Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
14 February 2007
Filed under:Interesting facts,Old media at3:55 pm

So much about The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids was interesting and/or rang a bell. It covers a lot of ground but the key take-away point for me was that you should be very cautious about telling your kid that s/he is smart – you should be praising them for putting in effort and/or for specific aspects of what they did. It sounds rather puritanical but apparently there’s evidence that praising a kid’s capability can be harmful – they can end up avoiding things that are challenging.


  1. I always did!

    Comment by russ — 14 February 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  2. I’ve been given the opening chapter of the book Dweck has written to explain her research which is quite provocative.

    She suggests there are two theories of intelligence – fixed or malleable. If students think they have a fixed intelligence they look for ways of showing they’ve got enough to fit in, they need to “look smart, and at all costs, not look dumb”, and in those circumstances they avoid intellectual challenges can threaten self-esteem.

    She then says that if students think that intelligence is malleable they’ll want to learn. “Why waste time worrying about looking smart or dumb, when you could becoming smarter?” She argues that children and young people with that self image thrive on challenges and “easy tasks waste their time rather than raise their self-esteem.”

    Maybe this research suggests that children and young people are ready for a bit more challenge.

    Comment by Andrew Brown — 15 February 2007 @ 12:59 pm

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