Help your child grow in Grit and succeed

Posted : 02 March 2018

By Miss Adele Crane
Director of Student Wellbeing

We all want the best for our children and for them to grow up into happy, successful and confident adults who have a bright future. So, what is the best way to do this? How can we help them to grow up to be the best they can be and succeed at reaching their goals?

Often it may take years for a person to reach their goal. Elite sports people work persistently for years to refine and improve their technique and ability in their sporting domain. Matilda’s player Samantha Kerr, the 2018 Young Australian of the Year has been representing the country since she was 15 years old. She is known for being a hard worker and a fierce competitor on the field and has also shown grit in her efforts to raise the profile of female sports in Australia. She is passionate and shows persistence about her goal of getting Australians to cheer on both male and female sports teams.

Angela Duckworth is a world-renowned researcher on the area of Grit. Grit is the tendency someone has to sustain both interest and effort towards a long-term goal. Two of its key components are perseverance and passion. She has found that this characteristic is more important than a person’s IQ when predicting academic achievement and long-term success (Boniwell, 2012).

Duckworth’s research shows that it is the approach and attitude taken on the journey to reach a long-term goal that can help positively shape us and lead to our success. Building grit in our children will help them to flourish in the future and prepare them well for their life ahead. Our children can build grit if they get to face different obstacles and persevere to overcome them.

Five ways you can help your children to grow in grit:

  1. Encourage your child to set their own goal and is consistently working toward it. It may take time to achieve so they need to be interested in it and own it.
  2. Help your child to practise deliberately, with full concentration and high effort levels. Setting monthly or quarterly stretch goals can help in this journey, revising them again once they are reached.
  3. Encourage them to stick with extracurricular activities for two years or more years. Duckworth found that if children participate in extracurricular activities for more than one year, they were more likely to have higher levels of grit.
  4. Encourage your child in their efforts, walking alongside them. Note that you, as a parent or carer, cannot do the work, it is their effort that is required to develop the helpful habits.
  5. Model the skill of working on your own grit. In her book, Duckworth (2017) describes ‘The Hard Thing’ rule of her household, where everyone, including herself gets to pick to do something that is hard, that requires daily, deliberate practice. The participant (Senior School students only), cannot quit until completion of a second year. Why not implement this challenge in your own family?

At Penrith Anglican College, we believe that our students will greatly benefit from knowing about grit and building up their own grittiness. This will allow them to more easily stick to their goals, even when they are finding things tough. It is important that students know that failure and frustration can be part of their learning journey and by keeping to their goals and consistently applying a high level of effort, they can gain success.

In 2018 Grit will be a focus across the entire College, encouraging all students to recognise their passions and grow in grittiness, preparing them to achieve personal excellence in the future.

For further information regarding our student Wellbeing programme visitWellbeing at Penrith Anglican College

Boniwell, I. (2012) Positive Psychology in a Nutshell – The science of happiness. Third edition. Open University Press.

Duckworth, A. (2017) Grit – Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success. Vermilion.