Let's be real about something: Einstein was a freak. Do you really want your kid to be spelling bee-winning, college-at-12-going, forgets-to-eat-for-3-days-zoning freak? No.
So put down that DVD and that womb music enhancement system--which don't work anyway--and read Alissa Quart's book, Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of The Gifted Child:
Quart identifies and sympathizes with the children in her book because she was a hothouse child too. She describes her father as an "overbearing puppet master" who quizzed her on topics from modernist art to revolutionary political movements and controlled whom she could be friends with (no losers allowed). She skipped a grade, wrote a novel at the age of seven, and was told by an author that she would be the "next great American poet." While it's certain she's no slouch, not living up to her father's impossibly high expectations left her feeling like a failure.Keeping Up With The Einsteins [villagevoice]
This feeling, which often lasts a lifetime, she calls the Icarus Effect, and it's one of her strongest arguments against the creation of gifted children. Through numerous interviews with adults who were described as gifted or extremely gifted as children, she found many were "ultimately disappointed in adulthood and resentful of their early training." And once a child is associated with a specific talent, such as Marla and her finger painting, it's difficult to break free and feel successful at something new. Will Marla's parents allow her to quit their lucrative business if she suddenly finds a passion for something less glamorous, like saving the whales? Or will she spend the rest of her life struggling to maintain her status as a "gifted" painter?
Buy Hothouse Kids on Amazon [amazon]
FYI: Marla is Marla Olmstead, a 6-yo whose parents have turned into a working artist