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037 - How Children Succeed

posted Dec 1, 2015, 1:13 PM by Doug Muha

Counselor Notes 37

March 16, 2015

How Children Succeed

I recently read a book titled How Children Succeed by Paul Tough.  In it the author cited some interesting research which I want to forward along to parents for their consideration as they go about raising their child/children. 

“What matters most in a child’s development, they say is not how much information we can stuff into their brain in the first few years.  What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her [or him] develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence.”  (p. xv)

“Heckman and his researchers were able to ascertain that those noncognitive factors, such as curiosity, self-control, and social fluidity, were responsible for as much as two-thirds of the total benefit that Perry [a pre-school program] gave to its students.”  (p. xx)

(p. 76) Peterson identified a set of strengths that were, according to his research, especially likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement…..




Social intelligence




 “… student’s self-discipline [self-control] scores … were  better predictors of their final GPA than their IQ scores.”  (p. 61-62)

The good news on these strengths is that they are not set by genetics and thus can be developed by schools and parents/guardians alike.   Those parents/guardians that want more details are encouraged to read the book.  In the mean time, let’s get about building those strengths in our children.   (And the best way to lead is by example.)

Doug Muha Ed.S.
School Counselor
Waverly Elementary School