Gifted and misunderstood

Mothers' narratives of their gifted children's socio-emotional adjustment and educational challenge

Mimi Wellisch*, Jac Brown, Ros Knight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Eleven mothers of gifted children were interviewed, with questions focused around maternal problems as they related to children's attachment, socio-emotional adjustment, and perhaps even their IQs. The interviews were transcribed and NVivo 9 qualitative software was used to help manage the data and coding process. Findings indicate that children were more likely to have clinical or borderline internalising problems if their mothers had been depressed, and if the children had been serially misunderstood in a variety of primary social contexts - at home, by peers, and in those educational settings that failed to provide appropriately for their advanced and different educational needs. A model is included of the primary social contexts and causes involved in misunderstanding gifted children. The article concludes with recommendations for successful preventative strategies based on information gained from the narratives of participating mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalAustralasian Journal of Gifted Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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