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EST. May 2000 (AD)

 
 

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Raising Your Ungifted Child

By Elizabeth Hanes

The world abounds with resources for nurturing the overbearing talents of the gifted child or, conversely, the "slow" child. If you had the good fortune to spawn a prodigy, endless learning centers and mentors spring from nowhere to exploit your child's talent while bringing it to fruition, doubtlessly garnering themselves and you a mountain of lucre in the process. If, on the other hand, your child is seriously learning-disabled (as we politely call it these days), dozens of do-gooders will be more than happy to devote their boundless time and energy into molding your child into a productive member of society.

But what if you're not so lucky? What if your child falls in that daunting range of IQ between "dullard" and "average"? Not so stupid as to be learning-disabled, but certainly well below average, and nowhere within spitting distance of genius? Take heart; all is not lost. With a few well-thought-out strategies, you can transform your child's prospects from "Do you want fries with that?" to "Can I count on your support to make this season's charity ball is a success?"

Dealing with a vacuous girl is much more challenging than rearing a dull-witted boy. It's not that fewer boys are dullards, it's just that this problem was conquered long ago through the "Old Boys' Network." All one must do for the simple-minded boy is ensure that rich Uncle Ralph or dear friend of the family Austin reserves a place at the executive level of the family business, where the young man can reap a six-figure salary while doing fairly little damage to the company's interests. Girls, on the other hand, require a bit more finessing.

Trophy wifedom obviously should be the goal. You must begin cultivating superficiality in your daughter from an early age. Forget about formal education. You can teach her to read and write at home, and if she marries as well as expected, she'll have no use for arithmetic. Besides, stimulating her intellect would be stressful, and worry lines can begin appearing as early as age five. She'll never land a man that way! Instead, teach her the practical skills she'll need to succeed in life. Show her how to apply makeup at age three, when her motor skills have sufficiently developed. By age five, she must be adept at walking in 4" heels. Beauty pageants, of course, are absolutely necessary to her training. Lightening her hair, plucking her eyebrows, waxing her legs: all of this should be de rigeuer before she's nine. Age twelve is not too early to begin shopping her around for a prospective mate. We're not suggesting she actually marry that young, but long betrothals provide an opportunity for priming the money siphon and tucking away currency in off-shore bank accounts. Another advantage to the long engagement is that should the elderly gentleman (i.e.: fiancé) kick the bucket, your daughter will already have accumulated quite an array of beautiful and expensive baubles, which are hers to keep. A lovely "parting gift," as it were.

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