7 Myths About Gifted Children

Do you think gifted children are perfect, lonely, or eccentric? Today, we'll disprove several common myths about gifted children.
7 Myths About Gifted Children

Last update: 23 October, 2021

What do you know about children that are gifted? Many people have never had close contact with these kids and often hold inaccurate beliefs or myths about gifted children.

Understanding the reality of these little ones is essential in order to eliminate those stigmas that surround them and to provide them with the best possible development conditions.

So, today we’re going to debunk some common myths about gifted children.

Special capabilities

According to estimates, about 2 to 5% of children have superior academic gifts. However, only a small percentage of them are identified, while the vast majority spend their entire lives without being aware of their condition.

Not being aware of their situation leads these children to have to deal with the difficulties of not obtaining adequate care for their needs.

In contrast, those children who are identified face a series of prejudices that don’t always reflect reality.

What children fall into the category of gifted?

Human intelligence is often measured using standardized tests, such as the Wechsler scale, which provide a measure of intelligence quotient (IQ).

The average score obtained by the population is around 100 points. So, a person is gifted when their results exceed 130 IQ points.

In general, gifted children excel in various academic areas, such as language, abstract reasoning, logic, or arithmetic. However, they can also stand out in terms of their creativity, their psychomotor skills, or their artistic ability.

No two gifted children are the same, not even those who score the same on tests.

For this reason, we must avoid generalizing this condition and drawing hasty conclusions.

A silhouette of a young girl full of scientific and mathematical formulas.

Some myths about gifted children

We’re sure that on more than one occasion you’ve heard the following myths about gifted children. However, as you’ll see, these aren’t always true. Pay attention to better understand the characteristics of these little ones.

1. They show early development

This is partially true, as many gifted children acquire some skills earlier than their peers. For example, speech, reading, or toilet training.

However, the environment that surrounds them also plays an important role. Their ease of learning is enhanced when parents encourage and support it. An unstimulating environment or one with negligent caregivers can slow down the development of these children.

2. They have high performance at school

Many people tend to think that these minors get excellent grades and perform well in class. Paradoxically, the opposite is often the case.

The current educational system, based on mechanical and repetitive tasks, doesn’t motivate or nurture the curiosity of gifted children. Therefore, these children tend to feel bored or disinterested in subjects and achieve mediocre performance. They may also present behavior problems. Many of them are even misdiagnosed with ADHD and other similar labels.

3. They’re lonely and have problems socializing

The stereotype of a gifted child leads us to think of a child with poor social skills who’s shy, withdrawn, and unable to fit in with the group. However, this isn’t always the case and in fact, these minors tend to have great communication skills, are empathetic, and have a great sense of fairness.

However, due to their advanced development, they tend to seek an intimate and satisfying type of friendship, based on common interests and mutual support. Therefore, they tend to seek this connection with older people and feel that children their age are childish or uninteresting.

4. They are weird and eccentric

Gifted people aren’t eccentric and aren’t, per se, at increased risk for mental disorders. However, they may have great sensitivity to the environment that surrounds them, as their brain is capable of capturing a greater amount of stimuli, and its way of processing them is different.

These little ones experience more intense emotions and can be deeply disturbed by events such as poverty or injustice in the world. This is something uncommon in children their age and it can be strange to others. However, it’s due to the asynchronous development between their intellect and their emotionality (which is still that of a child).

5. They learn everything on their own

Although gifted children have a greater facility for learning, teaching cannot be lacking. In other words, they don’t know everything from the moment they’re born and they also depend on adults to guide their teachings, motivate them, and guide them.

In fact, they’re recognized as people with special educational needs and have the right to have the necessary adaptations made so that their education is consistent with their abilities.

6. They’re miniature adults

The development of the intellect of these minors may lead us to think that they’re miniature adults, but we can’t forget that they’re still children.

They still need to play, explore, and learn. They feel anger and frustration like all other children and also, they have to learn to regulate their emotions. We mustn’t demand that they behave in a way that’s beyond their developmental ability.

7. They result from good early stimulation

Finally, one of the biggest myths about gifted children is that they’re the product of powerful early stimulation.

There’s no doubt that it’s always positive to promote and accompany the intellectual development of the infant. But giftedness has an important genetic component and it’s not possible to produce high capacities in children just by overstimulating them.

Myths about gifted children.

Conclusions regarding myths about gifted children

In short, gifted children aren’t a homogeneous group. Rather, they present a great diversity, like all human beings.

Therefore, before assuming, prejudging, or pigeonholing them, you must allow yourself to get to know their realities first-hand. And if you’re a teacher or parent and suspect that a child has high abilities, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance. Getting the right care can make a big difference.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • García-Rona, A., & Sierra-Vázquezb, J. (2011). Niños con altas capacidades intelectuales. Signos de alarma, perfil neuropsicológico y sus dificultades académicas. An pediatr contin9(1), 69-72.
  • Benito, Y., Moro, J., & Alonso, J. A. (2015). ¿Qué es la inteligencia? Validez del test WISC-IV para medirla. Criterios de corrección para alumnos con superdotación intelectual. Ideacción, 29.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.