Angry children don’t rage for anger’s sake. Rather, their behavior is a symptom of a deeper issue. Here’s a close look at the anatomy of an angry gifted child, plus suggestions for helping her cope.
I have angry kids.
They are also brilliant, sensitive, loving, and empathetic, but those things don’t garner the attention of authority figures in a school or enrichment class.
- Hitting the art teacher.
- Telling a fellow student to “bug off, you black-hearted maggot.”
- Responding to direction with “you can’t force me to do anything.”
- Throwing a glass figurine across the room so it breaks.
Yep. Nothing makes you question your parenting ability (read: sanity) more than a child who’s the perpetrator in an incident report.
Or a child who makes you flinch. Or makes your fingers hover over the dial pad of your smartphone.
But I’ve learned something over my years of parenting – the rage is never anger for anger’s sake. Rather, it’s a first line defense for a much deeper emotion.
Punishment doesn’t do anything. It’s understanding and forgiveness that does.
Anatomy of an Angry Gifted Child
The word “gifted” is a misnomer. It’s not a gift so much as it is a difference, a biological variation from the norm. Brain scans of gifted individuals have revealed startling information: neural pathways (or “hubs” as scientists refer to them) tend to be denser in individuals with higher IQ levels. The denser the neural hub, the more efficient the processing of information: such scans are physical evidence of a gifted person’s increased processing speed.
But the brain is a complex organ, and even one small deviation can have a cascading effect. I often try to explain it in terms of planting a vegetable garden: if I’ve only got so much acreage, I’m going to watch my spacing, right?
What happens, though, if I’ve got a whole bunch of carrots, and I’ve put them among broccoli seedlings? When my plants start growing, one of those two is going to crowd the other. I might end up with a beautiful crop of carrots amidst struggling shoots of broccoli.
Now in this particular garden of mine, I know the broccoli will grow.
But it will be slower, more deliberate than its bold orange counterpart. This is how I look at my gifted children’s brain development.
They’ve got a whole heck of a lot of carrots growing like gangbusters. The broccoli? It’s in there, but there are signs it’s not doing as much – yet.
I realize it’s an unscientific analogy, but I’m a writer, so really, what do you expect? The point I’m trying to make here is that a gifted child’s brain grows differently. This is going to have lasting developmental effects.
It starts with Asynchronous Development, and yes, this really is a thing.
While a gifted child’s brain erupts in leaps and bounds in some areas, other areas follow an average or below average progression. You might have an 11 year old ready for high school level academics, but socially and emotionally, she’s roughly two to three years below grade.
Then we take into consideration the likelihood of sensitivities.
Gifted children think, feel, and react more deeply to every sense and situation: sounds are louder, smells are stronger, and emotional reactions can be off the charts.
Together, asynchronous development and overexcitabilities have a major impact on emotional regulation. It is difficult for a child to navigate big feelings under the best of circumstances. Imagine trying to do so while under direct sensory and emotional assault.
Enter the anger.
Want to Have Your Heart Broken? Take a Close Look at an Angry Gifted Kid
Angry kids don’t want to be angry. They don’t want to lash out, hurt feelings, or be rude. In my children’s experience, it’s a symptom of a larger problem. They aren’t hateful, spiteful, or the least bit vindictive. They’re actually caught in the throes of an emotional trigger and unable to manage the feelings they’re experiencing.
Common Emotional Triggers for Angry Gifted Kids
Anxiety and anger are strange bedfellows because one would assume they exist in opposition. I know I did, which meant getting to the bottom of my daughter’s struggles took much longer. We’d had a host of broken toys and all-out screaming matches before I finally got it.
The connection between anger and anxiety lies in the fight or flight response. Most people tend to freeze in the face of great anxiety. In gifted kids, the emotion is frequently stifled until the child finally erupts.
The desire for perfection is killer. Case in point: two weeks ago, a dance teacher demanded my eldest leave the classroom. Turns out the precipitating incident was actually related to a missed audition. My daughter was berating herself inwardly; the dance teacher simply asked her to get up off the floor.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about self-advocacy, but my poor kiddo was immersed in a really bad case of self-deprecation. How was she supposed to tell an adult her most inward, private failings? She lashed out rather than ask for a moment to collect herself, and just like that she was out the door.
Gifted kids know they are different. They know they stand out, and they know people make assumptions. Can you imagine being 10 years old and telling a new friend what you learned about the Hadron Collider?
I didn’t think so. That loneliness takes time to sort out.
Because children are unique and unrepeatable, there are more triggers than those listed above.
