Raising Creative Kids
by Susan Daniels and Daniel Peters
Susan Daniels and Dan Peters of Summit Center are well-known in the world of gifted psychology. Daniels is co-editor of the wonderful compilation of essays, Living With Intensity, which tackled the joys and pitfalls of raising, educating, and being intense, gifted people.
In this new book, Daniels and Peters move over slightly to feature thoughts on parenting, educating, and nurturing creative kids, a group with a large overlap into the world of intensity. The authors show that understanding and raising highly creative children can be just as much a challenge as raising intense children.
Raising Creative Kids opens by making sure the readers are “on the same page” regarding what creativity is and who has it. The answer, of course, is that everyone can have it, but that our society, especially in our numbers-obsessed schools, works hard to squelch creativity in the name of order and quantifiable learning. Daniels and Peters argue that in this time it is especially important to recognize creativity, whether it expresses itself as award-winning visual art or, perhaps more often, as incessant talking at inappropriate times, inability to focus on rote learning, lack of organizational and scheduling skills, and other hallmarks of the creative soul.
Much of the book centers on defining creativity and offers suggestions on nurturing it. But in the last three chapters, the authors get to the heart of the question: how to parent creative kids, how to teach them organizational skills, and how to prepare them for a successful life in the 21st century.
This part of the book focuses on solving the problems that arise from the “dark side” of the creative personality. Creative kids may be difficult to parent, given that their tendency is to explore rather than follow rules. They often have trouble at school because the creative mind can sometimes coincide with slower development of executive function—the part of the brain that governs decision-making and prioritization. And being highly creative doesn’t necessarily lead to being able to develop that creativity into what the authors call “Big C” creativity—moving from unfocused creativity to focused, purposeful creativity.
This book succeeds in digesting a lot of information from studies and technical journals into a clear, helpful guide for parenting creative kids. Daniels and Peters offer advice on nurturing vs. permissive parenting, teaching organizational skills, and encouraging children to keep developing their creativity in a world that often seems to promote following rules and getting the “right” answer over all else.