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Intelligent kids are challenged by competition
TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2015 10:49 AM

Kids need to be challenged to succeed, and competition can help motivate their efforts. This year, Lifetime Network released a new competition series called "Child Genius." In this show, children aged 8 to 12 who scored in the top 2 percent on accepted standardized intelligence tests completed an 8-week long national intelligence competition. They answered a series of questions from various topic areas, such as math, spelling, memory, current events and inventions. It is doubtful that adults could answer most of the questions asked, let alone answer them in 20 seconds without the use of pen and paper.

Business Insider lists example questions the children had to answer during the event, including these:

  • Calculate 14 times 8 minus 11 and multiply by 2
  • What is the official currency of Kenya?
  • What prevents blood from flowing backward in veins?
  • How many humps does a dromedary have?
  • Born in Mesopotamia in 1136, what was the name of one of the Islamic empire's greatest technical geniuses?
The children were competing for more than a title during this tournament. The winner received $100,000 for a college scholarship fund with second place taking $10,000 and third getting $5,000.

The show was created with the cooperation of American Mensa, an organization that only gives membership to the country's most intelligent citizens, American Mensa reported. Many of the kids from "Child Genius" are members of this prestigious group.

Raising a child with such high intelligence can be difficult, as the TV show depicts, with some kids having few friends their own age because they can't relate. However, organizations like Mensa help because members have the opportunity to meet other intelligent people at local, regional and national levels. If parents suspect their kids have a higher-than-average intelligence, they should consider IQ testing so that their children can get the educational and emotional support they need. 

Developing a child's IQ
Helping a child develop their intellect comes with its own challenges as well. Studies have found that when you praise a child too much for their talents, it can ultimately lead to failure and an unwillingness to meet challenges. Scientific American states this is because children who are constantly told they are special and extremely smart will start to believe intelligence is inherent. This thought process will make them feel like striving to increase their learning and knowledge is a waste of time because they are already smart enough. Challenges are no longer fun or interesting and instead are a threat to their natural intellect.

Instead of constantly telling kids they are gifted and smart, a better strategy is to compliment them on the effort they put forth to achieve these goals. This will reinforce the actions that help them do well instead of just the idea that they are naturally good at a task. Parents should also consider relaying stories about popular scientists and mathematicians who had a love for their work and strove to reach their dreams, Scientific American noted, instead of talking about people who were naturally talented. Encouraging kids to participate in various competitions and tournaments can also help kids reach their full potential because they will be challenged and have a goal to work toward.

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