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How to Help Gifted Underachievers

How to support a child who is a gifted underachiever. Child day dreaming in a classroom.

As a parent, watching your child grow and meet milestones earlier than other children can be exciting. You consider your child gifted, as they have interests and are articulate beyond their years. However, once your gifted child entered the classroom, their teacher started noticing that they often fell behind other students, seemingly always distracted.

Gifted underachievers can find a traditional classroom unstimulating and can suffer in school as a result. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 30 percent of “gifted children” have a significant discrepancy between their potential intelligence level compared to their achievement.

Be Supportive

Try not to put too much pressure on your child if they’re struggling in school. It’s more important that they get the type of instruction that’s right for them, rather than discipline them into conforming to the school’s expectations.

Keep Confidence in Mind

Gifted underachievers can feel badly about themselves for not getting high grades like their friends. They can think negatively about their abilities and may grow frustrated with school. As a parent, be cognizant of this and make sure to give positive reinforcement when they do succeed.

Utilize School Resources

Child study teams, guidance counselors, and educational specialists can be brought in to help your child at school. Sometimes children need specialized attention in a traditional classroom setting that one teacher cannot provide. Talk to your school about what options your child has. Getting help early on can help avoid problems as your child goes on to higher grade levels.

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