Child Prodigies: A Blessing or a Curse?|
Mona S. November/28/2012 |
Child Prodigy: A Blessing or a Curse?
A child prodigy is an individual, who at a very early age (mostly under the age of 10) is a master of one or a couple of skills or arts. These individuals or children display expert ability or a deep grasp of the fundamentals in a field usually only undertaken by adults. Using a specific term which expresses or defines a child prodigy can change attitudes portrayed towards such individuals such as gifted, talented, superior, rapid learner, able student, bright, exceptional, and even genius. Although there are many terms used to define a child prodigy, the most accepted and preferred terms used are gifted or exceptional (Laycock, 1957). Barbara Clark (1997) identifies a child prodigy as an exceptionally gifted individual who seems to have different value structures, which usually allow them to cope with the conflict or difference they find between their perception of life and that of the average person. According to D. Feldman (1993), a child prodigy may have a reasonably high, but not necessarily exceptionally high, IQ. Prodigies tend to be unusually focused, determined, and highly motivated to reach the highest levels of their fields. They are often marked by great confidence in their abilities, along with a naive sense of these abilities. Thomas & Crescimbeni (1966) refer to the gifted or child prodigies as individuals that have an IQ of 115 and higher. However, that could only be implied to highly intellectual individuals as there are many different forms of child prodigies.
I am interested in child prodigies for many reasons as it plays a huge role on how they are raised and how they socialize with others. To others a child prodigy might be a blessing but to child prodigies it is a curse depending on how they are treated. Here are some reasons as to why it is perceived that way: Most child prodigies are denied from having a normal and healthy childhood especially by their parents as they want them to focus on improving their “gift” and sometimes it happens for the child’s own benefit or in other cases to be used to obtain fame and fortune. It might be a good thing, especially for child prodigies that are “gifted” in the arts field, to improve and practice on it for future use but it must be done in a healthy and proper way so that children can have a childhood which would help them interact and engage within a society in a normal and functional way, however, denying child prodigies from having a normal, play balanced childhood might eventually turn out disastrous as they will not know how to engage or behave in an acceptable behaviour within their society and it would probably cause them to develop a non-friendly, egoistic, and obnoxious attitude towards others as they believe they are better than the rest. This might cause their lives to brake or be unfulfilled for many reasons that I will expand on throughout this essay. And there is also the widespread belief that young geniuses are pushed and nudged to extremes by one or both parents. Von Károlyi and Winner (2005) believe that the ‘talented’ train and practice extensively, and this practice is necessary for the development of performance. However, thoughtful practice is a very special form of activity that differs from mere experience and mindless drill. Unlike playful engagement with peers deliberate practice is not inherently enjoyable. It also differs from successful performance in front of an audience, which is rewarded with applause, praise and receiving prizes. According to Yoga (2008), parents who wish or hope that their child is a prodigy need to rethink that whole notion especially due to the recent reports that have been portrayed within the media about child prodigies. When a child receives a reputation for excellence, originality, and brilliance for their gift, parents become so pleased with the child’s...