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Health and Wellness

Tackling gifted, talented children’s needs

This article seeks to explore why some gifted and talented children feel emotionally overwhelmed and how their parents may help them to cope.



By Austin Gara


Gifted children are those children who have the potential and ability to grasp information significantly faster than their peers. They are born with above-average exceptional natural abilities in one or more areas such as Mathematics and languages. Talented children develop their natural abilities such as creativity, sport, music, art, or leadership to profound levels. A child can be gifted and/or talented in many areas. Most gifted and talented children quickly realise that they are different from most of their classmates or other children of their physical age. They crave for intellectual challenges, depth and intensity. Many, therefore, feel socially isolated. The challenge is that some profoundly gifted children struggle socially because they fail to find peers that are at their mental age level. Life experiences and research shows that people seek relationships with others who have similar life experiences. Therefore, it may be quite challenging for gifted and talented children (and adults for that matter) to find like-minded peers.

Many gifted and talented children quite often struggle with worry, overthinking, or cautious alertness. For some, over-thinking may transition to anxiety. This anxiety may develop in an atmosphere of a supportive and loving family, absence of traumatic life events, or absence of a family history of anxiety and depression. It is just something found in gifted and talented children. This article seeks to explore why some gifted and talented children feel emotionally overwhelmed and how their parents may help them to cope.

#How do I know that my child is gifted and talented?

It may not be so easy. However, here are some observable behaviours that may help.

The child asks a lot of questions. You almost get tired of the questions. He/she gets frustrated when his/her work is less than perfect or gets a low mark. The child prefers to work alone rather than in groups and gets completely absorbed in his/her activities and thoughts. These are the kind of children who often burn pots whilst cooking and reading at the same time. The child finds it difficult to conform to majority opinions. Most often, they challenge their teachers’ solutions or opinions, landing themselves in trouble with school authorities.

#Psychometric Assessments

Once behavioural observations point your child to the possibly gifted, the child needs to go through carefully developed, benchmarked tests to determine the degree of giftedness. The tests may include: achievement tests, non-verbal IQ tests, and standard IQ tests. These tests are administered by trained professionals such as your child’s school psychologist or counselling psychologist.

#High Standards

Gifted children set very high standards for themselves, being aware of their personal abilities although sometimes their teachers and parents raise the bars. Even those who may hide their talents from others or underachieve are very much aware of their potential. They will achieve exceptionally well with minimum effort.

#Shame and Anxiety Cycle

For most gifted and talented children, overthinking and anxiety leads to feelings of shame. The child’s state of self-consciousness is heightened by peer pressure, teenage hormones, their own high expectations, and social media. So, when they appear to have made a mistake, perceive to have failed, or to struggle academically, they feel ashamed of themselves, become anxious, and their sense of self becomes distorted. If caught in this cycle of shame and anxiety, the gifted and talented children remain in a seemingly endless battle against themselves.

How Can I Help?

Parents often find it very difficult to talk to their gifted and talented children out of the shame and anxiety cycle. The children will not easily accept failure or anything less than perfect. They are perfectionists. Expressions of love may not change the children’s strong and intense emotions.

Below are a few tips that might help

  1. Create a home environment that is free of shame – an environment that allows for the expression of different views including perceptions of shame and how to manage them. Children’s emotions should be treated as understandable reactions that can be managed.
  2. Let your child know that you understand their feelings and that you are there to help them go past their distress. The child’s feelings should be respected  and you should not try to solve their problem immediately.
  3. Help your child to identify specific skills and strategies that will help them to survive or cope. The child should be able to brainstorm and come up with counter-statements that challenge negative thoughts and overcome overthinking and shame-based reactions.
  4. Take your child out to a relaxing place such as a game park and use calming phrases encouraging the child not to worry anymore about the past or trying to predict the future.
  5. Help your child to plan ahead for anxiety-triggering situations such as exams or stressful social gatherings such as funerals.
  6. Demonstrate to your child that you can laugh at your own mistakes, bounce back from failure, and change course when necessary. Be your child’s role-model when you are faced with difficult life experiences.


Some of the tips and strategies listed above may or may not work for your child and family situation. Your gifted and talented child may benefit from the professional services of a Registered Psychologist, especially when you notice signs of disabling anxiety or clinical depression. These include excessive mood swings, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, hopelessness, disturbances in sleep and appetite, and a sudden drop in academic grades or drastic changes in behaviour. Anxiety and shame need not reduce your child’s love of life.

Austin Gara is an MSc Counselling Psychology student at Great Zimbabwe University and he writes in his own capacity. He can be contacted via email:

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Memory Gwena

    April 28, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    Well done. A very insightful article.

