Can praise alter your child’s mindset? (DW#380)

family parenting Apr 27, 2018

The findings from Dweck’s mindset studies are especially important for parents and educators. 

In one study of students, Dweck and her colleagues gave students challenging IQ problems. For the results the researchers offered two types of praise: some students were told "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this," while others were told, "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard." In other words, some students were praised for ability and others were praised for effort.

The researchers found that praise which focused on ability or outcome of test pushed students into the fixed mindset, and they showed all the signs of a fixed mindset: when given a choice, they rejected a challenging new task that they could learn from. They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their shortcomings and call into question their talent.

The students who were praised for their effort on the other hand, were more eager to try challenging tasks even at the risk of failing.

This is really valuable information for parents, don’t you think? If we could all focus on praising effort rather than achievement, our children would not shy away from taking on challenging tasks and learning from their mistakes. 

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