The gifted child and false friends

Friendship is very important in children. It allows them to build themselves socially, and to develop a certain self-confidence. A concept that is not always easy for children to assimilate, especially when confronted with false friends.

  L'enfant doué et les faux amis

Friendship is always a tricky thing for gifted children . Often, it happens that they find themselves trapped in a situation from which they find it difficult to get rid of, undoubtedly for lack of objective vision, but sometimes it is practically impossible for them to have this vision, so caught up in a relationship perverse friendly. ' Yes, they say, I have a friend' - 'a real one?' , the yes becomes more hesitant. We then learn that this 'friend' plays with him for lack of anything better , but don't hesitate to drop him if he finds other friends, those who were with him in the same class the previous year. Pedagogical wisdom has separated them and they are happy to meet again as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, there is a substitute friend in his class, kind, generous and gentle, who seems delighted with this friendly presence, even if it does not. is not constant.

The power of the fake friend

Very quickly, the one who has lost his group of friends, realizes that he can exercise a certain power over this child who, until then, had no friend. He doesn't take long to let it be known that he is indeed the only one to accept this somewhat different child as a friend. If the gifted lonely child protests, recalling that his 'friend' often drops him to find his friends from before, he hears himself answer that he has no choice: it is quite normal not to integrate it into an already constituted gang, with its habits, its rites, its complicity.

The gifted child is reduced to watching them play and laugh happily while trying not to suffer from this exclusion, however cruel. He says he feels good on his own, that he's not bored, that he doesn't care, he understands that his friend enjoys seeing his old friends again, he doesn't hold it against him, he knows that he will come back to her when he is alone again and then they too will have good times. He'll be like the others, running and shouting, but for him it's not every day.

Puzzled Parents

His parents are dubious: at first happy that their child finally has a friend, they become a bit wary, this friend seems to treat their child with some casualness , he 'borrows' toys or school materials from him that he always forgets to return, but he himself never lends anything, he can also cancel at the last moment a long-planned and impatiently awaited outing, he does not take great precautions to spare his 'friend' , he behaves on conquered ground.

The gifted child, though abused, opposes only one argument: he is my only friend, without him I have no one. This position of dependence is worth nothing to him . She sends back to him the image of a weak child, defenseless, without even will, letting himself be manipulated while remaining rather lucid about his situation, but the danger is great that this pattern recurs in adulthood . While the boyfriend has honed his first weapons as a pervert: spotting a sensitive and isolated child, disorienting him by constantly changing his attitude towards him, gratifying him with happy moments that earn him the recognition of his victim, find some reproach to address to him to justify his casualness and above all to persuade him that no one else will want him as a friend.

The gifted child steps back

It might surprise you that such a mechanism still works, but how many gifted adults get caught up in it without realizing it soon enough? The image that the gifted child then constructs of himself, with the 'help' of this intermittent friend
cannot be flattering, he sees himself dependent, deprived of all free will, relegated to a last place, that of a child who is not very interesting, nor very attractive, who will never be able to find his place in a group that likes to laugh and have fun.

His conviction is further reinforced when he finds that the jokes of this merry group do not make him laugh, that their games do not particularly please him and that his own centers of interest are very distant from theirs. The little he grasps of them doesn't really make him want to join this group, and yet they all seem genuinely happy when they meet again. Why couldn't he have that kind of feeling, too? He cannot help observing a certain reserve when he is with his 'friend'. He knows that there are subjects he can't tackle, he can't pass him the books he liked because he probably won't be able to appreciate them; the adventures of these heroes will bore him, his 'friend' will perhaps despise him for being passionate about these stories of ancient times, devoid of any interest.

A harmful friendship

He hesitates to broach the subject with his parents: they seemed so happy when he told them he had a friend and they welcomed him home with great kindness. The parents quickly realized the casualness of this child playing the role of friend, but they do not want to be too critical, so much so that parents and children, in agreement on the fallacious aspect of this friendship, experience reluctance to express the substance of their thoughts, too eager to spare each other to be sincere.

In fact, this situation is harmful, this friendship does not bring anything, it undermines the foundations on which the personality is developed, and it does not provide real satisfaction : too fleeting, felt on the condition of voluntarily blinding oneself to certain unpleasant aspects of this relationship, it is a satisfaction which one will easily do without, even the gifted child will not be able to
then no longer say 'I have a friend', implying that he is like the others.

Tips :

  • Do not hesitate to break off a relationship that prohibits the construction of a satisfactory self-image and perhaps opens the way to other relationships, friendly then romantic, built on an identical pattern.
  • Try to show him the harmful effect of this relationship on his image so that he can fight it and not keep any traces of it in the construction of his personality.
  • Seek by all means to meet equally gifted children, the difference in the mode of relationship will be obvious: extra-curricular activities or, failing that, themed summer camps, meeting with families in the region belonging to an association dealing with gifted children or else, the ultimate resource, create your own association if there is nothing in the region, with what this creation requires in terms of self-sacrifice, courage and excessive energy.