Increasingly, we are seeing more talented kids in the limelight. Parents of such kids often wonder how to parent them. Many have the same psychological needs as any other children — to be loved, to feel secure, and to fulfill their potential.
What differentiates an exceptionally talented child from others of her own age is her high thirst for learning and acquisition of knowledge.
Some children exhibit signs of exceptional intellectual ability at a young age, but most aren’t recognised until they start school. Often they become bored in school because the work is too easy. They read well beyond the level of other kids their age among other achievements.
The gifted children develop intellectually at a much faster rate than they develop physically and emotionally. They tend to experience all of life with greater intensity, making them emotionally complex. They have more advanced play interests and often are academically far ahead of their peers.
For instance, a preschool teacher put out a box of wooden blocks for her three-year-old class. On his very first day using them, one of the boys created a three-foot tall marble chute, and spent the rest of the morning analysing the relative speeds of different sizes of marbles. Such a child, who is able to make abstract connections and display skills way beyond his years in a variety of settings, is gifted.
Thus, a gifted child has good problem-solving skills such as reasoning logically, connecting ideas, seeing all sides of a problem and good verbal ability.
Giftedness therefore goes far beyond a good grade or one precocious conversation. The children show an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression for instance music, science, or literature.
History reveals that many famous figures in the world of art and music showed exceptional signs even in childhood. For instance, Mozart composed symphonies before he was five years old, and Leonardo da Vince demonstrated his artistic ability very early on in life. Here’s how you can help your super kid become more creative:
• Show respect when she asks unusual questions. For example, when she asks “Why don’t trains fly like aeroplanes so that they would arrive at the station quicker?’ it’s tempting to dismiss such inquiries as unnecessary interruptions, but that attitude will discourage your child from developing her creative thoughts further.
• Allow her to express her imaginative ideas freely. Listen to your child when she suggests that cars should be made with engines that run on water because it’s cheaper than petrol. If you show interest, she will not be afraid to voice other imaginative ideas in the future. Don’t ridicule her ideas.
• Give your child opportunities to play in unstructured situations. Don’t be tempted to turn all play experiences into some form of learning experience.
Finally, when she finally becomes a celebrity, she needs your help to avert negative influence. You need to ensure she develops emotional and interpersonal intelligence, social competence and maturity.
Guiding your gifted child to develop social intelligence will increase her chances of enjoying a rich, meaningful, and successful life.