“Many of the things we do to motivate our kids are sapping their desire to learn”
Once thought telling children how smart they are would give them confidence in their abilities, the desire to learn, and the hardiness to withstand difficulty.
“The self-esteem movement got it wrong. Praising children’s intelligence may boost their confidence for a brief moment, but by fostering the fixed view of intelligence, it makes them afraid of challenges, it makes them lose confidence when tasks become hard, and it leads to plummeting performance in the face of difficulty”
Research shows that praising the process—children’s effort or strategies—creates eagerness for challenges, persistence in the face of difficulty, and enhanced performance.
“What we’ve found in study after study is that ability-praise backfires. Emphasising effort gives a child a variable that they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasising natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”