A Shift from IQ to EQ and Character Development

Filed under [ Relationship ]

I was listening to NPR today and they were interviewing Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character.  It was great to hear my advise to parents – to pay more attention to building their children’s character and worry less about their grades in school – validated by the many studies done on this subject.  Issues like teaching delayed gratification, perseverance, self control and  optimism are some of the characters found to be important in a child’s future success.

I urge parents to listen to this interview and buy the book.  


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2 Comments on “A Shift from IQ to EQ and Character Development”

  • Julio
    6 September, 2012,

    I view grades as a partial indicator of character development.

    If a child can do well in a boring subject that does not interest them, especially if they do so consistently across different teachers, it indicates a capacity to learn how to learn, perseverance, the ability to focus, and emotional mastery.

    I certainly agree that some topics come more easily to some individuals and that this is no indication or potential, intelligence, or effort; however, the skills we need in order to negotiate life, and more importantly, to be able to do anything or be anything we choose, is reflected in the efforts of a child who gets good grades.

    I do see a danger in expecting children to be good at everything, but in life we compete on all levels.

    Maybe as parents, we should take your advice and not stress the failures of attaining universally good grades as strongly, while encouraging them to try to learn how to perform under any circumstances.

  • ronit
    8 September, 2012,

    Thank you for your comments Julio.

    I agree with you that doing well in school requires certain character attributes.  However, we do not do children a service by exposing them to boring situations and expecting them to learn in a healthy way.  Children learn best through play and positive interactions.  It is critical that we understand how their brains work and relate to them from their stages of emotional and cognitive development.

    We do not do them justice when we expose them to situations that are not bringing out the best in them.  Cultivating and promoting healthy character attributes are best done when we engage the whole child in the activity.  It is the best way to reinforce their love for learning with curiosity and passion.

    Also, high performance in school does not necessarily lead to a perseverance, focus and emotional mastery in other parts of life.  The human brain is very selective, and it learns skills specific to situations.  In order to extrapolate to other life situations like relationships, hobbies, etc, parents need to model and cultivate these attributes to them in those specific areas.

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