New research found that parental socialization has no affect on the IQ levels of children. WOW, look at that! Another new study that shows a thing we probably already should have known! Sorry to those of you who may have actually been of the notion that parents are able to control the intelligence of their children through any means other than genetics, but, it’s time you face the truth: most of the things you do with your kids don’t really matter, at least not in the smarts department. You can influence your kids’ behavior, interests, style, eating habits, and so forth, but the buck stops at IQ scores.
Florida State University criminology professor, Kevin Beaver, examined older research that stated a correlation between higher IQ levels in kids and the prevalence of actively involved parents. He noted that these findings did not take into account the genetic transference of intelligence from the parents onto their children, and decided to use adoption-based research in order to compare possible differences. What he discovered was that the parents of adopted children did not always have kids with high IQs, even though they were socialized using the same methods as the parents of biological children who did score high. According to Beaver and his colleagues on the study, they “thought this was a very interesting set up and when we tested these two competing hypotheses in this adoptive-based research design, we found there was no association between parenting and the child’s intelligence later in life once we accounted for genetic influences.” So basically, intelligence is something we are genetically predisposed to, and not something that can be socially instilled. Professor Beaver published this information in his article “A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design,” in the journal Intelligence.
While the understanding that regular integrated parental socialization does not make a child any more or less smart, Beaver still acknowledges its benefits in the social and emotional development of children. He does not contend with the argument over a child’s health or happiness being affected by their parents’ interactions, only the quantified IQ scores between the two. So, he doesn’t recommend actively neglecting or abusing your children, because despite such things not playing a role in their intelligence, we all know the inevitable detriment that it would cause in pretty much every other aspect of a child’s life. Even developmental things like mobility and language are greatly influenced by the amount of involvement parents have with their kids, but it’s important to recognize that we can only motivate so much, and kids reach milestones at their own pace.
We shouldn’t require or allow so much responsibility to be placed on parents when it comes to the intellect or rate at which their offspring advance, because raising kids is hard enough without feeling guilt and shame over things that are beyond our control. We are always so quick to praise the parents of smart children, and we don’t seem to realize how silly it is to assume a child’s intelligence is something that “good, caring parents” simply cook up at home. If we were actually capable of deciding how smart we want our kids to be, then wouldn’t we all have little geniuses? Furthermore, how would we explain kids with learning disabilities? Should we blame their parents? No, because that’s ridiculous. For me, the sign of a good parent is a happy child, not a high IQ score. So don’t stop reading to your kids, encouraging them to make art, or taking them to tap dancing lessons, because it doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to figure out how to let a kid have fun.