Feb 16, 2007

How You Praise Your Kids Matters

I just read a great article about the difference between telling kids they succeeded because they're smart and telling them they succeeded because they worked hard. The research concludes that the latter yields better results, i.e., that kids told their success was a product of hard work were more likely to embrace new challenges and succeed when the going got tough. I was shocked at the part of the article that discussed parents doubting the research because I could completely relate to the first kid discussed, who was extremely smart but therefore afraid to fail. Having been labeled a "smart kid" in fourth grade (when I dominated the class spelling bee - as if spelling is indicative of intelligence), a fear of failure has been ever-present in my life and has kept me from doing or at least trying countless things. As a parent, one of the things I want to do most is save my children from the problems that have plagued me (I realize they'll just end up with a whole different set of issues but I don't see any way of preventing that). Now I have one more tool to help me.


Anonymous said...

OK...I just tried this with my oldest duaghter. I just praised her for her piano practicing. It went something like this: I know the piano is not your favorite thing right now. I know it is frustrating to you that you are having trouble with your recital piece. I also know that you wish you could quit (not an option). But I want you to know that I am prouder today of your struggles than all the times you got a perfect score at your past recitals. Yes, you were frustrated today, but you stuck with it. Yes, you told me many times today that you "can't get it". Yes you told me you wanted to quit. BUT you stuck with it. You took a break, but told me you would try again after you collected yourself. I am actually prouder of you that you struggled so much, but still were willing to give it more work. Good for you oldest daughter!
She was SHOCKED to say the least when I told her the above. She gave me a huge hug. "Thanks Mom!"....great tip for the day!

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

That is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing :)