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Old 01-24-2020, 01:27 PM
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Is Raising An Exceptionally-Intelligent, "Gifted" Child Difficult?


Watched a new TV show (Outmatched) last night about parents, three of whose four children are exceptionally intelligent. The parents are portrayed as, well, kind of dim, and in over their heads in parenting the little geniuses.

Similarly, on Young Sheldon, his parents and the parents of another gifted child also struggle with raising their little geniuses. In the case of the other family (not Sheldon's), the parents actually got divorced, in part because of the difficulties raising their daughter.

I myself was a Gifted Child, although not exceptionally so -- I was reading at a 9th grade level by 3rd grade, but I sure as hell wasn't composing operas or solving advanced physics problems. I was put into my school district's Gifted Program, until budget cuts killed it.

Nevertheless, I didn't really give my mom any more fits than any other kid would have given their mom. I was a nerdy smart-ass, but Mom handled me OK.

Is raising an exceptionally-gifted child really all that challenging?
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:58 PM
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I admit I don't know, but I can tell you this. It's no picnic for the gifted child either.

Just sayin'.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:49 PM
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In general, I think raising kids with a different baseline from your own presents challenges. I kind of know how to understand the challenges I've faced in life and it's easiest to parent when my kids face similar challenges. But I just can't wrap my mind around some of the things the kids do and those are the really tricky parenting moments. I'm not really inclined to believe that parenting an exceptionally gifted child per se is difficult, but I have no problem believing that it's hard to raise a child who is very different from the parent.
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Old 01-24-2020, 02:50 PM
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I admit I don't know, but I can tell you this. It's no picnic for the gifted child either.

Just sayin'.
For me, it didn't cause any real problems at home. At least, not directly.

By 5th grade I was bored to tears with what my public school was offering me, by 6th grade I was pretty mouthy at school, and by 7th grade I'd found public education so far beneath me as to not be worth my attention. THAT caused problems at home, but being "gifted" in general didn't.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:11 PM
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Yes, and you don't have to be on a different level than the child for it to be difficult. Gifted children understand things at a much deeper level, much earlier, than they are emotionally prepared to handle. They are able to read books that would just fly over the heads of their peers. And they are easily bored. Boredom to the brilliant child is exquisitely painful, so if you don't keep them challenged, they begin to stultify.

The worst part though, is that you can't really talk to anyone about it. Friends, family, and internet buds alike will all see it as a sneak brag and attack you unmercifully for daring to think that your child might be "better." You just wouldn't believe the vicious pile-ons. If you make the mistake of saying "no, it's been quantified through testing, this is a real thing I'm dealing with" then it only intensifies. Both you and your child will then be either ostracized, or constantly jumped upon for every tiny mistake in order to prove that you're not really so smart after all.

You are entirely on your own with this one.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:18 PM
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Yes, and you don't have to be on a different level than the child for it to be difficult. Gifted children understand things at a much deeper level, much earlier, than they are emotionally prepared to handle. They are able to read books that would just fly over the heads of their peers. And they are easily bored. Boredom to the brilliant child is exquisitely painful, so if you don't keep them challenged, they begin to stultify.

The worst part though, is that you can't really talk to anyone about it. Friends, family, and internet buds alike will all see it as a sneak brag and attack you unmercifully for daring to think that your child might be "better." You just wouldn't believe the vicious pile-ons. If you make the mistake of saying "no, it's been quantified through testing, this is a real thing I'm dealing with" then it only intensifies. Both you and your child will then be either ostracized, or constantly jumped upon for every tiny mistake in order to prove that you're not really so smart after all.

You are entirely on your own with this one.
Wow, that's really sad to hear.

Did you have issues with your kids' school failing her as well?
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:38 PM
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I can imagine it being quite challenging to raise a Sheldon Cooper - where the intellect so vastly outdistances the age/maturity. It also would be challenging if the parents lacked the intellectual, financial, or other resources to deal w/ the kid.

But lacking that, IMO it is no more challenging to raise a gifted child than a child at just abut any other level of potential/achievement. Of course, one would be foolish to expect the schools to provide sufficient challenge/stimulation. But - as with just about any kid - a responsible parent ought to be able to supplement the school education with tailored activities.

Also - consider what you consider the standard/goal. Quite often, it seems as tho people expect that a "gifted" child maximize their potential. It can be very challenging to have ANY kid maximize their potential. The "cushion" available to the gifted child is, even if they fall far short of what they MIGHT achieve, they still have sufficient skills and brain power to do all manner of jobs. At least in terms of earning potential and job availability, it is far easier to be smart than stupid.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:45 PM
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For me, it didn't cause any real problems at home. At least, not directly.

