Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Way to Praise

A new way to praise your kids, that is!!!  So, a few days ago, I was chatting with my sister and she shared this article with me.  Now this article is about 5 pages long, so let me share the long and short of it with you.  (I did some major speed-reading while my Monkey Blossoms climbed on my lap!)  There was a study done on kids who were praised by telling them how smart they are and kids who were praised by telling them how hard they tried.  And the results were astounding!  Children who were constantly told they were smart, quit trying, got frustrated in adversity and frequently avoided hard problems and situations.  Children who were praised for real effort, tried harder, enjoyed a challenge and looked for more difficult things to attempt.  In short, failure freaked out and devastated the "smart" kids.  The others dealt better with failure.  After reading, it made sense.  I think a child unknowingly thinks, "I'm smart, so this should come easy."  When it doesn't, they get scared.  ("What's wrong with me?")  The other children learn eventually that their genuine effort is rewarded and consequently, they work harder to succeed.  Praise now sounds something like this here:

- I love how hard you are working to write so neatly. 

- I noticed you were trying hard to spell that word correctly.

- I saw that you were trying hard to be nice to your sister, when she was mean to you.

- I was grateful that you worked hard to clear the table so nicely for Mommy. 

I'm pleasantly surprised at how well this is reinforcing hard work and good, consistent effort in our house.  Try it.  Betcha won't be disappointed!