Western Australia's association for gifted support, advocacy and resources
Gifted Identity Development
Identity development is a vital component of human experience. This study investigated whether gifted children enter identity development stages at a younger age than their peers and whether giftedness brings with it a sense of difference. Successful identity development often leaves gifted individuals with strong convictions and purpose in life, whereas failure to navigate these challenges may bring uncertainty and underachievement.
Kimberley Perry is a high school science and chemistry teacher at Emmanuel Catholic College, Western Australia. She is an educator, researcher and mother and has completed her Masters of Gifted Education with a focus on social emotional wellbeing and identity development of gifted children. She is an advocate for gifted children in Western Australia and a former committee member of Gifted WA.
Does your child have very high expectations, of themselves and of others? Does he or she like things to be ‘just so’? Or maybe they take an inordinate amount of time to complete a task, repeatedly erasing and reworking it, only to eventually screw the paper up in a fit of rage? Perhaps they’re so paralysed by perfectionism that they can’t even begin a task, paralysed by a fear of failure. There is no wrath like that of a perfectionistic child when things don’t go quite to plan!
We’ll look at the psychology behind perfectionism, how it manifests, and how to help your child increase their resilience so they can become less volatile when what happens in the real world does not match what they thought would happen in their head!
Dr. Kate Burton is co-founder of Gifted WA; a psychotherapist and counsellor who specialises in giftedness, twice-exceptionality, and trauma; and adjunct academic at Edith Cowan Institute of Education Research. Her writing and research focuses on the intersection between giftedness and mental health, and she frequently provides presentations and media commentary in order to advocate for the needs of this population. Kate classifies herself as a ‘recovering perfectionist’, and is also the parent of two twice-exceptional young adults, so has lived experience of the beautiful roller coaster ride that is raising neurodiverse children!