Oh, you have a “Spirited Child”

How many times have I had someone say that to me? Many more than I can count.

I go round and round with that term. I haven’t decided if I think it’s condescending, an attempt at labeling my child in a positive way, or if it’s just another way to make her feel like an outsider. While I find that I’m constantly amazed by her academic skills, her maturity at least in a traditional school setting seemed to fall to the lowest common denominator.

I’ve had a hard time figuring out what to do about that. I know all the psychologists, and development specialists will tell parents that kids don’t all develop at the same rate, and in fact, it can be common for academically gifted kids to lag behind in the emotional maturity. I know this, but it doesn’t really help me when I’m in the middle of “spirited moment” with her. I often find myself wondering if I can/should be doing more. How can I help her with some of these social maturity skills, or do I just let her be, and develop on her own.

Even as I write this, the answer is seemingly obvious and yet elusive. I know that, yes, indeed she’ll develop at her own pace no matter what I do, and yet, I feel as a responsible parent I still need to set guidelines. Maybe that’s the best I can do.

I have noticed that she seems to have gained an enormous amount of maturity since beginning the online school program, however, she’s around adults all day, so she’s had to rise to the occasion. However, as soon as she’s around friends, I feel like we’re right back to square one.

Anyone else struggling with this?

-CM

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