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Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


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Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

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Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

January 3, 2017       

Encouraging Task Persistence to Help Children Achieve in Life

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
student doing schoolwork
Educational and career success in middle adulthood can be predicted by persistence at age 13. Task persistence was measured by a teacher's observation that the student was able to concentrate and stick to a task. The ability to persist at a task was shown to be related to higher grades and to completing a higher level of education. In addition, men were more likely to have a higher level of income (Andersson and Bergman, 2011).

Although task persistence can be affected by personality, intelligence, and biological factors (i.e. Attention Deficit Disorder), it can also be influenced by environment. As such, parents can take steps to help increase a child's task persistence.

Steps to Improve Persistence

1) Focus on process, not outcome. Learning is a process whereas grades are an outcome. Most children naturally want to learn but the desire to learn often fades due to the pressure to achieve. However, by focusing on a child's effort the parent can instill feelings of success based on persistence rather than grades or achievement. “I am proud of you for the effort you put into this project” or “You really stuck it out even when it was difficult.”

2) Instill conscientiousness. The more a child desires to do well the more persistent the child will be. However, insisting that a child to do well often backfires. Conscientiousness needs to be an intrinsic motivator which means it is based on an internal desire. Intrinsic motivators aren't developed through external rewards or punishments. Instead, motivation can be cultivated by noticing a child's natural desires and encouraging them. Most young children can be motivated by a parent's attention and interest. For instance, reading to a child at bedtime can increase the desire to learn to read. Practicing a skill with a child can encourage the desire to learn the skill.

3) Model persistence. A parent working with a child on a project can help the child persist. When the child becomes frustrated, the parent can demonstrate methods to manage the frustration and complete the project. “Okay, if we take a break from this we'll be able to come back to it refreshed and get it done.” Projects can be anything from school assignments to cleaning the child's room.

Andersson, H. and Bergman, L.R. (2011). The Role of Task Persistence in Young Adolescence for Successful Educational and Occupational Attainment in Middle Adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 47, 950–960. DOI: 10.1037/a0023786


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