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Challenges Gifted Teens/Talented Teen Athletes Face and Answers for Those Challenges


Are You a Parent of a Gifted Teen/Talented Teen Athlete:

  • Who attends a competitively ranked school? 

  • Who is getting straight A's or otherwise academically successful? 

  • Who is a very likable teen who seems to have many friends? 

  • Who is playing on the school's athletic team, student government, in band, or other organizations/clubs at school?

  • Who participates in volunteering or other extracurricular activities?

  • Who is blessed with a wide range of life opportunities due to your own success and high achievements?

Are You a Parent of a Gifted Teen/Talented Teen Athlete:

  • Who has noticed a change in your gifted teen's personality and you're not sure if it's just normal teenage angst?

  • Who has observed your gifted teen struggling with feelings of hopelessness and low-self esteem related to depression?

  • Who has observed your gifted teen having excessive worries and perfectionistic thinking? As a result, grades, athletics and extracurricular activities are starting to suffer.

  • Who has watched your gifted teen not be able to accept mistakes and beat themselves up over those mistakes?

  • Whose parental intuition (your gut) tells you that something is not right but you believe it may just be a phase? Because of your gifted teen's drive, you dismiss your intuition only to later find out you were correct?

Are You a Parent of a Gifted Teen/Talented Teen Athlete Who Finds Yourself:

  • Being proud of your gifted teen's success yet notice that your teen doesn't seem happy and fulfilled?

  • Trying everything to help your gifted teen through their emotional struggles yet they remain? Teen anxiety, teen depression, perfectionism, or other struggles continue despite your concerted efforts.

  • Struggling to sleep at night due to the worry about your gifted teen? You worry constantly about how your teens inner struggles will affect them long term?

  • Not enjoying social activities as much due to your worry and concern about your gifted teen? The worry and concern you have for your teen now encroaching into your work life?

  • Unsure if what your gifted teen is experiencing is normal teen angst or a deeper rooted problem?

  • Concerned about taking them to teen counseling or family therapy? You do not want your gifted teen diagnosed and you worry about how a diagnosis will affect your teen long term?

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Signs and Symptoms That Your Gifted Teen is Experiencing a Deeper Struggle

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All teens experience and express emotional struggles differently. Below are some signs and symptoms to be aware of as a parent:

  • A marked change in your gifted teen's personality

  • Your gifted teen having difficulty getting or staying asleep

  • Weight gain or weight loss in your gifted teen

  • Your gifted teen feeling tired and lacking energy

  • Your gifted teen experiencing feelings of sadness two or more days out of each week

  • Your gifted teen is frequently crying 

  • Your gifted teen starts avoiding socializing with friends and family

  • Changes in your gifted teen's school performance or interest in school

  • Your gifted teen is grumpier than usual and you see an increase in anger outbursts with family members.

  • You find your gifted teen has increased and excessive worry and/or perfectionism

  • Your gifted teen is feeling hopeless

  • Your gifted teen is having difficulty concentrating

  • You suspect or know that your gifted teen has started to use substances

  • Your gifted teen has expressed either verbally or through their writing or art. thoughts of self-harm or of dying  

  • Self-harm (e.g., hitting, biting/scratching, cuttings oneself, etc.)

For parents of today's gifted teens, identifying these signs or symptoms can be challenging. In previous generations of teens, it was easier to spot signs of emotional struggles. Much of today's teen's social life is virtual connecting on platforms instead of in person. This allows them an avenue where signs and symptoms are unobservable.


This is where parental intuition can play a big role. Parent's intuition is a powerful tool in recognizing something is off with their gifted teen. Changes in personality will start to emerge with parents picking up on the oft times subtle cues. These shift in personality can help point toward a deeper struggle for the teen.

Is It Teen Angst or a Deeper Struggle?

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As a parent, it can be difficult to differentiate between normal teen angst and a deeper problem. All teens go through a phase and deeper problems are often attributed to this teenage phase. It becomes more complex when it is a gifted teen who may not show the inner struggle outwardly.


