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How Children Succeed - Paul Tough


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Key Learnings from the book "How Children Succeed" by Paul Tough

Published in: Education, Self Improvement
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How Children Succeed - Paul Tough

  1. 1. How Children Succeed - Paul Tough Key Points by Vidya Bhandary
  2. 2. Book premise This book is not a manual on 'How to “make” children succeed?' The author in his wisdom - shared only details of how children succeed but not any specific tools for the same.
  3. 3. Two key notes 1. Good parenting has an effect that is not just emotional but also physiological. It literally alters brain patterns – especially in early childhood. 2. Character matters. It is not only the IQ but EQ.
  4. 4. Parental Behavior "The effect of good parenting is not just emotional or psychological, the neuroscientists say; it is biochemical".
  5. 5. Parental Behavior "Adversity during childhood can cause changes in the pre-frontal cortex which is the center of self-regulatory activities. This kind of damage can last a lifetime - making it difficult for children to concentrate and to handle emotional disappointments."
  6. 6. Parental Behavior And yet .... Even this kind of impairment can be alleviated with high quality mothering. Warm nurturing can act as a buffer against the biochemical damages stress can inflict on a child. Amazing !!!
  7. 7. Parental Behavior So .... although you may like showing flash cards, don't forget to be more attentive and sensitive towards your children.
  8. 8. Parental Behavior Listen to them, respond to their emotional needs, comfort them, hug them, talk to them.
  9. 9. Parental Behavior Paying full attention when the child is speaking or during a game of Jenga can make profound difference for a child's future prospects. It makes them more self-reliant and creates a "secure base" from which they can explore the world.
  10. 10. Parental Behavior "Under-parenting is harmful but so is over-parenting."
  11. 11. Parental Behavior Over-parenting is where "Academic achievements are elevated above emotional needs".
  12. 12. Parental Behavior In over-parenting - The child depends on external affirmation for success to such an extent that when unexpected challenges come in life - He / She does not have any internal resources to overcome them and hence can crumble at the first hurdle.
  13. 13. Character development What is Character ? A succinct definition by the author - "Character is created by encountering and overcoming failure".
  14. 14. Character development After the age of 8 – IQ is not easy to manipulate. However character strengths – like grit, self-control, conscientiousness are better indicators of children who will prosper in life.
  15. 15. Character development - Traits Ability to manage failure Rich children tend to be insulated from suffering while poor kids face nothing but challenges. Instead every child should have child-sized adversity which they can overcome without help.
  16. 16. Character development - Traits Ability to do mental contrasting This trait reminds me of the Scout Motto - "Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst" To some extent this is what mental contrasting is about.
  17. 17. Character development - Traits Ability to do mental contrasting It means concentrating on a positive result while being aware of all the obstacles on the way. This helps - to formulate alternate strategies and then to choose wisely amongst the choices.
  18. 18. Character development - Traits Optimism An optimist does not remain down for long. After a setback an optimist will pick himself/herself up with a short term explanation for the bad event. They do not end up under a cloud of "Why me ? " or "I am always unlucky".
  19. 19. Character development - Traits Self-control and Flexibility "Self control is ability to inhibit an instinctive or habitual response and substitute for a better less obvious one."
  20. 20. Character development - Traits Self-control and Flexibility I am presuming that most parents by now would have heard of the famous Marshmallow test by Walter Mischel. It emphasized delayed gratification. [ ]
  21. 21. Character development - Traits Self-control and Flexibility Delayed gratification which is mainly about self- control and flexibility hinges on -  An ability to think outside the box. [ Some of the children imagined the bar of chocolate to be something else. ]  Ability to handle unfamiliar situations.
  22. 22. Character development - Traits Grit It is the ability to persist. Stressed out children find it difficult to sustain efforts towards a particular goal since they tend to be overwhelmed with negative feelings.
  23. 23. Best way to equip a child to be successful Ensure he / she is protected from chronic stress especially in childhood.
  24. 24. Best way to equip a child to be successful Have a secure relationship with the child - ideally both parents.
  25. 25. Best way to equip a child to be successful Discipline - there has to be someone to say 'No' - so the child can know limits.
  26. 26. Best way to equip a child to be successful Allow the child to fall down and get up without help. The idea is for the child to learn to “manage failure”.
  27. 27. Best way to equip a child to be successful Do not over-criticize.
  28. 28. Best way to equip a child to be successful Minimal after-school adult supervision is detrimental.
  29. 29. Best way to equip a child to be successful Do not burden the child with excessive achievement pressure.
  30. 30. Conclusion "There are no shortcuts to success in raising children".
  31. 31. Thank you ! Stay a little hungry –