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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Family

Mama Bear Moxie: Every kid is smart in their own way

By Kristina Phelan For The Spokesman-Review

It is amazing to see how different siblings can be despite their close genetics. From physical to personality differences, each child is his or her own person.

My oldest does really well academically. He strives to be the best when it comes to anything involving school. He is the textbook example of what the world would define as “smart.”

Since before he was born, I could tell our second son was quite different than our first. As he matured, it’s clear he is just as good academically as his older brother but would much rather spend his extra energy having fun. Our daughter is still pretty young, so I look forward to learning more about her personality as she gets older.

Is one better than the other? Absolutely not. All of our kids are smart in their own ways.

In our household, we teach our kids that every person is smart in different things. I have met plenty of children who are good at athletics, cleaning, reading or making friends. Some kids excel at being on stage while others prefer to be behind the scenes. Some kids are artists while others are engineers or mechanics.

Our society puts an extraordinary focus on academics, and I was guilty of this too. But I realized that everyone is just smart in their own way. Good grades don’t determine intelligence.

One of the joys of parenting is being able to watch your child develop into themselves. It is is important to grab hold of whatever your child likes to do and encourage them to do the things that they like; at which they are smart. Children who have setbacks or disabilities have interests and qualities that make them smart as well.

Our second son has shown a great aptitude for cooking and is quite the little chef. He watches baking shows and is always asking to make something in the kitchen. It has gotten to the point where I will save my cooking and baking for him to do because I know he enjoys it so much. This has led to many conversations about one day becoming a chef or working in a kitchen. It is nice to be able affirm his interests.

If your child doesn’t have any one thing they really like to do, consider exposing them to new things to try and spark an interest. It may take more of a shift in how you view their talent. I encourage you to find those areas of your child’s life that they naturally excel in and encourage them to follow those paths.

Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at

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