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Breaking News

Pastor Chris vindicated on Covid 19 vaccine dangers

Ministering during a session of the 5-day broadcast of the  ‘Your Loveworld Specials with Pastor Chris’ (Season 3, Phase 3) held in 202, the man of God asked “what will happen to those who already took the vaccines in five years’ time?”




Source: Christ Embassy International


PERSISTENT concerns raised by the  Senior Pastor of Loveworld Ministry, Chris Oyakhilome popular as Pastor Chris on the dangers of Covid 19 vaccines, have became a reality as global pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has removed its vaccine worldwide after it admitted in court that the jab can cause a rare and dangerous side effect linked to several deaths in the UK.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, once touted as a ‘triumph for British science’, recently came under the spotlight for a side effect that causes blood clots and low blood platelet counts.

Following 80 deaths linked to the side effects more than 50 alleged victims and grieving relatives have sued the company in a High Court case.

Ministering during a session of the 5-day broadcast of the  ‘Your Loveworld Specials with Pastor Chris’ (Season 3, Phase 3) held in 2021, the man of God asked “what will happen to those who already took the vaccines in five years’ time?”

Pastor Chris called on the world to awaken to truth by asking the right questions about vaccines.

 “Normally vaccines would be tested on animals for 10 years before their widespread distribution,”

He added that the drug manufacturers had fast-tracked the untested vaccines as they had sinister agenda for people around the world to never return to normal life again.

In less than five years spoken of by Pastor Chris the jab, developed by Oxford University, can no longer be used in the European Union after the company voluntarily withdrew its ‘marketing authorization.

According to international media reports AstraZeneca admitted in court in  February that the vaccine can cause Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome – which has been linked to more than 80 deaths in the UK as well as hundreds of serious injuries.

However, AstraZeneca denies that the decision to withdraw the vaccine is related to the court case, insisting that the vaccine is instead being removed from markets for commercial reasons.

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Health and Wellness

Black tax: Generational curse or blessing?

Black tax has impacted a lot of the black working class psychologically, emotionally, and economically.




Black tax is a concept that frequently sparks debate; some people perceive it as an imposition, while others see it as an expression of ubuntu, the African principle of community duty and connection. “I am because you are’’. This a phrase is common in the African Community. The spirit of ubuntu is what makes the collectivistic culture in the African community. Most people are raised to embrace this concept. Black tax has impacted a lot of the black working class psychologically, emotionally, and economically. We examine the intricacies of the black tax in this piece, looking at its drawbacks as well as how it might help black communities develop a feeling of unity.

The term “black tax” describes the financial obligations that members of black communities frequently encounter when it comes to providing for their immediate, extended, or community members. This phenomenon is common in many African cultures, where those who succeed financially are sometimes expected to distribute their wealth to less fortunate members of their family or group. In Zimbabwe these obligations are mainly placed on the eldest child. They are usually expected to take their siblings through school and help them financially as much as possible. Parents also expect to be taken care of by their kids(too informal change to offspring or chdn) as a sign of appreciation for raising them.

#The Burden of Black Tax

Various conversations have taken place on different social media platforms. One day I met a guy who was drowning in debt and he exclaimed ‘If my parents had planned their lives financially, I would have been far in life’. This statement made me think a lot about the impact that black tax has on our generation, thus I pondered on the question is it really a curse or a blessing. The obligation to provide financial support to family members or community members may impede an individual’s capacity to accumulate savings for personal necessities, such housing, education, or retirement. This cycle of financial reliance can prolong poverty in families and communities, making it challenging for people to escape the grip of financial difficulties thus the black tax is sometimes seen as a generational curse.

The impact of black tax is more than just financial. Individuals may also feel emotionally pressured and obligated. The expectation of providing financial support for family members can lead to feelings of guilt, stress, and even anger. These emotions can strain relationships and have an influence on overall well-being, leaving one feeling imprisoned in a never-ending cycle of financial responsibility.

Women in the younger generation who enter the job market frequently suffer additional financial pressure as a result of the Black Tax. They are expected to pay a portion of their earnings to support their families, which may limit their ability to save for their own needs or invest for the future. Women’s chances for job advancement may be hampered by the financial requirements imposed by the Black Tax. They might be forced to put their family’s needs ahead of their own academic or professional advancement, which could result in a vicious circle (cycle) of restricted economic empowerment (poverty).

Men’s relationships and social standing in Zimbabwe can be impacted by the expectation that they will support their families financially. Family ties may get strained or family members may stop trusting them if they don’t live up to these standards and restrictions. For men who pay the Black tax, the pressure to meet these commitments while also pursuing personal financial objectives can be emotionally and psychologically taxing.

