Helping Gifted Children Handle Cooperation and Competition
Being able to handle cooperation and competition is an essential part of working and playing well with others. However, gifted children often struggle with group activities. Their strong views about the “Right” way to do things may make it hard for them to compromise. Their sensitivity about evaluations or fears of hurting others’ feelings can lead them to avoid or overreact to even mild forms of competition. Because they are used to performing well, they may also find it hard to cope with setbacks, struggles, or losses.
Some common situations that can present challenges related to cooperation and competition include: working on group projects at school, handling winning and losing games, dealing with performance fears, and coping with competition within the family.
Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is a clinical psychologist (NJ lic. #35SI00425400) and co-author of two books for parents, Smart Parenting for Smart Kids: Nurturing Your Child’s True Potential (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends (Little, Brown), as well as a book for mental health professionals, Expressing Emotion (Guilford Press). She is also the author of an award-winning children’s book, What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents' Attention Without Hitting Your Sister (Parenting Press). Dr. Kennedy-Moore has a private practice in Princeton, NJ, where she offers psychotherapy for gifted children and gifted adults. She frequently speaks at schools and conferences.
NOTE: The contents of this tip sheet are for educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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