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Differences in Parenting Styles between Gifted and Non-gifted Children [Infographic]

Do you know that a research in 1984 found that parents of gifted children tend to do similar things in order to nurture the child’s intelligence? Their parenting styles differ significantly from parents of children with average or above-average intelligence.  Karnes, Shwedel, and Steinberg (1984) compared two groups of middle- to upper-middle-class parents: parents of ten gifted preschoolers and those of ten average or above-average preschoolers, as measured by IQ.

*Note that some may argue that this may not be a fair trial as there were only 20 families involved instead of the usual sample size of at least 100. Their findings did throw up interesting insights.

In order to ensure that the trial was fair, they selected families similar incomes and a similar distribution of occupations among the fathers. Five of the mothers of the gifted children worked full-time, compared to only one of the other mothers. All the parents were interviewed individually. The aim of the study was to determine if there were meaningful differences in “attitudes, values, and behaviours” between the two groups of parents through the respective parenting styles.

Differences in Parenting Styles between the Gifted and Non Gifted

One Comment

  1. Wrong conclusion.

    First of all, you didn’t account for the intelligence of the parents. Since IQ is hereditary, it is likely that the parents of gifted kids were smarter too. Could it be then that smarter parents behave differently from less smart parents?

    Secondly, this is purely correlational. In order to demonstrate causation, you need to perform experimental manipulations. Take a sample of kids and divide them into two groups with similar IQs. Then apply different parental styles to each one. Then after some time see if one group has become smarter than the other.

    Actually, we know from more than a century of research that adult IQ can be predicted with some accuracy from behaviours in *infancy*. Such an experiment is likely to yield a very small effect size even if a significant difference is found.

    While it is true that proper nurturing can bring out the best in a child, no amount of nurturing can turn an “average” child into a highly gifted one. That’s just a fantasy that could only lead to disappointment.

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