9 signs your kid is a highly creative person, according to psychology

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Every parent feels their child is special and unique, and it’s true!

But when it comes to creativity and imagination, some kids have greater gifts than others. 

Drawing insights from psychology, I want to take a look at the top indications that your child is exceptionally creative and has a brilliant artistic side. 

Discovering and affirming your child’s particular creative talents is an excellent way to empower them and prepare them for their own special path in life. 

Let’s dive in. 

1) They have a vivid imagination

The first sign of an exceptionally creative child is that their imagination is wild and vivid. 

They are always coming up with incredible stories and ideas in their heads and are endlessly imaginative. 

Teachers at school tend to express amazement at the ideas and scenarios they come up with, overwhelmed by the breadth of the child’s ability for abstract thought and imagination. 

As Dr. Tali Shenfield notes:

“All gifted children tend to be imaginative and exhibit a heightened capacity for abstract thought.”

2) They’re highly curious and adventurous

The extremely creative child is very adventurous and curious. 

They want to know where that road goes that you always drive past but never go down on the way home from school…

They want to know why bugs have antennae and why the sun shines more at some times of day than others…

They have questions about just about everything that exists and maybe even about why some things don’t exist! Their curiosity is truly endless and often so all-consuming that it may even be hard for them to focus or master one subject at a time. 

As Professor Emeritus and author Anthony D. Fredericks, PhD. writes:

“Creativity is all about exploring possibilities, not necessarily becoming an expert in those topics when first encountered.”

3) They’re open-minded and push boundaries

The next key marker of a highly creative child is that they are open-minded and like to push boundaries. 

While this can be stressful for parents, it’s a natural indication of their insatiable curiosity and sense of adventure. 

“Why can’t we touch that dial?” 

“Why aren’t bones made of something that doesn’t break?”

All these kinds of questions may seem nonsensical, but they are the innovative and creative mind of a gifted child at work:

They want to push the boundaries and know why certain things are not permitted or why there are hard limits on some things (like broken bones). 

One day they may invent titanium bone replacement technology, who knows! 

This ties into the next point… 

4) They resist conformity and question orders

Highly creative kids tend to be rule-breakers. 

That doesn’t mean they never listen to instructions or never focus, but they are on the non-conformist side in most cases. 

Even if they’re quite introverted, they don’t tend to just accept an answer or rule and leave it unchallenged. 

They like to push boundaries, as noted in the previous point. They also like to ask why. A lot. 

Being told “that’s just the way it is,” is not going to satisfy this kid in a million years.

“Where a bright child will focus on learning the correct answers, an intellectually gifted child will challenge the ‘right’ answers. This love for debate is sometimes misread as defiance,” explains Shenfield.

5) They’re artistic and have a strong feeling life

The highly creative child tends to be quite artistic and have a strong feeling life. 

They get very emotional at times and may also have difficulty with more dry academic subjects or pursuits. 

But in the process of learning things which are difficult to them, they also continue to develop their creativity and learn fortitude in the face of difficulty.

“Learning is not about achieving perfection; it’s all about becoming engaged in an experience, including experiencing all its attendant mistakes, gaffes, boo-boos, stumbles, and misdirections,” notes Fredericks.

6) They’re inventive and think outside the box

The highly creative child is inventive and thinks outside the box in many ways. 

They are interested in books and TV series that may be above the age bracket or considered “weird” by their friends. 

They are invested with creative and larger-than-life characters in popular culture as well, whether that be Harry Potter or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. 

When it comes to invention and coming up with unique solutions, they’re also on the ball, always thinking about unique and ingenious ways to solve challenges in life. 

7) They’re able to tolerate complex issues and answers

The highly creative child loves to ask why and is endlessly curious, as psychologists note. 

They are also able to tolerate complex issues and ambiguity more than purely intellectual kids. 

The fact that some things don’t have a clear answer piques their interest to explore more and find out the truth behind them:

They know that some questions require more work to get to the answer, and if anything they are more resistant to overly simplistic or two-dimensional answers. 

As Dr. Jim Delisle explains:

“Giftedness is an innate ability to both detect and comprehend the world in complex ways that differ significantly from age-expected norms.”

8) They’re playful and spontaneous 

Highly creative kids are playful and spontaneous. 

They sometimes have trouble focusing because they live so much in their imagination and fantasy world. 

When they’re in a very utilitarian or intellectual environment, the creative kid tends to be unsatisfied and restless. 

They find the rote tasks and repetitive nature tiring and unsatisfying because it doesn’t appeal to their creative nature and they often find the concepts too easy and linear.

As the Davidson Institute for Gifted Children points out, highly creative and gifted children often have “difficulty concentrating on tasks that are not intellectually challenging, including repetitious materials or rote tasks; profoundly gifted children often need less practice to master an idea or concept.”

9) They have a tendency to daydream

This ties into the previous point about highly creative kids getting bored with rote tasks or dry intellectual and academic endeavors.

They have a tendency to daydream and live in worlds of their own making. 

Parents can encourage this by appreciating their child’s imagination and affirming how much they love to come up with creative ideas and scenarios. 

As Fredericks observes:

“Imposing our own standards of performance on children can be detrimental to their initiative and drive. It tells kids that perfection can only be achieved when we satisfy the wishes of others rather than satisfying our own self-initiated objectives.”

The highly creative child

If your child fits many of the descriptions in this article, they have an incredible creative mind and soul that should be nurtured and encouraged.

Having a creative mind and novel approach to the world is an immense gift:

If treated with the respect and admiration it deserves, the creative kid’s imagination and gifts can be nurtured in an empowering way that allows it to flourish.

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