Much research in recent years has focused upon positivity and mindfulness. These are both seen as essential for living a fruitful life and are essential skills for school, work, play and social relationships. Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania has termed a person’s ability to focus on long term goals as “Grit”.
Another way to look at this is to see that working hard for a future goal and enduring setbacks and failure is crucial to an individual’s success in all domains of life. In research with West Point cadets, Duckworth showed that Grit predicted success much better than any other quality, including IQ. In fact, Grit correlates much higher with college grades than SAT or ACT scores. Later work by Duckworth and others has shown that it is possible to teach children the Grit skill set.
So what can parents and others in a child’s life do to foster development of this skill set? The following six steps can help your child achieve lasting success:
- Push the school your child attends to include developing the qualities of perseverance, conscientiousness, self-control, and curiosity in addition to academic skills.
- Refrain from praising your child for being smart and instead praise them for being determined and tenacious.
- Encourage your child to not just throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble. This will help build resilience which is a key aspect of Grit.
- Allow your child to become frustrated and experience delayed satisfaction and failure. Too often we believe it is important to shield a child from these experiences when, in fact, these help build Grit. The key is to talk your child through these experiences so that they learn that they are an inevitable part of life and that achievement doesn’t come easily and that failure is not something to fear.
- Focus family discussions on effort and drive rather than grades or being seen as bright. This will reinforce the development of working towards goals, even if they are tough to achieve.
- If your child has ADHD symptoms, find a trained. Professional Coach for them to help them learn to focus and prioritize tasks. This is often best done using education specialists and the usual approach is Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Savannah Educational Consultants has credentialed, experienced Professional Coaches that will work with you and your child/student to being able to develop their resilience and Grit skill set.