A Piedmont family was recently featured on a reality show called The Parent Test. The show features the parenting styles of 12 different families across the country. I met up with six-year-old Juliette Leong along with her parents, Willa and Jonathan, and asked them what it was like.
The Reality of being on a Reality Show
“We were told they wanted to look at our parenting style because they want to see how a kid like Juliette was raised,” Johnathan said. “Then they went into what they consider a reality show environment.”
Parent Test: Intensive Style
The show wanted the Jonathan and Willa to represent the “intensive” parenting style. But that did not sit well with them. “They tried to prove that we were abusive and all that kind of stuff.”
“Yeah, they lied” Juliette added.
Willa, Juliette’s mother was upset with how the show portrayed them. “So, the producer told us that you guys are the best parents ever. They said they came across Juliette’s YouTube channel and she’s so amazing we want to see how you parent her. We were like sure!”
The Leongs said they knew Juliette was special from a very young age. “Around two years old,” her father told me. “People started commenting that she remembers everything and then somebody said we should have her tested.”
At four, her parents decided to test her IQ and were blown away by the results. “Periodic tables to all the Presidents, the Capitols… her memory’s amazing.”
The Life of a Prodigy
Juliette keeps her parents busy. With all her activities and ambitions, they are always on the road, and they just got back from a trip to Carnegie Hall, where Juliette performed. “She’s the youngest solo violinist to ever play at Carnegie Hall,” Jonathan said.
“So, she basically runs us, right?” Willa added. “She wants to do so many things. When she was very, very young she told us she wants to sing. She wanted to sing the national anthem. And by three she was singing the national anthem.”
Juliette wanted to perform on a very big stage. “So, we put a video online and then we did get contacted by Reno Aces and the Oakland A’s. She sang at the Coliseum,” said Willa.
Pushing too Hard, or Hardly Pushing
Some people have accused the couple of pushing Juliette too hard and that was how they were ultimately portrayed on the Parent Test. I asked them how they felt about this portrayal.
“Oh, we said it’s quite the opposite.” Willa says they are barely scratching the surface of what Juliette tells them she wants to do. “So, she’s pushing us.”
Because of her ability to memorize she learns very fast, so Willa says she hardly schools. “I tell people that we maybe school an hour a day. Like it’s quite the opposite of what people think. She wakes up at like ten in the morning, she eats breakfast, and we school until like noon and she has the rest of the day off.”
“But we told them that. We said we’re free ranging parents, but they said we’re intensive at least for that one hour we are home schooling Juliette.
I asked Juliette what her plans are for the future. “Doctor? Violinist, Artist, Pianist.”
Ambitious goals. But if anyone can accomplish them, it’s this 6-year-old prodigy from Piedmont.
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