More about giftedness
The special talents and abilities of gifted people not necessarily lead to a corresponding academic performance or towards professional success. For a gifted child with a great sense of freedom and the desire for independent learning, adapting into school life can be a great challange. Repetitions, the passive intake of facts as well as the lack of appropriate mental stimulation can have a negative influence on motivation and curiosity. In their school career and professional life, gifted people often have the feeling of not reaching their full potential and are dissatisfied in conventional structures or professions despite outer sucess. The more difficult and complex a task, the easier it is for gifted people to solve it. The more independently they are allowed to work, the more effective and motivated they are.
Continuously underchallanged children however, often behave inappropriately towards themselves and others. When feelings of dissatisfaction or disappointment are directed towards the outer, this can lead to aggressive behaviours, or to a regression into more childish and age-inappropriate behaviours. Directed towards the inner, agitation and emotional imbalance, anxiety and depression, disordered sleep or other somatic symptoms may arise in consequence. Gifted children have the same psychological needs as their agemates. Not rarely, parents or teachers unintentionally expect the degree of emotional maturity or psychic resilience that would normally correspond to the intellectual abilities the child shows.
The social integration, that gifted children need to achieve, particularly throughout their school lives, is tremendous. With their directness and willfullness, their sense of freedom and inquiring mind, as well as their love for precision and argumentativeness, they often recieve negative feedback despite good intentions. Gifted people are commonly empathic, sensitive and socially oriented. As agemates often do not share their personal interests or leisure activities, however, gifted children may have difficulties establishing long-term peer relationships or rather seek friendships with older children.
In gifted children and adolescents, the desire to belong to the peer group is an important reason for underachievement, that is, a performance below one’s actual abilities. Many gifted people hide their talents and potentials way into adulthood in order to be accepted as „normal“, and have difficulties openly showing their talents due to unpleasant interpersonal experiences such as mobbing.