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May 5 2014

Why I Tell My Daughter She’s Pretty, But Won’t Tell Her She’s Smart

By at 11:36 am

why-i-call-my-daughter-pretty

My 7-year-old daughter who, as we previously determined, is nothing like me in personality, also looks nothing like me. Which is why I can say, without a trace of self-interest, that she is a beautiful girl. She has luxurious black hair, olive skin, huge chocolate colored eyes, eye lashes that go on forever, and a perennial smile on her face–just like her dad. I constantly tell my daughter that she is beautiful. (My brother has dubbed her Beauteous Maximus, in Latin).

I know many beautiful women. Having worked in soap operas since 1994, I’d wager I know more beautiful woman than most people. Every year, around Daytime Emmys time, I would leave the house feeling I looked my very best. I’d get to the venue and wonder why I bothered; I wasn’t in these people’s league. I wasn’t in their species. And yet, a majority of these stunning creatures all think there is something wrong with them. Usually because of a lifetime of hearing from well-meaning people–more often than not, moms and dads set the stage for what agents and casting director and “fans” finish–about how they could really stand to lose five pounds. Or get a nose job. Or straighten their hair. Or wear more make-up/different clothes/stand up straight/smile.

I also know women who would be considered objectively unattractive in the conventional sense. And yet their self-image is amazing. Because no one ever told them otherwise. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2011

Ask Bubbe: My Child, the Genius

By at 9:58 am

Dear Bubbe,

My 2.5-year-old son is really developmentally ahead of everyone else — talking, walking, teething, clever observations. Does that mean he’ll be a genius for life? Seriously, though, what should I do to keep him challenged and intellectually stimulated?

Jodie

Dear Jodie,

So it’s hard for me to separate the parental pride from the objective fact, but if you say he is more advanced than his peers, I believe you.

There is no doubt that some little ones are really bright sparks, whether physically or behaviorally, way ahead of their peers or even siblings. And we are often a bit conflicted as to what to do with this. We all want normal, happy children who fit in, who do well enough in learning, and who are pleasant, nice, kind people. But we don’t always get what we want.

I don’t need to tell you that people come in an endless spectrum of ability and personality, and some kids can be real challenges. “Severely gifted” children are an example here; the fear is that the child may become arrogant and unbearable or won’t have any friends. What do you do with a child who seems to display innate talent, whether in math or music,  drawing or athleticism?

If you advance them to their standard, they will be mixing it with the “big boys,” literally, and that can create social dislocation. If you don’t advance, then you risk the child becoming bored and disruptive. Read the rest of this entry →

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