The Roundup - Grit & A Growth Mindset


The round-up on grit, self-regulation, and a growth mindset in children

  • To have grit is to have perseverance and passion for long term goals (Angela Duckworth). Duckworth, professor of psychology at The University of Pennsylvania and author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” has found that talent or IQ alone do not translate to success later in life- Grit is a better predictor of later success than intelligence (IQ) .

  • Grit lives under the overarching umbrella of conscientiousness, one of the big-5 personality traits. “Grit is the combination of perseverance and passion for long-term goals”- Angela Duckworth. She remarks that it's not just working hard, it’s combining that with a passion for something that gives you a sense of purpose.

  • A conscientious person is careful and vigilant, efficient and organized. She typically has a high level of self-discipline and is very goal-oriented.

How do we instill these characteristics in our children?

  • It’s important for us as parents to set realistic and manageable expectations for our children. It is the cornerstone of raising resilient children and ones that have grit.

  • How gritty are you? Take the quiz on Angela’s site here.

  • So...the real question we parents are asking ourselves is...can grit be learned? Can parents instill grit in their children? And the answer is, we think it’s possible.

  • Does teaching kids to be gritty help them get ahead?

  • Practical advice and useful strategies that may help make kids gritty:

    • Choose activities that the child enjoys and has a passion for but that also challenges them. The “hard-thing” rule.

    • Know that there will be frustration, heartache, disappointment and failure along your child’s way. It’s how you react to that, and it’s how you teach them to react to that failure that really matters in the long run.

    • Mindset: Angela Duckworth says the best thing we can do to instill grit on the next generation is to teach a “growth mindset”.

    • A “growth mindset”is the underlying belief of an individual that they can get smarter, accomplish something difficult and understand that effort makes them stronger. An individual with a growth mindset embraces challenges, persists over setbacks, learn from mistakes or failures, and understands that effort is the path to mastery.

    • It’s never too late. New neural connections in the brain can form with practice in growth mindset thinking and a person who has a less than optimal mindset can eventually train their brain to perform differently.

    • Teach your children to have a growth mindset by recognizing effort over success and encouragement over praise. Talk about the importance of “Yet”. “I can’t ride my bike...YET”-Mastering something takes time. Help them set measurable goals and celebrate failures. Start a tradition in your family to talk everyday about one thing each person tried and failed at. What went wrong and what can be done next time to make a better effort? And last, model a growth mindset and positive self-talk.

- Britt Franken 

As a mother of four kids, six chickens and one puppy, Brittany knows a few things about raising little ones. She is determined to raise children with resilience and grit, and believes in a gentle but firm parenting approach. Brittany is our co-founder, writer and researcher, constantly working behind the scenes on helpful articles and resources to share with you.