22 Lines A Gifted Child Hates to Hear

Over the years, I’ve heard these lines often, but only now do I understand what they really mean. Only now do I understand why they stung so much. Maybe to some kids they were innocuous, or only said in a matter-of-fact way that was easily accepted; but to me, they were stifling, a road closed sign, a way to cut me off and cut me down.
Have you had similar frustrations?



“You ask too many questions.”

“Because you’re too young.”

and my personal all-time very worst-

 “Because I said so.”



These lines always implied to me that I was too young, not knowledgeable enough (hence the old “experience”-How do you get it without getting it? conundrum), or that someone else knew what was best for me.



School brought on lines like these:


  • “The WHY isn’t important.” (Particularly outraging for me.)
  • “Follow these directions-exactly.”
  • “Memorize this.”
  • “Stop dreaming.”
  • “Use only these colors.”  (Uh, why?)
  • “There’s no room for creativity today.” (Kill me, now.)



Time limitations always seemed to bring out the worst.


  • “We don’t have time for questions.” (Really?!)
  • “You’ve been working on that long enough.” (One of the best reasons to homeschool a gifted child.)
  • “Put that away; it’s time to…..”



Who doesn’t wish to explain the reasoning behind a choice when others see it as incorrect?


  • “Stop explaining.”
  • “Why are you always analyzing everything?”  (This, I discovered was actually a rhetorical question.)
  • “No explanation needed.” (Which was followed by my question, “But is it OK if I give one?”)
  • “Why do you always have to be right?”
    (I often heard this when I was in opposition to an answer; even while ready with my evidence. I never did, but always wanted to ask the same, “Why do you?”  Again, I later discovered this was also a rhetorical question. Which makes me wonder….do all gifted children come to understand the concept of a rhetorical question later in life?)



When different means wrong.


  • “Yours should look like mine.”
  • “I’ll show you the right way to do it.”
  • “There’s only ONE correct answer.”  (argh!)



Then there were the “meant as” criticisms that I always took as compliments.


  • “You’re always thinking.”  (LOL!)
  • “You read too much.”
  • “This is unrealistic.” (So is your world to me.)

So, while it doesn’t look like we’ll be changing the world any time soon, at least maybe you can share these lines with your favorite gifted kid and tell them that there are some people out there who really do understand.


What are some of the lines you’ve heard?


UPDATE: A gifted child decided my post  needed a follow up. I’m THRILLED to present to you and up and coming talent through the blog Uncharted Journey. So, if you’re a gifted kid and you have more ideas, be sure to share them with both of us!


37 thoughts on “22 Lines A Gifted Child Hates to Hear

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  2. The ones i hated the most was “Why can’t you just do it like everybody else” which i usually got after coming up with a better method, i also got ” you’re not supposed to think for yourself, you’re supposed to do what you’re told” pretty much about the same thing.


  3. I was a disruptive influence as I was always asking “Why”. In English Lit I was always miles ahead in the book and was told to read more slowly! I started to learn French at the age of 5 and then when I went to boarding school at 9 we started to learn French again. I was bored. My teacher told me “If you’ve done it all before, don’t bother to come to the lessons” Naively I took the teacher at face value, so I didn’t and was put in detention for the whole term and missed all my family visits!


    1. Aww. …Elizaneth, that’s heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it’s also not that rare. I’m glad you finally figured out why you and the teacher had different lines of thought even though it is a heartbreak you still carry today. Take heart. They’re learning.


  4. I was told that I was working at University level when doing my A-levels and that level of thinking was inappropriate for school, so I was a disruptive influence to the class. Previously, I had been told to ‘dumb down’ my GCSE coursework, because it would look as though I hadn’t done it. This was at a high-achieving private school! It hasn’t got any better as an adult!


    1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t Charlie. Time for a more challenging atmosphere, or a move up in the hierarchy. If that’s not possible, you can either “dumb it down” to placate “superiors” and do your own thing on the side or be yourself and prepare for backlash. You’re not alone. Just remember that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps working on your weak areas will demonstrate your struggles and prove you’re not trying to act superior to others. Hang in there.


