Take a moment and think about every adult you know – your friends, co-workers, spouse, partner, parents. Now think about how “successful” they are in life – do they have a job, a healthy relationship, mental health, physical health, etc. Okay, now think about how smart they are and by smart, I mean think about their IQ.
Finally, think about the relationship between their IQ and the rest of their lives. Are your super-smart “special snowflake” friends happier and healthier than your not-so-smartypants pals? Are your special snowflake friends and family members who did the whole private school thing and went to some Ivy League college far exceeding everyone you know in all of the important parts of life?
Probably not. If I had to bet, I’d guess they are doing no better or no worse than all the rest of us schlubs. Now, I get that this might be you. And I’m sorry if I’m pissing you off, but I think you were probably sold a bill of goods that you would somehow be exceptional because of your smarts. I may be wrong, but I happen to know some of you and even though you are very smart and were given all the “best” you are merely okay parents, okay at your relationships, okay at your work and generally kinda rolling out your life just like everyone else, myself included.
In fact, I think that those of us who were not given the “special snowflake” treatment are generally happier, healthier and better adjusted than the people who were. Here’s the irony, we non-special snowflakes are raising up crops of kids who think they are brilliant special snowflakes.
We get roped into this at the start of Kindergarten when we fret about their school and then have our kids take part in stupid and pointless Kindergarten testing. It turns out pretty much everyone shifts back to “normal” intelligence in the 3rd grade, which makes the kids who were once “smart” feel dumb when they can’t keep up with the harder work (this is bad for them, BTW).
How about we let our small fry learn how to strengthen their social and emotional muscles as they are learning along with the rest of the pack. These skills are so much more important than how smartypants a person is or whether they can do the entire multiplication table and read Harry Potter in the 1st grade. I know one kid that really and truly is way smarter than average. One.
You may be wondering, “What does this have to do with sex, Ms. Lang?” A lot, actually. We all want our kids to have great romantic relationships and if we don’t let them figure out the social stuff when they are small, it makes it much harder to manage it when they are big.
Intelligence only gets you so far in life. It’s the ability to be flexible, kind and empathetic that makes a person a decent human being, not how well you can take tests or where you went to college. Just ask your favorite Harvard grad.
Check out my favorite parenting book NurtureShock for some science that backs up what I’m talking about here.
And surprise! Here’s a study that seems to back me up – more or less!