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By Guest Blogger & Hoppi Box Expert Panelist: Jessica Lahner - Child Development Expert, Ph.D.
Even more than intelligence and academic achievement, resilience is one of the strongest predictors of long-term happiness and success. As parents, we play an important role in developing children’s resiliency. The following three tips will go a long way to help your child learn to persevere despite setbacks while developing self-confidence and an optimistic outlook on life.
1) Nurture a strong attachment relationship. By responding promptly to our young children’s needs, we communicate that the world is a safe place to explore and take risks. When they know there are adults they can depend on and who believe in them, they internalize these positive messages and learn to become their own cheerleader when the going gets tough in the years to come.
2) Let kids solve their own problems. Resist the urge to jump in when you see your child struggling. Instead of wiggling the puzzle piece into place when your child can’t get it to fit, challenge yourself to give him more time to figure it out. Chances are, with a few more seconds he’ll succeed and learn that perseverance pays off in the process.
3) Praise the process instead of the person. Research suggests that toddlers whose parents who offer “process praise” aimed at their child’s effort and persistence instead of “person praise” focused on the child’s intellect, display more resilient behavior years later.1 Specifically, kids who were praised for their persistence were more likely to believe that being smart was the result of hard work, choose challenging versus easy tasks, and persist despite obstacles. So instead of saying, “Good job! You are so smart” when your child succeeds, try “You worked so hard on that and kept trying even when it got hard. You must be so proud of yourself!”
1 Elizabeth A. Gunderson, Sarah J. Gripshover, Carissa Romero, Carol S. Dweck, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Susan C. Levine. Parent Praise to 1- to 3-Year-Olds Predicts Children's Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later. Child Development, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12064