You may find your child struggles with one or more of the following:
- Gifted children have a heightened sense of justice. They can feel overwhelming frustration when they sense someone has been wronged.
- Gifted children can be highly empathic. Some soak up tension like a sponge.
- Gifted children can struggle with impatience. It is difficult to keep your cool when the rest of the world can’t keep up.
A child’s angry outburst is a cry for help. As parents, we’re responsible for passing on the coping skills that will help our children thrive:
- Tell your child the truth about perfectionism. Help her see perfection as perseverance, as becoming the person she’s been created to be.
- Teach and model emotional awareness. Talk through your own patterns of escalation and how you work to disarm yourself.
- Set firm limits. Use phrases like, “I know you are angry right now, and it’s okay to be angry, but (hitting/kicking/throwing/etc) isn’t acceptable in our home.”
- Accentuate the positive. Find and celebrate the moments your child exhibits positive emotional regulation.
- Teach empathy through modeling, especially with your child’s emotions.
- Offer an arsenal of calm down tools (movement, journaling, music, and the like).
- Provide opportunities for choice and ownership. Help your child make amends for things said and done in anger and teach them to view it as a positive step.
- Work on a growth mindset to ease the fear of failure.
- Front load the reality of a situation to avoid meltdowns over unmet expectations.
- Talk to the adults (coaches/teachers) who are involved in your kids’ lives. Encourage your children to do the same.
I have angry children. I also have children who are loving, empathetic, and brave.
As their mother, it’s my job to respect those big emotions. An angry child’s outburst is a symptom, not an issue in itself.
Enjoy this post? Read on:
Gentle Gifted Parenting: Defusing Tantrums and Meltdowns With Love
Gifted Children Do Exist. Here’s What Happens When We Deny It.
We Don’t Need to Rethink Giftedness. We Need to Rethink School.
4 Incredible Joys of Parenting Gifted Children
Jen Holmes says
Loved your writing and giggled at your comment explaining the use of the vegetable growing analogy! I have a beautiful 10yr old boy with mild ASD and giftedness so so unique in his interests abd make-up. Would love to get further writing from you to help understand him better. Thank you!
Ginny Kochis says
Hi Jen. Thanks for stopping by! I have quite a bit of content on 2E kiddos in my archives; please feel free to poke ar
J K says
Have you found that as some of these youth grow up that they turn to self medication…using alcohol or marijuana?
Ginny Kochis says
I think that’s definitely possible. I don’t have any evidence on hand to support that claim, anecdotal or otherwise. It’s something to look into, for sure.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This has been such a burden. How can I have such a sweet caring child one moment and a angry screeming child the next. It’s exhausting but learning to understand it will make such a difference.
Ginny Kochis says
I’m so glad it resonated with you.
When you said denser neural pathways, socially younger, and hypersensative, I immediately thought of aspergers. (I bet they like rouTine, too )
Ginny Kochis says
Yes, this would apply to autistic individuals as well. I will say that the term Asperger’s is no longer used (Asperger, the man, had ties to the Nazi party). My daughter, who was originally diagnosed as having asperger’s, now refers to herself as autistic.
Gail Post, Ph.D. says
Great points about anger and the sensitivity underneath. Gifted kids are so complex! Thanks for reminding us that parents and teachers need to search for the underlying source and work to help these children manage their feelings.
Paula Brady says
Loved your insight into what is behind the anger. It’s pure frustration, I still experience it, at age 69. Your insights have given me food for thought and some hope for coping better.
Beth P. says
Great insights! One more tip:
During a tantrum one day, I got on the floor face-to-face with my child and said, “You know I love you even when you are this angry, right?” He said, “You do?!?” and popped right out of it. Kids need to know our love is unconditional, and gifted kids especially so.
Love this ❤️
These “symptoms ”of giftedness are really just signs of children struggling with emotional regulation. Whether one’s cognitive skills are typical, slower in developing, or more advanced than most (as this author seems to think her children are), it really doesn’t matter. Emotional regulation is a better predictor for life success than cognitive skills, and more important in developing social relationships. As a member of a diagnostic team who evaluates children’s developmental functioning, I know many children who are truly gifted and who do not struggle with regulation. As well, I know numerous examples of children with very high IQ’s who do not perform well academically once they step outside the familiar environment of home or high school. Consider getting over the idea that your children are “gifted”, and you will see that they are just kids who need support, particularly when dealing with peers, who will not be as accepting of their outbursts as mom.
