Hiddengifted’s Blog

A huge key to making contact with any gifted girl is the “c” word- COMMUNICATION. That doesn’t mean just talking to them. Any mom can tell you that every now and then, something she says to her child goes in one ear and out the other. That doesn’t mean they didn’t want to hear it, it just means they didn’t really register that anyone’s talking to them. It’s the same way with gifted girls.

One of the first steps to communicating is to simply listen. I know I’ve said this before, but it REALLY IS IMPORTANT! I cannot stress how important it is. Even if you don’t offer any advice, and you are all ears, it matters. Gifted girls notice. They’re NOT STUPID. Now, that sounds a little like a “duh”, but a lot of people don’t realize that children of all ages, especially gifted ones, can tell whether or not you’re actually listening to them. They know when you’re only giving them half your brain to talk to. So put away what you’re working on. Do it later, and focus on the child in front of you right now.

I remember doing this with my mom. When she was on the computer, it took her a little longer to answer anything I’d said to her. So, when I asked her a question, I started counting the seconds. By the time I got to five, she’d start to reply. I knew I didn’t have her full attention. But I figured out that she wasn’t ignoring me. She just had a process time of about five seconds.

Another thing I’ve noticed- when gifted girls are heard, and you respond to them, they tend to take whatever you’ve said into account and remember it. Again, I’ve said this before, but since you listened, they see that you care. Very few of the numerous people known by gifted girls will actually receive calls or visits from them asking advice. People who listen will be asked things again and again.
But I will warn you! -if you have listened, and then you blow her off the next time she ask a question and it keeps happening, she will write you off. She probably won’t ask anything of you again. She’ll find someone new to ask.

Part of communication is also figuring out what girls really mean when they say things. For instance: when gifted girls pass into pre-teen and teenage years, they might start pushing their parents away or seem that they’re starting to ignore them. The age-old plea, “Leave me alone!” isn’t actually asking for separation, because in separation you lose communication with that person completely. It’s merely a cry from someone who is trying to figure out who they are apart from their parents. In the mind of a gifted girl, if she takes too much from their parents, or relies on them in too many ways, how is she supposed to survive by herself out in the “big, bad world”? When she has to stand on her own two feet, she doesn’t want to be hindered by some crutches. She wants to just do it.

In other words, when a gifted girl knows what she wants, she’ll do anything to get it. But first, she has to be prepared. In order to be prepared, she has to learn to do things on her own. To do things on her own, she can’t rely on anyone else.
The unconscious logic has come back to haunt her.
If she relies on her parents or teachers, in her mind, she runs the risk of being laughed at by people she respects and holds dear. There’s nothing more humiliating and angering than being laughed at, to a gifted girl. When people laugh at you, they obviously don’t take you seriously. So in the girl’s eyes, if she holds on to her parents and teachers and peers in such a way that they will “hinder her”, then she has to let them go. If she wants to do her own thing, and not listen to what anyone tells her, she has to cut everyone off so she doesn’t hear a word. That sometimes includes people that she loves, and the ones who would support her. That even means that she’ll stop listening to encouragement! In her mind, there’s a chance that the encourager will start telling her what to do. And after she’s been told time and time again that thinking is better left to the boys, and nobody needs her to do anything but sit still and look pretty, she’s not about to take the chance it might start again. Would you?

Communicating is important to a gifted girl. It’s important for a parent or teacher or friend to understand also that communicating to a gifted girl is hard. It’s a dance of sorts. If you say the right thing, in the wrong way, then she’ll take it the wrong way. If you’re sarcastic, and you say something that hurts, you have to tell her you’re joking.
I knew an adult who confused me terribly. He used sarcasm a lot, and in such a way that I could never tell when he was kidding and when he wasn’t. So when he would tell me things, I tested them in my head. Was it nice? Was it meant to be? Usually it was. Did it make sense? Had I heard of it before? Once he told me that people usually went swimming instead of showering. This was a new idea. Was he serious? It took somebody else to tell me that he wasn’t. But I kept running into this problem. Was he joking or was he not?
TIP: try accompanying a joking statement with a short laugh. If she gets it, she’ll laugh, too. But keep an eye on her eyes. Her eyes will say more about her feelings than her mouth ever will.

