Contrary to what many people believe, highly intelligent children are not necessarily destined for academic success. In fact, so-called gifted students may fail to do well because they are unusually smart. Ensuring that a gifted child reaches his or her potential requires an understanding of what can go wrong and how to satisfy the unusual learning requirements of extremely bright young people.
One common problem gifted kids face is that they, and those around them, place too much importance on being smart. Such an emphasis can breed a belief that bright people do not have to work hard to do well. Although smart kids may not need to work hard in the lower grades, when the work is easy, they may struggle and perform poorly when the work gets harder because they do not make the effort to learn. In some cases, they may not know how to study, having never done it before. In others, they simply cannot accept the fact that some tasks require effort [see “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids,” by Carol S. Dweck; Scientific American Mind, December 2007/January 2008].