overly sensitive son - FamilyEducation
overly sensitive son
06/20/2007 at 07:07 AM

My 11 year old gifted son is overly sensitive towards his peers.  By OS, I mean that he takes minor infractions and actions to the extreme.  He storms away from them, comes home in a bad mood and says no one will play with him.  We do not encourage this behavior.  I don't know what to do with him anymore and am at my wit's end!  Please help!

It sounds to me like he could use some social skills training. He may be reacting to social prompts from his friends in unusual ways.

Have you considered observing him at school?  Better yet, have someone else observe him.  That is the only way you're going to get accurate information about his interactions.

Also, maybe you could point out that he acts in similar ways as his friends do given the same conditions.  Sometimes people, no matter their age, do not realize that others are acting the same way they would in a given situation.


I was curious if anyone knows exactly where you go, or who you go to for social skills training?  My son is very shy and it is becoming more of a problem the older he gets.  I am very frustrated because it seems to me like everyone can tell you what the problem is but nobody really has any good solutions.  He is signed up for weight lifting classes to help boost his confidence.  He is 13 and he is very tall and strong for his age.  I have tried him in flagfootball but he didnt really interact with anyone.  I would appreciate any suggestions.



Although he is only 13 years old he is very intelligent and is extremely bored. He has the mental capacity of a man in his mid 30's. Treating him as a 13 year old will increase his anger (which is high enough at present). I understand  the frustration  you have as there is little understanding in the medical arena when it come's to special children.


Being gifted is only the begining for your son. It is vital that you give him room to grow and develop his own personality. Many children have lost their gift and sense of purpose when pushed into professions they were unsuited for. Try to locate a good book on the brain, brain function and a list of all brain related illnessness for him. He needs to pay attention to the cereberal cortex. That will be one of his areas of expertise


Wow, your son sounds just like mine. It is very difficult to understand. He's so different than other kids his age. He just wants to be friends with everyone and doesn't understand why they make fun of him. We have a code word we use when he's being 'dorky' just to make him aware that what he's doing/saying is not appropriate but no one else knows what we're talking about. That helps with bringing him 'down' and back to reality. Don't know if that makes any sense to you or not. He is very self conscience and doesn't know how to 'be' with others his own age. Would rather be with older people or younger kids except that he thinks he's the boss of the younger kids and a parent to his 4 yr old brother and sister. ugg

Getting to your question though- I wish I had an answer. Again, we're going through the same thing. He takes things to the extreme or has a different story than what really happened. It's not a lie it's just what he truly thinks happened. We are having a problem with him taking responsibility for himself and his actions rather than blaming others. We just don't know how to make him see the truth. :( 

~Monette~ Wife to Tim 6/93 and Proud mom to Garrison 10/96 Logan 09/03 and Megan 09/03


When my son, was your sons age he had a similiar problem and some times would over react to things teachers or friends or anyone said, but most of the time he took things in stride. We finally put him in counseling and although he didn't really share a lot of his feelings I think because he was bright he gained a lot of insight in what the therapist said. It was kind of expensive but in six months of an hour a week he hasn't had anymore outburst at school and seems more confident in himself. One insight the therepist shared with us is that she didn't think storming home from friends was such a bad thing she actually said it was good because he was setting limits for them on how he wanted to be treated. Sometimes as parents we allow people to trample on us to keep peace but is it always good, just a thought.

Another time when having children come with a manual would be helpful!  LOL

Gifted children often spend their time and thoughts on different things than their peers, so their social skills may be very different from their peers just as their frustraion tolerances, internal expectations and anxiety may be very different from their peers.

The school counselor would be a good place to start at your school for ideas or community resources.

Build on your shild's strengths and interests, if he isn't interested in sports, how about robotics, a computer club, non-competitive physical activites like hiking and geology, exploring nature/conservancy, martial arts.  If your child isn't fitting in with his/her peer group it may be because of the giftedness the kids their age aren't really their peers, different interests, find others that may be a better fit is difficult but worth it.

A godsend for my gifted child was http://www.legoleague.org/  it peaked his interest, challenged him and allowed him to have a social group that was equally interested in robotics, engineering and computers.

Some online resources for understanding and helping your gifted child





There was a book in my local library that was produced by Boys Town that was a good resource on social skills training.  It gave scripts for different situations, but I don't remember what it was called.  I also found Karate to be useful for my children.  I think a martial art, as long as the Sensei makes it clear that starting a fight will get you kicked out of the dojo, is useful for most kids.


Hi there,

I haven't had a chance to read everyone's replies yet because I'm at work, so first of all I'm sorry if I've repeating what someone has already said.

There are some other things that you might want to research concerning you son. One of these is Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities. I have this severely, and let me tell you, if your son has some of the symptoms, it's better to know now while he's young so you can work on ways to cope.

Dabrowski's OE's are generally found in the more intelligient and creative people more so than the average, only because the OE's heighten the senses of psychmotor, intellectual, imaginational, sensual, and emotional.

I don't know if this helps any, but the best of luck

Here are a few links: