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How do I develop GRIT in my child?

Dear Parent,

In this week’s “Ohana SEL+ Program” lesson we will step up to the development of Grit. This strength is a crucial part of your child’s emotional development. But before I talk about your role I want to remind you not to forget all the previous lessons because they build on each other. Keep working the repetition and using the words for all three Courage Muscle lessons. Then for their Discipline Muscle keep noticing and rewarding every time your child does a little more than you expect. And, make sure to start your next new habit once the one you are working on is in place!

Back to Grit. Grit is the skill and habit of persistenceand perseverance. Can you imagine your child struggling, getting frustrated, failing or getting knocked to the ground but immediately getting up every single time driven even harder to succeed? Can you imagine your child doing something hard or difficulty yet instead of letting up or backing off, is challenged by it and not only more motivated the longer it takes but actually develops a relentless resolve to succeed?

You can talk or tell your child stories about grit until you are blue in the face. You can show them videos or even model it yourself but there is really only one way your child will develop grit – they have to emotionally practice it. In other words, they have to “feel” the deep intense emotion of struggling or failing then they have to get repeated practice at powering through it. You cannot learn emotional or social skills with just positive thinking or even just your mindset. You have to feel struggle and failure deeply then physically and emotional flex your muscle. They have to fall, skin their knee, then get up and keep running repeatedly.

So, this is what we are doing in this lesson. What part can you play? Just start by “noticing”. Just notice every time your child is tested. We taught them tests are just not the formal written tests at school. They are tested all the time, big and small. They are tested at home, in sports, by their friends, by their siblings. They are tested to listen and focus. They are tested to do things they do not want to do. Then help them take advantage of each of these tests as a learning opportunity and chance to flex their discipline and grit muscle.

Are you ready to help your child struggle and fail? (They need both in daily heavy doses!)

Yours for strong kids,


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