The Tragedy of the “Gifted” Kid

If you’ve heard of the term “gifted kid”, it’s probably in relation to children exceptional at STEM or with extraordinary talent in the arts. However, this term applies to a wide spectrum of children who perform extremely well in certain spheres for their age. They also seem to do this with little to no effort at all. They are often tagged as brilliant or geniuses at a young age. They might also jump classes or go to special schools. However, it’s important to shed light on the dark side of their “gift” that the society often doesn’t pay attention to.

The National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) defines gifted individuals as “those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains. This of course fits well for the STEM and Art geniuses but the child that gets excellent grades without exerting much effort or the one who does poorly in all school work except one might fall in this category as well.

In an article published by Davidson institute on Gifted kids, other characteristics of gifted children are said to include few or all of the following: a strong sense of curiosity, quirky sense of humour, creative problem-solving skills and imagination and quick absorption of information.

The curse of the gifted.

The gifted child peaks the world’s curiosity and adoration as a kid but is eventually left high and dry as an adult. In many instances, their talent is milked dry while blatantly neglecting all the other aspects of their human development. The transition from childhood to adulthood hits hard as with other children experiencing puberty and it brings with it a cocktail of problems that gifted children might not be prepared to grapple with.

The world is fascinated by the gifted child, but highly critical of the gifted adult. Schools jump them through classes with glee but fail to notice their distractedness, and inability to read or calculate numbers which are symptoms indicative of disorders like dyslexia, autism and ADHD. Psychologists and psychiatrists look at their records/grades and conclude that they have no reason to be bipolar or depressed. Everyone’s focus is on “harnessing” and “exploring” their young talent and they’re forced to suppress anything that doesn’t contribute to that.

Most gifted kids do not get a chance to learn life support systems as other children do. These suppressed deficiencies sooner or later erupt to make very confused adults who find themselves struggling with life. The more self-aware the kid is, the harder it is to get help for their problems. As they emerge into full-fledged adults, giftedness and its comorbid attachments fortunately or unfortunately persist causing major hitches.

They grow into an adult world that does not have any place to fit their divergent brain. Unique characteristics that made them gifted as children do not help them blend well into society. They struggle with social interactions, work systems and routines, following orders and managing to always stand out like a sore thumb. In underdeveloped countries, they’re the golden children burnt out from being overburdened with too many expectations. In developed countries, the school system is accommodative yet borderline exploitative of them and their talents. So there’s inevitable failure whether their “gifts” are harnessed or not.

Since the gifted kid is known to be good at something or everything. They never learn to seek help. Their mates also do not bother to offer them help since they were or still are at the top of the class. Any failure on their part is met with the concern of just not “applying themselves” so they get stuck in a cage of shame. Their complaints are dismissed and misunderstood. They are at risk of being tagged as ungrateful or lazy. So, they hold it in and fall into severe burnout, depression and other mental disorders, even to the extent of contemplating or committing suicide.

Being born unusually curious or smart just means a better ability to learn certain things, but everybody assumes giftedness implies overall perfection. This makes them miss out on learning crucial foundations because they grasp more complicated aspects. According to a YouTube video titled “Why gifted kids are actually special needs” by healthgamerGG who is a gifted kid themself, we should start to treat gifted kids as special needs kids so that in expanding on their ingenuity, we do not totally neglect the areas where they definitely lack.

Sa’eedah Hussein

Related Articles

2 thoughts on “The Tragedy of the “Gifted” Kid”

  1. It’s funny how I just watched the video on gifted kids not too long ago and I’m coming across it here.

    This is quite an interesting read. The society should come to know that gifted kids are special needs kids.

  2. I think you should back your write up with statistics, studies and research publications.
    You left me wondering if these information were totally cooked up or imagined

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *