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Mensa - Intelligence - Nature/Nurture

(129 Posts)
SingingInTheRainstorm Wed 01-Feb-17 02:17:06

I've got a couple of questions, the first is, if you've passed the Mensa stuff, is there any point to paying the yearly subscription fee? Do we have any Mensa bods on here?

Also is intelligence nature or nurture. Both my DC have their Dads features, his hair, his lack of interest anything academic, his lack of interest reading. There's little that says they're my children, apart from a certificate for 16 months of morning sickness. grin

On holiday a few years back I had my books out giving them interesting facts. DD & DS were giggling, I asked what was funny, they said why do you have to be so boring.

When I was there age I read for enjoyment, still do, loved learning stuff, my parents weren't that academic so it was all off my own back, my other siblings weren't pushed like I wasn't, they scraped through school.

My latest trick is to read a book in front of them, to see if they see me reading and think, oh I'll grab a book. It's early days but all I've got so far is, what you reading for?

Do you think kids are either intelligent and interested, or they just want to mess about. I was reiterating interesting facts about where we were, history etc. They're at an age to appreciate it if they wanted too.

Both are average in ability, DS is in a lower set for maths. DD is middle sets for both maths & English. I cruised along in the top set with little effort, but never talk about it. I know it's silly but I was hoping they'd inherit something from me that was good.

SingingInTheRainstorm Wed 01-Feb-17 02:18:38

Sorry do you believe it's nature or nurture, if you've got bright children, did you have to push them at all and do a bit of extra work at home? I just want them to get the right grade they're supposed to be at.

nocoolnamesleft Wed 01-Feb-17 02:44:30

Both nature and nurture. Nature gives you your potential. Nurture dictates whether you achieve all of that potential. Though, of course, different people also mature at a different rate, and have different patterns of strengths.

NarkyMcDinkyChops Wed 01-Feb-17 02:45:04

Its not a matter of what we believe, its been pretty well established scientifically that its both, but with a shift to nature, in that we think its about 75% genetic rather than environmental (and we've identified some of the genes responsible, in the last couple of years). The strongest predictor for a childs IQ is the IQ of its mother.

The rest is correct environment for learning, educational quality, peer group, home environment etc,

Atenco Wed 01-Feb-17 03:00:00

Re. Mensa, I have never actually heard of anyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile who has been a member of Mensa. As it means "thick" in Mexico, I'm not surprised.

Don't most children come with certain abilities and it is up the parents to develop those abilities and their interests. I'm the high IQ and good at maths type, but I'm really thick in other matters.

taytopotato Wed 01-Feb-17 03:13:52

It's mainly nature.

Richard Plomin on the genetics of intelligence

BrieAndChilli Wed 01-Feb-17 03:23:05

I joined Mensa when I was 12, my parents paid the subscription while I was a teen but I never found it very interesting. Never carried on paying when I was an adult

I think that intelligence is mostly nature
I was born to a mother with learning difficulties and a feather who I believe was quite intelligent (am adopted). I lived with my mother until I was 5 so had no 'nuture' in regards to learning yet I could read like an adult when I started school.
DH is also very intelligent and bookish. His mum is a average and his dad is quite intelligent with aspergers but was absent from age 3 until age 9 mostly as was an alcoholic
My DS1 has had a very nurturing environment, (we as parents are very present and very involved in making sure the kids have the resources to do well) and like me could read like an adult before he went to school, very geeky and constantly reading/researching a topic.
DD is bright although not super intelligent like DS, came out as a couple years ahead in her spelling test they recently did (some national one not the normal school weekly one!)
DS2 isn't stupid but doesn't put the concentration and work in at the moment but is 6 so not expecting anything too great yet! He has hearing problems which has impacted on his speech and slowed his learning to read and write.

We have parented them all the same yet they are all different.

I would say that actually the most successful people in life aren't the super intelligent ones (who in my experience often are on the spectrum to some degree) as they have never had to work for it, I found it very easy to coast along at school but work in real life is rarely like that!
The most successful people are the ones that were bright but had to put the work in so learnt a good work ethic from an early age.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 01-Feb-17 05:49:50

It's both, but when considering nature you need to think about what's going on outside the house. If their peers at school think learning is boring that will rub off on them.

Is your DH a bit anti-intellectual? Even in subtle ways? Does he scoff when you're reading out facts too?

