A sense of community, good friendships, and meaningful social interactions are important for anyone. They are especially important, though, for gifted children. Their range of interests, intellectual level, and boundless enthusiasm are encouraged and multiplied through a supportive community.
Children Have Differing Expectations
An adult may say they only have a few close friends, with most of their other relationships being colleagues or work associates. Their peers may be close to their age, and they may have a specific idea of what constitutes an appropriate relationship.
Gifted children, on the other hand, may have a set of expectations that differs significantly from that of their parents. Some children may not feel a strong urge to fit in, preferring to spend time alone or with a small cohort of close friends. Meanwhile, others may want to be popular and interact with a wide range of friends and peer groups, even at the expense of their interests. However, some children may have no friends at all, which can be due to various reasons.
Recognizing your child’s traits when making friends, socializing, and integrating with peer groups is important. It helps parents understand how to best provide a community that helps them thrive and grow.
Gifted Children’s Friendships May Surprise You
Your child will likely seek friends they can connect with on an intellectual level. Because gifted children feel, think and sense more intensely than others, they may only have a few close friends. This may seem like it is not enough, but gifted children are happy with having a small group of friends, as their relationships may be more meaningful.
It may surprise some parents to learn that their gifted child has friends who are much older than themselves. However, this is another way that gifted children choose their friends: according to their mental age and level of maturity, regardless of their chronological age. Having a community that accepts gifted children as they are is a natural choice that lets them be comfortable with who they are. Your child may be actively avoiding stigmas that may plague them when interacting with children their age; for example, other children may be irritated at their use of advanced vocabulary or their niche interests.
Ultimately, struggling to form connections with other children in the classroom, gifted children need companions who stimulate them intellectually.
The Importance of Friendship and Community for the Gifted Child
At Rainard School for Gifted Students, we offer an environment that allows gifted children to thrive. Having a gifted child interact with other gifted children offers an incredible opportunity for your child to nurture new friendships with like-minded individuals.
Friendship and community are important catalysts in your child’s journey into adulthood, and we allow children to be unapologetically themselves. Rainard recognizes your child’s unique needs and provides a learning and social environment that stimulates them to learn and grow into their best selves and connect on a deeper, more meaningful level with their peers.
For more information about Rainard or to get in touch with our academic staff, contact us at (713) 647-7246.