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It is the wish of every parent to provide his or her children with the best support as they grow up. Most of the times, this turns out to be an overwhelming task when you take into account individual needs of a child in relation to poor socio-economic status of parents.
However, parents bringing up a genius child face even more challenges. Genius children are identified on the basis of their ability to do certain things which their age mates can not possibly at their age. According to psychiatrists, genius children have better cognitive skills than their age mates.
Because of their extra-ordinary abilities while still young, most people (parents, teachers and fellow students) whom these children interact with are unable to understand them fully. Due to these misunderstandings, most of these children suffer rejection from the same people they should be gaining moral support from.
These kids suffer from chronic stress and depression. As a result, they are unable to achieve desires of their hearts since no one understands their needs.
Because of misunderstandings by their superiors and bullying by their colleagues, these children mistrust virtually everyone something which prevents them from confiding their worries and problems in anybody.
Most genius children are perfectionists. Since most of genius children are aware of their extraordinary abilities they strive to perform everything they set out to do perfectly. When they fail to achieve perfectionism they plunge into to stress and depression and which in most cases culminate into suicide.
This study shall analyze some of the factors which lead most genius children in the United States to commit suicide at a very tender age. It shall summarize key findings of a study by Hyatt (2010) where he analyzed factors which led to suicide of a young highly gifted girl in the USA.
In an attempt to understand what could have caused death of this young gifted adolescent, collection of data was done mainly by interviewing close family members and close friends the young lady had interacted with at school, home and any other environment before she died.
Documents and artifacts she had written in her journals and poems were also used. The documents were very important since it was through them that the author was able to decipher how the young lady used to live and how she viewed the world.
A video taped record showing the compilation of the young adult life was also used in analyzing the activities which the girl engaged in so as to establish what really went through the mind of the young girl. This study as the author indicated was a psychological autopsy aimed at finding out factors that could have led to the suicide (Hyatt, 2010).
From the study, it was found out that just like many genius children, the young gifted lady suffered from frustration, anger and unhappiness. These experiences were as a result of what she went through in school in the hands of her peers and teachers.
She always complained of being bullied, rejected and being misunderstood by those she interacted with. Due to these problems, she contemplated committing suicide since when she was very young.
The findings of this study were similar to those of a study conducted by Cross and his colleagues in which they found out that most genius children in the US are bullied by their colleagues who perceive them as too complex to understand.
As a result of bullying and misunderstanding, proper socialization becomes difficult and chances of the individual feeling rejected increase and consequently, many of them become hopeless and frustrated by life leading to suicide (Cross, Gust-Brey & Ball, 2002).
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A study done by Speirs Neumeister in 2004 indicated that an individual can achieve perfection in two ways: either from influence of your parents and other colleagues or through self determination.
Perfectionism resulting from influence of others is not as the one achieved through self determination. When a perfectionist’s personal objectives fail to be achieved, impacts are usually very dangerous and destructive especially for a genius child.
Most genius children are used to realizing their goals easily and tend to have high expectations which bring them unbearable frustration if they fail to be achieved.
Furthermore, most of them are rigid in the sense that they do not regard alternative solutions for flopped plans. According to (Quart, 2006), most of genius children know nothing less of perfection. Quart interrogated a young gifted individual who shortly before committing suicide was asked his views about perfection and answered that for him there is no room for anything less of perfection.
His views also indicated that America as a society demanded perfection from its citizens and there was no shortcut to that. In most occasions when these gifted individuals fail to achieve their dreams, life then becomes worthless.
Hyatt’s study also found out that mistrust is another major cause of high cases of suicide among genius children. In most cases genius children are hardly understood and thus everybody seems to be in conflict with them.
They have different needs and demands from other children of their age and thus this makes them feel rejected. Since no one listens to them, they fail to trust anyone they interact with.
Instead of sharing their feelings, most of the times they confine their feelings to themselves and as this continues, desperation grows and this results to depression which eventually leads to suicide if not checked in good time (Delisle, 1986).
Since the above study was done on a single individual, it was hard to make generalizations although comparing them with other past studies showed some correlation. Conclusions were made from a part of the data collected and therefore making generalizations on the basis the study is dangerous.
However, the findings of the study are statistically significant since there was verification of the procedures which were followed to test the trustworthiness and credibility of the data.
These procedures included prolonged engagement, persistent observations, audio taping and then correlating the information in the videos with what had been filled in the questionnaire.
There was also intensive cross checking with the family member which involved sending interview transcripts to the victim’s mother for her to check their accuracy and also to provide any additional topics which she would have liked discussed of what she did sometimes (Hyatt, 2010).
Cross, T. L., Gust-Brey, K., & Ball, B. (2002). A psychological autopsy of the suicide of an academically gifted student: Researchers’ and parents’ perspectives. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 247–264.
Delisle, J. R. (1986). Death with honors: Suicide among gifted adolescents. Journal of Counseling and Development, 64, 558–560.
Hyatt, A. L. (2010). A Case Study of the Suicide of a Gifted Female Adolescent: Implications for Prediction and Prevention Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33 (4), 514–535.
Quart, A. (2006). Hothouse kids: The dilemma of the gifted child. New York, NY: Penguin Press. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2004). Understanding the relationship between perfectionism and achievement motivation in gifted college students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 219–231.