Conflict Over Rules? Maybe It's Time To Back-Off

As a Mom of three (and living in a community of kid-excellence, to say the least), it's hard for me to NOT feel insecure about what my kids AREN'T doing. Hardly a day goes by when I don't overhear another Mom talking about their child excelling at the best private school in town or see another child drilled endlessly on the tennis court.

It's enough to drive you mad - unless you know something I just learned: Turns out, the most creative children have fewer rules at home and aren't the prodigies of the world. In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, the most creative children were from homes in which there were fewer than one rule. By contrast, the parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules (this doesn't bode well for my kids, by the way).

Interestingly, the writer also wrote about child prodigies and found something highly surprising: As adults, many of them were leaders in their fields, but few were game-changers. They were incredible doctors, for example, but few were coming up with new ways to treat patients. And, interestingly, those who were tops in their fields, started from humble roots - the concert pianist probably took lessons from the lady down the street, not in Carnegie Hall. What all the top-performers had in common was this: Their early teachers made the sport, etc. fun.

So, what's the take-away? All that conflict over rules, practices, and homework may not be worth much after all. And, most importantly, the "genius" child may not grow up to make real change in the world.

Will my kids get to choose their bedtimes? Probably not. But, the article did incentivize me to back-off a bit. Frankly, I can use the break anyway!


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