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I feel really sorry for the children on Child Genius

51 replies

Alisvolatpropiis · 11/06/2013 21:52

Is anybody watching this on channel 4?

None of the children seem to be enjoying themselves,it's all about them achieving for their parents. These parents don't seem to be any better than those who make their children participate in beauty pageants.

It's great to encourage learning,but this? All that pressure at such a young age and for what?

I just don't see the benefit in it. Half of these children don't seem to be anywhere near enjoying themselves.

OP posts:

chocoluvva · 11/06/2013 22:12

At least the girls are doing better than the boys mostly!

The excessive training seems to come at the cost of social skills.....


Alisvolatpropiis · 11/06/2013 22:17

I felt terrible for Katherine,older sister of Matthew. Her Mother was openly saying she wasn't as bright or intellectual as her brother because she "likes to read books". Hmm

Neither of those two got their brains from their mother clearly.

OP posts:

MummytoKatie · 11/06/2013 23:44

I only watched the first 15 mins before I couldn't bear the awfulness any more but I thought that Hugo's parents were brilliant.

"Oh good - that's my favorite water work" and even better "if he plays in an orchestra there will be girls in it and he can go out with one. He might even get a [email protected]"


kotinka · 11/06/2013 23:49

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Nicknamegrief · 11/06/2013 23:50

My heart bled for the 'chess' boy. That five year plan sounded miserable.

The girl for India, I thought her Mum was lovely & she seemed really well rounded and mature.

Hugo (train boy) reminded me of my 9yo.


kotinka · 12/06/2013 09:31

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Ilovemyself · 12/06/2013 09:37

Cheese boys mum is a cruel pushy mum who wouldn't listen if her life depended on it.

Hugo was cool. I can see him becoming a successful aero engineer like he wants to be.

The people I feel sorry for are the brothers and sisters of the children shown. I do hope they get the same level of attention as their siblings, but I think they probably don't in many cases.


chickensaladagain · 12/06/2013 09:41

I have to say there are many children every bit as bright that don't get entered into these competitions, pushed into Mensa etc

These parents are setting their children up for a massive fall when they get into the real world and find out they aren't as unique as the parents make them feel


chocoluvva · 12/06/2013 09:49

Some of these children must be getting the message that being clever/skilled/talented/winning is more important than anything else!

I wonder if a huge part of their self-identity is their sense of being more clever than other people. That can't be healthy.


ApocalypseCheeseToastie · 12/06/2013 09:55

I'd put money on at least one of those children being on the Autistic spectrum, not because of their intelligence but their rituals and ability to focus on one thing and 'zone out'.


iseenodust · 12/06/2013 10:00

We laughed at the 'play a trumpet get a girlfriend' line but her heart was in the right place as they said they didn't want him to be one-dimensional.

Chess mum was just scary. 50 hours a week and he's 8! Was she trying to take credit for Gladwell's (?) 10,000 hour book?

ChickenS has a point. The logic and maths questions seemed very similar to the Bond book levels for that age which are used in preparation for school entrance exams, which many DC pass.


insanityscratching · 12/06/2013 10:00

I think it was all about the parents. FWIW I didn't see that the maths questions were showing exceptional ability tbh dd aged 10 was shouting out the answers easily and whilst she's bright I wouldn't say she was in any way a genius tbh.


chocoluvva · 12/06/2013 10:02

Yes, the arithmetic questions were about mental agility - processing speed and staying calm under pressure.


insanityscratching · 12/06/2013 10:05

Apocalypse would definitely agree that some were on the spectrum as of course is dd who could do the maths questions quite easily and will do the spelling even easier. It doesn't make her a genius though it's just she uses her phenomenal memory and her love of repetition to perform well,


Arabesque · 12/06/2013 10:16

I saw the trailers for this programme and decided not to watch as it's such a distasteful idea. I have two nieces who attend the centre for talented youth in Dublin (a programme for gifted kids on a Sat). They enjoy it and it's good fun but there is absolutely no way their parents would enter them in that kind of competition or talk about them on television. They try to play the whole thing down, in fact.