By 5th grade I was bored to tears with what my public school was offering me, by 6th grade I was pretty mouthy at school, and by 7th grade I'd found public education so far beneath me as to not be worth my attention. THAT caused problems at home, but being "gifted" in general didn't.
Heh. I was about to say almost exactly that this is the part that is difficult. The "gifted" part, by itself, is lovely and not difficult (for us, at least, as both of us are geeks) at all. (Although being gifted often comes with emotional asynchrony, as others have noted, and that can be difficult. My daughter's giftedness, I believe, is at least partially entangled with her Asperger's/ASD, which is its own very difficult beast.)

But yeah, it's trying to work within the system that can be really difficult. Older Raspberry Child started being bored in first grade, even. She's in private school now.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:27 PM
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I was gifted. I was reading Jules Verne at the end of first grade. My daughter is also. She got two PhDs.
I didn't have any problems, and I don't think she did either, because there was good support. A teacher saw me reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 2nd grade. I was sent to the principal, convinced him I wasn't faking it, and was allowed to skip the reading instruction and read my own books after that. It helped that NY schools then were tracked, so I was with similar kids and was almost never bored.

I was on the board of a Gifted children support group when my kids were in school, and heard lots of talks. My conclusion is that the way to deal with gifted kids is to say yes, like in improv. If they want to do something weird (but safe) say yes, even if you'd never want to do it. In 9th grade I wrote a 25 page paper (it was supposed to be 2 or 3 pages) and my mother happily typed it for me. In 3rd grade my daughter wanted to do lots and lots of math problems, her teacher dug up more math workbooks for her.
I think it helps if the kid doesn't realize he or she is gifted, and just thinks that what he does is normal.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:52 PM
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My brother and I were both considered gifted as kids. My mother was also a special education teacher for about 15 years before switching to regular education.

She says hands down that dealing with us was far tougher than any of the special ed children, mostly because their challenges were relatively static, while we were always into everything, and always coming up with new and inventive ways to get into mischief that she'd never have anticipated. (one example is that in third grade, I was enterprising enough to get a Conan the Barbarian graphic novel with some topless women, and then took it to school, and charged the other boys a dime a pop to trace them. Mom never saw that one coming!)

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Old 01-24-2020, 05:06 PM
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I was a perfect angel and never gave my mom any trouble.

I mean, okay, I did decide to never do any homework again in the second grade, an oath which I held to through the remainder of elementary school. My mom tells of a teacher showing her his grade register (with the other student's rows covered) - mine was entirely filled with zeros for every assignment, and perfect scores on every quiz and test.

This practice did less damage to my grades than you might think - I was still getting As and sometimes Bs. And I'm sure that all the anger and frustration my mom shows when relating the tale is just an act.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:23 PM
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I think it helps if the kid doesn't realize he or she is gifted, and just thinks that what he does is normal.
I can see that. Out of curiosity, how long do you expect to be able to keep up that facade?
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:37 PM
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I was a gifted child. It was fucking lonely and deeply, deeply boring. No one knew what to do with me. I spent my whole childhood being bullied, reading, drawing, writing, and taking long walks with my dog. I had a few friends, mostly in middle school and later. I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone. It damaged me.

I raised a gifted child as well. I had many siblings, and was lonely, she had no siblings, and also was lonely, but not as lonely as I was. At least she had parents who understood her, were pleased and interested when she read the Prose Eddas when she was eight, and constructed languages for denizens of planets she invented with enormous detail (she did her undergraduate work in linguistics).

Basically, if you "get" your kid, try your damndest to find ways of supporting your kid, and don't get your stupid ego in the way -- they will be fine. Or, as fine as anyone else anyway.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:05 PM
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Lot of sneak bragging in this thread...
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:10 PM
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I knew the lil'wrekker was gifted or just very smart by the time she was 18mos old. I was given good advice, not to push her. Think well rounded child not just bookish.
I'm so happy I didn't push. She pushed herself til nearly panic levels everyday. I pulled her out of more than one class because I thought it was unhealthy for her. She would test high and the school would want her in outragious situations. Example: a tiny 5th grade girl in a 9th grade algebra class full of 8th and 9th graders. Nope. She attended that class exactly one week. It was too much. She took algebra with her grade when she got in 8th grade. She did fine. Stepped up to higher math courses in relation to her age and class.
I encouraged outside activities. She did lots of things. And, now is a successful college student.

ETA: no sneak brag. The girl is smart as heck. And her ol'Ma is proud of her.
Except for her less than thrifty spending. Girl is dumb about money!!

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Old 01-24-2020, 06:36 PM
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Lot of sneak bragging in this thread...
It's hard not to "sneak brag" when describing how things were different for somebody because they were brilliant.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:49 PM
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I can see that. Out of curiosity, how long do you expect to be able to keep up that facade?
Quite a while if no one goes nuts. After all, someone must get the best grades, why not you? It helps that exceptionally gifted kids are often clueless about their impact on others.
This is more true if there is a gifted community which I was lucky enough to have. If you are the only gifted kid it might go to your head. (I've seen that.) Having challenges that are still hard helps in the humility department.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:58 PM
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Quite a while if no one goes nuts.
Are we talking age 5 or age 15? I could imagine either qualifying as 'quite a while.'
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:05 PM
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I neglected to mention, the lil'wrekker was a joy to have around. She was/is the sweetist person. I felt blessed to be her Mother.
She was easy to parent.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:06 PM
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Lot of sneak bragging in this thread...
And there we have an illustration of one of the difficulties of dealing with giftedness. Heaven forbid you dare talk about it.

