How to raise a brainbox
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