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.