Who Are Your Peers?
Summer is a great time for helping a gifted/twice exceptional child find “true peers.” Children spend most of the year in school, and while many are able to find “friend” connections, many others are not. School is perhaps the only place that defines peers entirely by age and parents and teachers often express concern over a gifted child’s inability to form friendships within their class. In fact it is not uncommon for this to be seen as a problem in social development. However, when confronted with the question “do you as an adult form friendships exclusively with people your own age”, another perspective becomes clear. For many reasons both internally experienced and externally shown, gifted children sometimes do not have much in common with their age mates, and when they are young this difference can be very difficult for them to navigate. Although learning to work with others, is indeed important, it is also important to recognize that gifted children frequently work very well with others who are similar to themselves and that the issue is often not one of a missing skill, but rather a perception of who we call peers to the child. As they mature they usually developed the ability to navigate these differences better, but it is important when they are young to be understanding of their situation and to not make them feel more “alien” than they might already feel. True peers can be any age younger or older, and true peers have similar interests and can share the same depth of personal thoughts and feelings. Finding even one of these precious “connections” can make all the difference in a gifted child’s self-esteem.