Thursday, September 7, 2017

Know what happens when you praise your child for smartness. It's scary!

Well yes. It's been believed to be good to praise kids for their smartness. It is believed to be boosting their self-esteem. What happens actually though? Read through the dialogs to know some amazing insights based on latest research.

Is your kid smart?

- Hell yes! My Kid is smart…may be the smartest of the lot!!! He remembers everything. 
- He is in level 7 of COC (Of those who don’t know what COC is, you need to talk to your kids more!).
- She loves Maths and always scores an A+. 

- The Science project he did got 3rd prize. He is super, he studies just before exams and still scores an A!

Oh yes, he/she is SMART!!! So 
how do you praise him/her?

- Just like everybody else. Saying good things in front of him. Making him feel good about himself. 
- Taking her out on dinner. Movie, pop corn, ice creams. 
- Buying a personal cell phone or tablet. Gifting him aids that he can use like pens, colours. 
- It feels so good when we see them happy and content! They love us more when we reciprocate and celebrate their success!!!

And how do you talk to them when they make mistake?
- Well, I am generally soft. I tell him how he made a mistake and that he is a smart boy. He should pay more attention.
- We need to let them know that they are making mistake! So I tell her in as many words. AS MANY words so that she doesn't make the same mistake again. And yes, it works…she mostly doesn't make the same mistake again!
- My feedback is constructive, I tell him that he can do better. He is smart! It helps boost his confidence. 

Well...we all need to re-think about this strategy. A huge research is done around how to praise kids and what are best ways to do it? 

When we praise kids for their “smartness” or “Intelligence”, we supposedly build their self esteem. But at the same time, we give them their self image to live up to. We tell them, “You are smart! (And unsaid expectation or communication is - we will appreciate whenever you do an act of smartness. Isn't it?). We in a way tell them “Don’t do anything that makes you look stupid!”. We in a way tell them “DON’T TAKE RISKS!”. We start limiting them. 

It was observed that kids who were appreciated for smartness showed significant drop in resilience, persistence. Why? they were a little afraid to fail. They were thinking that the challenge in front of them is too big for their smartness. Really!!!

Through the research done on Tens of THOUSANDS of kids by Carol Dweck, it is observed that when you praise kids for their hardwork they start enjoying the process. The better way to praise kids is for their efforts and not Intelligence. Praising for efforts makes them believe that with their efforts they "can control" the outcome. While for smartness which is abstract and inherent for them, they give up quickly and don't keep trying. Makes sense?  

Also, remember to always praise them for real efforts, where you have seen them putting in sweat.  

Does it mean success should go unappreciated? 

No, it doesn’t mean success shouldn’t be appreciated. It just means a lot of emphasis should be put on efforts than the outcome. When they succeed they always feel that it’s because of the efforts that they have put in, they are successful.  

How does natural talent play a role?

Natural talent does matter and each kid will have it in them in different areas. However all of us will agree that the talent is less important, it’s what you do with that talent is important. Somebody who is exceptionally good in football can go waste if he doesn't practice regularly and complete his physical fitness regime and so on. Isn't that true and isn't that something we have seen in our lives? 

So next time, your kid
-          - Wins a prize in project competition: "Hey, congratulations! you really worked hard at it!"
-          - Doesn’t win a prize in project competition: "I really liked the efforts you have put in to complete the project!"
-          - Scores well in Olympiad exam: "Beautiful job! I saw you studying regularly."
-          - Doesn’t score well in Olympiad exam: "I think you put in efforts. You can see where you need to improve and I am sure you will do better next time."

You see the difference?


  1. Brilliant, Apt and Clear. Loved it. Thanks

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