Ginny Kochis says
Hello and thank you for your comment. If you peruse my blog, you will see that my children have been evaluated using the WISC, the Woodcock-Johnson, and the KTEA. They are indeed gifted, not that I am required to prove that to you.
A child can be gifted and struggle with emotional regulation. The two are not mutually exclusive, and declaring so does a disservice to gifted children everywhere, especially those who need support as you suggest. I have no illusions that giftedness will serve my children well in the future. In fact, I believe quite the opposite. What matters most is as you have said – their ability to work with and for others, maintaining a heart for service, for kindness, and compassion. I think you read a great deal into my post by suggesting I am “accepting” of my children’s outbursts. The whole point of this article is to help parents defuse the situation and provide coping mechanisms so that a child can manage their anger effectively and become more adept at emotional regulation.
There are 6 profiles of giftedness. 2 of them exhibit disruptive behavior, and 2 of them shows characteristics that school systems look in for the gifted. You can find it in The National Association for the Gifted and Davison Institute serving the profoundly gifted.
Thank you for your support!…I’m using this article and other information to advocate for my DS8. It’s very difficult for other people to understand our position.
There are 6 profiles of giftedness. 2 of them exhibit disruptive behavior and 2 of them shows characteristics that school systems look in for the gifted. You can find it in The National Association for the Gifted and Davison Institute serving the profoundly gifted.
I so needed to read this today. (Just some background info)My 7 year old son was tested and accepted into the gifted program this year but ironically, out of all the elementary schools in the district (15+ Options ) the gifted programs were only available in 4 schools, all of which are located in low-income neighborhoods and all had a very low performance rating. So discouraging. I had to decline. It just didn’t sit well or seem like an excellent choice. Looking into moving to a new district soon to start fresh elsewhere.
This past year has been so tough on him. Tough on us both. I was in tears today when I got a phone call from the principal and he informed me that a social worker witnessed his angry behavior today and recommended putting him into a behavioral in-patient service. He doesn’t act like this anywhere else but school. I don’t know if it’s boredom, I don’t know if it’s anxiety or the inability to regulate his emotions or he just gets over stimulated, but I feel lost at what to do. the school administration at the school he attends calls me on a weekly basis with behavioral issues. They are constantly asking me to leave work so I can try to redirect him back to class because they are unable to do so, and 9 times out of 10 , if I tell them I am unable to, I will end up getting a phone call saying he needs to leave for the rest of the day. So frustrating. This article gave me some redirection myself on how to move forward and empathize for him a bit more. It hurts my heart to think that he knows that nobody, including himself, understands why he acts out. We finally start therapy next week & I’m not giving up. Thanks for restoring my faith tonight.
Ginny Kochis says
Brittany, I am so sorry you are struggling. I’m glad this was able to help you find some direction. I’ll be praying for you that it all works out. Hang in there – you are a good mom.
Brittany, DON’T GIVE UP. I was you, three years ago when my highly verbally gifted son started 5th grade (although he had had behavioral issues as early as Pre K). The calls from the school, the anger and drama at home – all of it an inability to regulate himself. His anxiety was off the chart. Eventually, after switching therapists, working with the amazing staff at his school, and doing some heavy lifting at home, he is learning to cope with his intense emotional life. Looking back, some of what worked was just holding on tight and keeping him as safe as possible until time passed and he matured. Things are not perfect now (as if anything is EVER perfect), but they are much, much better than they were. Don’t give up hope, as you are making an incredible difference to your child whether you can see it now or not. He will get there!
This was absolutely fascinating. I am mom to five gifted kids, two of whom are also exceptionally angry children. I read this piece gratefully. Thank you, will be following in future.
Ginny Kochis says
You’re welcome, Jessica. Best of luck and many blessings to you.
