Ok, this was a big one for me.  I think I do a good job of praising effort but I am totally guilty of praising intelligence.  The book Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings does a great job of explaining why this is problematic.   Dr. Ginsburg discusses a really interesting study by Carol Dweck, PhD, professor of education at Stanford.  You should really read the whole thing, but in a nutshell, children who were praised for effort did better on tests than those praised for intelligence.

Man example straight from the book:

YES:  “I think you did well because you really studied.  It paid off.”

NO:  “Math sure comes naturally to you.”

Who would have thought the second is not really a helpful compliment?!  It’s a bit intricate, but read the chapter and you’ll totally get it.  As in, if I don’t do well on my next math test, suddenly I am questioning my ability rather than my effort.

Such great guidance in this book!

This original post can be found in its entirety on my website at www.nzingaharrisonmd.com

The opinions, content and/or information in this article are those of the author and are independent of BK Reader.

Nzinga Harrison, M.D.

A well-respected physician and educator, Dr. Harrison is the Chief Medical Officer for Anka Behavioral Health Inc. and serves as the Official Campaign Psychiatrist for the national Let's Get Mentally Fit!...

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