Is Your Praise Sabotaging Your Child’s Success?


“You’re so smart!”

“You’re so talented!”

“You’re so good at that!”

Do any of those sound acquainted? Of course they do! It’s what number of (if not most) mother and father within the Western world reward their youngsters to point out them love, affection, and encouragement.

But there’s an issue with this kind of reward. (And let me reiterate, there’s an issue with this TYPE of reward, not with all reward basically.)

So what’s the issue with praising your baby?

According to research from Stanford University by Dr. Carol Dweck, we may be doing them more harm than good by offering this type of praise.

Over years of experiments, Dweck has proven that youngsters develop what she has termed a “fixed mindset” about themselves when they’re confronted with “person” reward.  What does this imply?  It means when youngsters are praised for his or her talents or traits seen as inherent within the person – “you are smart”, “you are beautiful” – they develop a mindset that sees these traits as unchangeable.

Unchangeable. There’s the issue.

“Person” praise gives your child a FIXED mindset.

Kids with a set mindset consider that you’re caught with nonetheless a lot intelligence you’re born with. They would agree with this assertion: “If you have to work hard, you don’t have the ability. If you have the ability, things come naturally to you.” When they fail, these children really feel trapped. They start considering they have to not be as proficient or good as everybody’s been telling them. They keep away from challenges, fearful that they received’t look good.

Avoiding challenges and residing in worry of wanting “stupid” while you’ve been informed again and again you’re good isn’t any technique to dwell. It’s definitely not a path to achievement and, even worse, it’s undoubtedly not a path to happiness. Isn’t that what we would like most for our youngsters? For them to be glad?

Taking it a step additional, if one of these reward, “person” reward, doesn’t work so nicely what about “person” criticism?

Dweck and colleagues have additionally seen the identical impact with criticism, with youngsters who acquired person criticism to duties (on this case it was “I’m very disappointed in you”) displaying helplessness in later duties tapping related talents relative to youngsters who acquired different suggestions or no suggestions in any respect.  Children, in essence, internalize the failure as being about them and fail to assume that they’re able to progress… [this] tells them it doesn’t matter what they do, they won’t succeed, so why attempt?

Okay, what do you have to do as a substitute? What kind of reward do you have to give?

Dweck calls it “process” reward.

Process reward is the place we provide reward to a toddler (or grownup) primarily based on the trouble they’ve achieved or how they’ve approached an issue or scenario.  When youngsters are given one of these reward – “I can see you worked really hard!” – they typically embrace tougher challenges, rising to the duty of finishing them.   The motivating issue is that they’re made conscious that their effort pays off.  The youngsters can see that their work is what gave them the consequence, not some innate expertise or skill, and thus they understand that extra work can equal extra features.

Some examples could be:

“I can tell you’ve been practicing!”

“You did it! It was hard but you kept trying and you did it!”

“You really applied yourself!”

“Process” praise gives your child a GROWTH mindset.

Kids with a progress mindset consider that intelligence will be cultivated: the extra studying you do, the smarter you grow to be. These children perceive that even geniuses should work laborious. When they endure a setback, they consider they will enhance by placing in additional effort and time. They worth studying over wanting good. They persevere by way of tough duties.

And what occurs once we criticize the “process” as a substitute of the “person?”

When criticism is directed on the course of – “That way doesn’t work but maybe you could think of another way” – youngsters once more rise to the event.  They now not see the failure as being about them however relatively about the way in which they approached the scenario or drawback and have been bolstered with the concept they will discover one other method.

When we use process-oriented as a substitute of person-oriented reward and criticism youngsters are extra keen to embrace tougher challenges and extra in a position to be taught from and transfer by way of failures. Instead of giving up, they hold the religion that they will and will succeed. All they need to do is hold making an attempt, and/or discover one other method.

The excellent news is it’s by no means too late to alter a set mindset!

Check out this video by Salman Khan, founding father of the Khan Academy, entitled You Can Learn Anything primarily based on Dweck’s work. When you’re achieved, head over to learn his submit entitled Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart. Enjoy!


Reese Leyva is a first-time mother whose numerous hours of studying about and researching pregnancy, start, and delicate/respectful parenting have led her to 1 inevitable conclusion – mothers and infants are superb! When she’s not writing or finding out to finish her certification as a Childbirth Educator, she’s enjoying within the filth along with her tremendous cool toddler daughter or cooking alongside her nifty artist husband.

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