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Ask Dr. L Your Own Question

Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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My extremely intelligent 6 year old son has started to be aggressive

Resolved Question:

My extremely intelligent 6 year old son has started to be aggressive with other children at school. He is not patient with other children who are not on his level. He also has no impulse control if he gets less than 12 hours sleep EVERY night. Is this normal behavior, or should I consider some counseling or other intervention?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 12 months ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I can understand how upsetting this might be for you.

Dr. L :

You say that your son is extremely intelligent...have you had him tested? Or what has you saying that?

Dr. L :

What we often find with children with a high I.Q. is that they are deficient in E.Q....emotional intelligence. And so what we recommend is some help developing EQ. There are several good books on the subject...I will give you some recommendations.

Dr. L :

First off, I would like you to get the book: The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel. This will help you understand how the brain works and how to impart knowledge about emotions. The book has some very simple pictures that your son may be understand.

Customer:

He was tested at school, and I don't know the number, but he is in the gifted program, and is completely bored.

Dr. L :

Yes...that's the problem with gifted kids...they get bored so easily because they learn at such a rapid speed. For example, it takes most kids 5 or so repeats to understand a concept. With a gifted child...it may take one repeat. Can you see where the problem exists then? If a gifted child is presented information over and over and over...the boredom slips in.

Customer:

My son reads on a 4th grade reading level (maybe higher, because that is as high as his school tests for first graders). But also understand that he is generally very good in social situations, having many friends. He is the most loving well behaved child 90% of the time, but that other 10% when he acts out, he always does it in a big way.

Customer:

Yes, I do see that!

Dr. L :

I encourage you to learn as much as you can about gifted children so that you can "feed" him. I would also recommend that you find out what kind of testing he had. He needs a full battery I.Q. test...not a down and dirty version. A psychologist can administer this test. The report that will be written will give you - and the school - direction on how best to feed him and keep him from being bored.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX look in to having a full battery I.Q. test.

Dr. L :

That 10% is likely due in part to his maturity level. Even though he has the intellectual capacity there is no way at age 6 that he can have the emotional maturity.

Customer:

I think it is hard for us as adults to sometimes remember that he is only 6, when he can carry on a very intelligent conversation, it is very easy to forget that though he is intelligent, his emotions don't match that.

Dr. L :

So...what you are seeing in part is due to his age. Yes..you want to provide him with limits and boundaries so that he can mature properly...but it might be a bit of a challenge as it will be difficult to remember that he is only 6 going on 16...

Dr. L :

I'm sorry...I was typing while you were and so we essentially said the same thing. LOL

Dr. L :

Yes...that is the very issue...he doesn't present himself as a tender 6 year old.

Dr. L :

I also want to recommend the following book and website:

Dr. L :

Parenting with Love and Logic

Dr. L :

www.loveandlogic.com

Customer:

Yes, exactly. It is hard to discipline him sometimes, because he can argue his way out of anything. He is great at finding loop holes!

Dr. L :

This is one of the best parenting strategies. I highly recommend reading this book and applying it to your son.

Customer:

Great, I think that will appeal to us as well, because my husband is an engineer...thus highly logical.

Dr. L :

I had imagined that he could - and does - run circles around you with his intelligence. This is where the books I have recommended will really help you.

Customer:

It sounds like just the thing that we need. Thank you for your help!

Dr. L :

Also see: http://www.nagc.org/

Dr. L :

This is the national association of gifted children...good parental tips.

Dr. L :

You are very welcome. I have worked with many gifted children in my 30 years as a licensed psychologist and so I understand the challenges.

Customer:

Great...thank you!

Dr. L :

Gifted kids need to be fed and fed and fed.

Customer:

Yes, they truly do...sometimes it is exhausting. My husband I were both gifted children as well, and both spent many years bored, but as far as we can gather we never acted out in the way that our son is.

Dr. L :

Parents very definitely have a part in this feeding...and sometimes it is a battle to get the schools (or even particular teachers) to understand the boredom piece and to get them to continually challenge the child.

Dr. L :

I would monitor what he eats...see if there are any particular foods that set him off. The sleep issue is that his body needs down time because his brain cycles so rapidly. You might consider teaching him relaxation therapy techniques as a way for him to get some breaks in the day. You might also consider martial arts for the same reason.

Dr. L :

Is there any last thing I can help you with tonight?

Customer:

I have noticed that bread seems to set him off. We were doing Tae Kwon Do, and I will say that he did better with impulse control when he was practicing that. He is taking swimming lessons right now, and of course is over achieving at that.

Customer:

No, I think you have answered my questions brilliantly, and calmed my nerves that there is not something more deep rooted in this issue.

Dr. L :

If bread sets him off then you might consider having him tested for gluten issues.

Customer:

Will do. Thank you for your help!

Dr. L :

Or...just cut down on bread products.

Dr. L :

Glad to have been of help.

Dr. L :

Good luck...

Customer:

Thanks!

Dr. L :

Good night.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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