Self-Discipline Trumps IQ

A secret to high academic achievementThough many people think that intelligence boosts grade performance, there’s actually a stronger factor first learned in the home.Excitement and determination are in the air of schools and homes all over the country. I know you’re making plans for a successful school year. Let me ask you a question before you solidify your plans to improve your child’s GPA: Did you know that one of the most reliable predictors of student academic performance is the strength of the child's self-discipline and not his or her level of intelligence? Yes, developing a self-disciplined child can secure a spot at the top of the honor roll.

The Association of Psychological Science, a leader in scholarly research, has published several pieces of research that examine the academic benefits of self-discipline in adolescences. One of the most compelling finds is that middle and high school students who are self-disciplined perform as well as, and in most cases better than, students with higher IQs who have little self-disciple. Yes, you’ve read this correctly: self-discipline trumps IQ alone. Your child can increase his or her grades and overall academic performance simply by developing the skill of self-discipline. This is good news for moms—although you cannot easily increase a child’s IQ, you can teach the strategies and benefits of being self-disciplined.

You are the leader of your child’s self-discipline development. Your child will follow your lead and will mimic the behaviors that you model. How self-disciplined are you? Whether your answer is “very disciplined” or “not very disciplined at all,” you now have a new motivation to stay with a self-disciplined lifestyle: academic success for your children. Self-discipline is a must-have.

Your plan to reinforce a self-disciplined lifestyle in your children is personal and unique to your household. The steps to developing self-discipline for your children include: assessing the current level of discipline, creating a household environment that will support your new commitment to discipline, and—last, but most importantly—ask God to give you insight on who your child is and what level of self-discipline he or she can handle. Keep in mind that the purpose of self-discipline is to bring out strengths and abilities, not to crush your child’s spirit.

You can make the adjustments to your family routine by challenging everyone to do better. This includes clearly explaining expectations and rewards with your children. You must also continue to make adjustments until you are able to maintain the results you desire.

Mothers want their children to do well in school and to achieve overall academic success. Intelligence is a piece of the success puzzle, but research proves that self-discipline is a much larger piece. You can help your child excel in school by modeling self-discipline and by also creating a home environment that fosters good self-discipline habits. Keep your child on the path to success. Start today.

Reference- A.L. Duckworth and M. E.P. Seligman. 2005. Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents. Psychological Science. Retrieved from: on September 8, 2014