TOOL NUMBER 3:
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’.