PARENTING FOR GRIT
The author gets asked a lot “What can I do to encourage grit in the people I care for?”
She says that everyone that asked are thinking as a parent would, even if they’re not parents.
John Watson says that if you want to make a child tough, you have to not show them affection. Obviously, some people disagree by saying that kids need love to be able to follow their interests.
Which one is right? The author points out that while there are research on parenting and research on grit, there aren’t any research on parenting and grit yet.
Steve Young played for an american football team. He said his dad never let him quit football practice, even if he really wanted to. He said his parents were great parents.
His dad was nicknamed “Grit”, which says a lot about his no-quit work-hard attitude.
Francesca Martinez’s is a successful comedian. Compared to Steve, she isn’t very strict on rules such as cussing or drinking.
As a teen, she wanted to be a comedian, but her high school counselors told her to learn about computers so she can get an office job.
Her parents however told her to follow her dreams. They allowed her to drop out of high school to go on a television stage. Her brother Raoul also dropped out of high school to learn under a master painter. They let her go clubbing with friends and drink, and were generally loose on rules.
They said that children has their own way of finding what’s right for them.
Francesca’s dad, Alex, said that he hates spoiled children, and says that while kids needs to be loved and accepted, they need to be taught what’s good or bad, and discipline.
For example, Alex told her daughter to physical exercises for years, which she hated.
The author notes that those two families are an example of how families can be tough but loving.
She made a chart about parenting types. Supportive & undemanding parents is permissive parenting, supportive but demanding is wise parenting, demanding & unsupportive is authoritarian parenting, and undemanding & unsupportive parents is neglectful parenting.
Larry studied a questionnare about parents of teenagers, and all kids with supportive and demanding parents had higher grades, more independent and had less anxiety.
The author made a list here about if a kid agrees with the points on the list. If they agree with the normal-formatted points then the parents are doing wise parenting.
Stanford University did an experiment on preschoolers watching adults play with toys in different ways. The kids who watched the adults who built the toys calmly were also calm while playing it, while the kids who watched the adults beat up the toys also became aggressive. (What will happen to the kids who got the negative end of the experiment in the future)
The author says that it’s not just mothers and fathers who set an example for grit. Mentors also affect children.
A researcher by the name of Ron finds that the effects of teaching is very similar to parenting. Psychologically wise teachers also can make an impact on their students.
Not all gritty people had wise parents. Instead, they had another figure who they used as an example for grittiness.
Cody didn’t have supportive parents, or available parents at all. His mum was diagnosed to be insane after threatening to kill a kid, and he never met his dad. His grandma took custody of him and his brothers.
They were poor, and Cody didn’t have good grades. His grandma’s mental health is also declining. And then, Cody’s eldest brother asks where he wants to go to college.
Cody wanted to go to Princeton University, but said that it was impossible. His brother said why not? If he works harder, he’d be able to go to a decent school.
He then realized that if he tried, he might have a chance to go into Princeton. He worked really hard until he got very good grades.
He met a teacher called Chantel, and she took care of him, gave him clothes, and basically unofficially adopted him.
Once he got into MIT, he said there were challenges, but he also got support from his family, friends and teachers. He got a degree in electrical engineering and computer science later.
While Cody didn’t have a wise mum, dad or grandparents, he did have a brother who supported him, a good teacher and a lot of other supportive people at school.
Cody says that you don’t need to be a parent to make a impact someone’s life. You just need to care about them and help them go through whatever is troubling them, and you can make a difference.
Previous chapter: Chapter 9