6 Ways To Build Grit, Resilience And Mental Strength In Children
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
28 September 2021
Grit, resilience and mental strength are all qualities we want to see in our children. Grit is an individual’s determination to achieve a certain goal, and a combination of self-control, resilience and ambition is more important to being successful in life than mere intelligence.
Some children are naturally born with more grit than others, but you can help your child develop more grit and perseverance with these easy habits:
1. Help kids find their passion
Help your child identify something that he is passionate about and interested in, not something that you want him to do. One of the characteristics of “gritty” people is that they are motivated to seek happiness through continual focused engagement. They strive for meaning and purpose, so letting a child find their own passion is necessary for the long term. As children grow older, allowing them to pursue an interest they have chosen themselves will motivate them to keep working at it until they succeed.
2. Encourage kids to step out of their comfort zone
As adults, we know too well that stepping out of our comfort zones is crucial for growth and resilience. Ditto for kids. Encourage your child to try something new, even if it seems challenging and daunting. That’s really the best way to grow mentally strong too because it shows kids that they can do anything that they set their minds to.
3. Teach them that failure is essential
Struggling and failing is part of life, so giving your child a chance to fail and bounce back is one of the greatest gifts you can give as a parent. Difficult as it may be to see your child struggle, it’s important to let children learn resilience through taking risks and struggling. When your child is having a problem with something, resist the urge to jump in and “save” them; likewise, don’t allow them to quit at the first sign of failure. Allowing your children to work through their frustration will give them an opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to confront challenges.
4. Be a gritty parent
If you want your children to handle setbacks with grace and calm, be the model of determination they need. Talking to them about your own failures will help them understand that it is okay to fail. Show kids that you take on tasks that are sometimes scary, and that you sometimes struggle or fail and then bounce back. Model resilience for your children and show them that failing is nothing to be afraid of.
5. Brainstorm together
When your child fails at something, resist the urge to swoop in with your Plan B. Use this as an opportunity for him to look at a problem from a different angle and come up with a different solution. Brainstorming strategies together shows that you are supportive, but let your child take ownership of the solution, as it helps develop resilience and perseverance. Encourage healthy self-talk and teach your child to reframe negative thoughts into optimistic and practical solutions instead.
6. Celebrate effort, not just accomplishments
Grit and resilience come from not giving up, so it’s important to not just focus on the marks or results, but to also celebrate the effort that your child puts into something. Modelling a growth mindset like this helps instill in young children that hard work is part of the process and that mistakes are part of the journey. When parents talk positively about making mistakes, kids start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.