Parenting Headaches: Sebastian

Parenting Headaches: Sebastian
Dr. Phil talks to parents who think their 2-year-old may be a genius.
Puzzled parents from Indiana write:

Dear, Dr. Phil,

Our son, Sebastian, turned 2 last month, and we feel like we have an exceptional child. At 9 months old, he just decided that he was going to walk, and he got up and walked. Even before he was 1 year old, he knew his shapes like trapezoids, pentagons and hexagons, and the whole alphabet. He knows his numbers up to 20, and can count to 10 in Spanish. He knows all 50 states by name. He taught himself how to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano just by ear. He memorizes words to whole songs. He sings "That's Amore," he sings along with Bob Marley, Elvis and even hums along to Beethoven, Bach and Vivaldi. Our dilemma is, if Sebastian is truly gifted, what's our next move?

Gina and Adam
"You really may have a gifted child here," Dr. Phil observes. "Here's what you need to do, particularly for the next couple of years: You need to give all the stimulation and environmental richness to this child that you can, and then you do need to have him tested by an independent professional to determine where he is intellectually and perceptually."

If Sebastian is truly gifted, there are special programs that Gina and Adam can look into, such as MENSA, that can cultivate their son's talents. But they need to make sure that their child is not taken advantage of. "Let me give you a word of caution here: If you truly do have a gifted child, there are a lot of researchers out there who will want to make him a project," Dr. Phil warns. "You've got to be really careful that you keep balance in a child's life, because if you can do quantum physics at 4, but you can't hit the ground with a ball, you don't have the balance and you don't have the childhood that you're looking for."

Dr. Phil stresses that Sebastian needs to have a balance of social and academic intelligence. "In the meantime, if this is the biggest dilemma you face as parents, you've got it made in the shade," Dr. Phil says.