This discussion is really interesting to me. I have no children of my own,
but a very close friend is faced with an interesting problem, that maybe
some parental scientists out there would have advice on:
The girl in question is in the fourth grade, a real math wiz (the teachers
just turned her loose on the computer, and she is 2 grades ahead now and
starting to teach herself basic algebra), and mildly dyslexic (sp?). She
is also a tomboy (very disappointed to discover that she couldn't join the
football team this year, chooses her clothes at the "boys" departments).
My friend is really worried about her abandoning the math in middle-school.
Because of the dyslexia, she may not be admitted to the magnet school
where there would be less social pressure to leave the math & conform.
They cannot afford private school, and the local public middle school has
real problems. She is already starting to feel some pressure - the other
girls often think she is "wierd" and don't want to play with her sometimes.
Having had somewhat similar problems as a kid, when I liked to collect bugs
and snakes and frogs and never felt comfortable witht he other girls, yet
always wanted to be liked, I wonder how these things can be counteracted.
Being a supportive parent is necessary, but not sufficient (my parents were
always very supportive, but the constant teasing by classmates overwhelmed
my parents - after all, they were "wierd" too).
Linden Higgins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
linden at mail.utexas.edu