Effort-praised Kids vs. Ability-praised Kids
Two types of praise: Which causes good, and which causes harm?
What You Need to Know
There are two different types of praise for kids, each with drastically different impacts on the children receiving them:
- Effort-praised kids have fun even in the face of difficulty and challenge.
- Ability-praised kids not only stop having fun, but cease to perform as well.
How You Can Help
- What are your definitions of success and failure?
Not only should official victories and major achievements be rewarded with praise – but so should effort and completion. Even when the outcome seems disappointing to your child, teaching him to recognize opportunities for persistence in the challenges he faces boosts self-esteem and ambition. Help your child realize that mistakes, bad test grades, and lost soccer games are simply events that send a healthy message that there's room for improvement and opportunity for growth.
- How can you place more emphasis on growth, and compliment your child's strengths and interests?
Encourage realistic goal-setting and reward with praise every milestone representing improvement on the way to achievement, to encourage your child to be his own greatest competitor and advance his confidence in the ability to improve with commitment.
- Do your children feel labeled? “The smart one” and the “star athlete”? (Hint: You may need to ask them, to find out.)
Highlight your child's strengths, but don't make him feel as though this limits his abilities. Don't focus praise on one factor, give a multitude of reasons for loving and being proud of him so he doesn't internalize the idea that his identity centers around one main characteristic. Praise any glimmer of athletic prowess in your little genius, and highlight your star athlete's capacity to be an honor student when he puts his mind to it.
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