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

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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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