Build on Past Success
The beauty of perseverance is that kids who are able to bear down in one realm -- whether it's Lego-building or dancing -- tend to carry the same drive and determination to other pursuits. "The principle of not giving up is very transferable," says Shenk. Plus, the confidence a child gains from mastering one thing (say, tennis) tends to carry over to other areas (such as schoolwork).
The next time your kid is ready to wave the white flag, bring up his past triumphs. When her son, Max, 8, becomes frustrated by his mistakes while practicing guitar, Jane Bonenberger, of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, reminds him about the long hours it took for him to become a good baseball hitter. "We talk about his first season, when he couldn't hit at all, compared with now, when he's smacking the ball and loving it."