Helping kids succeed by developing perseverance

Nov 2, 2022, 10:23 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Child psychologists say parents can set their children up for success by keying in on this one soft skill.

Heather Bainbridge, an educational psychologist at Midvale Middle School, says soft skills are those fundamental skills kids need to prepare them for life, such as communication, leadership and flexibility.

One study shows that perseverance is what sets apart those who are highly motivated from those who give up easily.

“Often kids are just looking at their grade, they’re just looking at what they placed in a certain sport,” Bainbridge said. “They’re not looking at how the practice and effort paid off.”

She said parents can help build kids’ perseverance by instilling a growth mindset. Explain to your child that success is a process and praise them for their efforts, not their results.

“Sometimes parents will get caught in this as soon as their kid comes home, it’s like what about this assignment, what about your homework, what about this? What about this? And it’s a lot of correction and a lot of stuff about their achievements,” Bainbridge said.

Kids may struggle to see their way out of a challenge.

Bainbridge says parents should always show empathy first. Tell them it’s normal to feel frustrated and help them focus on what they can control.

“Kids will say happy, mad, sad,” she said. “And so, we teach them defeated, overwhelmed, scared so giving them the language as well helps them reflect a little bit. And then they’ll be able to communicate those feelings a little bit better.”

Bainbridge added sometimes parents just need to step back and let their kids figure it out, so they can develop perseverance and embrace that feeling of accomplishment.

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Helping kids succeed by developing perseverance