Who owns the accomplishment?

Patricia Travers was a child prodigy violinist who disappeared from the spotlight after adolescence. Her short-lived career is an example of how children need to "own" their accomplishments and not be performers and producers to make their parents look good.

A rare photo of child prodigy Patricia Travers who made her solo debut with the New York Philharmonic when she was 11 years old in 1939.

Patricia Travers looks happy here practicing the violin with her father. Her violin career was short-lived. After debuting with the New York Philharmonic at age 11, she stopped public performances by her mid-twenties.

An only child, Travers never married and lived with her parents until they died. The only person she performed for was her mother. Travers died earlier this month.

The problem with child prodigies is that they eventually ask, “Why am I doing this? For me or my parents?”

That’s why I advocate parents learn the art of encouragement versus praise.

That’s why I advocate NOT paying children for grades, practicing musical instruments, or doing chores. Motivation for achievement must come from within if the child is sincere.

Helicopter parents can have the opposite effect they’re seeking. Too much involvement can turn off a child instead of turn her onto a lifelong passion.

Experts say that child prodigies usually fall from grace because sustaining that energy and success as an adult requires a different set of skills than being a youthful creative genius.

Parents today want to give their children every advantage. Ironically, it’s often better to let children follow their whim and create their own path in life with background support from parents.

Encouragement is low key, focuses on the deed, and is given during trail and error. Praise is high-energy, focuses on the doer, is given only after success. For a free tip sheet on encouragement, click here.

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