Are you just relentlessly reading facts? Because that sounds a bit dull to me too. smile Can you tell random stories that relate to real life in some way but introduce new facts and expand horizons?

Regarding the reading, I find so often people don't read because are they just don't know where to start. Have you done research about something scintillating that might kick off a new love? Even if it's a long way from what you'd ultimately like them to be reading...

MumtoBelle Wed 01-Feb-17 06:11:18

So is intelligence defined as academic ability?

picklemepopcorn Wed 01-Feb-17 06:25:43

You need to start where they are. Follow their interests and extend them. Instead of telling everything, let them explore, wonder and find out. Model it for them- where are the toilets in the castle, I wonder...how many people slept in here, I wonder?

They develop better brains if they learn to question and think and problem solve than if you pour information into them.

StumblyMonkey Wed 01-Feb-17 06:45:54

I joined Mensa at 19, subscribed for a couple of years. Realised it wasn't worth the money and cancelled it.

Agree with PP that IQ is around 75% genetics with the rest being nurture.

Did you read a lot with them when they were small? It seems a bit late to be trying to get them into books now (though better late than never I guess) but character is fairly set by age eight...

StumblyMonkey Wed 01-Feb-17 06:48:49

Also....IQ and academic achievement isn't everything. Perhaps think about what each child is good at and focus on developing that....are they creative? Sensitive? Sporty? Good practical problem solvers?

IME a lot of the careers people go into because they have a high IQ pay well but are stressful and lack a meaningful purpose so high IQ/good grades doesn't mean happiness.

SharkBastard Wed 01-Feb-17 06:54:24

It's mainly genetics, from the mothers side. I was tested in my teens due to psychiatric reasons (I was a wild teen) and read up about Mensa but it seemed unappealing if I'm honest.

DD is bright but will never do well at school, as like me, it's not an environment suited to her. I think it's wise to encourage as much as you can but keep a grip on pressures but IQ isn't about being good at school

ArgyMargy Wed 01-Feb-17 06:57:05

Yes, mainly nature but you can squash natural intelligence if you try hard enough. These threads always attract people who claim that all the clever people they know are selfish, mean and incompetent. Academic intelligence is nothing to be ashamed/proud of but emotional intelligence is also important, in my opinion.

lastqueenofscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 06:58:24

I was a bright child... I spent most of my time at school mucking about, didn't do any revision until my final year of uni and got straight As.

I'm convinced it's 99% nature.
I know a few people who aren't super clever but got brilliant grades etc but they worked so bloody hard, one girl used to make herself sick she'd get so stressed.

ArgyMargy Wed 01-Feb-17 06:58:39

Stumbly do you really consider being a doctor is meaningless? You need a pretty high IQ to do that.

AllTheLight Wed 01-Feb-17 07:14:19

The problem is, OP, that statistics tell us a lot about the average over a large sample size but almost nothing about an individual case. So, while I agree with previous posters that it's generally considered to be a mix of nature and nurture weighted towards nature, that does little to predict or describe the situation in your own family. It's perfectly possible for any one child to be more/less intelligent than one/both of their parents (any combination of the above).

It's natural to hope that your kids inherit your best bits, but it doesn't always happen that way. My advice is to keep reading to them, but also try to embrace them for who they are and try not to be disappointed if they turn out to be different from what you expected.

Fidelia Wed 01-Feb-17 07:17:25

I have a high IQ and both my children are above average intelligence. Like me, they also love reading. I've done the little and often approach, so just 5-10 minutes a day of reading/maths/music practice.

But although IQ does help, I feel that EQ (emotional intelligence) is much more important. As a child I had a lower EQ, missing out nuances and not understanding normal dynamics...mostly due to my upbringing. I had to learn EQ for myself, as a teen/adult

So I've been helping my dc much more on EQ stuff, both modelling healthy ways of being towards others, and explaining some of the underlying relationship stuff to them. They have a much better EQ than I did at their age, have more friends, and seem happier for it.

I know that if I had to choose between being someone with a high IQ but low EQ, or someone with an average IQ but high EQ, I'd prefer the latter.

TheFrenchLieutenantsMonkey Wed 01-Feb-17 07:20:29

I was a member of Mensa for years....mainly because I was told it looked good on your CV. It's basically a magazine and there are some meet ups but that's about it. Really not worth the subscription.
I have a high IQ but my children are not as academic as I am. My DS loves to read and is obsessed interested in history which is very 'me'. DD2 is fine with school stuff but not as into books and has to work hard to achieve whereas I was like you and cruised in top set. DD1 has ASD and her IQ has ben measured at well below average. She has a genetic condition that leads to her autism so that is definitely nature. I am exactly the same as you and want my children to have something 'of mine' as each one is, for all intents and purposes, small clones of their father sad I love DH dearly but I do feel like I was just an incubator for 3 mini DHs.

StumblyMonkey Wed 01-Feb-17 07:24:07

Argy...absolutely not, being a doctor is meaningful of course. As is being a human rights lawyer.

I didn't say every single career. Just a lot. Possibly biased as I work in the City; most careers in the City are meaningless aside from lining your own pockets and those of people who already have more than enough money.

CripsSandwiches Wed 01-Feb-17 07:27:34

Again RE mensa. I know quite a lot of seriously intelligent people and none would ever dream of joining mensa. As for intelligence - the potential to be academic is nature but whether the children make use of that potential is a combination of nature and nurture.

StumblyMonkey Wed 01-Feb-17 07:27:48

It will be interesting to see what genetics leads to when I have DC, we always joke that if the DC have the best of the two of us genetically they will be academic (me), sporty (him), good socially (me), slim (him), etc.

If they get the worst of both of us they'll be fat (me), uncoordinated and lazy (me), not academic (him) with very bad acne and a serious overbite (him in his teens). Poor kids!

Bluntness100 Wed 01-Feb-17 07:29:10

I was invited to join in my early twenties, after sitting the supervised exam. Yes I pay the subscription, on and off I'd say, some years I let it lapse, I get a monthly little magazine and some occasional emails, on LinkedIn there is some interesting discussions in the group, which you need to be a verified Mensa member to join. I've never been to a meeting.

I guess I keep it up for the kudos although conversely I rarely tell anyone.

For me it's nature, I had a shit childhood and a poor education, with poor parenting, however due to some childhood trauma I was IQ tested , amongst other things, when I was young so I was always aware I had a high IQ.

My daughter I'd say is more intelligent than me, so I'd assume she could join too if she chose. I guess I sat the exam as I was in a shit job and was being treated like I was some sort of idiot by the men, so I did it to prove a point.

The test is not about general knowledge or anything like that. It's a series of questions, like little puzzles, that absolutely anyone could answer, it's simply how fast you can answer the questions, so for me, I was faster than 99 percent of the population. The top two percent are invited to join.

So i can't see how it can be nurture in terms of IQ, it is what it is.

Middleoftheroad Wed 01-Feb-17 07:29:10

I think it's mainly nature and some nurture.

Children are blessed with different skills. I too read like an adult by the age of 3-4 but was absolutely hopeless at maths. My DC both love maths but find reading a chore. While I try to foster a love pf reading, I know that their hearts are in STEM subjects, where they are thriving.

As toddlers, and being male summer born twins, they seemed to be behind their peers. Now aged nearly 11 they are top of their year in recent mock sats. children develop at their own pace, so if yours are still very young, try not to worry.

I agree with PP who talked of emotional intelligence. Practical, common sense too. I workef in academia for years, but came across some leading scholars who just didn't have a clue about other areas!

LostSight Wed 01-Feb-17 07:40:23

A couple of things struck me about your post. You said you had your books open and were telling them facts you hoped would interest them. You also said you read in front of them in the hope they will get the hint.

My youngest had difficulties when he was first learning to read. Partly, I suspect because he was in a very poor school, where the first language was not his mother tongue. It worried me that perhaps he, like his father, would just not be a reader. However, I read to him every night, books that he chose, or we chose together. Sometimes they were books I really didn't like, but he did. Now at the age of twelve, he reads more than my other two children and apparently his reading age is above average. He still struggles with maths, and I'm trying to make that fun too and use it for one on one time with him.

Perhaps try to be led by what interests them, not you. Maybe try to allocate half an hour to each child individually each day.

Finally the Mensa thing... I consider myself pretty bright. I've never even thought about joining Mensa. It seems to me that people who want to be in a club which excludes those who it considers 'not intelligent enough' must be rather obsessed with their own IQ and maybe miss the fact that there are many different kinds of intelligence. Personally, I just don't see the point.

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