So you have a baby and you’re overwhelmed by making sure this baby grows to be a happy child and the most loved, but also the most likely to succeed. Right? We all want our children to succeed. But can we contribute to that? Aren’t they just born smart or not? We can enrich their lives, but how can we truly make them more likely to succeed?
The answer may be a concept called grit, developed by psychologist Angela Duckworth.
“According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist and MacArthur ‘genius’ Angela Duckworth, grit, defined as a child’s “perseverance and passion for long-term goals,” is a better indicator of future earnings and happiness than either IQ or talent. Today’s mounting research on grit suggests that your child’s ability to work hard, endure struggle, fail, and try again may be the key to determining his or her long-term success and happiness.” (full article from A Fine Parent)
What is grit? It’s actually one of my favorite things to talk about. Because it’s just such a cool concept. I also love the word “grit” and all that it embodies on its own. When you apply it to development and to children’s likelihood to succeed, I could go on forever. I tend to write long blog posts so I won’t go on and on, and I’ll stick to the overall gist of grit.
If you want to raise a child who will have drive, passion, character and ambition, LET HIM FAIL. I mean it (and so does everyone else who writes about this topic). Think about it, if everything comes easy for a child, if mom or dad always fixes life for them and never lets them struggle, how will they ever learn to deal with challenges? How will they ever learn and feel that incredible feeling of SUCCESS after working really really hard at something? How will they ever want to feel that feeling of accomplishment? They may not.
Grit is the term used to basically explain resilience. The concept of “getting back up again.” The more times a child experiences this, the more gritty they become. I don’t mean to just set your child up for failure every second just so they can build up their “grit” but I mean, let. them. struggle.
There are a few ways to foster grit in your child and I found the most straightforward list here. For children in their earliest years, I believe its a lot through respectful care and language. Support your child through the struggles out of respect instead of love and do so with language instead of physical rescuing (when you can). I always believe in minimal intervention but enough to show support and respect. When we act out of love, we want to save them from every single obstacle and it’s really hard not to!! I give an example here of how to support vs. rescue.
It comes down to this, as loving parents (you are loving if you are reading this, or anything on my blog!), its our impulse to protect our children from feeling sad, frustrated, upset, or experiencing any sort of loss. However, isn’t it our duty to prepare them for life and aren’t all of those things part of life? Not only that, don’t we all know, deep down, that those are the things they really need to experience in order to succeed? Don’t we all know that in order to succeed, we need to experience frustration and accept failure? We also need the opportunity to experience achievement and the most rewarding ones are those that are really hard to achieve. Take time to notice a child’s sense of accomplishment when they’ve figured something out or reached a goal on their own, it’s magical.
When I see Tess struggle, it kills me, I literally have to sit on my hands sometimes. I’ve also learned to decipher love and respect. My love for her wants to save her from feeling any thing bad, and my respect for her wants to set her up to succeed in life, to want to work hard and to be able to handle life (on life’s terms). Like, I want her to survive motherhood one day, right? That sh*t takes A LOT of grit.
**There are other articles that differ on the stance of grit but the overall concept is that it stands for the deep need for achievement, and I think that’s something any parent wants for a child. You want them to want to succeed.