My son was, in the words of the pediatric neurologist who evaluated him, "twice exceptional," which I think is probably pretty common. In other words, he was intellectually gifted but also had deficits (not exactly Asperger's, but similar; his fine and gross motor skills were delayed, as were his social skills). So that was pretty hard.

When he was so young that his precocity hadn't really played out yet and I was kind of excited to see how spookily smart he could be, I read an article on raising gifted children - and boy am I glad I did, because it set me straight early on.

The gist of the article (and it was an academic paper, not some junk-journalism piece) was that one reason that gifted children present particular challenges to raise because they are constantly told how smart they are by people around them, which completely messes with their self-esteem. Things are easy early on and so they develop a false sense of "I'm smart, I can do anything without trying."

That puts them off making an effort, and they don't learn, the way most kids do, to suck it up and work hard at things that don't come easily to them. Instead, on those rare occasions when they don't succeed without effort, they freak out and avoid the situation.

Now, that's obviously not all kids or all situations. But it sure happened to my kid. We'd be walking down the street when a classmate would see him, point to him, and tug on the hand of whoever they were with and shout excitedly, "See that kid? That's him, the one I was telling you about, that is so SMART!"

It was understandable, if unfortunate, when kids did it, but adults did it too, which was horrifying.

We constantly told our son that eventually even smart people have to work hard. Ultimate the message got through - he worked damned hard in college to maintain a nearly perfect GPA even in courses he didn't care for. (Sorry again, there's that pesky bragging.) BUT IT WAS VERY, VERY HARD to get him to the point where he understood that; he goofed off a lot in high school. I think not getting into the most prestigious schools he applied to was a wake up call.

I posted an anti-brag thread about him a few months ago. He was an utter ditz about getting signed up for his GRE subject test and only barely managed to maneuver his way out of missing his opportunities altogether. Smart kids can be dumb, just like any kid.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:07 PM
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What has been challenging is having one who is gifted in most areas but hit one where he really has a hard time. Our oldest was in gifted classes and magnet programs, and everything was easy for him until sophomore year. Classes that involved writing were very difficult for him, and it didn't take long for him to just stop turning things in. We thought he was just being lazy, partly because that's what he told us. He went on to college with a big scholarship, mostly because of his astronomical test scores, but crashed and burned. He went back to a liberal arts college with the highest level of support and just squeaked by. He couldn't adjust to being in a small town after growing up in an urban area, so he enrolled in classes at the local community college. The results weren't very good. He says if he can't succeed this semester, when he carefully selected classes he thinks he can do well in, he's done. Honestly, if I'd had that much difficulty I would have given up a lot earlier. I hit a wall in math around the same age he hit one in writing. Math is a hell of a lot easier to avoid in college, so my writing ability and ability to remember crap got me through. If someone wanted to torture me now, they'd force me to go back to school.

Younger son is a gifted writer and ok in math. His grades in high school weren't impressive, and we weren't sure how he'd do in college. He never liked school either. With 59 hours down, he has an A average. We never thought it would happen. It probably helps that his girl friend that he met there is an honors student, and she suggested that he make a schedule for himself. In high school, he got C's and D's when he wasn't particularly interested in a class. Now he makes B's.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:16 PM
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What has been challenging is having one who is gifted in most areas but hit one where he really has a hard time.
Yeah - I (sneakbrag sneakbrag sneakbrag) was incredibly brilliant at every kind of analysis, to the point that I got into middle school before I learned that I couldn't intentionally memorize anything. I mean, sure, I would have to guess on questions asking for historical dates and such, but that was usually so small a part of the grade that nothing much was made of it. And then I got to a social studies class that (for some reason) heavily weighted the ability to memorize countries and capitals. I could not do it, despite trying everything - recitation, listening to tapes of myself reciting, endless writing - nothing worked. Got a D in the class, which kicked me out of the gifted program n the spot. This was quite a shock - though everything else after that continued to be As and Bs with the occasional C, so I got over it.

Then, in college, I got into a calculus class that, for some reason, was taught as nothing but memorization and pattern matching. I got every single question wrong on every assignment, quiz, and test. I am not exaggerating - every single one. (Except for one chapter where we did actual math, where I got everything right - only to go back to getting everything wrong again in the chapters following.) At the end of the semester my grade was in the single digits, to the degree I didn't even bother attending the final. Given that normally math was my best subject, this gave me such a shock that I took half a year to recover - I was in such a stupor that my next semester's grades were three Fs and a D. And of course not having passed calculus had implications for my STEM degree.

