"You can do it!" "Don't give up!" "Keep going!"
What parent hasn't shouted these time-tested words of encouragement as her child tries to take his first steps, learn to use the potty, or read on his own? Kids confront challenges, big and small, every day. And a growing body of research suggests that perseverance, the ability to stick with tough tasks, may even trump innate ability in predicting how successful kids will be in life. In a series of landmark studies involving elite performers across diverse fields such as music, sports, and medicine, K. Anders Ericsson, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Florida State University, in Tallahassee, found that individual achievement was more closely linked to drive, discipline, and dedication than to talent. But what if you happen to be raising a child who's easily frustrated -- like my 4-year-old son, Benjamin, who whines, "No, I can't!" whenever I ask him to dress himself in the morning or to write his name? While temperament makes a difference, all children can be taught to push themselves beyond where they thought they could go. Read on for guidelines that will change "I give up!" into "I did it!"