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Gifted Children/Question about my son


Hi again, I talked to you months ago about my 4 year old son's behavior which has improved (thanks for you help) but I have some new issues.

He just started Pre-K this year and he is doing wonderful. He loves going to school and his teacher how already noticed how incredibly smart he is. The problem is he will not answer questions when I ask him something? I feel like I am either distracting him from something or from some thought or he doesn't want to tell me. Like an example yesterday "Riley what did you do it gym class today". "Mommy I don't want to answer any more questions, my mouth is taped shut and I cannot talk anymore" I just don't get it??? Also, when he draws a picture on his magna doodle, he will say mommy don't look or you can't look!

Sometimes I can get him to open up about things when we talk at night time when I am putting him asleep. Other than that, it's very hard for him to tell me something on his own. Sometimes he will but not very much. I feel like I am missing out on what he is learning and doing in school also.

Is this atypical behavior and what can I do to help him be more sharing/forthcoming. Thanks!

Boys and girls are different in terms of how they see the world and communicate, even though it may be unpopular to say so. Boys very typically are not as talkative as girls. They often won't feel a need to spontaneously talk about their day, or activities or just like to be chatty. It isn't a fault,or a negative. It just is what it is.

Intense or lengthy direct eye contact will work against you, as will serial direct questions. As you've noticed, talking that comes up in the course of activities are good, as will letting a child unwind a bit after school before you talk with him or about topics. Driving in the car is good. You' aren't making direct eye contact and it's an activity that can open topics - you're on your way to something; it dials down the intensity of the interaction.  Games, like board games, often work to draw a child out, whether the games are everyday, or intended for education.  Some games are meant to draw kids out or encourage creative thinking or expression of feelings.  Some have cards with silly questions or fun facts - What would happen if cats barked? What do you plant to grow seedless watermelons? You can find info about games which don't require purchasing. These sources are good; many have printables.,,,,

You're experiencing some of the reasons why it can take extra energy to raise a gifted child. The stuff they come up with "I can't talk, I'm a rock, etc." It's best to stay low-key about talking about some things, but you're still the parent, and at times you need to get information.  Sometimes it works to just tell them, "I know it isn't your style to like questions. I don't like it either sometimes when it feels like too many questions. Sometimes We have to talk about stuff and have questions so I can take care of you. Let's just get it done and we can get to more fun stuff." If he won't cooperate, stay in the conversational tone you've learned to use and tell him, "I've got to ask you about things, so we'll finish that before the computer, TV, ipad, whatever can be used."  You've learned to stay calm without it escalating, in spite of his attempts to provoke you. You can say, "I know you want to get to those." Say it once or twice, tell him you're done talking about it so he needs to let you know when he's ready to talk, and don't say another word about it. (It's healthier for kids to not have electronics in the bedroom, ever.)  

Most schools have a system for parents to go to on the computer to follow along with grades, a calendar, events, announcements, etc. You can follow that.  Every once in a while I e-mail the teacher(s), sometimes ask for a few minutes for a scheduled phone call, just kind of a check-in on his attitude, anything you need to know, ask what you can do to be supportive of the classroom. Sometimes parents can give volunteer hours to a classroom or other task. They appreciate the offer and interest, and research shows that kids do better in school when their parent is engaged in some way with the school, not necessarily in your child's classroom.

The literature from that I mentioned before will have material about your son's behaviors. Remember, he's intellectually advanced, but emotionally at calendar age.

You must do the job of parent, prepare him for managing life. He doesn't have to like you.

A good parent stays true to doing what's best for the child, even in tough times that call for unpopular decisions.  He may tell you he hates you, that you're mean, that he doesn't want you for a mother anymore, and you stay calm, think clearly, use your conversational tone and carry on.

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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