The Parents Of 2 Brilliant Students Have Some Advice For Raising Smart Kids

jack andraka intel science fairJack Andraka won the Youth Award at Smithsonian Magazine’s 1st Annual Ingenuity Awards

Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Jack Andraka is a 16-year-old who won last year’s Intel science fair for developing a simple cancer detection test. His brother Luke, 18, is a two-time Intel competition finalist and MIT Think Award winner.Forbes’ John Nosta recently spoke to Jack and Luke’s parents, Steve and Jane Andraka, about how they raised such smart kids.

It boils down to one central tenet: Teach your kids to think through problems and innovate solutions on their own.

The Andrakas offer a lot of smart advice about raising kids who think independently in their interview with Nosta, which can be found here.

Here are a couple of practical takeaways from the interview:

  • Encourage your kids to focus on a single project: “When you focus just on a specific goal or problem and ‘wrap your head around the goal’ it opens up all kinds of creativity and problem solving,” the Andrakas said.
  • Don’t have too many rules: Rules can kill creativity, so the Andrakas keep it simple: “Treat people with respect, do your homework, be honest and try to be safe.”
  • Set expectations early: The Andrakas have set the expectation that their kids would attend college since they were in elementary school.
  • Be proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities for your kids to appear — seek out extracurriculars and higher level competitions that the school might not even know about.

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