RGC Newsletter Term 2: Parenting for Grit

In her must-read book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, psychologist Angela Duckworth shows us that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit”. Duckworth affirms that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance. This then begs the question of, “What can I do to encourage grit in my children?”

Psychologists categorise parenting styles into 4 main types as depicted in the figure below.

Source: Duckworth, Angela (2018). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Scribner Publishing.

Duckworth replaces authoritative parenting with “wise parenting” so as not to confuse it with authoritarian parenting. She says that there is no “trade-off between supportive parenting and demanding parenting”. In other words, wise parents are both supportive and demanding. Wise parents appreciate that children need “love, limits and latitude to reach their full potential”. The difference between wise parents and authoritarian parents is the source of authority. Wise parents base their source of authority on “knowledge and wisdom”, rather than power.  Authoritarian parents have high demands and place great emphasis on the adherence to authority. However, they are very low on the warmth and support they give their child and are quick to give negative feedback and punishment.

RGC_2023T2_Picture1Authoritarian Parenting

Source: (n.d.). 4 Common Parenting Styles, and How They Can Affect Your Kid in the Future. Bright Side. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from

In a study done on ten thousand American teenagers who submitted questionnaires about their parents’ behavior, psychologist Larry Steinberg concluded that regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class or parents’ marital status, “teens with warm, respectful and demanding parents earned higher grades in school, were more self-reliant, suffered less anxiety and depression, and were less likely to engage in delinquent behavior”. Are you convinced of the benefits of wise parenting? 

We have put together a checklist of things that wise parents do based on psychologist and parenting expert Nancy Darling’s checklist. They are categorized according to 3 aspects: Warmth, Respect and Appropriate demands. You may want to ask yourself how many of these statements your child would affirm without hesitation. 


RGC_2023T2_Picture2Wise Parenting

Source: (n.d.). 4 Common Parenting Styles, and How They Can Affect Your Kid in the Future. Bright Side. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from


√ I can count on my parents to help me out if I have a problem.

√ My parents spend time just talking to me.

√ My parents and I do things that are fun together.

√ My parents praise me for doing well.


√ My parents believe I have a right to my own point of view.

√ My parents do not insist that their ideas are always correct, and I should not correct them.

√ My parents respect my privacy.

√ My parents and I make joint decisions about what I can do or not do.

Appropriate demands:

√ My parents expect me to do my best even when it’s hard.

√ My parents expect me to follow family rules.

√ My parents point out the ways I could do better.

√ When I do something wrong, there are consequences.


Parents play a huge role in the success of their children. While life can be unpredictable and challenging, instilling a sense of grit in our children guarantees passion and persistence in the face of obstacles. This sense of grit is best cultivated by the wise parenting style described in this article. Further to this, children grow up admiring and emulating their parents and if we want to bring forth grit in our child, we will do well to role model passion and perseverance for our own life goals as well.               


We hope you find the suggestions in this article helpful. 

If you require further support or would like to talk to one of us, please feel free to contact any of the counsellors at RGC via email: [email protected].


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