When you hear the word “grit,” what comes to mind?
Now, think of it in terms of people—specifically, children. You’ll probably associate it with being tough or having the ability to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.
There is a lot of talk surrounding kids these days, and their lack of grit. In essence, many people think kids are getting “soft.”
Having grit is related to having a strong character. When you have grit, you can stand firm in your convictions and you aren’t broken easily. It can be a key factor in success and how well your child responds to hardships.
So, does your kid have grit? What does that look like?
Let’s take a look at five of the “grittiest” characteristics and why they’re so important.
Bravery, courage, and grit all go hand-in-hand. Adults are afraid of many things, so think about how much easier it is for kids to be scared. It’s how your child responds to fear that tells the depth of their grit.
You can especially measure a child’s grit by how they respond to failure. Does your child avoid trying something new because they’re afraid of failing? Or, do they dive in headfirst? If they do fail, do they get back up or give up entirely?
A “Go for the Gold” Attitude
Would you call your child conscientious? Are they willing to take chances and even step outside of their own plans in order to be successful? Kids who are aware of the idea of success and chase after it in different ways tend to have a lot of grit.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a child who follows a plan to the letter and never steps out of the comfort of boundaries. But a child who is willing to divert from that path when it isn’t working may be more likely to reach success faster and conquer their goals.
We touched on facing fear, even when a failure occurs. But there’s another characteristic that kids with grit have in the face of failure—endurance.
If your child has endurance, they’ll stick with something to reach their long-term goals, no matter what. They find meaning within the effort they’re putting in, even if they fail. And they use their failures to learn and grow and to try something different next time.
Kids with endurance aren’t just strong, they’re mentally tough.
When you think of optimism, you might not immediately think of grit. But consider how optimism and resilience go together.
A child who is optimistic about what they can do is more likely to show great resilience. They’re also more likely to have a lot of self-confidence. So much so, in fact, that almost nothing can bring them down or stop them from achieving their goals.
It’s never easy for a parent to see their child struggle with something, whether it be school, sports, friendships, etc. But a resilient child will persevere through these trials and won’t let them change their positive outlook on what’s yet to come.
Striving for Excellence
We often think of “striving for perfection” as something we should all do. But think about that for a minute. Perfectionism comes with a lot of barriers and a lot of downfalls. Striving for perfection tends to put a lot of pressure on kids and can actually set them up for failure. It can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety.
Instead, kids who strive to be excellent understand that they don’t have to be perfect to succeed. They can strive to be the best they can be while knowing it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.
As you can see, the characteristics of grit may not be what you initially thought. But they can help your child to overcome failures, work through hardships, and find personal success when it comes to big and small goals. If you’re interested in learning how to encourage grit in your child, please feel free to contact us.