Communication is also important for encouragement. In a world where being dumb is cool, being smart is so passé. To a gifted girl, again, THIS IS A BAD THING. Take time to compliment her, but don’t overdo it. If that happens, she’ll loose all respect she ever had for you.
Tough luck.
But anyway, use your mouth instead. Tell her to reach for the stars. Give her tips and show her how to make an impact in the world. If she wants to be an author, give her a list of places to start and how to begin publishing. If she wants to be a star, explain auditions. Help her be prepared so when the time comes, she’ll open her wings and fly.

But like all other things, communication with a gifted girl can be hard. If she’s in a bad mood, she won’t want to hear any kind of help you want to give. When I’m in a bad mood, it doesn’t end with snapping at people. It continues on in the manner of “Leave me alone; I can do it myself”. Make sure she’s really into it and listening before offering any advice or getting your mouth started.

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Girls, especially gifted ones, can get very focused at times. I remember making many split-second decisions, such as the fact that I wanted a new Polly Pocket right then, that drove my mother crazy.
The year I turned 16, I needed a new pair of jeans. I decided that I was going to get my jeans, if I had to pay for them or not. My mother wanted to make me a pair, but I thought that would take too long and I’d never get my jeans. And so, every time we went to Sears or Target, I headed straight to the clothing section and looked for jeans on sale. I found them one day at Sears, and begged my mother to buy them, or let me buy them. She gave in and purchased them, and so now I had my jeans. I was happy. My focus was now shifted to something else: the upcoming rampage of schoolwork.

But you see my point. It is very easy for gifted girls to become focused, and not pay attention or listen to anything or anyone else. They know what they want, and don’t really understand why you, frankly, don’t get it. But they don’t see that as their problem. If you don’t understand, that’s your fault. The fact that it might be a bad idea is “totally irrelevant”. They know what they want. Why don’t you?

Due to the fact that they are gifted, these will be prone to asking more questions than normal girls. They probably won’t accept the fact that boys are left to the boys, and girls are expected to stay where it’s nice and safe and leave well enough alone.
They don’t get that.
So gifted girls think faster and process more quickly than normal girls. That’s okay, but you have to be ready to deal with the sudden tears, unhappiness, and questions that come with the act of realizing they might not be able to do what they want to.

Okay, so we got that part. Gifted girls think differently than other girls. All right. But why are they in particular so paranoid about their looks?

Part of- if not most of- the reason of gifted girls’ loss of confidence is again, the male- pleasing world around them. They see the images in magazines, movies and TV of skinny girls and women parading around. All they know is that they don’t look like that.
There must be something wrong.
Everything they see simply screams that thin is beautiful. If you’re not thin, they teach, You’ll never be anybody. You’ll never be beautiful, and you’ll never get a date. The pressure from the peers around them do the rest. They become obsessed with their weight, because if they weigh too much, they can’t be thin. And if they’re not thin, they’re not beautiful.
They’re basically following logic done unconsciously. A lot of their thoughts are grounded in unconscious logic, denying the fact that they’ve accepted for so long: that they’re not as smart and won’t do as well as boys. Even into the SATs, the girls do WORSE THAN BOYS because somewhere, deep inside them, there’s this voice whispering, “You can’t do it. You know you can’t.”
So it’s basically the fault of the world around them that gifted girls are insecure and sometimes delicate. Nothing can become the way it is without influence, and these girls’ influences are the people around them, what they see and what they hear. So far, the influences haven’t been good.

Imagine this: you’re stuck on an island. The only thing with you is a tape recorder that is broken and won’t shut up. It keeps repeating the same phrase: “You’re fat”. Day in and day out, after weeks of being with this stupid machine, you’d start believing it, wouldn’t you? And after that, if you ever got of the island, you’d be frightened that it might actually come true.
Welcome to the startling reality of a gifted girl. Only that message could be a billion different things. “Being smart is makes you different”, “Different things are bad”, “Thin is in! And you‘re fat.”, and a dozen different lies. And it won’t shut up. Wouldn’t you believe it, too?