None of this made my parents particularly thrilled either, as you may imagine.
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:50 AM
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Raising a child can be difficult. Full stop. That is the baseline.

Raising a special needs child is exceptionally difficult.

Raising a gifted child is difficult.

I sorta have one of each.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:37 AM
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My Dad didn't find it particularly difficult, but to him I was normal. The techniques which worked for him and his siblings worked well with me. On that side of the family, the two "slowest" people of my generation have engineering degrees; it's a family where if you say that a relative is normal without further detail, you get funny looks and then "normal how? Medically, socially...?" Medically yeah, we're normal. But we're also used to considering that thinking sideways to other people is perfectly fine; it's something we do, like other families are tall, or good dancers, or whatever. Since we think sideways, we need to learn how to translate our sideways thinking to explanations others will understand, that for us is a routine part of child-rearing.

My mother's problems with raising me had more to do with her being a social narcissist and a solipsist than with me being gifted. She would have been a horror show for any child of hers who wasn't a blonde, blue-eyed boy. Middlebro isn't particularly gifted, but he's also neither blonde nor blue-eyed and she rejected both of us.

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Old 01-25-2020, 01:47 AM
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Are we talking age 5 or age 15? I could imagine either qualifying as 'quite a while.'
15. Even college, if you go to the right college.

My kids used to watch Dennis the Menace reruns. One episode had a mistake in test results classifying Dennis as a genius. Everyone freaked out, and acted as if he knew everything. At the end of the show the mistake was discovered and everyone was relieved.
Exactly the wrong way to do it.

At my house, both as a child and a parent, a high IQ doesn't mean you don't take out the garbage.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:50 AM
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Then, in college, I got into a calculus class that, for some reason, was taught as nothing but memorization and pattern matching.
IME that's usually done by teachers who do not understand their subject. Since they do not understand it, they cannot recognize a correct response unless it is exactly identical to what they've got as a reference. Teachers who understand the subject matter love it if a student comes up with an unexpected yet correct answer. It took me a long time to understand that's where it seems to be coming from.

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Old 01-25-2020, 01:57 AM
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I was a perfect angel and never gave my mom any trouble.

I mean, okay, I did decide to never do any homework again in the second grade, an oath which I held to through the remainder of elementary school. My mom tells of a teacher showing her his grade register (with the other student's rows covered) - mine was entirely filled with zeros for every assignment, and perfect scores on every quiz and test.

This practice did less damage to my grades than you might think - I was still getting As and sometimes Bs. And I'm sure that all the anger and frustration my mom shows when relating the tale is just an act.
that was me ..... I passed classes I only showed up for once a week because the teachers knew I knew the subject better than what they were teaching ...

I was reading UCLA world history textbooks in the 6th grade and for mt 7th-grade ss class I wrote a report on popular courtesans in the roman empire ..... and how they influenced decisions .... needless to say, I passed and a conversation with mom who barley passed school at all .... and she shrugged and said he's smarter than me what am I supposed to do ..... it wasn't the first or last time she'd have such meetings either
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:52 AM
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I think all you really need to do is keep them motivated, and give then opportunities for self realization. I'm ASD, so all my life, I just treated all kids as they were gifted. Give them plenty to pick, and they'll set their own limit. When my son was 6, I made a set of Chinese flash cards and he learned 50 characters in a day. That's not gifted, even dull Chinese children do that. It's motivation and opportunity.

Teach them by example that being smart is fun.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:11 AM
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My father was a smart motivated guy from whom I inherited many faults and few virtues. According to my mother, he was jealous of me.
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... I think it helps if the kid doesn't realize he or she is gifted, and just thinks that what he does is normal.
I took a California standard test in 3rd grade. My mother got an excited call: "Your son got the highest score we've ever seen in this school district. I'm not supposed to tell you that, and Whatever you do, Don't tell Septie!" My mother told me as soon as she hung up the phone.

I don't know if it mattered. I already knew my 3rd-grade teacher was an ignoramus, e.g. when she pointed to a Mercator-projection map and said that Greenland should be called a continent, and Australia an island.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:59 AM
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It would have been nice if someone had told me I was a gifted child. When the school gave me an IQ test in first grade and told my mother I scored 148(!), her response was "Oh, she must have guessed lucky." She refused to let them double promote me, and insisted I wasn't that smart.

To paraphrase Torey Hayden: We realize a child with an IQ of 52. is exceptional. We don't realize that a child with an IQ of 148 is just as exceptional.
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Old 01-25-2020, 10:26 AM
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My brother and I were both considered gifted as kids. My mother was also a special education teacher for about 15 years before switching to regular education.

