Friday, April 18, 2008

How could mothers do that? (Part 3)

Last night I watched a taped programme of 'Child Genius'.

Let's just say I felt really uneasy -- perhaps 'disturbed' is a more accurate description -- after that.

There is a three-year-old girl who fell asleep while being tested for her IQ (at 152) and was re-tested. Her IQ was found to be so high they could not properly score her, so 'suka-suka' as we say in Malay/Hokkien or 'chin-chai-la' (in Cantonese), they call it 170.

Girl's mother wanted her tested to prove she had 'special needs' so she could go to a good state school. She was devastated (the mother) to find that the school had rejected her. Well, obviously the mother is not very intelligent, because which state school would want a child with an IQ of 170?

She will be no end of trouble. The school will have to pay for extra resources just to keep her occupied, etc, etc. The mother should have played down her intelligence and left it at 152-maybe. So she is NOT A PUSHY PARENT -- clearly!

Another 11-year-old boy was being home-schooled, but seems to do little else other than Maths and Chess. No languages, no science, no music, sport, meeting friends, etc. He comes across as being really obnoxious.

His sole purpose in life is to be champion chess player. I suspect his parents got it into his head that as chess champion mum and dad would not have financial worries EVER again ("Who needs school when you could play chess?"). Poor chap. To have to bear this burden of achieving so that his parents could be well provided for.

So he goes to Croatia to play a chess tournament where he thought he would slaughter his opponents, but he didn't do very well at all. As viewers looked on to see him discuss the match with his dad we were thinking, "Give him a hug, dad, he needs a hug." But he did not get a hug, poor lad. What a relief it was that at the end of the programme we see that he's joined the scouts and hopefully he would make some friends and assume some kind of normality.

Another boy (eight years old?) with an IQ of 170 was clearly NOT BEING PUSHED by his parents. He was only seen enunciating the formula for a quadratic equation and then -- having lost interest in Maths (O dear!) -- watched his mum dissect a rat in the kitchen. She then proceeded to ask him to identify the organs, which of course he did with great accuracy.

They sent him to boarding school (at reduced price because he is gifted) in the hope of getting him to Eton. Then they say to camera, "O dear! now that he's spends so much time playing with his friends, he seems to have become just average."

Young Asian boy has IQ of 137 but his verbal skills were not so good. So what do his NOT PUSHY PARENTS do? They put him on a programme of English and spelling to the point that he is now 'obsessed' with spelling. Why, the reporter asked is he so particular about being able to spell?

"Because it makes me clever".

So should I feel guilty? I let my son play with Lego and PSP and I don't make him do extra work books after school. What if his IQ drops to only 130-something? Would Eton want him? (Actually do we want Eton?)

Part of me thinks: is this abuse of young lives?

What do you think?

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