Just be reminded that eventually children usually find their way. Just as you become concerned that they may never amount to anything, they rise to the occasion to parent the next generation. Some of our most successful sons and daughters went completely against the tide and are living amazing lives. Chris Rock’s mother did not approve of his shenanigans and like all parents, told him to straighten up and fly right. Aren’t we glad he didn’t listen? Parents seem to only have one formula for success: “Do your homework, work hard, be honest, get good grades and respect others”. The United States is such a great country, children can take the path less traveled and achieve great things. It nevertheless stresses us out when we don’t see any signs of progress.
Does it please you when your children quickly learn to walk, talk, read and write? According to an NIH study: “It usually makes parents proud when their children reach a developmental milestone ahead of other kids. But when it comes to intelligence… the smartest children appear to have brains that develop later.” While it is unintuitive, the higher the IQ, the slower they develop— up to a point. It takes over twenty years for a human brain to be full grown while it only takes a year or so for most animals to reach maturity (dogs, cats, horses, cows, monkeys and goats). The pace of intellectual development in infants and toddlers does not predict their IQ. Late bloomers will catch up and then some.
What are the ingredients that make some kids soar like eagles while others lag behind. The five most important factors are:
Health (A child who is not well is miserable and makes everyone else miserable—parents, teachers, siblings and others. They will not be happy. So, bring them to ZOe Pediatrics to get them well so they can be the blessing they were meant to be to your family. At the same time, just understand that kids need to play, run, skip, dance, jump, and wrestle.
The quality of the teachers (In addition to a stimulating class room experience, the love of reading and looking things up, will allow them access to a world beyond. According to the Department of Education, the single most important thing you can do to boost your children’s learning is read to them, with them and develop a love of reading.
Access to quality resources (Do they have a telescope to explore the planets and stars, a library card? A computer? Would it surprise you that there are kids in Thomaston who has never seen or took a ride in an elevator or escalator? Show them stuff, introduce them to a lot of people and provide a wide range of experience for them.)
The right kind of stimulation. (A stimulating social and linguistic environment is vital. Talented children are more likely to drop out of school because they are just bored. A racehorse cannot live as a donkey.)
Involvement of parents. (It is vitally important that parents spend time with their kids. It is pure rationalization to say that it is the quality, not the quantity of time. Studies are very consistent in finding that quality does not make up for quantity. It will be less likely for the dog to eat their homework if there is dedicated space to keep their work with a wall calendar where they can keep tract of deadlines.
Written by Linda Gordon, M.D., Pediatrician ZÖe Pediatrics