She says hands down that dealing with us was far tougher than any of the special ed children, mostly because their challenges were relatively static, while we were always into everything, and always coming up with new and inventive ways to get into mischief that she'd never have anticipated. (one example is that in third grade, I was enterprising enough to get a Conan the Barbarian graphic novel with some topless women, and then took it to school, and charged the other boys a dime a pop to trace them. Mom never saw that one coming!)
Fistbump.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:06 AM
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Also - consider what you consider the standard/goal. Quite often, it seems as tho people expect that a "gifted" child maximize their potential. It can be very challenging to have ANY kid maximize their potential. The "cushion" available to the gifted child is, even if they fall far short of what they MIGHT achieve, they still have sufficient skills and brain power to do all manner of jobs. At least in terms of earning potential and job availability, it is far easier to be smart than stupid.
There's very little correlation between IQ and holding a high-paying job.
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Old 01-25-2020, 11:40 AM
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There's very little correlation between IQ and holding a high-paying job.
There appears to be a moderate correlation between IQ and job performance. But we should not generalize too much from this.


I'm not a psychologist, but I'm guessing that IQ correlates with job performance/success only to a certain point, after which there are diminishing returns. Like, I would not expect someone with an IQ of 80 to be the IT department head. Maybe the owner of the company, but not the person who had to demonstrate some modicum of talent to be hired and to rise through the ranks.

But I would not expect to find much difference professionally between the employee who has an IQ of 110 and the one with an IQ of 140, all other things about them being equal. I mean, the managers in my workplace are all pretty smart. But I would not say any of them are intellectual stand-outs. Some have great vision and have wonderful ideas and can sell those ideas very effectively. But in general they only have to be good at enduring the stress of cat-herding, which does not require a high IQ. It has been my experience that brainiacs tend to stay among the rank and file. These folks may be more indispensible than their less cerebral coworkers and thus have salaries that reflect this value. But the latter are probably more inclined to go into management. So it's all a wash.
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Old 01-25-2020, 02:22 PM
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One of the things I eventually learned is that being highly intelligent may help you solve crossword puzzles or impress people with your abstract thought processes but it is not linked to being functional, sane, kind, a good parent, happy, or solvent. It's not worthless, but it isn't worth as much as we think it is.

I learned to value other qualities.

Last edited by Ulfreida; 01-25-2020 at 02:23 PM.
  #35  
Old 01-25-2020, 04:34 PM
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There's very little correlation between IQ and holding a high-paying job.
Do you truly think that someone with an IQ of under 100 - the lower half of intelligence - has equal occupational prospects as someone in the upper half? I don't see how that would work. Not only would the more intelligent folk be able to perform more intellectually demanding jobs, but they could also do manual able should they wish.
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  #36  
Old 01-25-2020, 11:12 PM
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I think that characters in TV shows and movies like Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon and Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting are somewhere between highly improbable and ridiculously improbable. I don't know if anyone with the life story that approximates that of Sheldon Cooper has ever existed, but I can't think of anyone like that. We're supposed to believe that someone who grew up in a family that made no attempt to push a child forward in academic achievement (and who lived in an area where the schools weren't particularly good or particularly willing to push children forward) would have them (when he's 9 years old) discover that he was so intelligent that he would be allowed to skip four years of school. He then graduated from high school at 11, from college at 14, and got a Ph.D. at 16.

Stuff like that just doesn't happen to kids who grew up in families who didn't push the child forward themselves. It also doesn't happen to kids at second-rate high schools which don't make any attempt to encourage people to skip grades. A child who tried to persuade such a school to let them skip grades would be more likely to be laughed at than encouraged. The best that such a family and school would allow the child to do is to get good grades in school, graduate from high school at 18, go to a good college and graduate at 22, and go to a good graduate school to get a Ph.D. Even that would take a child that's not just smart but also willing to ignore those people in his family, fellow students, and teachers that don't like people who think they can be something none of the rest of them can be.

And that's just Sheldon Cooper. He, after all, had a strong happy family that was willing to accept his peculiarities and let him do what he wanted. On the other hand, we're told that Will Hunting was abused by his family and by the foster parents he later lived with. Despite this, we're to believe that at twenty he's managed to teach himself enough mathematics that he can soon start doing brilliant original research. This is just ridiculous. Such a person is more likely to become a serial killer than someone who does something first-rate in any academic field, no matter how smart they really are.
  #37  
Old 01-25-2020, 11:31 PM
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I've always suspected there's at least a weak inverse correlation between intelligence and happiness. I'm not a parent but I think I'd rather raise a happy child than a gifted one.
  #38  
Old 01-26-2020, 12:01 AM
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This might be an appropriate place to share an anecdote about a very gifted kid (now young adult) that I know, and the possible effect of a particular parenting style.

My son is wildly "smart" in terms of absorbing and integrating information, but lagged terribly in social and physical skills. So it was a tremendous joy and a relief when he became fast friends with another smart kid, "Frankie," when he entered middle school.

