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Parents of a 14-year-old Mensa member who graduated college reveal their biggest rule: Be social

He has friends who were with him as a kid, as well as the 20-somethings in his college classes at Carolina University and adult co-workers. 

Parents of a 14-year-old Mensa member who graduated college reveal their biggest rule: Be social
Cover Image Source: (L) Facebook / Mark Wimmer and (R) Twitter/ @Mike_aighost

Parents often are persistent that their kids should be good at academics and do well in sports. That's usually the case because parents feel that could get their children admission into top colleges. However, Melissa and Mark Wimmer think differently and all they wanted their son to do was socialize, reports TODAY.

Their 14-year-old son, Mike, is a certified child prodigy. He is a Mensa member from Salisbury, North Carolina, who completed his high school, associate's and bachelor's degrees all in three years. 



 

That's not all. He also ran two tech companies, founded a third one and collaborated with Atlantic Lionshare, a Bermuda-based organization that works towards controlling the population of lionfish, an invasive species.

Moreover, Mike is an extrovert who at 11 won homecoming court for his high school sophomore class. He has friends who were with him as a kid, also the 20-somethings in his college classes at Carolina University and adult co-workers. 

Being a child prodigy, people usually do not expect Mike to be an extrovert. Melissa, his mother told CNBC that people expect "Young Sheldon" before they meet her son. "Young Sheldon" is a television show about a child prodigy who is an introvert and lacks social skills. 

But once they talk to Mike, they understand that "he's just a normal 14-year-old that happens to be able to do amazing things," said the mother. 



 

The parents are proud that they were able to help Mike with his social skills along with his intellectual skills. According to the Wimmers', the No.1 rule to raising a social child is to: “Let [kids] be who they are and just support it. You’ve just constantly got to keep your finger on the pulse of how they’re growing and what they need.”

Mark and Melissa got to know about their child's intelligence when he entered preschool. A child psychologist told them that their son had maxed out her IQ scale and he would need a different curriculum to support his fast-track development. 



 

Many parents aren't comfortable with putting their children with 18-year-olds but Mike's parents saw the value in letting their child go through it. “I wanted him to be able to be social and be able to handle all the different personalities in the classrooms with older children,” said Melissa. “Mike will be the first one to say that his parents never pushed him as far as academics go, but [that] they left no room for negotiating on his social skills.”

Thanks to his parents, he has learned to navigate with young and older ones alike. With friends of his age, he talks about car racing, while with adult co-workers, he gets into more technical discussions about artificial intelligence and machine learning systems. “I always let the person set the tone. I gauge the person, in a sense, and then go from there,” Mike said.

His parents shared that they were able to do this by letting Mike find his own voice and putting it to use. “We decided that we would just put him in social situations and try to encourage him to engage with everyone else and just be more comfortable talking to others outside of our environment,” said Melissa. “Being able to communicate was a biggie.”



 

This is why Mike was able to get comfortable outside his comfort zone at a young age. “Mike gets asked a lot by some of the other parents, ‘How did you get so social?’” Melissa shared. “It’s just exposing him — like letting him order food when he’s 3 or 4 from the waiter or waitress. And introducing himself to people. Those kinds of things, just getting him where he feels natural talking to others.”

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