However, since black cultures have a strong feeling of solidarity and community, the black tax can also be considered as a blessing. The custom of distributing riches among relatives or fellow citizens is based on the principles of altruism, empathy, and reciprocity. People can help elevate their loved ones and improve the general welfare of their community by making financial contributions to the well-being of others. This makes the black tax a social responsibility and a means of giving back to others who have helped and encouraged one’s achievement.
From an Ubuntu standpoint, the black tax is an example of this ideology in action. It symbolises a shared obligation to guarantee the prosperity and well-being of the entire community. People keep their personal circles and, by extension, the larger community, growing and stable by providing financial assistance to family members and community members. This attitude of ubuntu strengthens social ties and encourages a sense of shared purpose by fostering a spirit of reciprocity and solidarity.

#Navigating the impact of Black tax for the greater good

#Breaking the Cycle: Addressing the long-term effects of the Black tax requires breaking the cycle of dependency. Individuals can lessen the need for continuous financial support by empowering their families to become self-sufficient through investments in education, business, and skill development.

#Redefining Ubuntu: Although Ubuntu places a strong emphasis on group responsibility, it is crucial to reinterpret it in a way that encourages individual development in addition to community assistance. This means acknowledging that people ought to be allowed to follow their own goals and desires while yet making a positive impact on their communities.

#Honest Dialogue: Honest and transparent discussions regarding the Black tax in families, communities, and society at large can promote understanding and lead to solutions that benefit all parties. Promoting open communication enables people to voice their worries, share their goals, and work together to discover solutions that strike a balance between individual development and group support.

#Financial Planning and Investment: Encouraging individuals to engage in financial planning and investment strategies can help them navigate the obligations of Black tax more effectively. This includes setting financial goals, creating budgets, exploring investment opportunities, and seeking professional guidance to maximize their financial resources.

#Support Networks and Communities: Establishing support networks and communities where individuals can share their experiences, seek advice, and find emotional support can be instrumental in managing the challenges associated with Black tax. These networks can provide a sense of solidarity and create spaces for individuals to discuss strategies for balancing personal aspirations and familial obligations.

#Education on Financial Literacy: Incorporating financial literacy education into school curricula and community programs can equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions. Understanding concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management can empower individuals to navigate the complexities of Black tax more effectively.

#Celebrating Success Stories: Highlighting and celebrating success stories of individuals who have managed to strike a balance between personal growth and community support can inspire others and provide guidance on navigating the challenges of Black tax. Sharing these stories can foster a sense of hope and possibility, encouraging individuals to pursue their dreams while still contributing to their communities.

The black tax is a complex phenomenon with responsibilities and opportunities for community support modelled after Ubuntu. It can be emotionally and financially taxing, but it also symbolises our interconnectedness and our shared need to support one another. Black taxation can be used to advance community development by changing the way people think about it and encouraging financial empowerment. In the end, understanding the actual meaning of Ubuntu within black communities and negotiating the difficulties of the black tax require striking a balance between individual goals and group support.

The writer, Melody Mhishi is a Specialist Wellness Counsellor and has extensive experience in mental health issues. She is an  MSc. Counselling Psychology student at Great Zimbabwe University.

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Health and Wellness

Leaked nudes: Traumatic impact, healing pathways

Understanding the cauldron of harrowing psychological effects resulting from this malicious act of bullying and sexual exploitation is crucial for supporting victims on their path to healing.




MOST recently, social media was awash with nude pictures of a certain celebrity’s daughter. In today’s digital landscape where private personal content is constantly shared online, with explicit content spreading like a veldfire, few are immune to exposure. When someone’s nudes, images and explicit texts are non-consensually circulated, usually by someone such as an acquaintance, significant other or hacker, especially an ex-partner, it is called ‘revenge porn’. Stonehard’s 2020 study revealed that perpetrators prefer technological media as it is anonymous, instant and constant.  Understanding the cauldron of harrowing psychological effects resulting from this malicious act of bullying and sexual exploitation is crucial for supporting victims on their path to healing.


#Overwhelming shame, internalised self-blame and loss of self-esteem

This crippling psychological effect where victims intensely inwardly criticise themselves has especially debilitating effects. Compounded by the public and even friends and relatives, victims judge themselves and create the false narrative that they must have somehow instigated and deserve to be exposed in this way and gradually lose their self-esteem. This then goes on to act as a barrier to healing because it obstructs the path to grief, and self-compassion which are imperative to healing. Self-destructive behaviours such as bad eating patterns, self-harm, substance abuse and suicidal ideation can spawn from this as the victims use them as maladaptive coping mechanisms

#Anxiety, panic attacks, depression and PTSD.