Twyla selanders says
What if I said I feel this is me in every aspect of every comment on here? Like do I think I am gifted not but maybe I’m just too naive to accept the title!? But for years and years I have lived with anger at the tip ready to defend and attack? I felt I developed the whole anger emotion to feel safe. To not feel sad.. anger has consumed me and has made me look like I am a mean person. When I am actually a people pleaser! I love to make other people feel good. To help or whatever. It is how I feed my inner joy. I wasn’t able to allow myself to learn from the adults that gave me advice throughout my life but rather I put a blocker up and ignored the advice the tools the info I needed I ignored bc I wasn’t going to listen to any of the adults I came across bc they took me from my mother my home my safe place and put me in a foster home where I was later separated from my sister which left me feeling abandoned and alone and hurt and sad and confused and I just didn’t know how to deal with any of my emotions. And to this day I still struggle it wasn’t until some time last year when I finally started to figure myself out and how to fix me bc I am a very broken child inside a woman’s body. I am raising my daughter and she is 5 she also has anger issues. And I see me in her but I want to break that cycle and teach her to manage herself the right way to take advice and to open up when necessary.. any advice on my healing for my daughters healing would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all the comments. I feel like I am in the right direction now. Time to heal and let it go.. thanks again
Dear Twyla, congratulations on all that you have achieved. You are honest and brave and sound like a great mom. Remember you are not alone – God sees you and loves you and your child very much! It is so hard to manage difficult, big feelings. Amazingly I’ve found if we can deliberately *stop* then breathe for a moment, then allow ourselves to quietly feel the angry feelings at these moments but not react, and instead, *observe and hear our child thru their anger* (maybe with a quiet prayer for God’s help right now) then we can even find a peace amidst it. It’s not automatic, since our brain will naturally follow the established pathways formed when we were little and didn’t know another way. BUT amazingly, we and our kids can learn to *choose* our reactions even in these moments. It’s so cool – and what a revelation! Keep up the good work & being beautiful you! God bless from a mother too.
Jessica! I have 5 gifted as well and 2 who are angry! We should talk…..
Jessica, I have five gifted kids as well, at least one of whom (at this point) tends to be very angry. I’ve been longing to connect with someone who has a big family with many gifted kids. The intensity in our home is explosive and just plain overwhelming at times (I’m being modest…it’s pretty much every waking hour ). I don’t know if you’ll see this reply or not, but I’d love to talk to you about your experiences, if you’re willing! Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods ❤️
Thank you and comes at a perfect time…. who would be best to teach a child emotional regulation? Occupational therapist and or mental heath therapist?
Ginny Kochis says
It really depends on what is at the heart of the issue. OT will address the sensory integration portion while a mental health professional will address the anxiety/perfectionism/depression piece. If it were me, I would start with a mental health professional and go from there.
Thank you for this great information! very useful to me since I’m advocating for my DS8 at his public school.
What do you do when you have already incorporated your tips, regularly see the mental health practitioner and nothing helps? We have been doing this for years – 7, to be exact. He is stubborn and does not buy into relaxation techniques. He is 12 and the rages do not stop, despite my understanding of the situation and how to help him. I am afraid of what will happen when he is a teenager.
Did you talk to nutritionist? Very often this points to nutritional deficiencies like omega 3 or other. Or over consumption of carbs and sugar even when kid is not overweight.
I think I will try to get a more complete look at the food aspect. He is on D3, but only sporadically on omegas. I think we may need to get a gluten test or something like that.
Ginny Kochis says
My heart aches for you. I know it must be so hard to be doing everything right and not see results.
I have a few book recommendations for you, some of which you may have already read:
The Explosive Child
The Whole Brain Child
The Temperament God Gave Your Child
The Temperament God Gave You
Raising Your Spirited Child
I hope that these recommendations are helpful. I wish I had more practical, try-this-right-now advice. I’ll be praying for you and your son – please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything I can do.
I’ve read The Explosive Child and Raising your Spirited Child, but I haven’t heard of the others. I’ll read those for sure. What do you think of medication? Nothing else seems to be working. Thank you for the book recommendations! I love to research and read.
Ginny Kochis says
I’m glad some of the titles were new to you – I hope they are helpful!
We may be heading down the medication road here. I think it’s worth exploring if everything else has resulted in mediocre progress (or none at all). Have you asked your doc?
My son is on the autism spectrum and this article was spot on for him. Thank you for getting this out there.
Ginny Kochis says
Absolutely. Thank you for stopping by.
This article is very helpful. My son tested out as being highly gifted when he was in public school . I also think he has some ADD going on but I have never been able to get a correct diagnosis. We took him and my daughter out of the public school system because he and my daughter were not learning anything at all! Teachers seemed to take the approach that if they ignored the fact that they were not meeting my son’s educational needs, we would go away. I even had one teacher discuss and compare her son to my child throughout a patent teacher conference. I was there for my child not hers!
My son does sometimes still get in trouble at school, mainly for not paying attention. He also does get angry and frustrated at times. This mostly occurs at home. Being gifted does not mean you are perfect! Gifted children have many things they struggle with, sometimes more so than other children.
He is well aware of the fact that people look at him differently and he does struggle to make friends.
