses to “15 Strategies for Managing Your Gifted Child’s Intensities

  1. Thank you! You have taken the thoughts right out of my head…as an Aspie and parent of 2 Aspies, these are strategies I have been taught by many professionals and struggle to use each and every day because they do work and when I use them appropriately, they DO work! Thank you! 🙂

    • That is great to hear, Lisa! Sometimes a list of strategies makes it sound like this is an easy challenge to work with, but it is not! It is wonderful that you are able to remind yourself of these strategies often – and that they work. Integrating as many of these as possible into your family routine will help make it easier over time, as well.

  2. MyTwiceBakedPotato

    This is a fabulous list! Thank you for sharing it! There were some new strategies for me to try. We talk and do lots of social coaching around how big a problem really is…we role play situations during dinner.

    Our son is becoming surprisingly reflective and when the emotions cool down, he is able to do far more sharing than a year ago.

    We also did work with Dr. Steven Curtis about creating “his story” which reminds him about his gifts and challenges that he works on.

    Thank you for this post!! I believe that you might really enjoy our story too!

    • We’re so glad you liked the list! It is great that your son has been able to work through his intensities to really understand his emotions. Role playing sounds like a great strategy for this, as well. Thank you for sharing that.

      P.S. I subscribed to your blog and look forward to hearing more of your story!

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