Dear Dr. Sylvia: Perfectionism Difficult for Middle Graders

Our gifted 11-year-old daughter confided in us that she doesn’t like herself and is “mad at herself.” She has been having trouble falling asleep for months and is anxious and crabby at home.

While she skipped a grade and is at the top of her class, our daughter has never liked attention called to her academic giftedness. She doesn’t like being the “smart” one at school and would rather have any other label, such as the “star volleyball player” or even the “best speller.” She told us it’s getting harder now to be the smart one, but “she has to be.”

Our daughter is also very gifted in music. She plays the saxophone, never practices at home, yet is first chair in the band and wins first place in competitions. She’s worried that this, too...


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About Sylvia Rimm

Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a child psychologist and clinical professor at Case University School of Medicine, author, newspaper and magazine columnist, and radio/TV personality. For a free newsletter entitled So Your Child is Gifted!, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a note with your request to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Read Dr. Rimm’s articles on this topic and submit family questions online at All questions are answered.