stress, anxiety and depression

 

Many parents of gifted children relate that their child may suffer from anxiety or depression, or become easily stressed. There are many reasons for this, and looking in more depth at the social and emotional needs of gifted children, including that of emotional overexcitability, and how gifted children differ from same age peers, can help explain why gifted children can be affected by anxiety or become depressed. This article examines just how gifted children can be emotionally vulnerable and/or predisposed to feeling distressed. Anxiety and/or depression can also be attributed to reasons relating to academic resiliency. Gifted children not only sometimes feel isolated from peers, but in the early years of education some children may already know much of the material that is presented to them at school – think of the child who can already read upon entering kindy, or is adept at counting and simple arithmetic; as a result they can tune out, daydream or stop listening to classroom instruction and they are unable to learn good study habits. In this way, when they are presented with challenging academic material they may not be able to engage effectively with it. Gifted kids can often be perfectionists too. This need for things to be perfect, or ‘just so’ may lead to a fear of failure, task avoidance and a resulting sense of anxiety. If your child is a perfectionsist and/or procrastinator then you may find this pdf. useful. If you also consider the fact that many gifted children can be preoccupied with existential concerns at a younger age than most children,  it is no surprise that their minds can become overwhelmed, and symptoms of anxiety and depression can result. This article is a long but worthwhile read that examines the psychological adjustment of gifted children and also offers some coping strategies that children may benefit from to help them deal with intense emotions. Here you can read about how feeling ‘different’ to same age peers can lead to psychological distress, and SENG offers an article explaining how gifted children can be at psychological risk if their academic, social and emotional needs are not met. Sometimes the pain suffered by gifted children, particularly those who have high levels of sensitivity can be difficult to bear for a parent; Stephanie Tolan offers an insightful consideration of the pain sometimes experienced by gifted children.

Stress

Gifted children sometimes suffer from stress. This article from PsychCentral will help you identify signs of stress in your child and offers five  ways to help your kids cope when they are finding things stressful :) . If your child is stressed due to exams or testing then here you can find ways of putting such situations into perspective for your child, teaching them how to keep a healthy perspective on such situations. Leslie Kaplan offers a detailed and insightful article on how to help gifted students with stress management.

Anxiety

Gifted children can sometimes suffer from anxiety, and this article examines what happens when children worry too much, and offers advice on ways to help, including  bibliotherapy. When a child suffers from anxiety school and learning can become problematic; here you’ll find some ideas on how to teach children who suffer from anxiety. Additionally if your child is highly sensitive it is possible that they will suffer from anxiety too; this post offers ways that you can help to soothe the anxiety of a gifted child. And this is an informative pdf. that looks at ways to help gifted children cope with stress and anxiety.

 

Depression

Depression is endemic in our society, and may play a part in the lives of gifted children. Here you can read about how existential depression can play a part in the lives of gifted individuals. This article examines depression in gifted children and how this relates to their sensitivities and also to perfectionism. Adolescence is often a tumultuous time for young adults, and this is a comprehensive article outlining the prevalence of giftedness in highly gifted adolescents. Unfortunately suicidal thoughts can be a reality for some gifted children, and NEAG provides an article that explores ways to deal with such worrying thought patterns. And Sarah Robbins offers some practical advice on how to help gifted children who are suffering with depression.

If your child is struggling with a mood disorder or any aspect of their mental health then seek the help of a professional if you need help to support your child. Reading about giftedness and overexcitabilities can do much to help parents and children understand how things like stress, anxiety and depression can affect the lives of gifted individuals, but never be afraid to ask for support if and when you or your child requires it. On the resources page you will find links to sites and products relating to meditation, bibliotherapy and mindfulness, amongst other things, all of which may provide some relief from disorders such as those above. If you live in Perth you will find information on professionals who may be able to help with these issues on the sites we like page.

 

A great video on anxiety and gifted children: