"maybe it's 'cuz 'cuz
we're all gonna die die"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Indiscriminate praise is bad for kids

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine  Annotated Great piece. Long, but worth the investment of time. The basic point is that kids who receive indiscriminate praise ("you're smart") become risk-averse, fearful of failure, and unhealthily competitive, and they stop trying to do well at things that don't come naturally.
 - post by nathanrein

Since Thomas could walk, he has heard constantly that he’s smart. Not just from his parents but from any adult who has come in contact with this precocious child. When he applied to Anderson for kindergarten, his intelligence was statistically confirmed. The school is reserved for the top one percent of all applicants, and an IQ test is required. Thomas didn’t just score in the top one percent. He scored in the top one percent of the top one percent. But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,” his father says. “Some things came very quickly to him, but when they didn’t, he gave up almost immediately, concluding, ‘I’m not good at this.’ ” With no more than a glance, Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t.

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