It can seem counter intuitive to see your teen so active and appear happy only to be struggling on the inside. Often, gifted teens don't want to burden their parents with these problems. They want their parents to be proud of their accomplishments and not worry about them


How Can I Help My Gifted Teen and/or Talented Teen Athlete Realize Their Full Potential

As parents, we want the best for our gifted students and talented teen athletes. There is not a thing we wouldn't do for them. Yet, when it comes to more serious emotional difficulties, it can be difficult to know how to help our teens.


Parents often ask themselves:

  • "Isn't there another way to manage this?",

  • "Maybe they will grow out of it?",

  • "Isn't it better that they experience this level of stress now? This will help them prepare for how to deal with stress as a successful adult.",

  • "Will taking them to teen counseling affect their chances of attending a top rated school? Will it affect their scholarships?"


All perfectly rational questions.


​All gifted teens and talented athletes handle emotional struggles differently. For example, the pressure to achieve at the highest levels may be a factor in teen anxiety.


For some teens, teaching them coping skills can be all they need to manage their teen anxiety. Teaching them school/life balance and planning and organization may offset their stress. Educating your gifted teen about the importance of sleep, healthy diet, and exercise may be the answer or a combination of all the above.


But, those gifted teens who have underlying teen anxiety (thanks to their genes) may need more than the above. These teens are wired for teen anxiety and may need additional resources such as counseling. Though the above are important skills and knowledge to have, these gifted teens may need more to help them.


Therapy for teen depression and therapy for teen anxiety need a more in depth approach. Teen counseling can get to the root of the problem and help the gifted teen learn how to manage these intense emotions.


They will learn to manage them on an intrapersonal level as well as with family, school, and friends. This is not a phase that they grow out of but often grow into if left untreated.


For a gifted teen, this adds another layer of complexity in their drive to excel at the highest levels. Their energy is split between excelling in school while managing their teen depression. Teen anxiety and teen depression are very similar as both need a high amount of energy to manage in the beginning.


The split in focus and energy has a direct impact on their performance at school and athletics. The good news is, there are effective counseling approaches that can help your gifted teen.

Gifted Teens: At Risk

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On the outside looking in, gifted teens and talented teen athletes look like they have it made. While many do, there are others who are struggling with intense emotional difficulties.


Adults in their lives tell them how proud and impressed they are with them. Yet, these gifted teens start feeling like a 'fraud' because of the inner turmoil they feel that no one can see. They may not feel the same level of pride for themselves that others outside feel for them. Teen anxiety, teen depression, substance use and other concerns continue to strengthen.


Two recent studies shed light on a new group of at risk youth. At risk youth are less likely to successfully transition into adulthood. One of those studies is from the Robert Wood Foundation. The other is from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. These two studies show that the new at risk youth group fits these characteristics:

  1. Attend highly ranked schools

  2. Attend schools that score well on standardized tests

  3. Have a range of extracurricular activities provided for them

  4. Have goal of attending a highly selective college or university

  5. Live in a affluent community

Gifted students and talented teen athletes enjoy what they do and want to make others proud of them. Because of this, they will often not share their inner turmoil they are experiencing.


Teens may not want to let the adults in their lives down by talking about their teen anxiety or teen depression. They may also not want to burden the adults in their lives with this problem. Some gifted teens may not have the words to express what they are feeling which causes them to not share.


Your gifted teen and talented teen athlete do not have to go it alone. We can help them resolve those emotional barriers that stand in their way. Once this occurs, they are freed up to realize their full potential.

Insight Into Factors Impacting Gifted Teens & Talented Teen Athletes

Teens of today experience different stressors than teens of previous generations. From a study by the American Psychological Association, teens report experiencing adult level stress when school is not in session. When school is in session, teens experience higher level stress than adults report. Some of the factors leading to this are:


  • Admission and enrollment numbers at top universities have dropped over the years. This makes is more difficult and competitive to attend one of these universities.

  • Grades alone won't cut it to enter one of these prestigious institutions of learning. Extracurricular activities such as volunteering and participating in student government pack their day. Teens are staying up late into the night to complete their homework.

  • Sleep is critical for healthy development of a teens mind and body. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, teens in high school need 8-10 hours of sleep. Those in Middle School/Junior High should get between 9-12 hours of sleep. Yet, approximately 58% of Middle School/Junior High Students report not getting enough sleep. Approximately 73% of High School students report the same.


  • Teens in the Katy and surrounding areas attend top state and nationally ranked schools. Texas also administers a standardized test which the districts are evaluated on. Teachers have pressure on them to ensure the standardized test scores meet expectations. That pressure is filtered down to the students.


  • Coaches want our talented teen athletes to experience winning at the highest levels. This provides our teen athletes a great experience and teaches valuable lessons. Coaches are also under pressure to perform which our teens experience.

Pressure on Today's Teens

John Hopkins: Center for Talented youth, conducted a study. They found that 73% of parents believed that is was very important for their teen to attend a top-level university. These parents also found it very important that their teen be highly successful in their profession. 


We all want success for our teens. What parent wouldn't want their teen to attend a top university and be successful in their career? Yet, we need to be careful to not add undue pressure based on our hopes and dreams.


Today's gifted students and talented teen athletes are incredibly driven. They work hard to excel, are intelligent, creative and have their eye on the prize. Yet, some of these gifted teens and talented teen athletes are suffering in silence.


Teen depression and teen anxiety are common culprits of this suffering. We find that gifted teens and talented teen athletes work hard to solve the inner turmoil on their own. They put their bright minds to the task and have the will to figure it out yet come up short. It is difficult to solve this problem on our own when we are in the midst of the storm.

What Should I Do If My Gifted Teen or Talented Teen Athlete Needs Help?

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You don't need to live with the worry and concern as parents any longer. Your gifted student and talented teen athlete can be freed from the draining influence of teen depression, teen anxiety, teen perfectionism, teen panic attacks, teen trauma or other life struggles.


The symptoms related to these struggles act as a barrier to your teen's ultimate success. We help remove those barriers for your teen and with your family.

Counseling at Katy Teen & Family Counseling can help your gifted teen and talented teen athlete. We can help them navigate teen depression, teen anxiety, teen trauma, perfectionism and more.


Your teen is not alone as there have been other teens before them struggling similarly. We have helped other gifted teens and talented teen athletes reach their goals. These teens have gone on to succeed free of teen depression, teen anxiety, teen trauma, perfectionism and more.​


The future for your gifted teen and talented teen athlete is bright. They are capable of achieving great things for themselves and the community as a whole. Y


our teen may feel held back now due to emotional turmoil they experience but that can be temporary and can change. We have the experience and therapeutic resources to help that happen. Your teen can put these emotional struggles behind them and shoot for the stars!

Begin Therapy for Your Gifted Teen & Talented Teen Athlete Today:
Katy, Tx & Houston


Located just off of I-10 and 99, we are conveniently located for those who live in Katy, Tx, Houston, and the surrounding areas. We maintain strict confidentiality and we do not diagnose as we do not accept insurance.​

To begin the journey of healing for your gifted teen and talented teen athlete, you can follow these simple steps:


1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

2. You will speak with one of our experts in teen therapy and family counseling who can schedule an initial appointment for you.

3. You can then start the first step of your journey toward healing. We'll help your teen clear the pathway of obstacles that have interfered with their ability to live to their full potential!

Other Therapy Services Provided by Katy Teen & Family Counseling:
Katy, Tx & Houston 


While we specialize in treating gifted teens and talented teen athletes at Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we also specialize in other emotional and behavioral life struggles and provide the following approaches such as:

Signs and Symptoms That Your Gifted Teen is Experiencing a Deeper Struggle
Is it Teen Angst or a Deeper Struggle?
Gifted Teens: At Risk
Insight Into Factors Impacting Gifted Teens & Talented Teen Athletes
What Should I Do if My Gifted Teen or Talented Teen Athlete Needs Help?
Begin Therapy fo You Gifted Teen & Talented Teen Athlete Today: Katy, Tx & Houston
Other Therapy Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Katy, Tx & Houston
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