Frankie and CairoSon were wonderful for each other; for the first time, each had a friend that could keep up with their excited explorations of both quantitative and verbal delights (one of my happiest memories is sharing bulbous bouffant with them; the three of us giggled insanely and for years afterward would suddenly intone "BehhLOOOOOOGAH WHALE!" and dissolve into laughter).

The differences between how CairoSon's father and I were raising CairoSon, and how Frankie's parents were raising him, were profound. We tried to celebrate our son's abilities and be sure it was a source of self-esteem for him, but within perspective: I always said, "everyone is good at something; you're good at being smart, which people really notice, and you have every right to be proud of your intelligence. But someone else might be good at writing music or being kind or something else not as visible to others." We also didn't push too hard, other than to keep saying that a day would come when he'd need to work hard to accomplish his goals even as a very smart person.

Frankie, on the other hand, had a Tiger Mom on steroids who was convinced that Frankie was not just gifted, but practically unique in the world. Amazingly, Frankie was a good kid. But sometimes stressed. He was writing a novel when he was about 13, and I remember asking him about it one day. He said, sadly, "well, my parents say I have to finish it soon, because it won't be as amazing and marketable if I finish it when I'm older."

Another time, I mentioned at a dinner party that a weird little factoid about some super prodigy was that his parents had been born at exactly the same moment. Turns out, so were Frankie's parents. The degree to which they accepted this little bit of trivia as deeply meaningful was a little creepy.

Anyway, Frankie was a handful at school (as was CairoSon; bright kids ask too many smart-ass questions and may demand inordinate amounts of teacher time). We tried to defend our son to teachers while counseling CairoSon to be considerate of his teachers and classmates. Frankie's parents yanked him out and home-schooled him.

Frankie ended up finishing (home-schooled) high school two years early; he got a terrific all-expenses-paid scholarship to a competitive university, and off he went.

Now it is six years later. CairoSon is about to graduate from college and seems to be doing great; he's pretty well adjusted, happy with life, has attainable goals for grad school, and is generally on track.

Frankie? Well, Frankie is a lost soul. After graduating college he went to LSE for a year to study financial statistics (nothing like his interests as a kid, which were more in the areas of quantum physics and poetry) and has dropped out and moved home, feeling lost and unsure what he wants to do. The LSE program was more mathematically rigorous than he could handle, and it really threw him for a loop. (CairoSon, by contrast, proudly talks about how his girlfriend is more mathematically gifted than he is.)

CairoSon and Frankie have kind of drifted apart; they don't talk much and CairoSon says Frankie is "weird, it's scary, he's kind of an incel."

Frankie reached out to both me and my ex-husband for help recently, and while my advice was strictly via email, Frankie and the ex had a long Skype chat. My ex is very worried about Frankie. He is drifting, unrealistic about how and where he could have a career, and not on a clear path to anywhere.

An easy reading of this would be that CairoSon's parenting, where he was encouraged to feel good about his smarts while at the same time maintaining perspective, worked better than Frankie's parenting, where he was under constant pressure to be an amazing, unique genius.

As Chef Guy rightly points out, parenting ANY kid ain't that easy, and I don't think such a glib reading is fair. (Plus, CairoSon is far from perfect, believe me.)

Still, it makes you wonder. Poor Frankie. I can't begin to describe what a fabulous, sensitive child he was. It breaks my heart to see what's happening.
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Last edited by CairoCarol; 01-26-2020 at 12:02 AM.
  #39  
Old 01-26-2020, 12:03 AM
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Intelligent people tend to be slightly more happy:

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/03/06...ut-only-a-bit/
  #40  
Old 01-26-2020, 10:21 AM
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Lot of sneak bragging in this thread...
How are people supposed to answer the OP without talking about the experiences regarding the OP?
  #41  
Old 01-26-2020, 10:57 AM
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You can perform at the top level of job performance all you want -- but if you're in a low-paying job you'll still be making less money than a mediocre performer in a high-paying job.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Do you truly think that someone with an IQ of under 100 - the lower half of intelligence - has equal occupational prospects as someone in the upper half? I don't see how that would work. Not only would the more intelligent folk be able to perform more intellectually demanding jobs, but they could also do manual able should they wish.
Having theoretical job prospects is many light-years away from having realistic chances of actually fulfilling those prospects.

Many (although not all) high-paying jobs require at least a bachelors degree. I don't have a bachelors degree, because I simply could not afford to get one. It took me 5.5 years to get my associates degree, simply and solely because of financial issues.

On top of that, my career trajectory was VERY severely damaged by the Great Recession.

There are many, many outside forces beyond a person's control that affect whether or not certain things happen. A very high IQ won't do diddly squat if you're just plain unlucky.

