Are Child Prodigies Really Happy in Becoming Early Achievers?

While many child prodigies proved being a genius is a sure path to success, not a few gave proof that being one does not guarantee happiness in adulthood.

While Mozart, Picasso, Bill Gates and recently Joey Alexander are some examples of successful child prodigies, there are child geniuses like Michael Kearney and Ted Kaczynski who took a different path upon reaching adulthood.

Choosing Happiness Over Fame and Fortune

Michael Kerney set numerous records as a child prodigy, including the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest child genius to graduate from a university. Yet upon reaching the age of majority, Michael became more focused in pursuing personal happiness even if it meant not attaining the fame and fortune that everyone expected from him.

In an interview conducted more than a decade ago, Kearney has this to say about his experience and goals as a former child prodigy

You need to focus on the things that make a person human, instead of becoming a golden god.”…”to focus on living a normal life without getting worried that you will end up being a sad, ex-child prodigy.”

Ted Kaczynski : An Example of Child Precocity that Went Wrong

Ted Kaczynski was a child math wizard who became a university mathematics professor at a young age. However, he gained notoriety in adulthood as a terrorist. He is in fact known to members of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as the Unabomber, (short for University and Airline Bomber), the subject of the most expensive investigation in the FBI’s annals.

After his arrest in 1996, Kaczynski rejected his court-appointed lawyers’ approach in defending his case based on a plea for insanity, if only to save him for death penalty. Although Kaczynski pleaded guilty on all charges filed against him, the judge who heard his case sentenced him to life imprisonment without chances of parole, which to many is a much harsher punishment than instant death.

Michael Kearney and Ted Kaczynski’s cases as child prodigies are reminders to parents that their gifted child will eventually discover their own domain. Eventually they will make their own decisions on what they really want to achieve as adults, which will not always be in accordance with what their parents wanted or had planned for them..

Child Psychology Experts Say that Child Prodigies Also Go Through Turbulent Years

Child psychology experts believe that child prodigies who found both happiness and success as adults, were less likely to have been pushed hard by their parents to achieve a pre-defined goal.

Parents of child prodigies should keep in mind that their child’s happiness is also an important factor. As it is, most child prodigies who came to regard their gifts as a curse are those who missed a great part of their childhood years. In most cases, they felt too mature to enjoy the things that normal children find interesting at their age. At the same time they also found it frustrating that they are too young to engage in activities that older children are allowed to participate in.

Many psychologists have long argued that with the right environment and proper balance of meaningful dedication and support from parents, a child prodigy will not find it difficult to navigate his or her way to success and happiness when advancing toward adult life.

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