Is Your Child Gifted or Challenged? How Can You Address Their Unique Needs?

Child Counseling

Every child has their own individual set of needs. As a parent, you’re probably already well in tune with what those needs are.

But there might be things you’re missing depending on certain exceptions. Specifically, if your child is gifted, or if they’re challenged in the way they learn.*

Gifted children are often praised by teachers and family members alike. Things seem to come easily to them. So it’s easy to think their lives are “perfect” and they don’t have any special needs. But that isn’t always the case.

Challenged children, on the other hand, are sometimes given the wrong help. Kids who are challenged have different needs that often have to be looked at on an individual basis.

The Needs of Gifted Children

Again, it’s easy to ignore the fact that kids who are highly intelligent may have more needs. Their lives aren’t perfect just because they’re smart or because things come easily to them. As parents, it’s important to recognize that.

What your gifted child might need probably doesn’t have much to do with academics or education. But it could have a lot to do with socialization and relationships.

First, children who are gifted might need to form stronger relationships with their peers. If they’re constantly focused on learning, it can take away from those relationships and make them feel isolated or “different.” At the end of the day, kids are still kids, and they should be allowed to have meaningful relationships that showcase that.

You may also need to keep your child challenged and motivated. Kids of higher intelligence are sometimes diagnosed with things like ADHD because they seem to have trouble paying attention. In reality, they could just be bored because they understand what’s going on quicker than others.

Recognizing that your gifted child may have different needs is important to keep them happy and content, so don’t overlook those basic needs just because of their intelligence.

The Needs of Challenged Children

If your child struggles in school or doesn’t seem to have the same development as others, recognizing their individual needs can help.

Maybe your child doesn’t keep up with other kids as they should. Or maybe they’ve been diagnosed with a condition such as Asberger’s or Autism. Whatever the case, recognizing what your child needs to thrive isn’t necessarily something you’ll be able to find in a book or an article.

Children with these challenges often need more attention, more time, and more patience. But no two kids fit in the same box. Recognizing that will help you to steer away from soaking up every bit of information you read, and will allow you to instead focus on what your child is trying to tell you.

The Support You Need

Whether your child is exceptionally gifted or challenged, there is another factor to keep in mind: taking care of yourself.

Parents of children with specific needs, one way or another, can often feel isolated and overwhelmed. You don’t have to have all of the answers. You just need to focus on your child as an individual, rather than relying solely on what others might be doing.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and you’re not sure how to address the specific needs of your child, you’re not alone. Help is available. There are many support groups out there for parents. Some are even focused on parents of children with special needs or gifted children.

Feel free to contact one of our child therapists if you’re struggling to keep up.  Together with your therapist you can talk about the emotional support you need as a parent and how you can best take care of yourself while consistently addressing your child’s needs as well. We offer a complementary 20-minute phone consultation. Our locations for family therapy are located throughout the valley with counseling centers in Phoenix, Anthem, Biltmore/Arcadia, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale.   Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email

(*Note: Some children are both gifted and challenged, which requires a completely different approach.)