Child-centered families

Winner, Gifted Children, 188-9

The most extreme cases of child-centered families occur when the child’s gift is in a performance domain such as athletics, or even music and chess.  In these families, the child is being groomed for a public performance: an athletic event, a recital, a chess competition.  Bloom’s future pianists, swimmers, and tennis players came from more child-centered families than did the sculptors, neurologists, and mathematicians.  The music and athletic parents (usually the mother) drove their children often considerable distances to lessons and athletic events.  Parents sat with their children when they practiced the piano.  Sometimes families even moved to be near the best teachers.  Families made these sacrifices even when they did not have much money….

Academically and artistically gifted children also typically come from child-centered homes.  Parents of academically talented children sometimes make their children’s precocity a performance by parading them on talk shows and allowing them to be written up in the press as wunderkinds.  Like music and athletic families, such families may move so that their children can attend the best schools or can attend college at an early age…Even those academically gifted children whose parents do not make their children into showpieces usually have highly child-centered homes.


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