Add to that the fact that many high-IQ people are either introverts, or else just plain have trouble relating to other people, and you wind up in a world where an outgoing, gregarious person with an IQ of 100 very easily might have better job prospects than a person with an IQ of 140.
  #42  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:12 AM
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Intelligent people tend to be slightly more happy:

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/03/06...ut-only-a-bit/
Read the rest of the article.
Quote:
According to 38 studies involving nearly 30,000 participants, higher intelligence also had indirect links with job satisfaction by virtue of the fact that it correlated with job complexity and income. But this is psychology, so of course thereís a twist that somewhat supports the folk wisdom about intelligent people rarely being happy. When the researchers held job complexity and income constant in their analysis, they found that higher intelligence actually correlated with less job satisfaction. Put differently, if you imagine a range of people at a given level of job complexity and income, those with higher intelligence will tend to be less happy with their jobs. This makes intuitive sense if you consider that smarter people will be more likely than others to experience boredom and frustration at jobs that are not challenging enough.
Basically, smart people tend to get better jobs and do better at them. People with good jobs, and people who do well at their jobs, tend to be noticeably happier. But smart people--smart adults, specifically-- are only a little happier, less than their jobs ought to make them. If you control for all other factors, it seems, a particular person living a particular life will probably be a little happier if you knock them down from genius to average.

This is highly relevant when we're talking about gifted children, who don't get paid more for being smart, and sometimes don't even have gifted classes available to challenge them. The onus then falls on the parents to give them the intellectual opportunities they need.
  #43  
Old 01-26-2020, 12:20 PM
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Even "just" bright ones have ideas which are off the rails.

Hi, honey!

Last edited by JohnT; 01-26-2020 at 12:21 PM.
  #44  
Old 01-26-2020, 12:46 PM
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Having theoretical job prospects is many light-years away from having realistic chances of actually fulfilling those prospects.

Many (although not all) high-paying jobs require at least a bachelors degree. I don't have a bachelors degree, because I simply could not afford to get one. It took me 5.5 years to get my associates degree, simply and solely because of financial issues.

On top of that, my career trajectory was VERY severely damaged by the Great Recession.

There are many, many outside forces beyond a person's control that affect whether or not certain things happen. A very high IQ won't do diddly squat if you're just plain unlucky.

Add to that the fact that many high-IQ people are either introverts, or else just plain have trouble relating to other people, and you wind up in a world where an outgoing, gregarious person with an IQ of 100 very easily might have better job prospects than a person with an IQ of 140.
You are just one data point.

For there to be no correlation between IQ and income, there would have to be a large number of "little brains" who somehow slipped through the rigorous academic and professional weeding out process to land high paying jobs as doctors, lawyers, Wall Street bankers, engineers, tech workers and corporate management types. Or there would have to be a disproportionate number of geniuses and gifted types toiling away as fast food workers and retail clerks.

Which is not to say that doesn't happen. And where it does get a bit fuzzy is where there are plenty of jobs that just sort of pay "ok" like scientists and professors while there are other jobs like sales that have more of a focus on interpersonal skills than pure brainpower.

But it seems counter-intuitive to me that there would not be some correlation between income and IQ, given that salary tends to be highly correlated to jobs that require strong academic backgrounds.
  #45  
Old 01-26-2020, 01:12 PM
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When I was younger, I thought I had some weird learning disability where it sounded like everyone was talking very slowly and what they were saying sounded like incomprehensible nonsense. Turns out I was diagnosed as "gifted".

If you are constantly told you are "so smart", eventually it soon dawns on you that everyone else must therefore be "so stupid".


I think the main challenge is that highly gifted people have to deal with both the expectations for "living up to their potential" and the pressure to "fit in and get along". Most "little brains" are taught the "middle of the bell curve" path to success. Study hard, get good grades, get a good education, get some job in some big company or companies and work your way up the later by doing a good job over the next 40 years until you retire. And one can have a relatively successful, if boring, career taking this track. But a lot of gifted people find this sort of career path mind-numbingly boring. So I think a lot of gifted people run into trouble because they get bored with the rote routine BS valued by the middle managers who influence their career.

The second part is the high expectations. Even in my 40s, I encounter this with a lot of my jobs. Yes, I realize my spotty 20+ year history of working for some of the top management consulting firms, tech companies and investment banks is "impressive", but that doesn't mean you can dump me into a middle of your client projects and just expect me to successfully run them with no training or orientation to my new job, the company and our products. Ok..just because I actually CAN do this a few times, doesn't mean I STILL don't need some form of training and orientation. And if I have to design my new role for "boss", why is this person my boss and not the other way around?
  #46  
Old 01-26-2020, 01:38 PM
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Eprise Me, you said, "I've always suspected there's at least a weak inverse correlation between intelligence and happiness." That's wrong, and that's all I'm saying. The point you're making in post #42 is that there is more to say about intelligence and happiness. Fine, but that point doesn't show that intelligent people are less happy; rather, it shows that there is a specific reason why it's true.
  #47  
Old 01-26-2020, 02:36 PM
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I can still remember not being allowed to check out a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from the library when I was ten (ironic because I went to work at that library in high school and continued working there through college and that particular aide was not especially bright). But my dad had a copy of the book at home, and I read it cover to cover and loved it.

