Hiddengifted’s Blog

How They Think

Posted on: October 12, 2009

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.

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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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