Two psychologists offer a perceptive guide to help smart children succeed academically and socially.
Kennedy-Moore (The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, 2003, etc.) and Lowenthal evaluate the roadblocks that frequently arise for smart children between the ages of 6 and 12. The authors identify “seven fundamental challenges” faced by smart children—and, of course, their parents. They use those challenges to look at how parents can help intelligent children succeed not just in school, but in life, too. Each chapter is devoted to analyzing a challenge: tempering perfectionism, building connection, managing sensitivity, handling cooperation and competition, dealing with authority, developing motivation and finding joy. The authors discuss why each is important for children’s development, aided by vignettes drawn from exhaustive research and their psychology practices. The result is a treasure trove of strategies parents can use to help their children interact with peers, teachers and family members. They also address how children can combat their insecurities in a way that will generate “inner strength and outward compassion.” The authors suggest conversations parents can have with their kids, activities they can engage in together, and songs parents can sing to help lead their children to new intellectual and emotional growth. Near the end of each chapter are suggestions for how parents can model healthy behaviors for their kids; the well-structured chapters then close with a short summary. The authors are also attuned to the nuances that can affect children’s relationships, even noting how the “increase in technology-related play” has altered children’s social lives. Charts and graphs help make the authors’ approach truly “solution-focused,” and the vignettes will be achingly familiar for most parents. Although the book targets the parents of bright children, the lessons herein will be relevant to any parent.
This forgiving, intelligent look at raising smart children will help parents teach their kids that there’s more to life than academic achievement.