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The Pitfalls of Having an Intelligent Child

Sausage is a very intelligent kid. She’s one of, if not the, youngest in her class and she reads at the top level with kids who are a full year older. Her teacher is constantly regaling us with stories of “amazing” things she’s come out with in class, like the time they were discussing The North Pole and the things you’d find there. The other kids were saying things like snow, ice etc. Sausage sat thinking for a while then shoved her hand confidently up before offering “Arctic Orcas!”. As most of my readers probably know, we’re big on Natural History lessons in this house, so that was a fairly normal thing for her to come out with by our standards, but apparently she’s not an average 4-year-old!

Now, for the most part, having a bright kid is fantastic. She has a thirst for knowledge that Husband and I love to quench and we spend a lot of family time learning together. However, at times, it can be a challenge. Here are just a few of the ways in which she keeps me on my toes.


With Sausage’s level of intelligence comes a concurrent level of confidence that, at times, can be a little maddening. Often, she’ll ask me a question only to reply to my answer with “I KNOW!” and I’ve lost count of the amount of times in her life that I’ve said the phrase “Well if you already know, why did you ask me?!”

She’s also been known to reply to my accusations of smart-assery with “Er, no Mummy, I think you’re a smarty-pants!”, the response to which is usually my head spontaneously exploding. Don’t get me wrong, she’s never naughty or obnoxious, she’s just genuinely that confident of her own brain, which is good…I guess!

She’s also started questioning my reasoning on things. She’ll often counter my answers to requests with “Why?” and on more than one occasion I’ve done that thing that I said I’d never do…”BECAUSE I SAID SO!”. Sometimes, there just is no other answer.

Spelling Test

In the past, Husband and I could do that thing where if we didn’t want Sausage to know what we’re talking about, we could spell things out. We knew it wouldn’t last forever as she’d learn to spell eventually, but we didn’t expect her to become so exceptionally good at it at such a young age. As a result, we now speak Pig-Latin when we’re being deceptive, but I’ve seen her looking at us and working out what we’re saying when we do that too, so I guarantee it won’t be long before she’s EAKING-SPAY right back at us…


Most kids, aged four, are probably happy to do one thing at a time. Sausage, however, needs a certain level of mental stimulation to stop her from being bored, which means that, and I’m not exaggerating here, she’s often doing three things at once. At this very moment, she’s watching TV, writing in her pad and playing a game on her Nexus 7. All of that is fine, I’m happy for her to entertain herself in whatever way she wants, but sometimes it can be exhausting trying to keep up with her!

Play Time

She’s very much into that girly thing at the moment of role-playing. She’ll say “Mummy, do you want to play with me?” and then bestow me with an elaborate script of things I have to say in response to what she’s going to say. And if I don’t do it right the first time, often she’ll stop and we’ll have to start all over again, complete with grand entrances on Micro Scooters and all sorts. I love that she has such a vivid imagination but it’s not always that easy to stay on top of the web of character and plot development that she weaves and I fear I’m a massive disappointment to her.

Emotions and Comprehension

Sausage is a sensitive soul and up to a point, we were able to shield her from some of the harsher realities of life. The thing is, as she gets older, it’s harder to keep things from her. We don’t always know right away when something has seeped into her big brain but sometimes, she’ll seem overly sad or emotional and it will turn out that something has upset her like a news report or something she’s heard a snippet of and she’ll have spent however long trying to process it. Emotional development isn’t always in-line with intellectual development and it can be heartbreaking to see her brain grasping a concept which she’s too young to know how to react to.

So, do you have a intelligent kid who runs rings around you too? Or am I the only one who’s being totally bested by a four-year old?!

13 thoughts on “The Pitfalls of Having an Intelligent Child

  1. I have a very bright and articulate three year old Son and it’s mentally draining, but we do indulge him, it’d be cruel not to. I’m so proud of him, but like in one of the above posts, I do worry people misconstrue his questioning everything for outright rudeness! I also have a twelve year old daughter with a great brain, whose now at Grammar school. Considering I wasn’t a high achiever at school, I often wonder, how can these little academics could possibly be mine. Love and luck to all of you and your wonderful kids. x

  2. My daughter’s exactly the same. She’ll be 4 in July and she can already read fluently, she can write fairly well and she plays the extremely complicated games too! We keep having to look things up on order to answer her questions and sometimes we’re caught completely offguard (2 recent favourites were “What’s a universe?” and “What’s religion?”).

    1. Sausage is curious about religion at the moment too and as my Husband and I are agnostic, we’ve had quite a time of trying to explain the whole thing to her. I think we did a reasonable job as she’s actually made up her own mind and created two deities of her very own!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this and thought about my own little monkey too, she is 2.5 and is already asking me “Why?” About 20 times a day, it’s exhausting, she is obsessed with spelling and writing everyone’s name at the moment so we are going to start teaching her how to actually write her name. The sensitive bit is interesting isn’t it? This year I have realised that emotionally she runs at a different level to a lot of children and I found myself having difficulty knowing how to parent this, I looked in to it and found an amazing book called “The Highly Sensitive Child” which has been a breath of fresh air, it’s by Elaine N. Aron and describes my daughter perfectly but has also helped me to understand her and help her manage her emotions, HS children are often described as gifted and talented too. Do look up her website too, the information for us has really helped us understand this little person that we are trying to raise so much more! X x

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Karen, I actually went straight to Amazon and purchased the Kindle version of The Highly Sensitive Child, which I’m hoping will give me a little more insight.

  4. I have a very intelligent child and it doesn’t get any easier I can tell you. L is 7 and he sees the world in a very different way to other kids and he questions everything which is good as long as it isn’t seen as rudeness. I worry as I feel as though I don’t do enough for him as I don’t want to push him but I know he gets frustrated.

    1. It’s tricky isn’t it? When people try to talk to her in supermarkets and such and she gives very typically ‘Sausage’ answers, sometimes people don’t understand her or just stare and I think she finds it very awkward when I have to explain things to people.

    1. She’ll be moving up to Year 1 from Reception in September and I think the transition to less ‘learning through play’ and more traditional learning will do her good.

  5. Ahh she sounds like an ace kid, but totally exhausting! I do the the multi tasking is a girl thing though…we have to learn it from an early age in order to master it when we’re in adulthood !

    1. Haha, totally agree, I’m a nightmare for doing three things at once too but if it’ll set her in good stead for adult life, who am I to worry?!

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