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Parenting Tip of the Month

Grit vs. Talent

Dr. Angela Duckworth has studied rookie teachers, West Point Cadets, spelling bee champions, salespeople, Ivy League college students, and school children. In all of them, Dr. Duckworth found that GRIT was the best predictor of success. Grit is defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Dr. Duckworth’s research proved that grit was a better predictor of success than talent, intelligence, or social status. In many cases, Duckworth found that success was unrelated to talent. Gritty kids are optimistic and understand that failure is temporary and may even be a necessary step to success.

So how do we develop “gritty kids?” At least part of the answer is structure. Children raised in a structured home learn to work before playing. Another way of building grit is teaching kids to finish the projects they start. Children who learn to stay with tasks will eventually be successful. Success builds optimism. Everything from jigsaw puzzles and sandcastles to chores and homework assignments should be finished. Children who learn to finish what they start are far more likely to work toward long-term goals when they are older. When children are not already motivated to begin or to stay with projects or tasks, parents may have to supply the motivation and structure necessary to encourage children to do so. Want to help end the arguments? Try adding the word absolutely. “Absolutely, sweetheart. You can play video games just as soon as you finish your homework.” Parents should then add those seven magic words, “Take as much time as you need.”

“It is not that I am so smart, it’s just that
I stay with problems longer.”
– Albert Einstein