Raising Child Prodigies

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Such was the case for Adora Svitak, an accomplished child writer and presenter. Adora published two books by age 11 and made hundreds of international presentations, including a TED Talk viewed by millions. Parents go to great lengths to provide or arrange expert instruction.

How to Tell If Your Kid Is a Prodigy, and Why It's Probably Better If They're Not | HuffPost Life

Chess grandmaster Kayden Troff learned how to play chess at age 3 while observing his father, Dan, and older siblings play. With few chess resources near their Utah home, Dan assumed chess-coaching duties. To do so, Dan studied chess 10 to 15 hours a week during lunch breaks and after hours. He read books, watched videos, and studied grandmaster games that allowed him to create a book with specialised lessons to instruct Kayden during nightly training sessions.

Your brain shuts down but your body keeps going through the muscle aches, heavy breathing and throwing up. Her parents, Sonya and JB, are riders and professional horse trainers who taught her the ropes and practiced with her for hours each day. The Atkins had well-bred horses and a big trailer to transport them to nearby towns for rodeo competitions.

Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies (Hardcover)

The family ranch was a self-made centre of rodeo excellence. In those cases, they may travel to get to one.

Consider three tennis players from Lincoln, Nebraska, my hometown. File photo of a tennis player. When I asked chess parents why their children dedicate themselves to chess the way they do, they were unanimous about how much joy and satisfaction their children got from pursuing chess.

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Parents support this singleness of purpose. She loves to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" while she jumps on the couch.

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She loves to sing "Wheels on the Bus" in the car. She loves to sing Disney songs — loudly, I should add — on airplanes when everyone else is reading the newspaper or watching a movie. I'm amazed at how many words her 2-year-old brain has already memorized.


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I find it doubly impressive and so cute that she can recall those words and keep a tune at the same time. That said, I have no illusion that her toddler intelligence is extraordinary. She's definitely smart.

But prodigious? Probably not. When Susan Borick walked into Fox Music in North Charleston with her 6-year-old son Caleb nine years ago to buy a digital keyboard, she hadn't yet discovered his innate talent.


  1. MORE IN Parenting.
  2. How to Tell If Your Kid Is a Prodigy, and Why It's Probably Better If They're Not;
  3. Tips for Parenting a Child Prodigy.
  4. Caleb could play. Not just play; he could play really well.

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    How Do You Raise a Prodigy?

    A digital keyboard wasn't going to cut it. Little did Borick know that Caleb, now 15, would be soon considered a child prodigy. There's no real way to quantify how many child prodigies there are. The term has been defined differently at various times over the past century, making the task even harder.

    2. Enrico Fermi

    Author Ann Hulbert, who published a book this year titled, " Off the Charts : The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies," estimated in an interview that maybe one prodigy exists among every 10, children. In her book, Hulbert shares the stories of several child prodigies: an year-old Harvard student, an exceptional chess player and Shirley Temple, to name a few.

    Child prodigies may have won some grand genetic lottery, but Hulbert's book illustrates that their gifts usually coincide with a blessing and a curse.

    Susan Borick admitted it hasn't always been easy. Nurturing Caleb's musical talent has required sacrifice and hard work.