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Gifted and Talented Children

How Families Foster Talent Development

Beginning in the 1960s, research studies have examined the influence of parents and families on young people or adults who have achieved eminence in their fields, for example, Victor Goertzel and Mildred Goertzel's international study (1962), Benjamin Bloom's (1985) study of 120 young Americans, and Miraca Gross's (2000) study of exceptionally gifted young Australians. These studies found parents to be an enormous influence on the degree to which the young people accepted their high abilities and worked to translate them into high achievement. Some of the major findings were:

  1. Even where the parents were not themselves highly educated, they placed a high value on education and learning.
  2. They tended to choose hobbies and interests that required practice and learning, and studied the performance of others to increase their own skill and enjoyment. They modeled, for their children, a delight in learning and a desire to improve their performance.
  3. At least one parent or close relative had a personal interest in the child's area of talent.
  4. The parents encouraged and rewarded the development of the child's talent at home, while seeking outside assistance from teachers or mentors.

The parents did not "push" their children; however, through their pursuit of their own talent areas and, through their encouragement of the children, they provided a model that taught that talent is fostered through accepting one's abilities and striving to fulfill them.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodGifted and Talented Children - Identification Of Gifted Children, Family Relationships, How Families Foster Talent Development, Educational Responses