ApocalypseCheeseToastie · 12/06/2013 10:41

The little chess playing boy even had a list of strategies pinned up to help him cope ffs. My youngest used to play music by ear, it was amazing to see, he'd play the same of a cd repeatedly until he'd picked out the same note on his keyboard at 2.5 yrs old, he could bash out bits of songs from coldplay, metallica, even the fecking Smiths.

Sadly we didn't nurture his 'genius'. It got lost amongst the important stuff such as making him speak ! But i'm without a doubt if he had the right pushy parents behind him his 'genius' would have been encouraged a lot more and he'd be pretty damn good now.

But alas, he ended up wih me........he's still bloody good on the drums tho when the mood takes him Wink


grumpyinthemorning · 12/06/2013 10:43

It's the Japanese dad that got me. "Have no fun as a kid, be a successful adult. Have fun as a kid, eventually die of a drug overdose." That poor kid!


hatsybatsy · 12/06/2013 10:54

Yes - the chess Mom had just swallowed Malcolm Gladwell whole.... do 10,000 hours of something and be brilliant at it. What she'd missed was that the child has to want to do those 10,000 hours.

She was v scary -giving up her job to focus on him. What about his younger brother?

Hugo's parents made me laugh. He did seem very nerdy (and clearly very bright) so their attempts to ground him with trumpet playing etc seemed very sound.

The mother of Catherine/Matthew was an engineer and prized his talent at things mechanical above her daughter's love of literature. She boasted about how clever he was and was visibly gutted when he was knocked out (even though his sister succeeded) - I see trouble ahead there.....

Interesting programme. Cannot see why they had to put the kids on a podium like that. Performing in front of a room full of people has no bearing on intelligence. And why were the 8 year old (year 3) kids being asked the same maths questions as their 11 year old (year 6) peers?


Tanith · 12/06/2013 11:14

We were once asked to appear on a programme similar to this - think it was C4, too - with my DS.
We declined, but someone we knew did go through with it and ended up distraught and betrayed at the horrible way they were portrayed, thanks to clever editing.

C4 tried to persuade us that it was intended as a documentary, showing the difficulties that very bright children and their families can face. What was finally aired was a "look at the dysfunctional weirdos!" Freak Show.

The message boards the next day were full of comments like those on here.

"Well, I didn't think she played that well" (that's because they filmed her practising a new piece, not a performance).

"Poor boy - he was really pushed. Fancy having to practice mental maths on the way to school!" (ignoring the fact that, for a gifted mathematician, it's a game).

"What a spoiled brat!" (No, she's a child - don't yours have their moments? I imagine that if every cross word for a few weeks was collected together for one programme, yours wouldn't come across well, either).

Sounds like C4 are still putting on their "genius" freakshows...


Scholes34 · 12/06/2013 12:19

I did like Hugo's parents and their approach was sound. I thought the chess boy's mum was terribly pushy. However, are these just the opinions Channel 4's editing had wanted me to take away from the programme?

I think we all realise by now that these programmes are edited to provide entertainment and are not necessarily a true reflection of the people involved.

However, I still like Hugo's parents.


chocoluvva · 12/06/2013 12:34

I wonder why how the chess came about? IMO the time they're investing in it isn't the same as spending thousands of hours practising a musical instrument or doing a sport which will may give a lifetime of pleasure as an adult (as well as helping personal development and the fun of being part of a team)

Disclaimer - I'm rubbish at chess.


kim147 · 12/06/2013 12:42

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chocoluvva · 12/06/2013 12:53

Maybe. But if you're an amazing violinist for example (and you enjoy it) you can have a lifetime of playing with different groups, develop a very deep love of music which can be shared with your musical friends, play at special occasions - it will enrich your life. Chess seems more one-dimensional.

Is this prog going to be on again? I'd like to see more of the Chinese boy playing the piano.


kim147 · 12/06/2013 12:57

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ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 12/06/2013 13:00

Chess boy reminded me of Judit Polgar

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