At some point, you will be in awe of something your child has done.
You will be fascinated as you watch him (or her) put together a toy and figure out the way it works. Or you will have a conversation with him that leaves you shaking your head in amazement over his brilliant insight and vocabulary.
It would only seem natural to tell your child how smart he or she is, but think twice before you do. Some research has shown that simply praising a child’s intelligence can actually do more harm than good.
What? Of COURSE I should Praise My Child’s Smarts!
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Of course your child should be told how smart he is. It will build his confidence and make him believe that he is smart enough to do anything.
While you know that to be true, studies have shown that kids who are often told that they are intelligent tend to give up on difficult tasks more easily and struggle more when something doesn’t come easily to them.
Think of it this way. If you were always told that you were really good at something and received praise and accolades for it, you wouldn’t ever want anyone to find out that you really may not be as good at it as everybody thinks. The energy it would take to maintain that belief would be astounding!
Common Ways a Child Thinks
Children who are told that they are intelligent have the same reaction when they face something that is difficult for them. They don’t want anyone to find out that they are not as intelligent as everyone thinks.
They have been told that they are intelligent for doing things that have come easily to them, so they can mistakenly start to believe that if anything is difficult for them, they must not be as smart as everyone thinks.
They may also mistakenly believe that because they are smart, they do not have to put forth much effort. If given the option, they will do things they know they can do well rather than something that may be beneficial to them.
They will often avoid trying something new for fear of not being able to do it well. It is easy to see where these thoughts can hurt children in school and other areas.
Praising Your Child IS Important!
This doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t praise their children. They should. They should praise the effort and process a child puts forth rather than the innate intelligence a child has.
There is a huge difference between, “Great job! You’re so smart!” and “Great job! You worked really hard at that!” The child whose effort was praised learns that it is the process of trying that is important rather than some vague ability called intelligence that he has no control over.
Kids who are praised for their efforts learn to believe that mistakes and bad performances come from a lack of effort rather than a lack of intelligence.
This leads them to learn that mistakes can be overcome and performance can be improved with more effort. They come to believe that they have control over their own success. Sounds pretty intelligent, doesn’t it?
Keeping Your Child Healthy
When parents think about their child’s health, it is important that they not only consider the physical wellbeing of the child, but the psychological and social health as well.
This broad field of children’s health includes psychological issues surrounding mood, behavior, learning, and concentration, as well as physical areas such as appetite, bedwetting, fever, sleep, chicken pox, tantrums, weight loss, and more.
It even includes complicated, and increasingly diagnosed behavioral health issues like Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
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