That much-favored, hypocritical saying bandied about by lazy authoritarians everywhere — "Do as I say, not as I do" — never seems very convincing to any kid.
And now, research has demonstrated that the exact opposite is actually what motivates kids to tackle tough situations, because when responsible adults communicate "Do as I do," it's inspiring — especially if the doing takes effort.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a study that was published in the journal Science showing that kids as young as 15 months who observe adults struggle at different tasks before succeeding try harder at their own tasks.
Other studies have found that a kind of persistence and toughness in the face of adversity predicts success more than IQ does.
You don't have to know how to put together that robot-in-a-kit right off the bat or put that car seat in the mini-van smoothly. That's not how you teach your child what it takes to master a task. You teach, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," through your calm (no swearing) persistence.
The researchers found that the effect is amplified when you talk directly to your child, explain what you are trying to do, what worked — and what didn't.
Then, in a few years, your child can help you when you get stumped! Count on it!
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