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Gifted Adolescents

"Adolescence is a time for learning more about who one is, a time for forming a personal identity. For many adolescents, this involves trying on different looks, images, and patterns of behavior. Parents need to be tolerant during this experimental stage." Glenda L. Griffin, Parenting Gifted Adolescents

"It might be advisable for educators, especially teachers, to be sensitive to possible feelings of isolation on the part of the extremely gifted students..." Susan Dauber and Camilla Benbow, Aspects of personality and peer relations of extremely talented adolescents

See also ...  Middle School and Depression and Suicide

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp, and Ready for (Almost) Anything Recommended by Judy Galbraith and Jim Delisle (or from Barnes & Noble)
Updated 4th version is better than ever, keeping the best themes from the older versions but in a readable new format, and including lots of new stuff, too.  The ultimate guide for teens includes "discover virtual learning, find a cure for the common college, learn the value of mistakes, manage expectations and embrace your passions!"
 
The Essential Guide to Talking With Gifted Teens: Ready-to-use Discussions About Identity, Stress, Relationships, and More Recommended by Jean Sunde Peterson
Gifted teens have concerns, some like any other teen, and some unique to their giftedness, on topics including identity, perfectionism, relationships, stressors, and more.  This guide offers 50 ready-to-use discussion topics and materials; it's introduction gives detailed information on how ot use the book, and how to facilitate large or small group discussions with gifted teens.  I wish my teens had access to such a comprehensive discussion series! 
 
A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents Recommended  by Lisa Rivero
The parent's guide to those wild-n-crazy teens!  And for the teens, Smart Teens' Guide to Living with Intensity: How to Get More Out of Life and Learning Recommended
 
Smart Teens' Guide to Living with Intensity: How to Get More Out of Life and Learning Recommended by Lisa Rivero
A guide for pre-teens and teens who are a little more... more intense, more creative, more interesting, and yes, sometimes even called "more difficult."  A teen's perspective into growing up as a gifted teen today.  And for the parents, A Parent's Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense and Creative Adolescents Recommended
 
Talk with Teens About What Matters to Them: Ready-to-Use Discussions on Stress, Identity, Feelings, Relationships, Family, and the Future Recommended by Jean Sunde Peterson
All young people need a safe, supportive place to “just talk” with caring peers and an attentive adult. Talk with Teens has been tested with thousands of teens in many kinds of schools, community centers, churches, and workshops. Its guided discussions are proven ways to reach out to young people and address their social and emotional needs. Teens gain self-awareness and self-esteem, practice problem-solving and goal-setting, feel more in control of their lives, and learn that they have much in common with one another—they are not alone.
 
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
Based on his father's bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Sean Covey applies the same principles to teens, using a vivacious, entertaining style. To keep it fun, Covey writes, he "stuffed it full of cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world... along with a few other surprises."...
 
Actualization of Giftedness: Effects of Perceptions in Gifted Adolescents by Shelley Fahlman
Aside from the ongoing debate about what giftedness really is, researchers and educators are also divided on the most effective way to educate and counsel this group. Without a clear consensus on what the concept of giftedness is, it is difficult to know how to approach this group as a whole, much less the short but eminent developmental period of adolescence...
 
Adolescence and gifted: Addressing existential dread by J'Anne Ellsworth
Gifted youth may be especially susceptible to experiencing Existential Dread. If teachers, parents and students work together, the following solutions are suggested for consideration: a) nourish students socially, (b) work toward acceptance of giftedness and teach methods for enhancing emotional development, (c) provide philosophical nurturance...
 
Aspects of personality and peer relations of extremely talented adolescents by Susan Dauber and Camilla Benbow
While much attention has been given to ensuring that the extremely gifted student is afforded an acceptable and broadening intellectual environment, perhaps not enough emphasis has been placed on developing such students' peer interaction skills. It might be advisable for educators, especially teachers, to be sensitive to possible feelings of isolation on the part of the extremely gifted students. Facilitating the acceptance of the gifted child by peers and the formation of social relationships may significantly benefit the extremely gifted child...
 
Bright star -- black sky: A phenomenological study of depression as a window into the psyche of the gifted adolescent by P. Susan Jackson
...investigated the lived experience of the depressive state of ten gifted adolescents. Analysis revealed a complex stratum of influences fueling the depressive experience. At the core of the experience is the gifted teen's absolute need for knowledge for communion and for expression. The analysis revealed that the gifted adolescent is at risk for varying degrees of depression when any or all of these needs are stymied...
 
College Planning for Gifted Students by Sandra L. Berger
Everything you need to know and do, starting in 7th and stepping right through 12th grade, to plan for college for your gifted student.  Why don't the school counselors tell us this?!
 
