A lot of parents are worried about helping their children get ahead in a world that feels increasingly competitive, demanding, and high-stakes. That anxiety can take many shapes including overparenting, over-scheduling, and constantly looking for that special opportunity that will give a child the competitive edge. But while parents are fretting about what they can do to help their kids academically and socially, it’s easy to forget about the emotional health that is a foundation for success in life. Discussions of growth mindset and resiliency have become more common in recent years, but how can parents foster a healthy view of struggle in their kids?

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says protecting kids from struggle may be counterproductive. He shared one tactic he uses with his own children with The Atlantic at the Aspen Ideas Festival. It’s not hard to do; he asks his kids for help when he faces a setback. He not only gets good advice from his kids, but he can reflect that wisdom back to them when they struggle. And, by putting his mistakes out in the open, he’s normalizing the experience of struggle.

Normalize Setbacks By Asking Your Kids For Advice When You Struggle 18 August,2017Katrina Schwartz

  • ChuckyBill

    Am wondering if this would really be helpful for their resiliency over the long term. It would seem better to have them work on confronting their own setbacks or disappointments with the right attitude than trying to help their parents with theirs. Perhaps this approach discussed could undermine a child’s sense of security – not that we want to create a false sense of security, but one the other hand parents might be better if they acted like “adults” and modeled this behavior.

  • Samantha Fox

    This is a very interesting idea. I can see the benefits to using this with children.


Katrina Schwartz

Katrina Schwartz is a journalist based in San Francisco. She’s worked at KPCC public radio in LA and has reported on air and online for KQED since 2010. She’s a staff writer for KQED’s education blog MindShift.

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