Before dig deep into your pocket, you need to ask yourself: Is your child just very talented at a particular skill, whether it is chess, violin or figure skating? Or are they truly a one-in-a-milion specimen?
Joanne Ruthsatz, a professor at Ohio State University has been collecting DNA from child prodigies around the country, in the hope of identifying a "prodigy gene" - one that is shared with autistic savants, she suspects.
On the other hand, there are the stage parents who are relentless in driving their kids. A prime example, says Winner: Tennis great Andre Agassi, who bemoaned his miserable childhood in his autobiography "Open".
(Note: You can expect to spend $30,000 to $100,000 annually to fuel your kid's dream of tennis stardom, according to Tim Donovan, founder of Donovan Tennis Strategies, a college recruiting consulting group.)
In other words, if your child isn't a true prodigy, don't invest a crazy amount of resources just because you sniff a potential payoff down the line.
If you do have one-in-a-million talent, though, then you have some hard financial decisions to make.The good news is that if you do sacrifice and help launch them to world-class levels, the financial burdens start to lessen: They will likely garner full-ride college scholarships, for instance, and be paid for their performances with travel expenses covered.
"With true prodigies, it is usually the child leading the parent," says Joanne Ruthsatz. "One little kid I worked with was downloading lectures from MIT, all on their own," Ruthsatz says. "You just can't stop them."
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