Friendship and Giftedness
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I am writing about my son Cyrus. He is 4, turning 5 in
February of 2006. He recently began pre-school. The
pre-school teacher has said she believes that he could be
gifted. Also, during Cyrus's pre-school check-up, the P.A.
mentioned to me about having him tested for giftedness. He
said that Cyrus's thought process was so much more advanced
than what a 4 year-olds is. He said something about his
quick sense of humor. Cyrus is fascinated with anything to
do with numbers - time, dates, counting. He can count to
1000. Instead of being read smaller, younger-aged books, he
would prefer to be read big chapter books or informational
books. He knows the names of the planets, states, and some
of their capitals. He constantly wants to know "why" about
everything. Last night he asked how much blood does your
At pre-school, he doesn't want to sit during circle time.
The pre-school teacher says that it took Cyrus a while
before he warmed up to the other kids. She asked if he
spends time outside of school with kids his own age. He
At home, he has a 3 year old brother, but they don't really
play together much. He would rather be with his 14 and 16
year old brothers playing video games or football with them
and their friends. I am not real sure if he is gifted, or
what to do next. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
A: Cyrus is already 5 now and I
am sure that he has advanced much more by now. From your
description, he does sound above average especially with his
thirst for knowledge. I do wonder if he is in a regular
pre-school or have you had him enrolled in a pre-school that
is not very academically based. Gifted children need
environments where they are able to explore and do lots of
Generally, children choose friends based on the similarities
of mental age, which means friends of gifted children are
usually other gifted children. In this case, Cyrus’s similar
ability peers of his age are not readily available at home
or at school, therefore he seeks company of children who may
be a few years older than him with whom he is able to relate
comfortably. These are children/adults who resemble him
somewhat in mental age, or whom he enjoys their company as
he feels challenged, which is exciting for a gifted child.
His teachers may have misunderstood this and assumed that
Cyrus does not easily form friendships with his age-peers
and assumes that he is "emotionally immature", which is in
fact the very opposite. You may want to talk to his teachers
about his gravitation towards mental age peers. As he grows,
he may feel "different" and perhaps even get worried.
As parents, you may want to consider discussing the
chronological age/mental age/emotional age discrepancy with
him. He must be reassured that individual differences are a
part of life.
Depending on where you live, you may also want to join any
parent support group for gifted children or associations.
Support is important and even if there is no direct support,
there is a lot of information on the internet that you may
find useful. Good luck!