TOOL NUM­BER 3:

De­scribe ef­fort

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Cool Compliments -

Chil­dren who are told they’re smart and tal­ented of­ten fall apart when they en­counter their first real chal­lenges. When things are easy for them, their la­bel is con­firmed: they are the best and the bright­est. But when they find them­selves strug­gling, as some­day they will, their faith in them­selves in shaken – ‘Maybe I’m not so smart af­ter all,’ they’ll think. ‘Maybe I’ll only do what I know I can’. And so praise can ac­tu­ally de­ter chil­dren from ac­tiv­i­ties and be­hav­iour that we mean to en­cour­age. The an­swer is to praise the ef­fort in­stead of eval­u­at­ing the child. So in­stead of say­ing ‘What a smart boy you are,’ you can say ‘You kept on work­ing on that puz­zle un­til you worked it out’. And in­stead of ‘Good job dress­ing your­self’ try ‘You kept work­ing on that but­ton un­til you got it into that lit­tle but­ton­hole’.

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