Gifted and Bored
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My 8 year old son scored 99th percentile in math and was
identified as appropriate for the Gifted Program at the
school. However, he constantly says he is bored. Does sloppy
work and behaves poorly in school. The teacher said today
that he was given "enrichment" activities and still not seem
engaged. She caught him looking in her book for the answers.
He has been about one grade ahead in math, so that seems
unusual. What do you think is going on here? How do you
think I can best help my son? A psychologist suggested we
request the school to do the Wechsler which is currently in
the works. Help!
A: It is quite strange that he
is in the Gifted Program and yet finds his learning
unchallenging. Have you tried asking him the reason for his
boredom? Is he bored only at school or at other times as
well? Have you checked his school work? Is the enrichment
activity appropriate for his level, given that he scored
very high in Mathematics?
There are two things I may be able to conclude from your
description: Firstly, he may be really bored and finds
lessons unchallenging. He does not find meaning in what he
learns. Secondly, if he has moved classes or is in another
program, he may be missing his friends and hence the
behavior. He has no control of where he would like to be, so
he may be using the only control he has, which is to behave
poorly. Copying answers may just be a way to manifest his
frustrations and has probably very little to do with his
competency in Mathematics.
A good way to help him is to simply talk to him and find out
why he is behaving in such a manner. Depending on the
parenting style you adopt, if you feel that he may be
uncomfortable talking to you, get another significant adult
whom he respects to figure out what is going on. He is the
best person to clarify his behavior. Ask him if he is
unhappy with the class or did anything take place in his
class to make him feel that way he feels. Also ask him what
would be the best way for him to learn and you can both make
some compromises with the situation.