It’s always interesting to get a peek into how successful people raise their kids.
It’s doubly so if that successful person is a top psychologist who specifically studies how to help kids thrive.
Towards the end of the book, Duckworth gives readers a glimpse into how she applies her findings on grit in her own life, specifically with her two daughters.
Duckworth writes that her whole family abides by what she and her husband call the “Hard Thing Rule.”
When she visited the Business Insider offices in April, Duckworth explained that she came up with the rule “when I was trying to navigate that very difficult balance between giving my kids choice and autonomy and, on the other hand, imposing a certain amount of parental discipline on their activities.”
The Hard Thing Rule has three parts:
1. Everyone in the family has to do something that’s hard
Specifically, Duckworth said, it has to be “something that requires practice, something where you’re going to get feedback telling you how you can get better, and you’re going to get right back in there and try again and again.”
Duckworth studies psychology and practices yoga; her husband works on becoming a better real estate developer and runner. Her older daughter plays the piano.
2. You have to finish what you start
“If you start track for the spring season,” Duckworth said, “in my family you’re going to finish that season.
“Or if I’ve paid the tuition for your set of piano lessons, you’re going to take all those lessons and you are, as you promised your teacher, going to practice for those lessons.”
3. No one gets to pick the hard rule for anyone else
“Even when my kids were five [and] six years old,” Duckworth said, “they were given some choice in what their hard thing was.”
“I think it’s very important to send the message that, while parents are needed to remind you to practice and occasionally force you to finish things … they also need to learn to respect you. You as an individual ultimately are the captain of where you’re going.”
In the book, Duckworth notes that her younger daughter went through about six hard things, until she finally settled on playing the viola. So far she’s kept at it for three years.
The point is for parents to help their kids find something they’re interested in and then help grow that interest, while at the same time modeling grit and showing how far it can take you.