I have almost two dozen nieces and nephews that were all born before I had my first child. My experience being surrounded by babies all the time helped me realize when one nephew came along that he was special. He was different not in an abnormal, weird way but in a quirky, completely different kind of perspective way. Would this mean he would grow up to become a genius? Were his differences evidence of that kind of potential? Now that he is a grown man and embarking on his career as a bio-geneticist I can see that it did mean just that.
If you know a young person who is a bit different and you believe these differences make them suitable for possibly having genius potential, experts have helpful hints to help parents and loved ones identify certain characteristics that most prodigies have in common. Chances are you will already know it in your heart, but, if you are looking for a little reassurance that your affection is not creating a bias in your opinion, read on and see if this little person in your life is described here. Then you’ll know for certain a young genius is in your midst.
One true genius or prodigy exists in a group of about five million kids. This may be obvious in someone who is particularly gifted in a specific area, such as music or mathematics. Skill levels in other areas may be completely normal but in the subject matter of their gift, they are extraordinary in their abilities. This can be evident as young as two-years-old. This gift will often create an intensity of focus that could even be described as an obsession. This characteristic is a common link among all prodigies.
Prodigies and geniuses are not “made”. You cannot “flashcard” your child’s pathway to genius level. They are either born with a brain uniquely wired or they are not. So, moms and dads, don’t overdo it with your kids to the point of misery. If you have to work at it, you don’t have a prodigy on your hands.
If you are raising a genius, accept the fact that this parenting experience will not be at all like parenting an average child. Genius children are not generally considered “well-rounded”. Their obsessive behavior regarding their talent is something best to be accepted because they cannot help it. You may find you spend more time at the art museum rather than the playground. Perhaps you discover your eight-year-old considers the twenty-six-year-old math tutor encountered at the library as best friend material. Rather than video game systems, you may be spending loads of money on every musical instrument known to man and earplugs for the rest of the family.
The greatest challenge will most likely be the area of socialization. A child genius is emotionally unlike their peer group. Rather, they tend to be more like miniature grown-ups. They may find children their own age to be rather boring because they don’t know a thing about a black hole or evolution. Parents may have to work a little harder searching out support groups or organizations where other gifted children participate that their own little genius can be a part of. Even if a prodigy has only one good friend, that’s enough to help a child through the tough years of childhood, adolescence and the rollercoaster ride of teenage-hood.
Here is a helpful list of questions to answer and determine if you can claim one of these special children as your very own:
- Did they begin cognizant communication at an extraordinarily young age?
- Did they begin reading comprehensively at an extraordinarily young age?
- Have they taught themselves skills such as reading and writing or addition and subtraction?
- Do they enjoy fine literature rather than silly nursery rhymes?
- Do they prefer the company of adults rather than children their own age?
- Do they have an extraordinary memory?
- Have they developed a hobby or interest coupled with an extraordinary depth of knowledge on the subject?
- Are they aware of current world events?
If you find your child described in this list, it may be helpful to have them assessed by a qualified educational psychologist. This can help you as a parent during your child’s early development as well as help guide you in decisions when your child reaches the age to attend school. Very few schools are designed to properly manage children who are prodigies. It’s not just enough to know how to feed your child’s amazing mind, but to understand how that mind works in order to help your special child grow up mentally and emotionally nourished.