Precocious, per its definition, describes a child in a positive light. But in practice, many tend to use it in a negative way, and I feel the negative connotation outweighs the positive. So even when you say 'precocious talent', it sounds like you're saying it out of spite.
Here are some opinions online that echoes what I am saying:
- Wiktionary Talk
- Yahoo Answers
- "Now freq. mildly derogatory, with connotations of overconfidence, self-assertiveness, or pretension" - Editorial Note from OED.
So is there a word similar to precocious, which does not carry this negative connotation? To describe someone is acting 'beyond his/her age'?