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Devereux SVP and Chief Medical & Clinical Officer, Dr. Marilyn Benoit, responds to New York Times Opinion, “Don’t Grade Schools on Grit.”

A response to Angela Duckworth’s opinion, published March 26, 2016:

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I am delighted we are openly addressing the need for schools to support children’s social and emotional development. Schools promote resilience and facilitate character development, but are a secondary crucible for such development. Policy makers fail to address parents’ responsibilities (parents provide the primary crucible within which children are reared). This primary crucible is where templates for empathy, compassion, self-control, turn taking, frustration tolerance, self-soothing, and respect for authority are developed. The first year of life remains critical in developing secure attachments between parent(s) and child. Within the context of that secure attachment, babies develop early capacities that result in self-regulation. Parents serve as “external regulators” helping young children build the neuronal brain structures that later take over and self-regulate. Children should come to school with such readiness, with schools enhancing and facilitating further development. Policy makers should promote additional support to young parents, enhancing their success in this critical first stage of child development.

Marilyn Benoit, M.D.

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