By the time they’ve graduated collage, gifted young women have already decided that they’re dreams “won’t do”. If you ask why, you might receive any one of these answers:

“It would take too much.”

“It would never happen.”

“It was impossible anyway.”

“Well, I wanted to do this too. And this is way closer than that.”

Sound familiar? A lot of gifted girls somehow lose their imagination and determination between middle school and college. They find that the world doesn’t like girls who think, and thus our culture “make them see” that their dreams are “quite impossible”.
Walt Disney said something about dreams being impossible. But his quote went something like this:
“All of our dreams can be reached if we have the courage to pursue them.”
That’s what I want to do. And I want to encourage people to join me, so we can do it together.

Gifted girls can be perfectionists. I am one of those. I’m a straight-A student, I like it when my day is mostly planned out, and am terribly disappointed when something goes wrong. If I get anything less than a B or even think I’m going to flunk a test, I completely lose it. I’ve decided that school will get me to college, college will get me a degree, and a degree will get me a job.
But nobody knows the other side of me. What risks I want to take, how I want to test myself, or what I want to do- I haven‘t told almost anyone. I’m almost afraid to tell my parents, because I don’t know how they’ll react. I know the world won’t like it.

But I don’t care. I’m going to shock the world. Let it come. If not me, than someone else will. I’m going to prove that gifted girls can do things, and that the impossible can be reached.
I know, because I’m going to do it.

“Doing the impossible is kind of fun!” — Walt Disney

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream.”
Care to join me?

Gifted girls have a very different way of thinking, pondering and processing information. It is unlike regular girls and both gifted and normal boys, causing educators and parents a lot of stress trying to figure out how to deal with them. Unfortunately, as the “adults” try to “fix the problem”, the girls often get the message that there’s something wrong. They don’t see it on the side of the adult, however. They see it on their side.
“If there’s something wrong, it must be me. I know I’m not perfect, but it can’t be anywhere else. It must be me.”
I’ve said this. At least, I’ve thought it. But again, and again and again!- the process of self-doubt never stops. It begins with, “There’s a problem”. It continues with “I think I’m the problem”. The third attack  consists of “What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I right?” and it goes downhill from there.
Some girls try to explain, but no one listens. If they encourage and ignore the girl’s protests, the girl begins to worry that someone might “discover her fault”.

“Ellen had this problem. She had considerable musical talent–at a young age she had perfect pitch and played quite expertly on the piano, but she couldn’t read music. No one taught her because she already seemed to know how. When she tried to persuade adults that she couldn’t, they would actually say things to her such as, “Oh don’t be silly; of course, you can. Look at how you play!” Her desire to please increased her fear of failure and, eventually, of having her “flaw” discovered. The expectation that she should be able to do something which she had never learned to do set up her faulty, but not uncommon, logical model. Before too long, any gap in her knowledge made her feel that she was really a fraud. Not being able to read music sowed the seeds of low self-esteem, which her musical talent only intensified. People continued to expect her to perform at an extremely high level, while she herself struggled against this missing piece of musical education. Ellen came to expect extraordinary performance from herself, without having taken the steps or experiencing the freedom to learn and secure a solid musical foundation.” (Joan Franklin Smutny, Open Space Communications, Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 1999 Volume 11 No. 2 pp. 9-13)

Perhaps if an attentive adult had listened as Ellen voiced her concerns, they would have worked it out and dismissed Ellen’s worries. But as it was, nobody listened. To a gifted girl, if you don’t listen you don’t care. If you don’t care, what will it take to make you care, so you’ll listen? Girls who don’t think they’re being heard won’t shout, they’ll simply fall silent and let the world pass on without them. A sad thing indeed, for the world is slowly missing their voices because they’ve gotten tired of yelling, and become mute.
If no one listens, what’s the point?

