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Guiding the Gifted Advanced Academic Services Austin Independent School District

Recognizing Self-Esteem in Gifted Children Since a gifted child’s self-esteem is affected by their academic, social, and emotional experiences, it is important to promote academic challenges while maintaining a nurturing environment that is sensitive to his or her needs.

Challenge! Assess his or her mathematical and verbal reasoning abilities using above-gradelevel materials or tests for documentation of achievement. Incorporate academic acceleration and enrichment into your child’s curricular plan: • • • • • •

Distance education Academic summer programs Academic competitions and contests Internships and mentorships Independent study and special projects Community service, travel, cultural experiences Consider his or her needs in each subject area (e.g., although advanced in math, he or she may not be as advanced in the humanities). Continue to nurture the development of his or her gift, but also encourage the development of skills and abilities that are not as strong. Encourage your child to be involved in academic planning and creating challenging and meaningful assignments.

And Nurture! Acquire information about the social and emotional needs of gifted children. Help your child to understand his or her giftedness and normalize his or her feelings and experiences. Find opportunities for your child to interact with intellectual peers and age peers. Provide your child with opportunities to develop social skills. Encourage your child to take risks, make informed decisions, tolerate imperfection, make realistic appraisals of his or her relative strengths and weaknesses, and accept self. Be sure your actions and words are consistent. Help your child to manage his or her overexcitabilities or intensities. Seek individual, group, or family counseling if the need arises. Muratori, M., Davidson Institute for Talent Development, “Tips for Parents: Self-Esteem of the Gifted,” 2010

Self-Concept, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Esteem Much of a student’s academic success is related to his or her negative or positive sense of self, based upon experiences in life and perceptions and assessments of him/herself. In many cases, parents and teachers of gifted children often share a misconception that these children always have a positive conception of themselves based on their abilities or successes. It becomes increasingly important to understand the different ways people view themselves to better understand their attitudes, actions, and behaviors. This includes understanding a gifted student’s self-concept and resulting approach to academics.

Can A Child Have A Good Sense of SelfEfficacy But Low SelfEsteem?


is a factual description of how a child sees himself. Self-perception may distort the description of himself, but it indeed remains an accurate statement of what he believes about himself. Self-concept is derived from self-esteem and selfefficacy.


is the regard or respect that a child has for himself. Self-esteem is based on feelings about himself and can be a general, overall feeling about himself or feelings in specific areas.

Characteristics of Low Self-Esteem

• • • • • •

Feelings of unhappiness Feelings of anxiety Feelings of inferiority or superiority Impatience or irritation with self or others Externally oriented goals Negativity

Characteristics of High Self-Esteem

• • • • •

Responsibility Goal commitment and Responsibility Genuineness and Forgiveness Internal values Self-improvement

Monica A. Frank, PhD, “The Pillars of The SelfConcept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy”, 2011

Though they often correspond, this is possible. A child may be overly-critical and negative about himself and yet see himself as quite capable in certain areas. For instance, he might see himself as uninteresting and unlikeable socially, but see himself as a competent artist. This is often the case with children who exhibit perfectionist tendencies, in that they are often competent at tasks with clear guidelines but feel uncertain in situations without clear “rules”, such as relationships.


is a child’s belief in his ability to accomplish some specific goal or task. It corresponds to the level of competence an individual feels in doing something specific.

Characteristics of Low Self-Efficacy

• • • •

Fear of risks Fear of uncertainty Feelings of failure Impression management (trying to control how others might perceive them)

Characteristics of High Self-Efficacy • • • •

Self-confidence Accurate self-evaluation Willingness to take risks Sense of accomplishment

Advanced Academic Services, Austin Independent School District

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