Have you ever wanted to be a so called ‘wunderkind’? Once dreamed of having a super gifted kid? Or maybe you got so lucky to have this dream come true? As we always say, raising a smart kid is never easy, and raising a genius is even more challenging. Having no extraordinary talents we can hardly imagine what it’s like to wake up every day and know that you’re different from your friends, classmates and neighbors. Can your genius child eventually get used to it someday?
As any parent, I want my child to be smart but I don’t want my daughter to be a genius. Obviously, genius kids feel a lot more pressure than regular kids. Pushy parents make life of their genius kids even more miserable.
So what are the main disadvantages of being an extraordinary gifted kid?
Downsides of Being A Genius
1. Fear of failure
Many grown-up child prodigies can recall how difficult it was for them to fight this fear. All little geniuses are perfectionists, and perfectionism itself can lead to fear of failure, causing a gifted child to avoid failure by refusing to do something, even something as simple as a homework assignment.
“Designating children as gifted, especially extremely gifted, and cultivating that giftedness may be positively harmful. The overcultivated can develop self-esteem problems and performance anxiety,” Alissa Quart, a grown-up child prodigy, wrote in her book Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child. “Having been built in the fashion I was as a child — created and then deflated — has left me with a distinct feeling of failure.”
Julian Rachlin, who won the Eurovision Young Musician of the Year award in 1988 at the age of 13, and became the youngest soloist ever to play with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, fully agrees with Quart:
“[As a child] I was incredibly nervous, and I couldn’t handle the pressure. It was mostly a fear of failure.”
2. Missing out on normal childhood
Gifted kids, especially those who have very ambitious and pushy parents, definitely miss out on normal childhood as they spend most of their time studying. Considered very special by their parents, they become hothouse kids who lack normal social skills and real friends.
A great example is the famous super-violinist Niccolo Paganini, who was often locked in a room for hours by his father so that he could focus on practicing.
3. Lagging in other skills
Genius kids have a lot more problems than we think. It’s difficult for them to adapt in a group of kids their age. They are very sensitive, which results in them taking criticism or anger very personally. They often seem absent-minded as they are simply not interested in their current environment, finding it boring. Genius kids have an ability to see beyond the obvious which makes them appear shy, holding back in new situations in order to consider all the implications.
“Where she is lacking is that she is not street-smart. She is a bit innocent for her age. It’s difficult for her to attach herself to a group, because her interests are on a different plane,” says Suja Prakash, mother of 11-year old Shrinidhi Prakash who has been recently named Britain’s first Child Genius. “She is very absent-minded. She often brings other children’s bags or cardigans home by mistake. If you ask her to tie her shoe laces, she really struggles.”
These things should definitely be kept in mind if you think your child has special talents. But don’t let these possible shortcomings stop you from helping your kid develop the talents they have as we know many examples of child geniuses who grow up to be equally successful and talented, think composer Ludwig van Beethoven, physicist and mathematician Andre-Marie Ampere, psychologist Jean Piaget, actress Shirley Temple, artist Pablo Picasso, and others.