Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Nurturing Gifted Children"

Current research indicates that spanking actually lowers kids’ I.Q.

Who knew?

I had known that spankings can do psychological harm to children and damage their relationship with their parents. But I didn’t know the impact was even more widespread than that. If spanking lowers kids' IQ, then by inference, it impedes their school performance and in general, their ability to get along in the world. And it creates an aggressive response in those children who have the misfortune to come in contact with a parent's belt or open hand.

Let me say from the get-go that the majority of people who become parents feel the weight of the responsibility that comes with it. Not to mention the weight of being on call when their child needs them 24/7. They take their responsibility seriously. Most are well-meaning, loving parents, even when they mess up and lose their cool. Or even when their kids push their buttons and they "wig out."

That is just regular, garden-variety kids. Rearing intelligent, intense kids can be especially challenging. It takes a special knack to parent them. By definition, intellectually gifted children are intense. The more intellectually gifted the child, the more intense he/she is. Which means that he/she feels everything more deeply, reacts more strongly, challenges more vociferously, has greater emotional needs and requires more intellectual stimulation than the average bear. These are the kids whose achievements most people admire. But it can be quite a challenge for parents to nurture their growth to adulthood.

So let's tip our hats to the parents of those children who give us a run for our money, who ask us questions we don't know the answers to, and who feel things more poignantly than others. And let's high five those kids who are naturally intellectually curious, smart and sometimes smart-alecky, and most assuredly who love whole heartedly.

One of them likely will find the cure for cancer, how to extract oil from the ground without devastating it, or write the next Great American Novel or storied music as Mozart did at age 4.

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