nature vs nurture - how did your child turn out GT?

(54 Posts)
ModelVillage Sun 08-Sep-13 15:38:03

If you have a gifted and talented child, what did you do to make him/her that way? Did he/she just drop out of the sling one day and showed really advanced behaviour? Or did you "power parent" them?

I somehow can't shake the idea that I have somehow failed my kids a little by having had a less than dedicated nanny for a year when they were under two and by generally not "teaching" them something every time we communicate.

Apologies already if this has been done before, I usually don't frequent this board! But if you care to explain your parenting style (or lack of it) I would be grateful.

LEMisdisappointed Mon 09-Sep-13 17:22:23

78 - my DD had speech delay, i can assure you my vocabulary is not lacking in any way!

insanityscratching Mon 09-Sep-13 18:21:55

Ds2 is gifted, we are all pretty intelligent but not gifted. Ds was parented with healthy benign neglect tbh where he was left to discover his own interests. There was no pushing from me which brought some hmm from teachers who couldn't comprehend how he just knew these things and it wasn't that anyone had taught him.
Later I think I was seen as pretty ineffective as I allowed him to choose his own path rather than the path they felt he should be taking (into Local Government rather than university) But now at 24 he has a management role (managing graduates) and is tipped for he top, he earns more than all his friends who went to university and his university placement on day release is fully funded so he'll have none of the debt.

Acinonyx Mon 09-Sep-13 20:44:25

So minidipper, a teacher of a class of 30 would have to teach for 13 years to experience one gifted child. I'm not a big fan of the term 'gifted' although I do use it if it's being used - your definition is certainly exceptionally stringent wink

insanityscratching Mon 09-Sep-13 21:06:59

My other children are very bright and were all classed as G&T but it has been my experience that when ds entered the school nursery at four his teacher wanted a chat within days (because I hadn't mentioned how able he was) and to refer to an ed psych as his abilities were outside anything she had ever experienced before.

difficultpickle Mon 09-Sep-13 23:12:49

Ds has been assessed as gifted but is in the bottom sets at school. I had no clue other than other people would go on about how 'bright' he was. His old school just viewed him as a child that didn't concentrate. His new school thought there was more to it and now have been targetted by the EP of ensuring he gets the support to move to the top of the top set where he ability would place him.

Not sure if it is nature or nurture or a combination of both.

richmal Tue 10-Sep-13 08:29:29

For going on to further education or into work, qualifications: GCSE's; A levels; etc, are what matter most. IQ scores are not even considered and many don't even bother ever taking a test.
Education can make a difference and a very large difference to a child's achievements, regardless of natural brightness or giftedness.

minidipper Tue 10-Sep-13 22:49:32

Acinonyx - yes. But it's not my definition - it's the one DH was given by the school where he's a governor. He was surprised. His school is 400, and he says they'd expect no more than one genuine G&T at any given time. (It is a school that hates the term G&T and avoids it, so maybe they've interpreted the figures in that way!)

Acinonyx Wed 11-Sep-13 09:09:12

It's a perfectly reasonable definition minidipper - just unusual compared to school usage generally.

Still interesting logistics though. If you only have one at any given time in a school of 3 or 4 years having 400 - that means you have to wait 4 years to have another one - or else you'd have 2 at the same time. So actually, that's one in 12-1600. If you are a combined infant-junior that would be one in 2800.

Bakingnovice Wed 11-Sep-13 09:19:22

I think nature plays a huge part. I had a terrible childhood and despite proper revision I achieved top grades throughout school. First in the family to to Uni. Excelled at degree level. I don't push my kids as I believe their childhood is more important, and school pressure is bad enough at secondary. I am very laid back. All my dc are identified as gifted even though the school has no gt scheme. Incidentally, my dad is also well regarded as being a bit of a genius although he never had Uni education.

Bakingnovice Wed 11-Sep-13 09:20:41

Sorry that should say despite no proper revision.

I would also add that I was identified at gifted aged 6 but never pushed at school Or home

In answer to OP - both. My DC are both "bright" (working at top of class, etc) and I do think that has a lot to do with having both a home and a school where learning stuff is what you do for fun, but DC1 is definitely different - startlingly bright, a year ahead at school and still at the top of the year, natural mathematician, etc. I don't think we did anything differently and DC2 will probably do better in life as she is very socially aware and generally switched on, but if I were to apply a label to either it would definitely be DC1.

insanityscratching Wed 11-Sep-13 11:32:28

I think there is a big difference between bright such as dd so top of school year and very able and gifted such as ds so started nursery at four able to do long multiplication, wrote in sentences with punctuation but then as he got older the depth and range of his knowledge was immense. He passed GCSE'S and A levels with no effort whatsoever and minimal attendance post 16.
Now in Local Government his knowledge of policy doesn't only cover his role but also all the roles however loosely connected they are to his team.
He writes programmes to speed up the processes that are more effective than those of their own specialist departments (despite it not being his role) because he has made it his business to know how the systems work.
His role covers 400 schools, he knows from memory each reference number, phone number, point of contact, particular preferences, any difficulties and so his team is super efficient and when he covers other teams their teams are always in better shape when he leaves than they were despite doing that on top of his own role.
His thirst for knowledge seems to know no bounds I think that is what gifted means rather than the ability to do well what you have been taught.

mercibucket Wed 11-Sep-13 13:06:25

lol minidipper, most of us best back off this thread if thats the definition of g + t
its certainly not the commonly understood definition in education, perhaps the school governors need to re read a few govt blurbs grin

Acinonyx Wed 11-Sep-13 13:31:40

Perhaps we could refer to that as minidipper giftedness smile. Insanity's ds sounds like a mini-g and my nephew's school said they hadn't 'seen a child like him in 20 years'.

mercibucket Wed 11-Sep-13 13:37:42

still rofl
actually, is it a cop out for schools because any school with less than 400 pupils pretty much isnt going to have anyone worthy of any g+t focus?
so they harness their resources over many a long year til the child genius appears ...

Acinonyx Wed 11-Sep-13 14:20:24

Yes, being in charge of g&t resources would certainly be a pretty light job wink

ModelVillage Fri 13-Sep-13 13:04:53

Wow, lots of replies!

Well, to answer someone who didn't understand my post: I have pretty normal children, so not harbouring secret G&t fantasies...

But I know about the theory that the brain develops until age two... The more babies are exposed to new things, stimulated, etc, (within personality and reason of course) the more synapses develop in the brain. If they aren't continued to be used then they will disappear again.. (Am sure you all know this, but typing it out for completeness).

I haven't done anything special with my kids despite knowing this btw... And although as someone pointed out G&t is nothing to aspire -and I agree- I am still wondering about the 'what if I had put lots of power parenting in'. And to me it makes sense to ask parents with highly intelligent kids about what they did specially with their babies/kids. (That's you ;-)

Acinonyx Fri 13-Sep-13 14:06:46

The brain certainly keeps on developing way past 2 so it's not too late wink. Research is pushing forward the deadline for brain development all the time - it maybe that even adults are in with a chance...

MrsMelons Fri 13-Sep-13 17:10:30

I think it can be a bit of both, DS1 (7) is naturally gifted, in particular with reading/writing from just under the age of 3,he also has almost a photographic memory.

We have never really pushed him or done any extra work with him but he just finds academic stuff easy and walked/talked etc early alsowithout a natural ability, he was our first of course and the first grandchild so he did have lots of 1:1 time but I am not sure these things can be taught completely . I think if we pushed him then he would do even better of course but I cannot see the need or point at his age. I was similar to him as a child, DH is dyslexic and found school in general a struggle.

We have never done anything differently with DS2 but he is now in Y1 and still only reading books that DS1 could read when he was 3.

I am amazed by all of DS2s achievements as much as DS1s though, in a way even more so as I have a feeling he will have to work so much harder.

MrsMelons Fri 13-Sep-13 17:14:20

BTW I think G&T varies hugely from school to school, there was a post on here a while ago where the OPs DD was on white level reading in Y2 and there were no other children on that level in her year at all so she was G&T whereas there were several children in DS1s small school on higher levels than that so I think G&T is not actually the same as gifted as such. I believe it is supposed to be the top 10% in the school/class.

DS1s junior school use CAT scores but I have no idea what they are grin

tumbletumble Sat 14-Sep-13 14:11:12

I'd say it's about 70/30 in favour of genetics. Obviously those numbers are a bit arbitrary, but I'm trying to say that, while both are important, nature contributes more than nurture.

DS1 is G&T (under the "very bright" definition rather than the "genius" definition mentioned by some posters). My other two seem bright too but it's a bit early to say. I am not a pushy parent at all, but I did/do read to them a lot.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 15-Sep-13 01:34:26

how we got a gifted child? had unprotected sex.

dd has tested gifted, she was just starting to read lime band chapter books just before she turned 5. ds on the other hand was not capable of reading a pink band one book at the same age. they have more or less been exposed to the same environment and done the same activities, just that ds did several years of pre-reading activities before he started to read (all the rhymes, word play and being read too) as he as just not ready. dd on the other hand was grabbing my finger at age one and demanding names be written, and was starting to distinguish mummy from daddy by initial letter i think. she progressed much faster.

if you spend a lot of time with them, they will progess at their maximum rate. I think that is different for everychild. they all learn at different rates in fits and starts, and in different areas.

one thing though. dd ws an only child until she was 23 months so may have benefitted from being the first. on the other had I was incredibly sick when pregnant with ds and she barely got attention for 3 months.

as far as I am aware they are not labelled g and t dd's school.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 15-Sep-13 01:38:31

oh and just because a child is tested gifted, does not mean they will achieve. neitherr her dad nor I were particularly dedicated learners though we are both happy with where we are in life, mostly. blush

difficultpickle Sun 15-Sep-13 10:38:41

BlackeyedSusan that is spot on. Ds has recently been tested as being gifted. Not a huge surprise to me but it is pretty meaningless and, I think, come as rather a surprise to his school. He is in the bottom sets and school have suggested we should look at a senior school that has a low entrance requirement. The Ed Pysch said that she is tasking the school to ensure he is given the support she recommends to enable him to get to the top of the top sets where his ability would naturally place him. I'm under no illusion that this will be an easy process or even achievable.

PiqueABoo Sun 15-Sep-13 14:44:26

None of these kids are chips-off-the-block with parents who go Google and read about this stuff?

Heritability of IQ: There's truckloads of research by generally credible scientists (as opposed to life-style columnists, political "think-tanks" and folk with something to sell) that say it's something like 70-80% when you are a mature adult. Heritability is a subtle concept and I suggest you go read about it from a less dodgy source than me because e.g. given an impossibly universal environment it would be 100%.

I emphasised "mature adult" because it apparently starts off low, perhaps 20% for a one year-old and increases with age (another brain twister, because one suggestion is that happens because as you get older you have more personal control over your environment).

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