Gifted girls are often slow to admit they are gifted. They see it as something to be ashamed of, because it makes them different from everyone else. A majority of gifted girls don’t even know they’re gifted! Those who do know choose to bury it deeply into themselves and keep it quiet, not wanting to seem any different from anyone else.
More than anything, gifted girls want to fit in. If they fit in, they always have someone to talk to, always have someone to go to, even if that person doesn’t really care. They’ll do anything to stay with the others, even if it means doing something that will get them in trouble. “As long as it keeps others around, how could it be bad?”

Gifted girls are eager to please. That’s one of the reasons that they’re so quick to hide themselves, because it doesn’t cause a row and makes a lot of people happy. They quickly put the pieces together: no smarts = no pain on the part of other people and benefit themselves greatly. They’re very big on benefiting themselves and others at the same time.
If you know a gifted girl who’s not doing well in school and doesn’t care about a lot of things, find out what’s wrong. Odds are, she’s hiding something that’s making her upset, even if she doesn’t know it. Being pouty, ignorant, or disobedient to any rule whatsoever is NOT part of the “gifted package”, ESPECIALLY with gifted girls. If they can do it, they’ll get it done, unless there’s something wrong. If there’s something wrong, they’ll avoid as much work as possible, including talking to others and actual work.

If there’s something wrong, someone should take notice, because girls don’t get down for no reason at all. There has to be a reason. Maybe it’s that her pet died the other day. Perhaps she missed an event she had her heart set on going to, and it didn’t happen. Maybe she feels ignored. Take time to find out what‘s wrong, and comfort the student, daughter or friend. Help her out. She won’t forget your kindness.

“Girls often face a range of social pressures in schools, causing them to shift priorities… in school, the desire for friends, a disinclination to stand out, fear of ridicule, along with the need for acceptance, often impel gifted girls to make their abilities appear ordinary or even nonexistent. One parent observed: ‘My daughter has become very, very shy and doesn’t want to stand out in any way. As a result, she’s reluctant to express information that would indicate that she knows anything beyond what’s asked of her.’” (Joan Franklin Smutny, Open Space Communications, Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 1999 Volume 11 No. 2 pp. 9-13)

For some gifted girls, a one-on-one tutorship with the teacher may be just what they need. In a room with only the student and teacher, a gifted girl may be more open to asking questions. If her friends are around, she might otherwise get teased for “being smart”.
Try giving gifted students some time to be creative in their classes. If they have the chance to do their own thing, they’ll be much more interested in the class itself. Besides, if there’s a dozen different ways to learn the same idea, you’ll reach all of the different learning forms.
Each student has their own, unique style that they like to input information. Usually, they can be put into three different categories: Auditory Learners, Visual Learners, and Kinesthetic Learners. Simply put, they learn by listening, watching, or doing. All of these can be challenges to suffice, but each student will get more out of their classes, and connect better with the subjects.

Recently there was an act passed through Congress, called the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act determines that the schools should teach towards the intelligence levels of their “low performing” students. An article in the Washington Post put it this way:

“These parents are fleeing public schools not only because, as documented by a recent University of Chicago study, the act pushes teachers to ignore high-ability students through its exclusive focus on bringing students to minimum proficiency. Worse than this benign neglect, No Child forces a fundamental educational approach so inappropriate for high-ability students that it destroys their interest in learning, as school becomes an endless chain of basic lessons aimed at low-performing students.”

Isn’t that lovely?

TIP: Students often talk among themselves about their teachers. They gripe and moan, but they also rave. Can you imagine being the teacher that everyone wants to get?

