How to raise a brain­box

Child Ge­nius

TV Times - - Front Page - Child Ge­nius mon-fri / C4 / 8Pm Emma Bul­limore

Any child with a good ed­u­ca­tion can achieve what mine have


Ev­ery par­ent thinks their child is spe­cial, but imag­ine be­ing mum to two ex­cep­tion­ally clever kids, who will com­pete against each other in this year’s Mens­abacked Child Ge­nius con­test.

Susan, from north London, tells TV Times she’s burst­ing with pride for daugh­ter Olivia, 12, and son Fabio, nine, but can’t let her brainy off­spring run rings around her.

‘The trick to rais­ing chil­dren like mine is that you have to be clev­erer than them. Olivia may be the princess in our house, but I’m the queen!’ she laughs. ‘There will come a point when my chil­dren will be able to out­manouevre me, but we’re not there yet.’

Stay-at-home mum Susan has al­ways pri­ori­tised her chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion and be­lieves work­ing hard is the key to a bet­ter life. ‘I don’t think I’m more am­bi­tious than any other par­ent. In fact,

Child Ge­nius made me re­alise that I’m ac­tu­ally quite nor­mal!’ she says.

‘I am very proud to come from a work­ing-class, Caribbean back­ground – my par­ents are from the Win­drush gen­er­a­tion of postworld War Two mi­grants. Most im­mi­grants re­alise that the way to es­cape your en­vi­ron­ment is through ed­u­ca­tion, so my par­ents passed on their strong work ethic to me, and I went on to get a de­gree.

‘Any child with a good stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion can achieve what mine have be­cause it’s just good, old-fash­ioned hard work.

‘My chil­dren aren’t liv­ing my dreams, they’ve got their own. As a par­ent, I just want to give them op­por­tu­ni­ties.’

Although she’s ‘be­yond proud’ of her chil­dren – book­ish Fabio, who likes stay­ing in, and ath­letic Olivia, who has shelves of sports medals – she wasn’t sure that they’d get on to Child Ge­nius when she first en­tered them.

‘i knew they were gifted, but i didn’t know they were that clever!’ says Susan, whose hus­band, Rob, works be­hind the scenes in TV news. ‘The show was ex­cit­ing for a bor­ing house­wife like me. The other par­ents were lovely, and we’ve all made some friends for life.’

And while she can’t re­veal how Fabio and Olivia fared, Susan is adamant that there was no pres­sure on them to win. ‘You have to be a good loser in life, and my chil­dren have known this from an early age.

‘Just get­ting on the show was a huge achieve­ment, and it made my day – any­thing else was a bonus.’

Bright sparks: Fabio and Olivia with their par­ents, Susan and rob

tall or­der: Host richard Os­man

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