These days there are many items marketed toward parents that say they will improve a child's learning capacity or a give them a head start on reading and math. Is this really a good thing? In the article "The Downside of Being a Child Prodigy," Alissa Quart is interviewed about her book that talks about what it's like to grow up with an IQ that's beyond your actual age. Alissa was considered a child prodigy. By the time she was 13 she was a freshman in high school. At 17 she had won many creative writing contests, written a novel and accomplished many tasks that were beyond her years. At the age of 34 she wrote a book about what it was like to grow up as a child prodigy. She says that being brought up as a child prodigy and then a little later in life being "deflated" left her with a feeling of failure. Is being a child prodigy and pushing our kids to be the smartest really what's best for them? At the age of 10 Brandon Bremmer graduated from high school. By age 14 he was putting the finishing touches on his second CD of music that he had composed. He also committed suicide at the age of 14. People that knew him said that he showed no signs of depression and that he was a a very nice kid. If he had so much going for him why would he throw it all away? While I can't make a direct connection with my life, my dad once told me a story about how when he was interviewing for jobs as a psychology professor and researcher there was a man in the group of people wanting the job that had been a child prodigy and written many research papers going above and beyond everyone else. My dad beat the other man out in the interview and got the job because the other man had very bad personal skills and wasn't able to communicate effectively. My dad always uses this example when I feel down about a bad test grade or nervous about an interview. You can be the smartest person in the world, but you may never be successful if you can't have good connections and effectively communicate with other people. I think if more stories like this were published, parents would be less concerned about having the smartest kid in the world. They wouldn't put so much pressure on kids to be the next Bill Gates. There are many very successful people today that were average in school. I think if parents were to encourage kids to do well in school and support them in their studies, but also support them and encourage them to participate in other things like clubs and sports there would be more of a desire in the child to learn and do well. Have there been any other recent studies that support this? Is this something that the psychology community would be interested in researching? In lecture we learned that higher IQs usually means there is less of a chance of mental illness. Has that changed since it was last researched by Terman?