Teaching perseverance with the Batman effect

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Robert Maurer


Teaching perseverance with the Batman effect

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: February 18, 2022

Teach perseverance to their children, it means transmitting a value to them, providing a model that will make them understand the importance of commitment. We teach children not to bend over, not to always choose the easy way out. This vital virtue can be taught by setting a good example, but also through games, such as the famous Batman effect, a technique as simple as it is challenging, to teach perseverance and willpower.

It is not easy to transmit to a child the mental and emotional strength necessary to be consistent in commitments and in personal projects in order to achieve a goal. How can this be done? Most children today have the fascinating digital world. Technology offers them instant solutions, an easy way out to use when they feel bored, angry, or simply when they need certain information.

"Great deeds are done not by force, but by perseverance."
-Samuel Johnson

In today's schools it often happens that a large part of the elementary school pupils present an ever lower threshold of attention. They are less patient, less tolerant of frustration, and manage their emotions with difficulty. This is by no means meant to place all the blame on new technologies, but it must be understood that they do not represent a priority in the educational sphere.

On the other hand, it is to get children used to setting goals and being motivated to reach them. To be persevering, not to get carried away by what is most comfortable, to make them more skilled, happy and enterprising adults.

Perseverance, a value that is transmitted

A study published in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies has highlighted a fact that is worth dwelling on. Children who are able to tolerate frustration and cope with challenges while remaining motivated achieve better academic results and also develop better self-concept and much stronger self-esteem.

Not everyone insists on wanting exemplary children, little geniuses who obtain above-average results, capable of excelling in the academic field. Most parents simply want happy children, children and adolescents with the personal and emotional qualities necessary to overcome adversity, set their goals and strive to achieve them.

As we try to teach our children endurance, we should keep the following in mind:

  • Perseverance should be taught around 2-3 years of age. This is the perfect time for a very simple reason: it is in this age group that children begin to be more independent, eat alone, use and put away their toys, tie their shoes, etc ...
  • To successfully carry out the first activities that engage them day after day, they must learn to take responsibility, they must be motivated and able to cope. It is not worth giving up on the first try.
  • In the first phase of their life cycle, between two and three years of age, children begin to develop their own sense of reality, to define how they think the world works.
  • Showing them that arming themselves with patience to face difficulties is a normal and not unusual fact and that any goal requires motivation and commitment to avoid getting discouraged, will allow the little ones to build a productive and at the same time satisfying reality in their minds.

What is the Batman effect for teaching perseverance?

The Batman Effect is a strategy for teaching children to be persistent that appeared in Child Development magazine. The article invites parents and educators to offer their children a model to imitate, a source of inspiration. Batman, Dora the Explorer or any of the newer Disney female characters.

The batman effect is recommended for the education of children aged between 2 and 4 years, the scheme to follow is the following:

  • Whenever children are faced with a difficult task (tying their shoes, doing a puzzle, tidying up the room, eating alone, dressing alone), they should be encouraged to impersonate a character, with phrases such as: “Now you are Batman, and Batman never gives up, I'm sure you can do the same thing!"
  • Children have to carry out these tasks independently, without “external” help. If at some point they stop engaging or throw in the towel, you have to proceed with a new reinforcement, using phrases like "So Batman, how are you?". Instead of calling them by their name, we will use that of the chosen character to give the right motivation and prevent them from abandoning their tasks.

"The Batman effect is to offer children a model to imitate that is an inspiration to develop their perseverance."

Strategies of this kind invite children to push themselves beyond their means, to develop the right dose of perseverance, to discover that every little effort corresponds to progress and most importantly they bring them closer to personal satisfaction. Little by little they will realize that they are true heroes, and that with good habits, motivation and self-confidence, there are no limits on the horizon.

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