  5. During parent/Teacher conference, “We already know your son knows the answers to the questions before we begin teaching it to him. Can you please discuss with him the need to allow others the opportunity to answer the questions?” The teachers wondered why he was SO bored all last year… He finally looked at me 2/3 of the way through the school year and said when do I get to actually get to learn something? Behavior became out of control when they went back to “review” for testing toward the end of the year. I can only hope this year is better! May have to look at homeschooling again.


    1. I totally get that. Most teachers either don’t truly understand and/or have their jobs riding on the scores of the other kids. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to, but could you have him answer 3 challenge questions at the end of his homework, have him keep a tiny notebook on his school desk so he can write the answers to get them out of his head? I know exactly how he feels. It’s not easy, but I’d look into how other gifted kids handle it (in their words). It should help him to not feel so alone. Hang in there!


  6. Yes, all of this is true, but gifted people must learn to positively harness their talents and balance their relationships with other people. All gifted people struggle; those who are highly gifted and have overexcitabilities may be particularly vulnerable. But the gifted person must seek balance and continually reach toward their own ideal self. This often includes self- and social fulfillment, which requires tremendous self-reflection, self-improvement, and choosing your battles! We can complain about others not getting it, but everyone must work to develop themselves. Some gifted people struggle with the rawness that comes with being gifted, and that is sad.


  7. “See, she doesn’t always get everything right. She’s not really perfect.” Teacher to my parents. Or, “You have a character deficiency.” Teacher to me, because I challenged authority, questioned his decisions when things didn’t seem fair or logical. That actually took a while to shake.


    1. It takes a strong person to deal with the depth of our emotions. Most of the time we have to go it alone. Glad for gifted advocacy. Hopefully, more kids will get the support many of us needed earlier in life, but we did survive!!


  8. “There’s no need to get so frustrated about it!” Although I’ve never been an angry person, when someone can’t do something, or when I (rarely) can’t make something work, it drives me insane.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My personal hell was “You can be anything you want.” The fact that it was true and followed up with, “Now pick something” was the most troubling issue I had. How exactly do you pick a career when you can be ANYTHING. I envied the guy who knew he was going into his dad’s construction business. In a day in age when what we do is more defining than who we are, not having a clue what to do with your life was a massive identity crisis.


  10. “It doesn’t matter./You won’t be tested on that.”

    “What do you do, read the dictionary for fun?!?” (Yes, yes I do.)

    “Since you already know this, why don’t you ‘help’ Disinterested Classmate.”

    “Know-it-all. Teacher’s pet. Goody goody. Bossy.”

    “Today we’ll be working in groups…” (in which I am usually saddled with the bulk of the work and expected to carry low achievers)

    “Why are you making a big deal out of this?”

    “Stop grade-grubbing. So what if you missed a few points; you still got an A!” (From my math teacher who refused to believe I really wanted help finding the geometry test solution for learning’s sake, not because I wanted a grade adjustment.)

    “Life’s not fair.” (dismissively).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought we were the only ones that heard this one. I still can’t believe a school principal would tell a 1st grader to “play school”!!!!!! Grrrrrr


  11. “It’s only a game.” Told to my EG kiddo as she was attempting to help explain written team game instructions to an adult volunteer who couldn’t understand them. When it became apparent the clueless adult had no desire to listen to her or correctly instruct the team, DD had a meltdown…


    1. Oh my gosh, I’m over that one! What do I do about the teachers saying that… We also have “we can’t help him now as there are so many children below the standard that there are no resources for gifted kids”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, that’s the honest truth. Most public schools aren’t equipped to deal with gifted kids in this current testing climate. They’re only going to be able to cover the basics to get those scores and keep their jobs. Autonomy is gone in most schools. Look for an independent school. They don’t have to bow to so much bureaucracy.


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