Yesterday I completed the book Grit by Angela Duckworth, and before there was a 4th volume to my blog series, I wanted to let the content digest.
This was my second attempt reading the book, but my first time reading it to completion. The first go was a work assignment for a book club that was just starting in our organization. This second time around was on my own accord, and specifically chosen to pair the the 75hard program.
There were so many nuggets to help me progress through my day-to-day, and take action on high level goals that have been put off for years (hence Swrv Social). The biggest take away and one I want to dig a little deeper on was parenting for grit. We are engaging with our kids more than ever now, given the pandemic has change the social/educational space forever.
The book established a spectrum of parenting and split it into 4 quadrants. The horizontal was undemanding <-> demanding. The vertical was supportive <-> unsupportive. Then you have a quadrant 1 (permissive parenting), 2 ( neglectful parenting), 3 (Wise parenting), and 4 (authoritarian parenting). As you can guess, landing somewhere in the middle is ideal.
My suggestion would be if nothing else, read the parenting for grit chapter of the book. There is definitely one takeaway for every parent. Knowing every kid is different, change your approach to fit your situation, The fundamentals are the same regardless of your situation, and can help to establish attainable goals.
I didn't need to read in detail to know that I was definitely an authoritarian parent. Which can have the same harmful effect as being the on the other extreme of neglectfulness. Impressing upon my kids the value of hard work sometimes comes at a cost if not done correctly. The "because I said so" should not be an often used phrase, but it's generational and something very much instilled in me. You find yourself thinking, what if your boss told you to do a project with no context, and then topped it of with "because I said so." Would you be motivated to go off and complete the assignment? The answer would most likely be no.
Providing kids with an explanation of why they need to do something, doesn't mean you are at risk of losing respect. It shows them you respect them enough to educate them on the purpose. They also respond better (most times) because you are providing options, and they have the opportunity to make a choice. We as humans yearn for that feeling of independence we get when we make our own decisions. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are bad, but we get to determine the outcome.
This is something I try more and more to reenforce with my own 2. They both have chores (in which they get paid weekly). and there is every tool imaginable to help aid them in getting those chores completed (i.e. laminated checklist, phone reminders, hints from parents :) etc.) I wanted to teach them a sense of responsibility, and also the benefit of delivering on those responsibilities.
Now this where the choice comes into play. They both know the chore will be required regardless. The allowance is an added bonus, and also a positive incentive. They have the choice to deliver on those task and receive those benefits, or not deliver and deal with the consequence of that action. (i.e. no payment and chore still completed with escalation in emotions). Regardless of what choice they make, I will not complete that task for them. The ownership is all theirs, till death do they part. This is the responsibility part of the life lesson.
One other great practice that the author uses for her family is implementation of the Hard Thing Rule. A hard thing is defined as requiring daily deliberate practice. The rule has has 3 parts:
- Mom and Dad have to participate
- You can quit (but not till the season or program is complete. If you fail, keep trying.)
- Everyone gets to choose their hard thing. (Choice is everything)
What I love about this is the fact the child chooses their path to success on their terms. The guidelines are clearly defined. You can provide options for you kids to choose from, so the choice is still theirs to make. Then the are bought in. They can change their hard thing after successful completion if the interest changes, but it teaches the the value of commitment.
I hope every reader takes the opportunity to scan this chapter if there is even a small amount of interest. Kids are resilient and will surprise you if provided the space.
My motto is..."I have high very high expectations, AND I know you can reach them." Provide the tools and support. Always remember failing forward is growth.