By Leah Doughty, LMHCA – April 30, 2024

The term “grit,” coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth, is characterized by a combination of resilience, determination, and persistence, even in the face of setbacks and obstacles.

In the face of all of life’s challenges, helping your child develop grit is more important than ever. However, it is not necessarily comfortable for parents. It can be easier to “fix” than to teach.

Parents may find it uncomfortable to let their child experience failure and disappointment, so they resort to rescuing, an aspect of helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting refers to a “hover” style of parenting that is highly protective. While helicopter parents typically have good intentions and may believe they are acting in their children’s best interests, research suggests that this style of parenting can have negative consequences. Children of helicopter parents are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and a lack of resilience; in other words, they lack grit.

The following are some ways to help your child develop grit:

  1. Instead of jumping in to rescue your child, let them experience setbacks and failures while showing them support and encouragement. Tell them you believe in them and ask them what they learned from the experience. Encourage your kids to try again, be persistent, and not give up.
  2. Help your child set goals, take risks, and celebrate small victories and milestones along the way to larger goals.
  3. Demonstrate your trust in them by giving them space to problem-solve and overcome obstacles on their own.
  4. Talk with them about your own experiences of overcoming challenges through hard work and determination.
  5. Encourage your child to stick with activities when they become challenging or frustrating.
  1. And finally, model resilience and grit in your own life.

We can’t protect our kids from all of life’s hardships. Parental qualities that foster grit can be challenging but come with great rewards for our kids in the long run.

By fostering a growth-oriented mindset, you can help your child develop grit, setting them up for success in school, relationships, and life.