These 7 skills separate successful kids from ‘those who struggle’: Psychologist and parenting expert

When I began my career teaching at-risk children, most of my students lived in poverty, suffered abuse, or were challenged by learning, emotional or physical disabilities. I wanted to find ways to help them succeed.

As an educational psychologist, I learned a very important lesson: Thrivers are made, not born. Children need safe, loving and structured childhoods, but they also need autonomy, competence and agency to flourish.

After combing through piles of research on traits most highly correlated to optimizing kids’ thriving abilities, I identified seven skills kids need to boost mental toughness, resilience, social competence, self-awareness and moral strength – and they are what separates successful kids who shine from those who struggle:

1. Self-confidence

2. Empathy

3. Self-control

4. Integrity

5. Curiosity

6. Perseverance

7. Optimism

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When I began my career teaching at-risk children, most of my students lived in poverty, suffered abuse, or were challenged by learning, emotional or physical disabilities. I wanted to find ways to help them succeed. As an educational psychologist, I learned a very important lesson: Thrivers are made, not born. Children need safe, loving and…

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