It’s Not About How Smart Your Child is, but Which Kind

It’s Not About How Smart Your Child is, but Which Kind

All children are smart in their own way—it’s a matter of developing and nurturing their potential, so that they end up doing what they love (and loving what they do!) Isn’t that the key to a successful life?

Mums and dads, let us ask you an all-important question:

Do low grades = low chance of success?

Parents love praising their children when they come home with high marks, but when it’s the opposite, they can’t help but feel sad, frustrated, and disappointed.

When your child gets low scores, the common reaction is to feel worried and scared over your child’s abilities. More than anything, we’re scared that their poor performance is the premise for how they’ll be able to fare later on.

As parents, it’s natural to worry over your children, and as much as you would want them to excel in school, getting low grades isn’t the only – or even the best – indication of your child’s likelihood of succeeding in life. Rather, it should be treated as a stepping-stone to figuring out where your child’s smarts really lie.

The 8 Smarts

Parents are familiar with people being “book smart” or “street smart”, or a combination of both, but there are a lot more types of smarts that each person can possess.

According to Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he states that each person can have a dominant smart among 8 Smarts to choose from. Read through the 8 Smarts to get a feel of which ones your child may already have:

  • Word smart - ability to think in words and to use language to express and understand complex meanings
  • Body smart - ability to think in movements and to use the body in skilled and meaningful ways for expressive and goal-directed activities
  • Logic smart - ability to think of cause and effect connections, and to understand relationships of actions, objects, or ideas
  • Music smart - ability to think in sounds, rhythms, melodies, and rhymes
  • Nature smart - ability to understand the natural world including plants, animals, and scientific studies
  • People smart - ability to think about and understand others
  • Picture smart - ability to think in pictures and to perceive the visual world accurately
  • Self smart - ability to think about and understand oneself

By now, you probably have a good idea on which “smart” your child may have. But is it something that has to be nurtured on its own, or can other smarts be enhanced as well, in order for him or her to excel more, academically or otherwise?

Hint: Academic success isn’t everything

Excelling in academics doesn’t assure a one-way ticket to a successful life. (Cue the collective sigh of relief from kiasu parents all over the country.)

On the flipside: Scoring low often or doing ‘just all right’ and occasionally bringing in not-so-stellar grades does not mean that they’ll also fail in life.

Don’t believe us? Then this video is definitely for you:


Mums and dads, what matters in the end are not the grades they get, but your child’s happiness, and his support from you, fully accepting him for who he is and what he loves to do or strives to become.

What matters is they know that whatever they choose, those closest to them will be there, cheering on.

But what if your child needs help figuring out what they’re good at?

That’s where parents come in — it’s your responsibility to nurture, guide, and provide opportunities for them to grow and find out what they love to do.

Utilising the MIDAS™ tool is a good start. It will give you a good indication as to which of the 8 Smarts your child excels in. The tool is a series of questions you answer on behalf of your child, to reveal which Smart he or she is strongest in.

Once you know which Smart to focus on, you can then figure out how to develop it. You can do so through activities and tweaking your child’s study habits in order to apply his or her smart. It can even guide him on what to take up when it’s time for university and choosing a career path.

Figuring out their Smart early on from the 8 Smarts — even before your child reaches his or her teen years — will give your child more time to excel in what matters to him or her, and will give them the opportunity to love the life that he’s leading.



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Written by

Maita De Jesus

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