Top Students: Does Self Discipline Trump IQ in Children and Teens?

Parents have already started using the Dr. Robyns’ Powerful Parenting Blog! Some have begun to make comments (it’s a little scary for them when they first start using the technology so please reassure them that making comments and asking question is encouraged!) and others have sent me emails directly with their questions.

**This article is published in a revised format on Dr Robyn’s Blog for Powerful Parents. It demonstrates just one more way that POWerful Words is beneficial for their children. The connection between character development and academic performance is both real and important. Since you are teaching self discipline this month, be sure to direct your parents to this article on the powerful parenting blog so that they can see how your staff is helping their children to do better in school through the Powerful Words curriculum! You are benefiting your students in many more ways than just the physical. Great job in over-delivering!

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Yesterday I received the following question about children’s self discipline vs smarts from Mary in Charlotte, North Carolina:

“I have a quick question–since the Powerful Word this month is Self Discipline, my husband got into this discussion about our son (age 14) and daughter (age 11) who have very different study habits. We were just wondering, can kids with great self discipline do better in school than kids who are the smartest?”

Hi Mary-

Here’s a quick answer to your quick question!

People often point the finger at unprepared teachers, boring lesson plans, inadequate books, and overpopulated classes when it comes to student underachievement.

Interestingly, research has actually shown that:

  • Self discipline predicts academic performance more robustly than did IQ.
  • Self discipline has also predicted which students would improve their grades over the school year.
  • American children, in particular, have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short term gratification for long-term gain, such as academic success.
  • Compared with more impulsive peers, highly self disciplined 8th graders earned higher GPAs and achievement test scores, were more likely to gain admission to selective high schools, had fewer school absences, spent more time on homework, watched less TV, and started their homework earlier in the day.
  • Highly self disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic performance variable in one study, including report-card grades, standardized achievement test schools, admission to a competitive high school, and attendance.

As you can see, the Powerful Word, self discipline, has long lasting and important effects! So encourage your children to attend those character-based Power Chats with open ears!

Just a quick note: I’m so glad that your family is benefiting so much from the curriculum. We’re all very impressed that you and your spouse are engaging in discussions about the powerful word of the month. Congratulations on making character development a family affair!

Keep your questions and comments coming! Thanks, Mary!

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