Which Genius Type is Your Child?

The dissatisfied boy reading the book
Image via iStock

Did you grow up thinking school was easy and getting good grades was a piece of cake? Or did you struggle with taking exams and think you weren’t smart?

Well guess what, you are smart. And so is your child. Even though our society tends to recognize and reward very limited types of intelligence, there are actually many types of intelligence. According to Howard Gardner, author of The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, we each have at least 7 distinctly different types of intelligence.

 Each one of these intelligences operates from a different part of the brain, and has its own timetable for growth and development. Only the first two types of intelligence are typically measured and valued in our school systems. However, in my work as a life coach, I believe that the two most critical factors for creating a successful life lie within the last two genius types, what Gardner calls “personal intelligences.” How you relate to yourself and others around you is just as important as factual knowledge.

The 7 Types of Genius Howard Gardner defined are outlined below. 

Image via Flickr/Divine in the Daily
  1. Verbal Linguistic – This is your native ability to read and write words. Since verbal linguistics is the primary way humans gather and share information, it’s the primary way our educational system measures someone’s I.Q. People with great verbal linguistic skills tend to seek careers as journalists, lawyers, writers, and teachers.
  2. Numerical – This genius is expressed by the ability to measure data in numbers. These people usually excel at linear and sequential thinking, and can compute large equations and complex problems with ease. Careers that suit numerical minds would be mathematician, engineer, and science based studies.
  3. Spatial – This genius is where the creative people thrive. The way they see and use the world around them is unique, and often visionary. Spatial people are great artists, photographers, designers, and inventors. Some careers, like an architect, would demand fluency in all 3 categories mentioned above.
  4. Physical – Physical people learn by doing. They are kinesthetic in nature, and their talents usually involve their body. Athletes and dancers are the most notable physical geniuses. However other “hands on” trades fit this genius as well. Mechanics, chefs, carpenters, and other building trades would fall in this category.
  5. Environmental – This refers to people who have a strong connection to nature. They are in tune with Mother Nature, and it emanates from them to the things and creatures around them. This strong tie to the environment makes them gifted at dealing with trees, animals, the ocean, and land. Careers in harmony with these gifts can be farmer, animal trainer, park ranger, landscaper, or oceanographer.
  6.  Intrapersonal – People with this skill set have high levels of emotional intelligence. Because they possess strong mental self-talk, they endure moments of fear and anger better than most. This resilience makes them not afraid to fail. They can overcome overwhelming circumstances because of their tough mental attitude. I think someone like Viktor Frankl, who survived a concentration camp and wrote an inspiring book about it, has great intrapersonal gifts.
  7. Interpersonal – These are the charismatic communicators. They can talk easily with people, and enjoy being in front of people. Because they are great influencers, they tend to be in some of the highest paying careers as well. Actors, preachers, politicians, singers, speakers, and salespeople are just some of the careers that communicators gravitate towards. 



Image via Flickr/dadblunders

So what if my child struggles in school?

 Your child is still intelligent! If your child doesn’t find a true expression of their genius and intelligence within the educational system, that’s ok.  Their genius lies in one of the other areas. Just teach them how to work the system and find success within it. Then, more importantly, take it upon yourself to help them find ways outside of the classroom to use their genius in a fulfilling way. Nurture their physical, musical, or other abilities so they can rise to their potential. Expressing your praise and admiration for their achievements in every area of intelligence will mold the most well-rounded child possible.

Your child’s advocate

In an ever-increasingly competitive world that pushes children towards excelling at the first two areas of genius, which are measured in standardized tests and SAT scores, what’s a parent to do?

Our strongest resource is being educated, intuitive parents. Parents who know there’s more to being successful than what a report card says. Parents who know our children so intimately that we see their innate gifts and talents, and then encourage that genius to blossom, in whatever area it is.

Only then will we have a world full of people who are fully expressing their genius, and passionately on fire in their lives. And that is a world our society desperately needs. That’s the world I want to live in.

What genius type are you? How can you honor your genius today?

Tell me in the comments below. It’s so interesting hearing about others gifts!

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What do you think?

Which Genius Type is Your Child?

Shannon is a mother of 3 teens, who hit 40 and decided that instead of a "mid-life crisis", she wanted an adventure of a lifetime. She convinced her wonderfully open-minded husband to pack up their house, sell most of their possessions, and travel the USA in an RV for a year or two. Besides homeschooling her kids, running their online program, Watts in the World, Shannon loves to explore new places. Nothing is more exciting than waking up in a new city everyday, and discovering what's great abou ... More

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1 comment

  1. Crystal says:

    I think it is so important to discover each child’s genius and make sure they are aware of it. My 4th child struggles in school, but he can look at a bold and immediately grab the right size wrench. It is pretty amazing. I always joke that he needs to be able to skip all this reading and writing stuff and head straight to a mechanic school. Whenever he is down about reading I always point out his other amazing abilities. My oldest is beginning to struggle with high school, mostly because he is forgetful and unorganized and I keep reminding him that he is an interpersonal genius.


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