How to Motivate a Gifted Underachiever

How to Motivate a Gifted Underachiever

By braniac, eHow User






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How to Motivate a Gifted Underachiever


Gifted Underachievers- Perfectionism, Procrastination


Few sights frustrate parents and teachers more than the gifted child who seems unwilling to even attempt performing to his or her potential. Nothing hurts the self-esteem of a struggling student more than repeated failure without knowing why. These tips will help parents, teachers, and students better understand underachievement and turn academic performance around.




Things You’ll Need






Parents should give encouragement rather than praise. Research by Dr. Carol Dweck demonstrates that praise undermines motivation and performance.



Parents shouldn’t restrict favorite activities. A gifted student’s interests help reinstill a passion for learning. If an underachieving gifted child wants to play on the computer all day, enroll him in a computer animation or programming class.



Parents and teachers can help the student tackle perfectionism. Many gifted perfectionists become underachievers due to fear of failure. When faced with challenges, the simplest way for an underachiever to protect a fragile self-image is to avoid risk and convince herself that she failed because she didn’t even try.



Parents and teachers should clearly define project goals to avoid procrastination. Gifted underachievers often become overwhelmed by the details and can’t focus on the task at hand. Gifted kids often make the job so big they can never finish on time.



Parents can motivate an underachiever by finding a great teacher who loves a subject of interest to the gifted child. Select a teacher who values student input and treats the child like an intellectual equal. Form a mentorship. Passionate teaching motivates gifted underachievers.



Help the gifted underachiever maintain a growth mindset. Failure does not define a person and is not a fixed attribute. Parents and teachers should focus concern on the underachieving child and not the missed assignments.



Parents and teachers should find a goal that matters to the gifted underachiever. Often deciding on a career, picking a college, or making grades for a special interest camp motivates a change in an underachiever’s attitude and behavior.


Tips & Warnings


Visit “Parenting a Gifted Child” at for more information about gifted underachievement, perfectionism, procrastination, and the growth mindset.


Avoid inadvertently causing underachievement by focuses on successes and failures. Encourage effort and process.




Parenting a Gifted


Read more: How to Motivate a Gifted Underachiever |


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