I recently found this article and found it very fascinating (I know it’s old, but it is still good information.) Basically it says that you shouldn’t praise children on intelligence, but rather for the effort and trying.

“For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

When parents praise their children’s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem…….

………Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.”

The article goes on to describe studies they did to test the theory…

“Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control, … They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”

“Praise is important, but not vacuous praise,”  … “It has to be based on a real thing—some skill or talent they have.”

It also goes on to say how kids praise needs and reactions change as they get older.

It’s a very good read, I highly suggest it!

B has told me before about the research, he hasn’t read the article either; but he works with other scientists and has heard them talking about the theory.

I resisted the idea for a while, but slowly started doing it just based on C’s reaction to not being able master or understand something instantly. She still gets frustrated when she has to put effort into learning or doing anything, but it has gotten significantly better since I started praising her more for trying and putting effort into things.

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