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Anyone Else Watching Child Genius?

(28 Posts)
WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 12:17:26

I know it's car-crash television really, but I have to say DD and I have been following 'Child Genius' with shame-making levels of enjoyment.

Anyone else been watching it?

And, more importantly, are any of you regular contributors to the Mumsnet G&T thread the proud parents of those adorable little angels?!

chocoluvva Fri 21-Jun-13 12:36:23

There are a few threads - in Chat - I think.

I feel the same way as you - watching is a guilty pleasure.

It's not really about the children is it?

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 12:46:26

American Chess Mom was possibly the most terrifying person ever! And the book sniffer? Woah!

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 12:48:37

Thanks for the tip about the other threads. I will investigate them, but was genuinely keen to hear opinions from parents of G&T children.

I would never throw DD into such a bear pit, but it does make for interesting viewing IMHO!

bico Fri 21-Jun-13 12:50:59

I felt sorry for chess boy. She was the scariest mum of all (although have only seen first episode so not sure if more scary parents revealed this week).

Hugo's parents were incredibly smug and odd in trying to pretend they were embarrassed by their son's cleverness when you can see they are actually secretly delighted. I know parents like this.

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 13:00:23

Yes, I know what you mean about Hugo's parents; it's almost like they were encouraging him to be quite braggadocio about it all, which is rather odd. Of course, so much is in the editing that it's impossible to know what these people are really like.

That said, DD and I were genuinely flabbergasted by the mother who said of her two children that her daughter was less intellectual than her son because she loved reading! Extraordinary!

chocoluvva Fri 21-Jun-13 13:03:44

My teenage DD is musically gifted.

She once said she's glad she was made to practise every day when she was younger. But not to the extent of the little boy with his chess. And she wasn't tiger-parented.

She's now hoping to do music when she leaves school. She loves it - playing, going to recitals, listening, but she didn't do any competitions until her teacher suggested it (aged 12) Her teacher and I stress the unimportance of competitions regardless of the results. The adjudicators usually qualify their decisions and comments as not being very important too.

She knows a few people who've been on the BBC Young Musician of the Year programme but doesn't set too much store by it. A friend of hers considered going on it but decided not to as he thought it would be too much of a distraction from more useful practising and performing.

We'll be glued to the TV next time it's on though and we were quite excited when we got the chance to go to a recital that a recent finalist was doing locally!

We set more store by trying to be good people.

bico Fri 21-Jun-13 13:07:12

I saw an interview on BBC breakfast with Hugo's mother and I think how seem came across in that live interview and in the programme were unfortunately the same. I'm sure she is probably very nice but telling people how tiresome her son is whilst he is sitting next to her will backfire at some point.

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 13:07:27

Bless you for saying such a sweet thing, chocoluvva - you're quite right!

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 13:10:09

Bico - I'm sure Hugo's Mum probably thinks she's trying to do the right thing by 'putting him in his place' a little bit; but I agree with you, that it's likely storing up some deep-seated issues that may emerge later on.

However, to be fair, that probably happens whatever tack you take as a parent!

chocoluvva Fri 21-Jun-13 13:24:02

Equally though, when she occasionally complains about someone she knows hoovering up all the opportunities to perform, I remind her that this person deserves it, as they practise more than my DD!

I take the view that the music scene (and probably several academic or sporting or art courses)are now hideously competitive. If you really want to win/do extremely well then you have to do a whole lot of practising. If you don't want/can't be bothered to do a massive amount of practice, that's okay too - there's nothing wrong with not being 'passionate' or 'driven'. I think you're lucky if you are, but like everything else,it comes with a cost. Equally though, if you're naturally talented it's a shame to not make the most of that talent. It's a question of balance isn't it?

And the children have to either want to compete, or at least not mind competing.....

youcouldnevermakeitup Fri 21-Jun-13 14:04:15

Mmmm...I watch it but do not feel comfortable. Obviously these children were 'coached' for the programme but some of these children appear to have been 'coached' since birth.

Obviously these children are very very able but ultimately they have to fit into society and some of these parents do not appear to be doing their children any favours longer term.

chocoluvva Fri 21-Jun-13 14:10:50

And why agree to having their children filmed.... in their homes, when they're talking to their parents, on holiday? Why would anybody want that confused

WKMum Fri 21-Jun-13 14:43:49

It's a level of intrusion that can't be healthy for any child - the parents must be all somewhat egocentric. There are plenty of fun courses and challenges for G&T children that don't involve them being made to perform as circus monkeys.

I'm still watching it, though ... blush

chocoluvva Fri 21-Jun-13 14:56:18

Me too. And blush too.

FastLoris Sat 22-Jun-13 00:09:53

Just started watching the first episode on the net. Thing that surprises me most is how easy some of the questions are that they get wrong.

Maybe their accomplishments are just incredibly specialized. Maybe you can be the most phenomenal chess player and it doesn't actually say that much about your wider sense of logic etc.

The Chinese Tiger Father is truly scary though.

TheSecondComing Sat 22-Jun-13 00:14:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plieadianpony Sat 22-Jun-13 00:15:57

I loved the first episode though shameful voyeuristic watching really. I wanted to take the chess boy for a day out to to get muddy and build dens. That women was unbelievable!

The Chinese dad was truly scary but his child was sooo unbelievably laid back and unphased! He reminded me of hero nakamara from 'Hero's' , a little version!

Thanks for the reminder. Will watch the next one...

Turniphead1 Sat 22-Jun-13 09:05:23

Just watched the second episode. Hugo & Leo(? jabberwocky boy) do seem rather hard work, eh. Although its hard not to smile at Hugo questioning the film crew about their intelligence levels. Assuming he is not on the ASD spectrum etc he would do well to learn a few manners.

Loved the little maths genius boy who did the whole deck of cards. So funny how his entire family are maths geniuses. He was lovely.

Like others I would never consider putting my child into such a thing. For the life of me I can't think of a single benefit for the child, or the rest of the family. Perhaps the Mensa thing swayed people?

It's compulsive viewing though particularly if you have a gifted child yourself.

Takver Sat 22-Jun-13 13:18:06

I watched about 20 mins of the first episode, but found it all too painful.

It really felt to me like the parents had been 'set up' by the tv show. I've had a small amount of experience with reality shows who want to get you on board, and they are so very, very persuasive about how it will all be great, you'll get to put your message across, and what a fantastic opportunity it is. They are also very persistent, even if you refuse initially. (Though in case anyone does have this problem, we found that asking for a substantial fee usually puts them off grin )

I gave up shortly after the bit where Hugo was on holiday with his parents ski-ing - it seemed like an incredibly healthy thing for him to be doing at half term, lots of outdoors exercise, having fun in the snow - and the tv interviewer was really pushing the line of 'he ought to be revising for this competition'. His parents must have thought ski-ing was a good idea, or they wouldn't have booked the holiday, and it really seemed to me like the show had edited them into appearing a certain way.

I may have misunderstood, but it seemed to me as though this 'child genius' competition was constructed entirely for the tv programme? I couldn't see how any child (or family) would benefit from taking part.

I've nothing against competitions in general, and I can completely see for example Oscar in a maths olympiad, or a chess playing gifted child loving a high level chess tournament. In that situation the child would get the enjoyment of competing, the benefit of meeting others at a high level in their favourite activity, and develop their own skills - just as a talented swimmer would compete at increasingly higher levels. But this felt much more like a 'performing seal' situation.

Takver Sat 22-Jun-13 13:20:35

Sorry, I also meant to say, my experience of these shows (fortunately not personal, but people I know) is that pretty much however you behave they edit it to make 'the story' that they are looking for.

itsnothingoriginal Wed 26-Jun-13 16:34:14

I've watched all of these although mostly out of interest and not because I have a child anywhere near as gifted as these kids. I also think some of it has been 'edited' for the audience but equally uncomfortable about what is in it for the children other than the parents own ego.

Shrinidhi is fantastic - such natural ability and genuinely adores words. She'll be one to watch I think!

Some of the children I genuinely struggle to 'like' but again it's editing and parents influence which I'm sure is mostly to blame for that.

Sticklebug Wed 26-Jun-13 16:37:58

My DD did the first stage of this competition with a couple of other yr6 children in school and got through the the 'regional finals'.

We went along to this event and it was awful. Full of strange children and v pushy parents. My DD did the test and got selected to go through the the screen test. Afterwards, we were told that she was through the the next stage and that we would be great in the 'role' of academic high achieving parents with a bright, but otherwise 'normal' child.....this was the point that I said a polite 'thank you, but this is not for us'...

DD has enjoyed watching and spotting some of the faces from the testing day, but the real surprise was a few months later when she got a letter saying that she had scored in the 99.9%ile on the IQ test and was invited to join mensa ;-)

78bunion Thu 27-Jun-13 20:06:41

Some seem not that great parents - the American lady.Her boys didn't want to do the programme.
Others seem pretty good with their children.
Hugo must be hard work and seems classic aspergers, trains etc.
The one whose parents have just split up is interesting.
The Indian girl is very clever. My children had a similar girl like that in the class, even down to the eye brows and book smelling type thing.
On the whole the slightly older children seem happier doing it than the smaller ones.

Some of these children are just born (if 100% of your family is Oxbridge maths people it's not surprising if you're pretty bright), other just emerge without too much pushing. Some may not have been born that bright but are pushed.

ipadquietly Thu 27-Jun-13 20:24:41

It does make me wonder if someone like Thomas Edison would have been able to remember a deck of cards or spell ovoviviparous.

I thought 'genius' was about creativity and thinking outside the box; innovation and invention.

This programme is a showcase for performing seals, not a show about genius.

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