How To Encourage Children

Studies have long shown that the way in which parents praise their children is of vital importance, when it comes to getting results.

“We are becoming praise junkies as parents,” says Jenn Berman PhD., author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy and Confident Kids and a marriage and family therapist.

“Though well-intentioned, putting kids on a pedestal at an early age can actually hinder their growth”, says founder of Child Development Associates, Paul Donahue.

Most agree however, that not praising kids enough, can be just as detrimental as too much praise. Experts know that the type and quality of praise is of more importance than the quantity.Studies have revealed that when students possess a particular gift it is mainly because they had received extra tuition at home by their parents. Studies also show that excellence does not come so much from genetic inheritance and talent, but rather from practice.Experts now know that while some children begin with an advantage, this is not actually relevant. It has been confirmed that with practice even the anatomy of the brain can be altered.

A survey or pianists revealed that the area of the brain controlling finger movement is considerably bigger than everyone else – but it did not begin like this; it grew with question of effort versus talent changes the process of how a child thinks, feels and generally engages with the wider world.Carol Dweck, a leading psychologist, gave 400 students a basic puzzle. Each of the students were given words of praise afterwards. One half were praised for intelligence: “You must be really smart!” The others were praised for effort: “You must be hard working!”

The students were then given a choice of either taking a hard or an easy -thirds of the students praised for intelligence preferred the easy task – they would not run the risk of losing their “smart” label. However, 90{62753bda712f8726ff506772054b8eb8cc86c22a15ff97c29e4cab436a2dfc3b} of the effort-praised group wanted the tough test – they needed to show just how hard working they were.

Then, the experiment turned full circle, offering the students the opportunity to take a test of equal difficulty to the original intelligence praised group revealed a 20{62753bda712f8726ff506772054b8eb8cc86c22a15ff97c29e4cab436a2dfc3b} decline in performance, compared with their first test, even though it was no harder. The group praised for effort, raised their score by 30{62753bda712f8726ff506772054b8eb8cc86c22a15ff97c29e4cab436a2dfc3b}. Failure had actually goaded them on.

“Praising children’s intelligence harms motivation and it harms performance. These were some of the clearest findings I’ve seen,” Dweck said.

Three findings were revealed from this study:

An experienced early childhood teacher, Susan Syddall found this way of encouraging children is a proven method of gaining tremendous results. She is now home schools her two boys, who learn through fun.