Signs you are raising a genius child and how to nurture them

Once you recognise the special interests your child has, say in music, spend time and money on musical instruments or music lessons for them.PHOTO/NET

What you need to know:

They may know early on in their life that they are better gifted than the rest, but as a sensitive parent, do not show them preference or compare them with their siblings. You might attract the others to hate them.

When we talk of geniuses, we tend to think of people who have inborn talents in something and yes that is true. But geniuses can also be made.

Genius is a wealth of originality, creativity, and the ability to imagine or think in new ways and areas. In short, a genius is someone with extraordinary intellectual or creative power or other natural ability. 

Some of the most notable geniuses are Leonardo da Vinci, who drew artworks such as the Mona Lisa and the Sistine chapel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the composer of classical music, Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity and William Shakespeare, known for Literature and philosophy.

Others include Charles Darwin, who contributed to evolutionary biology, Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, Pablo Ruiz Picasso; painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist, and theater designer and Ludwig van Beethoven, the composer and pianist. These geniuses are drawn from a spectrum of fields such as music, art, physics, biology, literature and philosophy. 

How do you know that your child deserves a place among this elite club? Academic scores alone cannot determine that, but it is a combination of factors which may include:  

Fast development milestones

They develop faster than their average peers, especially in language. They have a wide vocabulary and are very thoughtful; they can articulate themselves well. They have more white matter in their brains that is responsible for communication between different parts of the brain which results in quick and complex thinking.  

High levels of concentration

 Children are known to have a short attention span. Not so with geniuses. They immerse themselves in a task with great concentration and focus for a long time and will not let go until they finish it. There are no manuals on parenting and you are not about to find one on parenting eccentric or odd children. Most parents of geniuses will have to learn on the job as each child is unique. These children can do things differently,  which makes it more difficult for the parents to understand them.   

They are curious

 They have a fascination for learning new and will wear a parent out with an endless stream of questions. They read early and read a lot. Their brains have a more grey matter they compute and process information faster. They ask many questions. They are very observant. They have an active imagination and also retain a lot of information. They are always hungry for more. Einstein is quoted to have said, “I have no special talents. I am passionately curious.”

Create chaos out of order

 They like to disrupt things to create new things and new perspectives. A child who tears his toys apart to see what is inside could be on his way to becoming an engineering genius. Their nagging constant question is “How can I make this work better?” 

They are introverted

Some genius children can be extroverted, but research shows that the majority of introverts, find socialising a challenge because they think above their peers and find their company boring. They prefer their own company. They are independent-minded, solve their issues alone rather than involving others.  

They may be gifted in one or more areas, but they are prone to making mistakes. They can be lazy, disinterested.So how does a parent nurture a genius in their child?

Respect their gifts

It is common for parents to dismiss or discourage their children’s gifts, especially when they do not share them or understand them. How about you became their encourager-in-chief? Listen to them, give them constructive feedback, even when they miss it, stand by them and encourage them to try one more time, praise them and talk well about them. A parent’s belief in their child’s ability means the motivation to that child.  

Find them role models

 As their parent, you may not be able to satisfy their curiosity because you may not possess the same interests and abilities in the field of their gifting. So, you may need to find them the right support in form of trusted mentors in the same field as their interests who will help them navigate and find answers to their questions. 

Do things they are not good at

It is a thrill for a child who likes mathematics to want to spend their whole time-solving mathematical problems. But how about you encourage them to spend some time on subjects that are not so thrilling to them such as writing or literature? This is a way of preparing them for life’s hard lessons such as handling failure.          

Spend resources on their fascination

Once you recognise the special interests and giftedness your child has, say in music, spend time and money on musical instruments or music lessons for them. This way, you are empowering them to succeed in the direction of their passion. They may outgrow these objects quite faster than you anticipated because they grasp faster and easily get bored. 

Suitable environment

 If they like football, but the school they go to has no soccer pitches, remove them and find another school with a pitch and enroll them there, to allow them time and space to practice with other like-minded children on the football field, after all, iron sharpens iron, the Bible says. If they are introverted and want to be alone most of the time, it is not that they are rejecting you, but that space allows them time to think and be creative. 

Keep an eye on them

 Your child may have shown sparks of genius in their early development stages, but eventually, their peers might catch up with them as adults. As a parent, you want to keep encouraging them to move forward or prepare them for any undesirable eventualities, for instance, pay their university fees in case they fail to get the grades for sponsorship.