How Children Succeed

I am walking through Target with my three year old and stop to brows the book section. I am a sucker for parenting books and this title really caught my eye. “How CHILDREN SUCCEED” it blared in all caps. I picked it up expecting to read about a regiment of early online chess lessons and lots of worksheets. But then I read the subtitle “Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character” and I decided maybe this would be something worth reading. I must have had the good book fairy on my shoulder that day because in my quick skim I stumbled on the quote below. As I read tears welled up and I stood petting my daughter’s hair as she flipped through a Dora coloring book. This is it, the science behind our instincts to nurture, love and support our children. To find this in such a mainstream place was heartening. To read such a clear confirmation that not only do we nurture because it feels right, but because it leads to their future happiness and general success in life was so reassuring.

“But to me, the most profound discovery this new generation of neuroscientists has made is the powerful connection between infant brain chemistry and adult psychology. Lying deep beneath those noble, complex human qualities we call character, these scientists have found, is the mundane, mechanical interaction of specific chemicals in the brains and bodies of developing infants. Chemistry is not destiny, certainly. But these scientists have demonstrated that the most reliable way to produce and adult who is brave and curious and kind and prudent is to ensure that when he is an infant, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functions well. And how do you do that? It is not magic. First, as much as possible, you protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress; then, even more important, you provide him with a secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent and ideally two. That is not the whole secret of success, but it is a big, big part of it.”

From How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough

Author: Leyani Redditi

A teacher and teacher educator, mother of two and co-leader of API of Greater Atlanta.She is passionate about compassionate parenting. She blogs at Kids Outside Everyday.

3 thoughts on “How Children Succeed”

    1. AGREED Michelle! Too many parents these days think it’s ok to have other people parent their children. Like daycares, and other relatives, the primary bond should be established with the parent so later in life when chlidren begin to seek their own way. That established bond will hold stronger than peer pressures or at the very least, the child will respect the thoughts and advice of the parents over external relationships (including other family members because some family members are toxic or do not have the same beliefs). Parents need to be the number one go to person, and that demands a long lasting bond be established first. Don’t pawn your children off because you want a career or your first relationship failed and now your catering to some man who has no true love for the life you are responsible for creating and raising. Anything that comes before that primary relationship IS TOXIC and needs to be let go of. People are inherently selfish and that’s why our world is as messed up as it is today. The lack or profoundly diminished parental bond!!!!

  1. What are they classifying as “success”? There are plenty of people who go through heavy stress and trauma and still manage to lead happy “successful”lives.

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