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  1. #1

    Default My Notes from Bright and Quirky Child Summit

    Here is a copy of my notes from the talk on anxiety at the Bright and Quirky child summit.

    Rachel Busman PsyD | The Anxiety Toolkit for Parents of Bright & Quirky Kids


    If child is anxious, start with being curious/asking questions (e.g., how are you, I have noticed you seem worried) rather than trying to solve the problem straight away.

    When to get professional help: think about frequency, duration, and interference with daily function. If seeking professional help, can be useful to jot down notes about frequency, environment, what happened before/after, triggers (e.g., hunger, illness, tiredness, transitions).

    Practice exposure to triggers. Example: if they get anxious about new situations, then practice being flexible. Tell them that on one day on the weekend you are going to go somewhere unplanned. Have a discussion with the other parent and children about what you think it will be like, evaluate what it was like after, and rate how uncomfortable it made you feel.

    Do not enable or rescue. Accommodate appropriately to help them go from one step to the other. It is normal to want to alleviate their stress. Example: does not want to go on play dates because they worry about being away from you or in strange homes. An appropriate accommodation would be to be involved and help choose play date homes that would be doable but a little bit out of reach/a stretch. One the first play date, go to the house with them. Next time, you could leave and stay in car outside. Then the next time, leave in the car and go do a chore. An appropriate accommodation changes as the child becomes able to cope.

    If you feel in red zone in response to their anxiety: say “this looks very upsetting, I really want to talk to you about it, I am here when you calm down” and then focus on self-care for yourself. Or “I know you still want to talk about it, but we are not right now, when you are ready to talk calmly, let me know”. “I just don’t have any energy left for this. I really want to talk with you but I don’t know how to help right now because you are so upset, so I am just going to sit and take some deep breaths, and you might want to as well but maybe you don’t, but this is hard for me.”

    Set a time and place for it to be ok to talk about things. Don't tell them they need to stop being upset/frustrated/anxious about something, but set a limit about where and when they can talk about it. Give them something they can do as an alternative (e.g., “here’s how you can do that, you can come over and engage in this conversation or you can sit and listen”). “These worries are getting in the way of us enjoying our time, and we don’t want them to do that. We do want to talk about them, but not right now. So let’s put your worries over there, and we will talk about them later.”

    Model talking about your feelings and how you deal with things (e.g., my work was really frustrating today, or I had mixed feelings because something really exciting happened for someone else but it made me feel sad about something).
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

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  3. #2


    Notes from talk on perfectionism, which also has some things about anxiety (if perfectionism contributes to your child's anxiety).

    Lisa Van Gemert | Perfectionism: How to Manage 'Never Good Enough' in Bright & Quirky Kids


    Perfectionism: A Practical Guide to Managing "Never Good Enough"
    Website & Social Media:

    Gifted Guru - Resources, Ideas and Tips for Educators & Parents of the Gifted

    Strategies: Rank activities from 1 to 5 for how well you should do them. 1 is worth doing but not worth doing exceptionally well, worrying about, agonizing over, or taking a lot of time. 5 is very critical (e.g., mental or physical health) such as walking a sibling home from school. School work is never a 5. When rating activities, think about how other people would treat it, would it be better to move closer to how other people would do it.

    Learning is not done in exchange for a grade, its done in exchange for a richer life.

    Learned helplessness. When people over help you and you learn not to try yourself. This can make perfectionism worse. Barbara Clark’s model as the person: what happened, what’s the problem, what are you doing to solve the problem, and is it working? Does not focus on shifting how children are feeling (e.g., don’t feel frustrated/upset), which would diminish your credibility to the child as you obviously don’t get what the problem means to them. Instead, this model focuses on action. If it is not working, leave them with it for a while and let them be unhappy so they can learn how to process it. This helps them avoid learning unhealthy ways to deal with unhappiness as an older child. If they reach a point where it is not helping them (e.g., wallowing, or spiraling down), then you can ask: would you like to hear what others have tried, would you be willing to (offer an option)? Even if it is an example of what you used, it is best to say it in third person.

    Bright kids can have extreme beliefs about what they should be able to achieve. Have to help your kids learn to make predictions (what’s the best thing that could happen, what’s the worst thing that could happen, and what’s the most likely).

    If a child is worried that they failed something, don’t give fake platitudes/try to make them feel better. Just say “ok, maybe you did, but you probably didn’t” and “if you did, what will you do/what do you think will happen?”, then discuss the probable outcomes of that.

    Model your own dealing with mistakes in a good way/way you would feel comfortable with your kids doing it (e.g., don’t hide it or get super stressed out). Example: if running late and lost, can say that you are feeling a bit worried about being late and that people might be disappointed in you, but that it will be ok and people probably won't notice or really mind.

    Meet little failures with kindness and loving support.
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

  4. #3


    thank you so, so much, NZ Mama!

  5. #4


    About making friends.

    Michelle Garcia Winner SLP | The 'How' of Making and Keeping Friends



    You Are a Social Detective
    Thinking About You, Thinking About Me
    Website & Social Media:

    Bright and quirky kids can have very strong expectations of how others should behave but very weak understanding of how others will interpret their behavior.

    When you talk to them about social situations, talk about their own and others minds/feelings. What is happening in this situation?

    Social/fiends can be goal orientated, such as having goals about how others think about us, and if we want others to spend time with us.

    Get them to just observe first. Identify and name the things that make them sad/that they have issues with. Don’t tell them to just go join in because if they could they would. They often don’t know how to deal with boring moments or show interest in topics that are not interesting to them.

    To start helping them, have them choose one person. Do not assign someone, let them pick. Assess if it is a reasonable choice. Then work on just saying hi when they see them.

    Set boundaries for digital devices (read “Glow Kids”). Create contracts, stick to them, have digital free time.
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

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My Notes from Bright and Quirky Child Summit