From time to time, I highlight an adult book that can help us nurture our children. Today’s feature isn’t specifically related to literacy, but it definitely strengthens literacy development and so much more.
We all want our children to be successful in life. Success is so much more than intelligence. Character is equally, if not more important. So, how does a child become successful in life? I just finished a brand new book that I wanted to share with all parents and educators. It’s called How Children Succeed by Paul Tough.
Tough is a writer and author who also contributes to the public-radio program This American Life. He interviewed researchers in neuroscience, economics and psychology for this new book. He found that character skills such as grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism play a huge role in shaping a successful person.
Here are a few things that I found very interesting from reading How Children Succeed.
- Researchers looked at the number of stressors in a person’s life and found that if someone had four or more stressors (abuse, neglect, incarcerated parent, divorce, etc.), then they had over a 50% chance of experiencing a learning or behavior issue. Children who grow up in stressful environments have a much harder time paying attention, sitting still, following directions and overcoming obstacles.
- “When you’re overwhelmed by uncontrollable impulses and distracted by negative feelings, it’s hard to learn the alphabet.”
- Parents who develop nurturing relationships with their kids help to develop resiliency. Early attachment in life (the first year) between mother and child produces a strong psychological benefit that lasts a lifetime.
- Seven character skills were found to have a huge impact on how successful a person will be. They are grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.
The book is full of fascinating studies that illustrate Tough’s findings. Many of the studies looked at children who grew up in poverty. I wasn’t surprised by anything I read, but rather validated in many of my beliefs about nurturing children. If you are looking for an interesting read, this is one book that you will want to check out.
So now, the conversation continues. How do we nurture character development with our children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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