More than anything, gifted girls just want someone to understand. They want someone who will see the person they’re hiding and do whatever they can to bring the hidden identity to the light and make them feel okay. They want to feel special and secure, not out floating on air, by themselves, alone.
Alone.
It’s not a happy word, is it?
Many, many girls know the feeling. The one that steals over them like dread, that whispers lies about who they are. The venomous monster who laughs at their futile efforts to be themselves in a world where no one seems to care.
Ah, yes. I remember it well. I’ve been there. I’m home schooled, so it hasn’t been as bad as some students. But I’ve had my days, where I’ve burrowed so deep into myself that I can’t see the affection given to me. When someone spoke to me, it felt like they were throwing me a bone, that they were doing me a favor just by looking at me. I was tired and fatigued with the world, and wanted to sleep away the days, months, years.
I hated it so much!
It felt like prison. I don’t want anyone else to go there, or feel the way I did. It’s not necessary, and it can be avoided. But it requires careful attention on the part of the adults, and the friends of any gifted girl. When they get into a rut like that, all one can do is build them up again, until they feel all right with themselves again.
Just love them. Be there for them. Sooner or later- it may be years, but they will- they’ll pull through.

Girls often look up to older girls or women as role examples, and try to be like them. Perhaps it’s someone they’re close to, maybe it’s someone they’ve heard a lot about. They might go to this person for advice, or when it’s time to split up into different groups, go directly toward this person.
I remember trying to find someone to do this for me, and I ended up bouncing around from person to person until I didn’t need one at all. Of course, I look up to my parents and other people, but I don’t have just one “someone” that I rely on for everything. Some girls, like me, gave up on finding one solitary person because no one that we found “worked out”.

So there are a lot of things that gifted girls need. They’re very different from normal girls in the way they think, act and the ideas they have about the world. They have a strong feel for how things should be, but when people don’t listen, they break down and hide. They are very focused, and when they think that no one notices them or their feelings, they get very upset. That’s why a number of gifted girls cannot be found in the schools anymore. They mirror the girls around them, and become normal.
Another thing that people don’t often see: gifted girls are incredibly perceptive. The only thing they don’t notice is that it’s okay to be who they are, or feel the amount of encouragement. Instead, they slide into the ways of the world and cheer on the boys and men as they play the game of life. They are very fragile, and need to be built up perpetually to remind them how special they are compared to the other girls and boys out there.

These are only some of the needs of a gifted girl.

My name is Future. I don’t think you can imagine what I am made of. I see many things in my time, for I am as long as there is a tomorrow. But this I see, and all I know- all are not treated as if they are created equal. And I see this in the place who declared that all would be equal and treated so in their initial document. Tell me, what is wrong with what I see?
The future women of America are treated as if they are stupid, idiotic or dumb. They are bored to death, and then expected to do the best they can. They are not receiving the best that can be given, robbing them of their futures. Many voices have cried out, yet few have answered.
Who will listen?
—————————————————————————–

Gifted girls everywhere are dying. The schools where they are put do not give them the sufficient tools they need for life, instead teaching them to ignore the monotonous, ever-present never-ceasing drone of the teachers. Some of their pains are their teachers, peers or simply the problems of being put into a place where they expect the students to operate on a low level. Obviously, this would be called a “problem”.
Imagine this: you like rock ‘n roll music. Anything that’s loud and has a beat you’ll listen to. Your controlling best friend likes classical. This drives you crazy. You share an office between the two of you, and it has one stereo. Your friend has a code that lets him in earlier than you, so he gets to choose the music. So every day, without fail, you listen to classical music until the lunch hour, when you can play your music until your friend returns. Your relief usually lasts about half an hour. Then you are thrust back into the bland, colorless world of pianos and orchestras, when you would much rather be listening to electric guitars try to outdo each other with riffs to the crashing beat of drums.
Get the picture?

“You” defines a gifted girl. Gifted kids have a specific way they think, complimented by many thoughts and patterns woven into their lives. Gifted girls are no exception. The children and teenagers they encounter in the classrooms are very different from themselves, and are sometimes so… normal. One can only go for so long listening to the average cheerleader anecdote about her nails, or other girls giggling about that cute new boy. Speaking from experience, it’s very hard to be friends with someone whose IQ is far below your own, because there‘s never any real conversation!
And then there are the teachers, who only know how to separate the material out, bit by bit, to the “normal” children can chew it. Gifted girls- actually, gifted children in general- get starved by this because they can take much more at one time, and they’re never getting it. Their classes slowly become boring, and they stop listening. Thus, you have a brilliant student with terrible grades. Even though they know they can do better, they don’t want to because there’s no point. It’s just not interesting.
So the classical music stands for the normal, everyday things that cause a gifted girl trouble, like the teachers, material and their peers. There’s only one channel at a public school, so every day, the only thing they listen to is classical music when what gifted girls need is variety and tutoring suitable for learning from.