Because of the hyper competitive atmosphere in schools today, many parents have also rejected us as a family and my kids have very few friends. It can be a very lonely and emotionally draining journey as well. It is very hurtful when other people and teachers are judging you and your child. What do you say to your child when a friend suddenly is not allowed to hang out with your child anymore because your child made the honor roll and theirs did not.
I have twin granddaughters. One is very angry with the world, the other a perfect 6 year old. The have been labeled as gifted. They are in K and always say how bored they are at the end of the day. Their mom was a gifted child and very talented. She is trying to cope with this behavior but is having a hard time. Send advice.
Ginny Kochis says
Hi, Sherry. My best advice would be to determine the source of your granddaughter’s anger. It could be her temperament; it could be anxiety; it could be fear of failure and a dose of perfectionism. The best thing to do is to consider what triggers her frustration and keep a record so you can begin to see patterns. That way, you can teach her how to recognize them along with mechanisms she can use to cope.
As far as the boredom, I would recommend enrichment activities. You can find ideas here.
Nanci Fiddes says
where can I get help for me and my gifted child does therapy work? we are about to fall apart as a family. i am trying everything I can to prevent it and have for 9 years. teachers and therapists don’t seem to understand. this is the first thing I have read that makes sense. thank you
Ginny Kochis says
Hi, Nanci. I would try to find a therapist who specializes in gifted children. You can check the NAGC or SENG websites; they should have a list of providers near you.
Have you had your kiddo evaluated? You might want to seek a full psycho/social/educational work up to determine if you’ve got something neurological going on.
Other options include a do-it-yourself approach, reading books like The Explosive Child, etc. In fact, I would highly recommend anything by Dr. Ross Greene – he’s excellent. If you can’t find a therapist that understands your kiddo, start there.
Thank you for this! My 10 year old son is gifted and we have had such a difficult year with him. He is intellectually beyond his years. But, as he’s getting older, the social/ emotional gap has become more noticeable. The emotions he’s struggled with, more recently, have utterly broken my heart. It’s refreshing to see that he’s not alone in his struggle, and neither am I.
Ginny Kochis says
You are definitely not alone – not at all.
I’m so glad that I came across your post. My son is 5 and getting ready to enter kindergarten. Academically he is more then ready, socially is what concerns me. I think this fact gives me more anxiety than it does him, because I fear he’ll act out at school like he does at home. I have been searching for answers as to why he gets so angry really quickly, why he has so many sensory issues with food and why he has so many unrealistic fears. I actually contacted a behavior institute and he was tested for autisim. the results came back that he didn’t have autism but they gave him the diagnoses of “unspecified disruptive, impulsive-control, and conduct disorder.” I wasn’t quiet sure what to do with this diagnosis, so I dropped the issue for a while. After reading your arcticle it makes more sense and discribes some of his symptoms more accurately. How would I go about having him tested to see if he falls under the gifted catergory?
Ginny Kochis says
Hi, Mindy. I would recommend a complete psychological, social/emotional evaluation for your son. This post explains the different avenues for getting him tested and what to do once you’ve gone through the process.
I will say that children often behave differently at school. They will be more likely to offer evaluation services through the school system if he has difficulty accessing the curriculum (in this case, I imagine that would be because of a behavioral issue). If he doesn’t struggle in the classroom, your best bet would be private evaluation. A stand-alone IQ test starts in the 400 range, generally; full-scale evaluation can take you into the thousands.
He is young. Depending upon how things progress during the school year, you may want to wait a few years to proceed with the evaluation. Giftedness, sensory issues, anxiety, etc. can get tangled up with one another and present in a multitude of ways, especially when the kiddos are younger. A little time and maturity – even just a year or so – usually helps the issue even out enough that the evaluation results will have more clarity.
My heart goes out to you. I remember being so confused and frustrated and feeling like I was messing up all over the place. I can tell you that it does get better, and my used-to-be a five-year-old is almost a teen and thriving. The struggle is hard, but worth it in the end.
Is it me or are we attempting to keep everyone on one pathway with one structured educational and social system? If the child reacts as such wouldn’t a specialized program for this be a better solution instead of forcing them into a situation where they continue to need re-development. Isn’t that what gifted classes are for?
Ginny Kochis says
It is. Not every student has access to gifted programming, however, and even gifted ed won’t preclude the issues these children struggle against. I saw it very often in the gifted students I taught within a traditional gifted program.
