Researchers have been attempting for decades to identify which personality traits correlate to higher intelligence, particularly in children. A compilation of studies by a dozen or so researchers, including Justin Kruger, David Dunning, and Zoher Ali, found eight personality traits that correlate to higher intelligence scores:
- A child’s perseverance and flexibility allows for your child to thrive and adapt to new environments, as well as build an arsenal of coping mechanisms to deal with adverse situations.
- Intellectual Humility. Children who understand and acknowledged how much they don’t know open the door to a strong self-image because they are not afraid of being wrong or temporarily ignorant. The thought that one can always learn what one doesn’t know and that one does not always need to know everything is exceptional.
- Childhood intelligence and openness to experience go hand in hand, which allows oneself to be fascinated and excited about learning or finding out an answer. These children are intellectual sponges.
- This allows a child to seek out alternative viewpoints, always weighing the pros and cons. This makes them less likely to make impulsive decisions. Being open-minded is not akin to being susceptible or gullible; it simply allows a child to hear all the options before making a decision.
- Enjoying one’s own company. This is not to suggest that children who do not have friends or play with others are more intelligent; rather, children can be on their own and be content spending time by themselves. Alone-time promotes spontaneous thought, imagination, and mindfulness.
- Strong self-control. Without cognitive self-control, impulsivity becomes the hobgoblin of success. When a child has the skills to resist, stop, and consider the best options at hand, it inevitably reflects strong intelligence. Children with this executive function solve difficult problems and can make complex, hard decisions.
- Sense of humor. A witty sense of humor reflects intelligence because it shows a greater understanding of situations and an ability to create a positive out of what could be frustrating and stressful states. It is also one of the stronger coping mechanisms.
- Children who can take another’s perspective are sensitive to other people’s experiences, and they can essentially put themselves in other’s shoes. This reflects strong emotional intelligence.
Parents are wise to allow and create time for children to explore and follow the meandering paths their own curiosity takes them. They must be provided the space to be able to experiment. Children need guidance, of course; modeling the aforementioned traits will provide an excellent opportunity for them to mimic and copy those traits.
Intelligence is far more than academic prowess; it is the natural set of life skills that blossoms from exploration, experiences, opportunities, guidance and support.
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