So, back to the subject. What do gifted girls need?
Gifted girls have a billion burdens having to do with the way they’re seen by others. The rest of the world wants them to be the image of a good girl: smart, but no too smart; beautiful, but not vain; fit but not overweight or overweight; the list goes on and on. Gifted girls need encouragement, confidence and reassurance every day that what they do and even themselves will be accepted. Even though they act like they don’t care, inside they may be crying.
They’re extreme perfectionists. If any one thing is wrong with them, they’ll become obsessed with fixing it so they don’t “stand out”. This is the reason for their burdens, worries and the need to blend in. They figure out what the world wants, and in order not to “stand out”, they do their best to supply it. In order to succeed, they “dumb down” and become as normal as they can be, hiding who they really are in order to be someone that others want.
It doesn’t help that the world welcomes boys who voice questions and shout out answers, but shuns girls who try to do the same thing, sometimes asking or answering the same questions. It has been society’s habit to ignore the ideas and thoughts of the fairer sex, opting for the “manly decision”. Even the plotlines of movies and TV shows reflect the presumption, and drill it into the heads of the viewers that it is expected: women will be more frail than men. Thanks to things like that and the old-fashioned ideas of others, women are put on a much lower intelligence level then men.

“We were brave and eager,” Jane O’Reilly writes about herself and the women she grew up with. “And then we discovered that these were not the required traits for girls. Only boys could expect to inherit the earth.” O’Reilly, Jane, “The Lost Girls,” Mirabella, April, 1994, 117

May I remind the reader that even voting was restricted to males until the 1920s! In many countries, women are expected to do no more than be a source of pleasure, keep the house, and raise the children correctly. No more. It is no wonder, then, that whenever gifted girls try to speak up for themselves, they are given deaf ears or the ever-popular “m-hm, oh, yes…” and then forgotten. Gifted girls crave freedom, and they dream of the idea that someone might actually let them be themselves. It takes an adult to tell them so, and they won’t listen to anybody else.

The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) created a list, and termed it…

The Gifted Children’s Bill of Rights:
You have a right…

To know about your giftedness
To learn something new every day
To be passionate about your talent area without apologies
To have an identity beyond your talent area
To feel good about your accomplishments
To make mistakes
To seek guidance in the development of your talent
To have multiple peer groups and a variety of friends
To choose which of your talent areas you wish to pursue
Not to be gifted at everything

I read this when I came across a poster at the NAGC’s trade show, and loved it. I wanted to do all those things, and here it was on paper that I could really do it. The fact that it’s from the National Association for Gifted Children only made it more official. I wanted to remind myself that it was permitted to be who I was. I’m not the only one who needs reminding.
Please do not forget this point! IF YOU TREAT GIFTED CHILDREN NORMALLY, THEY WILL DECIDE THAT BEING GIFTED IS A BAD THING! Eventually, they will lose their love for what makes them special, and become just like any other child.

They need company. Gifted girls need others like themselves, girls they can talk to. All girls need their “crew”, or people around them who support them. A lonely gifted girl, though, will quickly get into some serious trouble.

TIP: Surround a lonely girl with a bunch of other students who think the way she does, or are around her IQ level. It doesn’t matter if they’re boys or girls; a girl by herself will bond with anyone she can find, especially if it’s important to her to fit in.


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  • cherokeebydesign: I suppose I was the smart one in high school and then again in college......it's not all that fun being labeled as "the smart one" in school. Raven
  • cherokeebydesign: There's nothing wrong with having a life that is planned, and there's nothing wrong with wanting perfection. I use to be that way....until I started

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