Beware of gifted kid burnout

So many students peak in elementary or middle school. It’s hard to come up with study methods when you’ve never had to study your whole life for good grades.  It causes many students to lose motivation coming into higher-level classes where they can’t just earn the grades as easily as before and makes them feel like a failure.

“I think gifted kid burnout is an issue,” English teacher Justina Butera said. “I actually noticed it when I taught middle school. Students who skated through elementary school were suddenly thrown into an environment where teachers didn’t give them as much support, and they didn’t want to put forth the extra effort.”

A person who suffers from gifted kid burnout is likely to give up on what doesn’t come so easily to them, have anxiety, be a night owl, be in need of constant validation, always be tired and more. 

“It seems to become worse in high school when students must become even more self-sufficient,” Butera said. “Some gifted kids don’t feel they should have to work hard to get the A and they might give up.”

Students who feel they may be experiencing gifted kid burnout should reach out to teachers when they are feeling empty and unmotivated, or feel as though we need a little extra push. It’s also nice to talk to a parent or counselor to see how they can try to find what methods work best, or see what they can do to stay on task. 

“I think that kids in general need to learn the importance of having a growth mindset. There is more to education than memorizing facts and doing well on tests,” Butera said. “Critical thinking skills and self-motivation are more important and beneficial in the long run. It’s okay to not know the correct answer at times, and it’s okay to fail.”

Research on why gifted kids end up anxious in later stages of life shows that it may be because these students do so well in younger life and get this mindset where they believe they can achieve things because their qualities are “set in stone.” But, that’s what makes them afraid when they later start to show their flaws when things get harder.

Growth is great for people who have been called gifted their entire youth and now find it difficult to achieve what they want. It’s important to always keep pushing because no one truly knows their potential until they try their best.