Emotional Functioning and the Gifted Child

The effort to understand the emotional functioning of gifted children is a constant challenge for parents, caretakers and educators.  The recognition that many gifted children portray over excitabilities and extreme sensitivities which complicate both understanding them and empathizing with them has been discussed by Dabrowski (1977).   Lovecky (1992) clearly elevated our understanding of gifted children in his discussions of their unique and often disparate social and emotional aspects as well as his focus on excitabilities and sensitivities.

Other writings have shown for some time that many gifted children experience a wide range of challenges with managing their emotions on a daily basis.  They are described as over-reactive, extremely sensitive to the slightest stimuli or smallest change in their environment, having difficulties with transitions or having intense affective experiences.

Indeed maintaining emotional equilibrium in a wide range of situations on a daily basis requires a capacity for affective modulation and emotional maturity that many adults fail to ever achieve.  The extreme sensititivities which serve to heighten the emotional experience of many gifted children further challenges their capacities for maintaining an emotional balance.  Further, their own unique perceptual organization and cognitive orientations may not only hinder but further exasperate their own difficulties in these areas.