By KJ DELL’ANTONIA
February 8, 2013
Is your child a warrior, or a worrier?
That cute — and memorable — phrasing comes from “Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (famous for “Nurture Shock” and now the authors of “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing”) in The Times Magazine. It’s shorthand for a problem most of us are familiar with: some people seem born to take tests or compete. For others, the whisper of pressure can trigger the seeming disappearance of everything we ever learned.
In their magazine piece, the authors look at what lies under that difference: “how we were raised, our skills and experience, the hormones that we marinated in as fetuses.”But while understanding the causes may help promote eventual changes in standardized testing, there’s no way to entirely avoid the need to perform under pressure — and no way to avoid it on behalf of our children.
Help your worrier become a warrior: For the parents of worriers, one question hovers over the topic: how can we help our children learn to both perform better, and feel that stress just a little less? These articles have a few common, and a few surprising, answers.