Parents all hope that their children will become the Albert Einsteins of the modern world. But raising genius kids takes quite a bit of effort.
Bringing up a child prodigy is no mean feat. The task overwhelms a parent with both fear and wonder. How is a hassled parent to cope with a little brainiac? We have answers for parents blessed with little beings with unbridled talents.
A 45-Year Study on Genius Children
A 45-year study involving dedicated researcher Julian Stanley tracked the development of 5000 intellectually precocious children over 45 years. Stanley hoped that he would learn how to boost the potential of such talented individuals. He wasn’t merely interested in studying them; Stanley wanted to cultivate their intellect and improve the chances they would make a difference to this world.
Things to Do to Support Genius Kids
The study prompted talent-development researchers like Camilla Benbow, Dean of Education and Human Development at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, to uncover what to best do to help children who have a mental edge over others. She has a few suggestions to bring out the genius in kids.
1. Give your little geniuses opportunities
A kid who has the genius within will want to develop his or her interests. Give them chances to learn as much as they can.
If your kids come to you with requests to learn the piano and you have heard them sound chords without ever having learned them, it may be time for them to take more than a few music lessons. They may have more musicality than you imagine.
Ask what your children prefer, be it numbers, music, languages or science. Then, let them learn the skills necessary to excel in that area. Once they’ve mastered the basics, let them be creative and play around with what they’ve learned.
These opportunities should also be as varied as you can make them. Let your genius children have as many diverse experiences as possible. Remember that highly intelligent children require cognitive stretching, so help them to flex their brain muscles. Whatever you introduce them to shouldn’t be too run-of-the-mill.
Instead of just bringing them to the beach or for a swim, why not get them to compile science scrapbooks of the unusual flower specimens they can find? They could learn their names. Why not utilize their mobile phones for education instead of Whatsapp messaging? They could capture videos of the unusual creatures of flowers they see.
3. Help your child both intellectually and emotionally
Providence has blessed your geniuses with large intellectual capacities, so stimulating their intellect is a must. They will feel underwhelmed if you don’t.
And that’s when you’ll experience the difficulties of raising geniuses. They’ll feel unchallenged and neglected if you don’t give them the mental challenges they need.
Also, they may develop unhealthy arrogance and egocentrism if you don’t pull the reins. Emotional management is essential. Let them understand that the intelligence that they have is a gift to use wisely.
5. Applaud efforts, not abilities
As mentioned above, pride comes before a fall. When adults place too much focus on how smart they are, these little wonders may take their intellect for granted.
They may see studying as unnecessary. Help your geniuses realize that they should reach for the stars and that it takes perseverance. Even geniuses fail. They will also learn to challenge themselves intellectually and not let failure daunt them.
Making friends could become a challenge for kids who have genius if they see themselves as “smarter than the average bear.” They may offend their peers or not make friends altogether. Therefore, praise their efforts and avoid emphasizing how brilliant they are. They already know.
6. Don’t label your child geniuses
Labels are unhealthy because they stigmatize and pressurize. Calling your children geniuses also stereotypes them and deprives them of friendship opportunities. You may find your little light bulbs trying too hard to shine, and they may dim altogether. The label may put too much pressure on them to please you or live up to expectations.
7. Work with teachers
Parents may not be genius children themselves. Raising them is a challenge. How are they to ensure that their kids have all the mental, intellectual, and emotional stimulation they need?
The answer could come from your child’s teachers. Do consult them over which programs to enroll your kids in, and how to give them the mental boost they need. Your child’s teacher would be the best person to advise you on how to manage their friendships too. Smart kids need challenges and the ability to work at their paces.
8. Test your child’s ability
If you think that your kid is a genius, satisfy your nagging feelings. Get their IQs professionally tested by child psychologists. Doing so will satisfy your curiosity as well as theirs. You will discover how to move forward with your children.
9. Let your children be responsible for their decisions
Genius should come with maturity, so you should let your children make decisions for themselves. It’s an essential ingredient for developing resilient, strong personalities. Your little geniuses will be comfortable with themselves if they know that you trust them to use their smarts wisely.
10. Support, don’t impose
If your geniuses have class projects, let them complete these independently. Don’t impose your thinking on them. Give suggestions, but don’t tell them that there’s a “right” way to do it. They’ll have confidence in their abilities if they see if they can complete tasks themselves.
It’s an enormous responsibility to raise genius kids. We hope that these tips steer you in the right direction.
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