The Emotional Journey of the Gifted and Talented Adolescent Female by Suzanne Blakeley
At 14, our daughter lost a hard fought struggle. Her slow descent into depression began during fourth grade after our family's relocation... Once self-confident and happy, she became filled with anxiety and frustration by the end of middle school. In ninth grade Sarah was haunted by rapid thoughts, and sleepless nights. Her tremendous mental energies eventually spiraled inward, settling into a looping, repetitive chant: I'm unacceptable
 
Factors affecting the academic choices of academically talented adolescents by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius and Jeff Yasumoto
...factors that influence the course choices of gifted middle school students who participate in a summer academic program. Specifically, factors that affect the choice between a verbal versus a science course and a verbal versus a mathematics course were studied. The factors included gender, race, ability, previous educational experiences, interests, and parental attitudes. Results showed that there was a gender difference...
 
Feelings and attitudes of gifted students by Tiffany Field, Jeff Harding, Regina Yando, Ketty Gonzalez, David Lasko, Debra Bendell and Carol Marks
Gifted students perceived themselves as being more intimate with friends, assuming fewer family responsibilities, and taking more risks. Contrary to the literature suggesting delays in the social development of gifted students, these data indicate that gifted students may be socially precocious when compared with their nongifted peers...
 
The Gifted Adolescent by James R. Delisle
One of the ironies of early adolescence is its contradictory nature. Between the ages of 10 and 14, kids want to be seen as unique individuals, but not so unique that they get odd looks from classmates.  And they want to be excited about learning, but not so much so that they are seen as "gifted geeks"...
 
Gifted kids at risk: Who's listening? by Patricia A. Schuler
Research consistently shows that many gifted children and adolescents have the capacity for intensified thinking and feeling, as well as vivid imaginations. Whether they are gifted athletes, artists, musicians, intellectuals, or are highly creative, they may have higher levels of emotional development due to greater awareness and intensity of feeling. "Being different" in ability and personality characteristics may lead to higher expectations, jealousy, and resentment by adults and peers...
 
Giftedness at Adolescence: Diverse Educational Options Required by Dona J. Matthews
Optimal educational response to exceptionally high-level development, particularly at adolescence, is to move toward providing a wide range of creatively flexible curriculum adaptations that take into account variability in students' learning styles and needs...
 
Helping Adolescents Adjust to Giftedness (ERIC Digest #489) by Thomas M. Buescher and Sharon Higham
Young gifted people between the ages of 11 and 15 frequently report a range of problems as a result of their abundant gifts: perfectionism, competitiveness, unrealistic appraisal of their gifts, rejection from peers, confusion due to mixed messages about their talents, and parental and social pressures to achieve, as well as problems with unchallenging school programs or increased expectations. Developmental issues that all adolescents encounter exist also for gifted students, yet they are further complicated by the special needs and characteristics of being gifted...
 
Helping Gifted Students with Stress Management (ERIC Digest #488) by Leslie S. Kaplan
Many gifted youngsters have a heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, to events, to ideas, and to expectations. Some experience their own high expectations for achievement as a relentless pressure to excel. Constant striving to live up to self-expectations--or those of others--to be first, best, or both can be very stressful...
 
How Can I Help My Gifted Child Plan for College? by Sandra Berger, an ERIC Parent's Brochure
Early steps parents and their gifted children can take to prepare for college and to ensure that the college experience is positive
 
Independence and Relationship Issues in Intellectually Gifted Adolescents by Deborah Ruf
Adolescence is a difficult time for most people, but social and emotional issues are exacerbated in the exceptionally or profoundly gifted adolescent who discovers the needs for friendship connections, romance, and greater independence in school and home...
 
Parenting Gifted Adolescents by Glenda L. Griffin, in Gifted Child Today ($)
Adolescents need to feel that parents trust them and believe that they will make the right decisions or perform the right actions should decisions or actions become necessary.  Along with saying yes as often as possible comes the importance of giving adolescents choices. This allows young adolescents some control over their own lives...
 
Parenting Teens With Love & Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline
Parenting pearls in the last third of the book are worth the price of purchase...
 
Parents: Their Impact on Gifted Adolescents commentary by Julie L. Sherman
In order for other gifted adolescents to succeed, parents must realize the significant role they play in their child's development, and the impact they have on their child's future success...
 
Perfectionism and the Gifted Adolescent: Recognizing and Helping Gifted Adolescents Deal with their Perfectionistic Tendencies by Mary Codd
Parents and teachers often feel that they need to cure children of their perfectionist tendencies. However, perfectionism can be viewed as having both positive and negative aspects.  We need to help our gifted perfectionistic students move away from negative tendencies and toward the more positive aspects of perfectionism.  Includes great suggestion list for both parents and teachers...
 
A Psychological Autopsy of the Suicide of an Academically Gifted Student: Researchers' and Parents' Perspectives by Tracy L. Cross, Karyn Gust-Brey, and P. Bonny Hall
Follows the subject across 21 years of life, highlighting relevant milestones and significant stages and events.  A comprehensive view of the life and death of a gifted student...
 
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence   by Rosalind Wiseman
Helps parents understand their daughters' friendships, the power of cliques and the roles of girls within them (including Queen Bee, Sidekick, Torn Bystander, Messenger and Target). She outlines parenting styles (from "The Lock-Her-in-a-Closet Parent" to "The Loving-Hard-Ass Parent") and offers tips on talking to teens...
 
Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher
If you have a gifted girl approaching or in the teen years, you should read this book, and perhaps have her read it, and discuss it together
 
and the clever response Ophelia Speaks : Adolescent Girls Write About Their Search for Self by Sara Shandler
...reveals telling portraits of teenage girls in this book, a compilation of essays, poems, and true-grit commentary from a cross section of teenage girls (or Ophelias), throughout the country. The book succeeds because it gives voice to their deepest concerns and their too-often frenzied lives
 
Sex and the Highly Gifted Adolescent by Annette Revel Sheely
Asynchronous, or out-of-sync, development so commonly seen in highly gifted children, wreaks havoc not only with educational needs, but also with the milestones of growth and maturity. Many parents of highly gifted children have reported that the physical changes of puberty and the emotional adjustments of adolescence began years earlier than expected for their children...
 
Sex and the Highly Gifted Adolescent by Stephanie S. Tolan
Are highly gifted children different from other children in the way they cope with the major physiological changes that mark the transition from childhood to adulthood? ...it’s possible to say that the highly gifted differ both from other children and from each other on the subject of sexuality...
 
Social and emotional issues faced by gifted girls in elementary and secondary school by Sally M. Reis
Research with talented girls and women has revealed a number of personality factors, personal priorities, and social emotional issues that have consistently emerged as contributing reasons that many either cannot or do not realize their potential...
 
Spirituality and the Highly Gifted Adolescent by Stephanie Tolan
"Spirituality, on the other hand, is an individual's experience of and relationship with a fundamental, nonmaterial aspect of the universe that may be referred to in many ways...It is the way the individual finds meaning, the way the individual relates to "life, the universe and everything.""
 
Suicide Among Gifted Adolescents: How to Prevent It by Denise de Souza Fleith
The most salient characteristics of gifted adolescents that may be associated with vulnerability to social and emotional disturbances are: (a) perfectionism, (b) supersensitivy, (c) social isolation, and (d) sensory overexcitability...
 
Surviving Your Adolescents: How to Manage-and Let Go of-Your 13-18 Year Olds
A step-by-step approach that will help end hassles and offer concrete solutions. Learn the differences between teens and parents, how to evaluate the seriousness of their problems, exactly what problems require professional attention, what problems require "letting go", the Four Cardinal Sins (what not to do!), five ways to improve the parent-teen relationship, what role to take (Observer, Advisor, Negotiator, Director), tactics to combat testing and manipulation, and guidelines for common specific problems...
 
A Synthesis of Research on Psychological Types of Gifted Adolescents by Ugur Sak
Results of studies about personality types of gifted adolescents. Gifted adolescents were higher on the Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Perceiving dimensions of the personality scales of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) when compared to general high school students. Also, gifted adolescents differed within the group by gender and by ability. Based on the findings, Sak discusses teaching practices for gifted students according to their personality preferences...
 
Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and Failure by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Kevin Rathunde and Samuel Whalen
The results of a monumental five-year study of a group of exceptionally talented teenagers, examining the role that personality traits, family interactions, education, and the social environment play in a young person's motivation to develop his or her talent. Read DITD review...
 
Teenage Brain: A work in progress by National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
A brief overview of research into brain development during adolescence.  ...NIMH's Dr. Judith Rapoport and colleagues were surprised to discover a second wave of overproduction of gray matter, the thinking part of the brain—neurons and their branch-like extensions—just prior to puberty...
Also read Imaging Study Shows Brain Maturing and view the time-lapse 3-D movie that compresses 15 years of human brain maturation, ages 5 to 20...
 
Teenagers With ADD: A Parents' Guide by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy
Add to the struggle for control and confusion with emerging identity of the typical teen, the challenges difficulty focusing attention, resisting impulses, or remaining still, and you will understand the necessity of a manual for how to live and work with teens with ADD
 
Teens Challenged to do Hard Things by Michael Smith, the Washington Times
Is teenage rebellion inevitable, or are there new ways of thinking that could address the problem? Responsibility for teenage rebellion and underperformance must fall primarily at the feet of parents and other adults. This is because our current expectations for teenagers provide very little challenge. Alex and Brett Harris, 19-year-old home-schooled twins, are trying to give adults and teens a wake-up call. In their book, "Do Hard Things," they attempt to explode the myth of adolescence...
 
Tips for parents: The real world of gifted teens by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
A selection of comments and tips collected from an online seminar about the complex issues of adolescence for profoundly gifted teens and their parents, inclduing When School Structure Becomes Stricture, Social/Emotional Brick Walls, What About Introversion and Extroversion?, and more...
 
To be young, gifted and depressed by Cathy Babao Guballa, Inquirer News Service
In the families studied, the teenagers who killed themselves could be said to be the ones who embodied the family myth or the ones who followed their parents' covert rules and wanted to fulfill their dreams. They were considered a favorite or considered as an ideal son/daughter....
 

See also ...  Middle School

Last updated June 15, 2014
 

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