PTAs and Parents

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Your Kids Won’t Learn if They Never Fail, by Dr. Brad SchwallDr. Brad Schwall

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Character is necessary to success.  Character can be learned.  Children do not develop character when problems are solved for them.  They learn character when they have to think for themselves, brainstorm solutions, and find ways to persevere no matter what the circumstances.  Character involves skills that allow us to think about the consequences of actions and consider alternative solutions to problems in order to make a good choice.


We can tell children to be kind, but being kind requires self-control to think about words and actions.  It’s often difficult to be kind when there are disagreements or when we feel angry.  Being kind requires being socially and emotionally intelligent in handling conflict, dealing with anger, and responding to others respectfully even when they may be hostile.


Paul Tough, documents research into the role that character plays in success in academics and life in How Children Succeed (2012).  He demonstrates through anecdotes and research that character is a key ingredient to success that even holds as strong a role as IQ. The research he cites posits that determination is a key determiner of success and that children often develop determination by facing adversity.


Our children can learn character through our modeling and our guidance in helping them problem-solve when problems and challenges happen.  When your child faces a problem or expresses worry about a situation:

  • Listen to what they say, but be the authority
  • Instead of trying to fix problems by changing circumstances, first look for other solutions
  • Brainstorm all possible solutions focusing first on how your child may handle the situation differently
  • When you read texts from your child or hear them describe a situation, understand that she is describing her perception of the situation not necessarily fact
  • Help your child develop accurate, realistic, and rational perspectives on what happens to him and around him
  • Focus on personal responsibility

Instead of trying to rescue our children, place blame on others for struggles, or intervene to prevent all problems, the parent's job is to help children learn how to set goals, persevere, work out problems as they arise, and work well with others.  By practicing problem-solving, children develop character that helps them succeed.

    © Dr. Brad Schwall - Cool Kids. All Rights Reserved.

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