Steve Burstein says
What frustrates me in retrospect(but it was a very long time ago, so I should forgive)is that I had a very precocious vocabulary as a kid, but when I started boarding school(a “theraputic” school)at 15, a few of the staff members derided me for trying to imitate Adults in order to impress people. There’s some truth in that(I hated being a Child and I did want to seem more Adult), but basically, ordinary words just didn’t express how I felt. After I tried to throttle a kid who was making fun of me, I tried to explain how I felt, and my Houseparent said “Stop talking like an intellectual-you’re 15, you’re a little kid, and you’re a jerk!”(He started calling me a jerk the moment I told him what my interests were).
Ginny Kochis says
I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope it comforts you somewhat to know you aren’t alone in experiencing something like that – not by a long shot.
I’m a former gifted child who is now a gifted middle-aged adult. When I was in the early years of school, I was mistaken for Autistic. I understand that happened to other gifted people in my generation, and today there even seems to be confusion about whether or not there is a link between them (I’m not of that opinion, and neither was the psychologist who discovered I was gifted).
I recently read a post at Salon about a gifted boy who was an introvert, and many people left comments about how the boy had Aspergers, and they knew because it described one of their children, who did have Aspergers, and that the post should be deleted because the man who wrote it didn’t know what he was talking about.
I can’t speak for every one of us, but from my own childhood I know that I had a very frustrating time, because most of my peers, and even many adults couldn’t appreciate my interests. If I asked an adult what kind of toy airplane I was playing with, instead of giving me an answer like “a 747” or a “DC-10”, they’d say, “it’s a Fischer Price plane”. I would then find myself clarifying what I meant, and it was happening so often that I got frustrated and stopped trying to talk with adults, fearing that I’d keep getting those kind of answers.
But because the adults couldn’t read my mind, they interpreted my non-communication as a sign of autism, rather than just my being frustrated.
So, if you want to understand a gifted, child, you need to try to think like one, rather than assuming something is wrong with the child because he or she isn’t “like everybody else”.
Ginny Kochis says
Thanks for your thoughtful comment. You are correct: gifted children (and children in general, really) would have a much easier time of it if the adults in their lives made an effort to see things from their perspective.
I really enjoyed this post !! As someone who was tested and named “gifted” in school when I was younger (now 22) I found all these points very interesting and for the most part spot on. Thinking more into the broccoli analogy I think that something often overlooked that could also fuel the anger is how LONELY being this way can feel. It feels -especially as a child -that very few people ever really understand you and you’ll end up trying to suppress your true self in order to “fit in”. It’s very interesting finding a group with these same issues like this working through them all together . I have a daughter who’s two who I think is also gifted and I’m always looking for new information I can use in the future to help her comfortably grow into really being here true self. Sorry if I’m rambling, long story short I just wanted to say thank you for this post ,looking forward to reading more!
Hi, first off, thank you so much for writing about this… I really wish I had had a mom like you growing up as I would probably be fairing a lot better mentally in my adult life. Secondly, are you able to elaborate on what is meant by seeing perfection as perseverance? The majority of people I’ve spoken out to about my ‘struggles’ with perfectionism only ever have one thing to say: “Stop being a perfectionist, you’re only stressing yourself out and harming yourself!”… I know this to be completely untrue because I LOVE that I am a perfectionist… I LOVE that I do things so efficiently and I’m so proud of myself when I know I’ve done a good job. To me, ‘perfectionist’ is not a bad, negative word – it’s a part of who I am and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, of course, being a perfectionist brings along such harsh, negative, sometimes self-debilitating self-talk and I struggle to find my self-worth when the world is telling me my gift is only going to harm me and never serve me and I should just give it up. I do not like looking at it that way. Looking at it that way I’d be giving up a wonderful part of me and, as I stated before, I love it, but how do I see it as perseverance? How do I not let it and others make me feel so gosh darn BAD about myself all the time…
Ginny Kochis says
Hi, Holly. Thanks for stopping by. I think what you’re talking about is developing a growth mindset: learning to see challenges as opportunities and retraining your brain to focus your self-talk that way. I have a couple posts on developing a growth mindset on the blog. You’ll find them in the parenting tab.
I found your post very enlightening; we’re seeing a lot of anger and aggression (towards his mom, our daughter) from our 6 yo grandson.
My question is: your original post is from 2018; It’s now 2022; have you seen any evidence that your child has “grown out” of the anger and behavior that you described in 2018 ?
We’re not sure if this could be a phase he’s experiencing or should we advocate for professional help.
Ginny Kochis says
There has been growth, but it hasn’t been without therapy and medication. The therapy has given her tools to manage what she’s feeling and express it appropriately; the medication helps her see through the haze.