8 year old Robert is feeling frustrated. He badly wants to go and play but his peer, Andrew, was not letting him. Andrew, for the past 10 minutes, has. Den telling him about the various functions and technicalities of The latest IPhone but Robert has never been interested. He only uses the iPhone to play games. Despite Robert’s attempts at expressing disinterest by switching topics and providing monosyllabic replies, Andres goes on as he is determined to show everything he knows.
A gifted child may be too used to performing for the adults by displaying knowledge of everything that he/she knows and thus, may take the concept down with them during an interaction with a peer. His/her peer has no interest in their knowledge and what is worse is that they may actually comes across as arrogant than enthusiastic.
Trying to Impress than Connect
Most of the time, a gifted child often gets a lot of attention from adults for displaying their knowledge. Naturally, they assume that they have to impress his peers with their knowledge to like him/her. A gifted child may feel insecure and desperate when they realise that their peers are not exactly warming up to them as they may perceive the former as arrogant.
Ignoring Social Feedback
The issue many gifted children face is that they are unable to recognise or totally ignore social cues altogether. As interactions require constant adjustments by both parties guided by ongoing reading of social cues to keep the interaction going, gifted children may either dismiss them or thought they are not necessary for interactions. Thus, they may persist in their negative behaviour and thus, continue to turn others off.
Strategies to Help Them Reach out to Peers
Plan Two-Hour Activity-Based Play Dates
When there is an activity, there is context for the peers to work on. This minimises awkwardness and its short length helps to leave children wanting more.
Teach Them how to be a Host
Some children can be very territorial and become bossy when peers come over to their house. Go over the rules of being a good host with them.
Offer Sincere Compliments
Teach your child to offer sincere and short compliments to make others feel good about themselves. This helps them to reach out to others. You may want to remind your child to offer one at a time as too many may seem insincere.
Seek Similar Activities
A gifted child needs to learn more about the potential friend by seeking out common interests and doing them together. By emphasising similar activities, they can build these friendships.
Encourage your child to watch the listener’s reactions when engaged in a conversation and to say no more than three or four sentences before asking a question to allow the other person to speak. If the other child looks remotely bored, guide him to end the conversation “Well, that’s it!” To wrap up the conversation as soon as he/ she can. After that, ask a question and listen carefully to the other person’s response.
Train your child to speak briefly of an event using three to four sentences. They do not have to go into every detail about the event.
Humour Can Backfire
If your child is struggling socially, do not suggest that they try humour. If the joke is inappropriate or hurtful, they may persist as they do not even read the social cues appropriately. When peers get mad, the excuse “I’m kidding! Can’t you take a joke?” Will not cut them some slack.
Do not try to bribe others with friendship using possessions or money. Others may just take them but do not offer a sincere companionship in return.
Practice Perspective Taking
During a movie or TV show, practice asking your child questions to observe the characters’ facial expressions and reactions. One or two questions will do as too many will only serve to irritate the child.