Teaching Your Child Perseverance

Perseverance implies that a person will persist with a task even when she would rather do something else or when the task becomes difficult. It can make the difference between a child who gives up and one who completes what they set out to do. Often the single most important determinant of success is persisting in the face of adversity.

Some evidence-based ways for parents to encourage persistence in children are:

  • Do not try to take over the task when it becomes difficult. Be patient and wait longer than you think necessary to see if your child can figure it out on their own. Wait until they ask for help to provide any assistance and then provide only verbal assistance in the form of hints or possible next steps.
  • Model or talk through a time that you failed and then succeeded at a difficult task. Explain how your hard work and effort helped you to succeed. Research shows that seeing a parent exert effort for a difficult task and then succeed makes children more likely to persist themselves.
  • Help your child to break down difficult or complex tasks into smaller manageable steps or help your child to set smaller goals that will help them to achieve a larger goal.
  • Praise their effort as they work through a difficult task (being careful to praise only their effort and not the results of their work). Research finds that this type of praise, referred to as “process praise,” enhances a child’s motivation to stick with a difficult task.
  • Notice and acknowledge when your child sticks with a difficult task or shows persistence, even when their persistence involves challenging you (this does not mean you give in to their demands, only that you acknowledge that they are being persistent in asking for what they want).
  • Encourage your child to try new and challenging tasks. It is particularly important to encourage them to try activities that are both challenging and enjoyable for them.

Some Quotes About Perserverance

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller

“It’s always too soon to quit!” – Norman Vincent Peale

“The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.” – John C. Maxwell

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” – Walter Elliot

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense”. (Winston Churchill, 1941, at Harrow School)

Mr Alan Clarke
Paediatric Psychologist

Article supplied by Casey Grammar School