High IQ Teen Behavior Problems

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High school can be a time filled with angst and challenges for many teens who are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Teens with high IQs, often identified as "gifted," can face added challenges such as boredom in the classroom, feelings of insecurity because their peers see them as "different," and added pressure from home and school to excel academically.

Measuring IQ

IQ, or intelligence quotient, is usually determined through a series of tests that measure intelligence or functioning abilities in relation to your peers, explains Medline Plus.These tests can be controversial because they don’t measure an individual’s potential or talent, and results can be culturally biased. With the average IQ ranging from 90 – 110, anything above 130 is usually identified as high, or gifted.


Gifted teens sometimes find themselves in a "pressure cooker" of expectations. On one hand, parents and teachers may expect them to excel in their studies, perhaps holding them to a higher standard than their peers. Their peers, on the other hand, pressure them to conform, to fit in, not to be different. This conflict can sometimes result in the gifted teen acting out at school or at home, losing interest in school, or withdrawing from friends and activities.

Attitude Towards Achievement

Gifted teens often feel immense pressure to succeed to become, says Psychology Today, “highly successful adults.” The added burden this puts on a teen can lead to feelings of anxiety, distress, and even failure. Often, Psychology Today points out, gifted teens subject themselves to more pressure than their parents or teachers do, even punishing themselves when they get a bad grade, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Additionally, too much pressure during the teen years can result in illnesses, both mental and physical, brought on by stress.

Social and Clinical Challenges

A high IQ doesn’t provide immunity to social or clinical challenges, which sometimes go hand-in-hand, as in the case of gifted teens who also have conditions such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or an autism-spectrum disorder such as Asperger’s Syndrome. When a teen has weak or immature social skills, explains Psychology Today, she may need help with strategies for coping at school both academically and socially. Intervention can be especially important for gifted teens who suffer from ADHD. In spite of the advantage of a higher IQ, notes the National Institute of Health, gifted teens appear to be at the same risk as teens with lower IQs for substance abuse and dropping out of school.