Does your child tend to prefer adults or older children over same-age playmates?
Does your child “dumb-down” in order to fit in?
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, you child would probably benefit from an individual intellectual and achievement evaluation by a qualified psychologist. Why is this important? Gifted children are fundamentally different and need help to learn social, interpersonal, and self-development skills. They need specific guidance and training.
It is interesting to note, however, that some of the very traits that make it more difficult for gifted children to relate to others can actually propel them to success as entrepreneurs. For example, we praise entrepreneurs for experimenting, doing things differently, and putting ideas together in ways that are unusual. Gifted children often possess these traits. While other children their age may not appreciate their out-of-the-box thinking, it will serve them well as they venture out on their own.
Consider, too, the focus of the gifted child. While they tend to have a wide range of interests, they are also able to zero in on the things that really pique their curiosity. They ask endless questions as they seek to understand everything they can on a particular topic. When a subject has captured their imagination, they have a long attention span and can concentrate intensely. Successful entrepreneurs similarly focus on, research, and develop a particular product or service. It is this focus that gives them an edge in the business world.
So how can you help utilize their gifts and cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in your child? Consider these four ways:
1. Give your child the freedom to explore their passions and dreams. Many entrepreneurs started their business with a dream and little else. So let your child dream. Let them set lofty goals for themselves. As they show a passion for something, try to show them how them how it could develop into a business. Internal motivation is an absolute necessity for an entrepreneur to achieve success, so encourage your children to find out what motivates them.
2. Help your child develop their unique gifts, talents, and abilities. Observe your child in different settings and take note of the activities in which they excel. Then try to link those activities to business ideas and topics. For example, if your child is really good at Monopoly, you could relate their love of the game to real-world job possibilities in finance or real estate. These conversations present ideas and open up dialogue. It also gives you a chance to gauge your child’s reactions to the idea of entrepreneurship.
3. Help your children start a business. This could be as simple as a lemonade stand, or any small venture your child is interested in. Explain the basics of what it takes to purchase supplies, how to set things up to sell, and how to price your product. Your child will not come away from it knowing all the ins and outs of running a business, but they will likely have a new understanding and enthusiasm for seeing how they can create something and make a profit.
4. Let them fail. The path to successful entrepreneurship is not a straight one. There are highs and lows, successes and failures. So let your gifted child learn what it feels like to fail. They may take failure harder than other children, as perfectionism is a strong trait in gifted children, but it is something they need to learn as early as possible. Model for them how they can stand back up, dust themselves off, and move forward. This resilience will serve them well in the future.
Parenting is hard, no matter what kind of child you are blessed with. If you could use some support and want to learn some new techniques you can use with your own, unique children, please contact my Jantzen Beach office. I also offer online therapy if that would better fit your busy schedule.