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Why Do Some Kids Fail and Others Succeed?

So, why do some kids fail and others succeed?

Well, there are lots of reasons we could talk about.  However, when we think about a person’s behavior, it is really important to think about a simple equation of B=PXE…In other words, Behavior is a function of a Person and their Environment.

If we want to think about whether a child will succeed in a particular sport, class, friendship, etc., we have to consider what the child brings to this equation and what influence and impact that environment will have upon the child.  This concept is called goodness-of-fit.  When the characteristics of a child meet the characteristics of the environment, we have a good fit and it increases the chances that things will go smoothly.

For example, imagine a child who is very active and likes to interact and talk a lot.  Now imagine that we are putting that child into a classroom which encourages brainstorming, sharing ideas, and interacting with others around school work.    That child is likely to do just fine in this situation.  However, we could place the same child in a situation where he is expected to adhere to more traditional classroom standards such as being quiet, working independently, and not exploring his environment.  In this scenario, the child may quickly not “do well.”  The child’s natural tendencies will clash with the classroom environment and voilá, we have a poor fit and a child potentially labeled as a problem.

However, what if we knew what types of environments and settings, school work, friendships, activities, etc. best fit a child or at least increased the chances they might “fit” well with the child?  With the power of knowledge and insight in our hands, we could really help our kids make better and more informed decisions about things that significantly impact them.   Why does this matter?  Well, how many people do you know who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. who often are just not happy doing what they are doing?  My guess is a whole bunch. That old phrase:  “I wish I would have known then what I know now” doesn’t have to be a part of your child’s future.

Think of that friend, family member or maybe even yourself, who just doesn’t feel like they are in the right “spot,” relationship, career or whatever.  What if we could have armed them with understanding what “fits” them the best earlier in life…do you think they would have made different choices, had better experiences, found something they were passionate about?  While we can’t expect that everything would go just as planned, we sure would have stacked the deck a lot more in their favor.  Kidtelligent is about helping us get this information early in life, so we can help stack the deck just a little bit more for our kids…I am sure they will thank us for it later.

Are you or someone you know in the “I wish I would have known then what I know now” category? Please share your thoughts on how having that information earlier in life could have impacted your life differently.

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Roger Jansen, PhD

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