While it is natural for most kids to currently be obsessed with something — if your child is captured by all things dinosaurs, they may be smarter than the rest of the kids.
In the world of psychology, the incredible knowledge children have of specific subjects is called “intense interests.”
Only one third of children develop such intense interests throughout their life and that obsession becomes clear at around 2 to 6 years old.
Though usually, these intense interests fade, sometimes it does not and it follows the child for a big chunk of their lives.
Children who develop an intense interest do better later in life, according to a study by the universities of Indiana and Wisconsin. Joyce M. Alexander and her team of Indiana University, found that this type of interest, especially those that demand a conceptual domain, “enhance perseverance, improve attention and enhance skills of complex thinking as the processing of information.”
Alexander explains how if a dinosaur lets out a loud roar, the child will be interested in that but only for a moment in time.
But if the dinosaurs themselves are the point of interest, that is conceptual.
Linguistic skills and high understanding were also factors that improved with the obsession. Psychologists shared how the way children study dinosaurs helps them improvise strategies to face new situations and issues throughout their lives.
Both the Yake University as well as the University of Virginia found that intense interests in childhood are not a result of a parent’s interest.
They additionally found that obsessions with dinosaurs or astronomy develop during the first year of life without parental encouragement.
Sadly, it was also found that obsessions only last between six months and three years — with only 20 percent of children continuing to be passionate about the same focus they were obsessed with as a child after they entered school.
Once a child begins to study, they start to lose the free time to devote themselves to their interest, which means it quickly fades and is replaced with general knowledge learned at school according to researchers.
It was also found that kids discuss their interests less if their new friends were not interested in it.
For any parent who wants to keep their child’s interest blooming, it is recommended to teach children facts about their particular interest.
Those that went on “pretend adventures” with their dinosaurs did not perform as well as those who actively learned information.
While Alexander found that both boys and girls focus and express their interest in a similar way, boys are more likely to develop more intense interests than girls.
It is alleged this is due to both girls and boys having different interests as well as activities.
Girls are more likely to explore interests through “pretend adventures,” along with creative arts and literacy.
Boys, on the other hand, would rather gather information on their interest.
Alexander believes this is possible due to boys taking comfort in set rules as well as finite fact.
Sadly, parents as well as marketing may be the cause of this as their idea of what is appropriate for boys and girls to be interested in — may actually differ from what children are actually interested in.
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