Summary of Neihart's  Preserving the True Self of Gifted Child 

Vehicle for studying personality in gifted students: Self psychology.

 Initial Development of the Self

 Not present at birth, develops through introjection: incorporation of attitudes, ideas and beliefs 

Later development of the Self

Loss of True Self in Gifted Children

* Gifted may have to fight harder to preserve true self

o Especially when the giftedness is not recognized or affirmed at home or school

o Response of others to the giftedness will have greatest impact

o Lose true self when giftedness is ignored, rejected or denied.

o Creative giftedness less welcome in school than academic giftedness

 Creative gifted may feel more pressure to create false self

o Pressure can come from parents, other significant relations or culture

o May struggle more knowing they are different from peers

 Dabrowski and Piechowski (1977) Gifted more likely to take up self criticism at an early age.

o Knowing they are losing their true self may be cause of more intense feeling

 Culture acts as a splitting agent 

o Females especially challenged

 Parents have an important role in development of healthy self

o Parental giftedness has impacts

 Denial of giftedness in parent will contribute to betrayal of self by child

o Parents and children need information about their giftedness. 

Strategies to Preserve the True Self


Neihart, M. (1998). Preserving the true self of the gifted child. Roeper

Review, 20(3), 187 – 191.




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