‘Revenge porn’ is tantamount to robbery because it violates the victims emotionally and socially, and takes away their ability to feel safe. Therefore, they exhibit anxiety symptoms such as excessive and pervasive worrying about everyday situations, feeling listless and restless, irritability, difficulty concentrating and nervousness. Physical symptoms may include, sleep problems, fatigue, rapid heart rate, sweating and shortness of breath. Some victims develop PTSD-related symptoms such as hyper vigilance whereby they are intensely aware of the resurfacing of leaked content which can reignite their anguish. This chronic state of fear and emotional upheaval can result in withdrawal from society at large, including from supportive loved ones, which sabotages chances of healing. Additional adverse effects are moderate to severe depression, sometimes coupled with suicidal ideation. Bates 2017 study suggests that the effects on female victims are similar to those suffered by rape victims.

#Impact on daily functioning and relationships

Due to the effects mentioned previously, the victims end up unable to go about their daily tasks especially if they are in the public eye such as school, work or a place of religion. This self-imposed isolation prolongs the victims’ suffering and affects their relationships. Because they find it difficult to go out into society, their academics or jobs may suffer.  Failure from this exacerbates the self-criticism. Additionally, because trust has been breached and a sense of safety violated, victims can find it difficult to create healthy intimate relationships. Even existing ones are examined with a suspicious magnifying glass which some may find taxing.  As if that is not enough, victims experience online as well as offline Some victims even experience a loss in intimate relationships who may ostracize or disown them.

Ultimately the effects can reportedly be long-term because the disseminated content can continue to disturb victims throughout their lives


#Practising self-love

To combat self-blame and criticism, victims must practise self-love. This is done by making time for exercise which of course releases feel-good endorphins, engaging in soothing activities that provide comfort and restoration like going on nature walks, taking a scented bubble bath, listening to soothing music in a relaxed environment and cuddling and talking to a loved pet. Undertaking in yoga and eating nourishing favourite foods can also be calming and enjoyable. Emotional release can be achieved through journaling thoughts and emotions, as well as writing stories and poetry. Practising immersive and loved hobbies like knitting, photography and woodwork along with engaging in creative arts like painting, and drawing can assist with tension release and calming oneself.

Therapeutic techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery meditations can cultivate mindfulness and even calm intrusive negative thoughts that perpetuate feelings of unworthiness and self-criticism. These techniques can be found on the internet or taught by a trained therapist.

#Engage your tribe

By tribe, I’m referring to support channels. Members of this tribe would include family members and friend’s victims trust and love. Usually, these people are non-judgemental and can serve as a source of comfort while the victim grieves, improves self-esteem and begins to re-join society. Support groups for this specific or similar trauma can assist the victim to reframe their perception of the event as well as how they see themselves. They would then stop internalising guilt and blame, but forgive themselves and consequently reclaim their identity from victim to a survivor who suffered exploitation through no fault of their own. Connecting with activism movements such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Cyberbullying Trust can provide validation and aid in reclaiming power and autonomy.

#Seeking legal action and removing content

Consulting with lawyers about laying civil or criminal charges against the perpetrator can provide a sense of control. Even if the legal action ends up not being pursued, understanding one’s rights can be empowering. Contacting service providers and working with them to remove content aggressively is an actionable goal that can limit spread. Having this as something to do also helps in making the victim feel empowered.

#Engaging a certified therapist.

Therapists can assist clients through the grieving process after this exploitation which has result in the mentioned psychological effects. Because the victim may not feel comfortable talking to just anybody, a therapist is a good option as they will keep the information private while also affording the victim a safe and comfortable environment to air their thoughts and let out their emotions. Therapists can also teach clients techniques such as guided imagery meditation, muscle relaxation, confidence building and assertiveness training that can foster healing, empowerment and confidence building. Moreover, therapists can help in rebuilding the victim’s ability to establish healthy relationships and mend broken family ones resulting from the incident.


While the Data Protection act of 2021 made revenge porn a crime, more still needs to be done. On a large scale, communities must promote awareness of this overlooked problem through schools, road show campaigns and even corporate psychoeducation camps. Relevant national authorities and law enforcement agencies also need to make it a public health issue so that the gravity of the psychological effects are recognised, as this can assist with obtaining support for victims.

Overall, a multifaceted approach that combines psychological, social and legal strategies can be most effective in helping victims cope. These strategies can help them redevelop confidence and self-love, an inner sense of security, control and the ability to engage in daily functioning once more. Although the experience is profound, ultimately it is not the event that defines self-worth, but the victim’s response that demonstrates resilience and dignity, and ensures healing. Finally, it is important to remember that ‘this time shall pass too’ as new issues trend.

Helpful resources


Zimbabwe Anti-Cyberbullyiing Trust:  (Stop Non-Consensual Intimate Image Abuse)

The writer Isabel Kanhenga (pictured above) is a registered systemic family therapist with Allied Health Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe. She is also a Counselling Psychology Masters student at the Great Zimbabwe University. She can be reached at

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