Let me know if you’ve lived this one (insert your own particulars).

Your gifted daughter is always singing; she sings in the car, in the bathroom, and at the dinner table. Her incessant singing has even gotten her into hot water a time or two. And you’ll never forget the time she broke out into Katy Perry’s “Roar” during silent prayer at church. (This actually happened, folks).

She begged and begged for voice lessons or singing classes or some kind of structured outlet so she could express her need to…

SSSSSIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGG!

So, of course, you (the loving caring adult that you are) promptly signed her up for some voice coaching with a small group of children who also love to sing. And I imagine you thought to yourself, “Here we go! She’ll be in a small group of other children who love to do what she loves. Maybe she’ll finally find some peers!

You so want your child to have a positive experience of doing what they love in a group setting. And I want that for you too!

 But…

What happened when it came time to attend class?

How did your daughter sleep the night before?

Did she get all the way to the front door of the practice room then cling onto your leg for dear life while wailing hysterically at the mention of you leaving?

 Yeah?

 This is the kind of story I hear from parents all the time. It’s possibly one of the most puzzling aspects of the gifted personality I’ve ever tried to understand. There could be a lot of reasons why this is happening in your family. More often than not, the children who are having these experiences are coping with the imaginational overexcitability (OE).

For an introduction to the imaginational OE check out my previous post, laugh at my childhood follies, and then try to take me seriously please.

As we’ve discussed on the blog before, a strong imagination can have a dark side. Children learning to harness their imaginational OE may experience their imaginations as reality.

The line between what they think is happening and what is actually happening is perforated.

Your daughter may feel so distraught over her various fears that they may as well have already happened, making it impossible for her to approach her new learning opportunity with joy.

And naturally, each of us gets a little nervous before starting something new. We might even indulge in a little worst-case-scenario thinking ourselves. But ultimately, we get over ourselves, put one foot in front of the other and end up saying “Well that was okay!”

For some gifted children, the worst-case-scenario thinking isn’t fleeting.

They don’t yet have a reservoir of positive experiences or coping skills for their anxiety. Their fearful feelings are reality.

Does your child ever surprise you with their unwillingness to try new things? Do they dig their metaphorical heels in miles deep? Even when it comes to the things you know they’ll love?