I was always called a "brain" all through school (you should have seen some of the comments in my yearbooks). I didn't like it, but it wasn't active bullying so it wasn't completely awful. Although I used to (actually still do) hesitate sometimes when I'm talking to someone and about to use a word that I think they might not know and have to do some quick mental juggling to come up with a synonym that's not so "fancy." Because I've learned I'd get ragged on about it.

As for getting a "better" job, I remember telling a friend ages ago that I was pretty confident that I could do just about any job that only required brain power -- and I had sufficient training -- and be at least mediocre at it. I'm retired now, but I worked as a computer programmer for decades, and I was good at it (especially what used to be called "maintenance" programming...finding bugs, fixing programs that other people wrote badly...I enjoyed that). I didn't have what I'd consider a talent for it, but it paid well. My job was not my passion. I had other outlets for that. Work was just work.
  #48  
Old 01-26-2020, 02:45 PM
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AIG-certified teacher here, with some observations.

It's complicated.

A lot of gifted kids are well-adjusted and hard workers. They can put in effort, they delight at challenges, they pursue their areas of interest, they do awesome things.

But others run into difficulties. They experience success without effort so often that they think effort is a sign of stupidity.

I'll never forget the kid who came to the first day of third grade reading The Hunger Games. I assigned him later a complex character task ("You're near the end of this Percy Jackson book. I remember the centaur in the book has changed from the beginning of the book to the end. We've been talking about character traits. How has he changed? Look for some evidence of what he was like near the beginning, and what he's like here at the end.") I checked back with him a half-hour later, and his reading journal page was completely blank. I asked him why, and he said, "I'm just not good at that kind of thing," as though he were expecting me to say, "That's cool, sorry I asked you to do it."

Others, confronted with struggle, beat themselves up, figuratively or even literally. Reminding them to capitalize names in their otherwise gorgeous writing can make them burst into tears. When they hit a math concept that's confusing, they might punch themselves on the forehead in anger at their "stupidity."

They may equate academic adroitness with being a good person, and they may sneer at their peers, or lord their intelligence over their peers. A combination of humor, verbal skill, and a cruel streak can cause tremendous drama in a classroom.

Parents introduce their own problems. If you parent a gifted child and others think you're sneak bragging, that's because a shitload of parents of gifted kids sneak brag. In many social circles it's a great status marker to have kids in the gifted program. Some parents can undercut sincere teacher efforts to keep their kids engaged by talking trash about the school. This can synergize with a gifted kid who sees effort as a sign of weakness: if their parent says that the school is not serving them well, the kid can rationalize away their lack of effort at challenging tasks by acting like the tasks are beneath them. That gets really tricky to untangle.

Finally, there are parents whose kids aren't gifted but who want the status of having a gifted kid. They unrealistically talk up their kid's academic prowess, and when the kid realizes it's bullshit, the kid is devastated. Then the parents are likely as not to go on a tirade about how gifted education is an elitist scam.

Again, #notallgiftedkids. Again, plenty are well-adjusted and great at engaging with challenges either self-generated or school-generated. But there's less to say about them than about the others .

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 01-26-2020 at 02:46 PM.
  #49  
Old 01-26-2020, 03:08 PM
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There is some correlation between intelligence and income, although not a huge amount. There is very little correlation between intelligence and wealth, because a great deal of wealth comes from inheritance (and other ways that money is passed between generations). One study shows only a .27 correlation between intelligence and income. Correlation between intelligence and wealth is thus less than this.

https://thesocietypages.org/socimage...me-and-wealth/

https://www.gwern.net/docs/iq/2007-strenze.pdf
  #50  
Old 01-26-2020, 03:14 PM
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I donít think itís easy to raise any child, these days. You have to find the appropriate zone between independence and over-involvement, balancing respect and esteem with humility, teaching how to value education but also social skills and judgement, limiting unproductive distractions but not so much self-limiting isnít learned, offering challenges and opportunities for growth without coercion or too much pressure, raising resilience and work ethic more than expectations.

Intelligent kids are different, but not that different. Better at some things, but not better than other people. Itís probably hard to accomplish great things and stay humble. Itís hard to encourage productive differences and the skills to defend against the bullies and jealousy that this may attract. It is important to let all kids be kids, and to offer encouragement and opportunity without too much pressure or zealous prescription.

A well-rounded person values education and self-improvement, physical fitness, enjoys some social activity, can make their work meaningful and has friends better at some things than they are. Similarly, all children should be taught learning is enjoyable, keeping active at any activity one likes is important, humility is important and there is a healthy balance between work and play. There is value in travel, volunteering, sacrifice and developing a myriad of skills without feeling the need to always put them on tawdry display.
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