This study conducted by Carol Dwek is very thought provoking!
This presents a eye-opening perspective on how to praise our children so that they will WANT to challenge themselves and feel positive about their intelligence and abilities.
Please also refer to the "How NOT to Praise" page for more information.
You tried so long without giving up!
You thought of a new idea after you got stumped.
I noticed that you thought carefully about your mistakes.
I noticed that you went back to that problem and tried something different.
I admire how you chose to do that hard problem.
I could tell you carefully thought through the steps for that problem after you had trouble with it.
You got stumped, but you worked it out. Wow!
Wow! That was hard! What was your favorite part?
How did you think of that idea?
All that thinking just made your brain stronger!
That's thinking outside the box. Problem solving is the best!
You kept going even when it was discouraging.
You chose the hard part. Your brain is growing!
You didn't rush through that and put in so much effort!
I see you tried 3 different ways to figure that out.
That was an original idea. How did you think of it?
You didn't even get distracted. You were concentrating so hard.
That took you so long to finish. How did you keep yourself working hard on it?
What strategy worked best for you?
You're like the little engine that could...you never gave up.
What was the hardest part of that? Why?
What motivated you to keep working?
Wow! It seemed easier for you this time. How come?
I saw how carefully you double-checked your answers.
You put a lot of thinking into that.
I noticed you put a lot of details into your writing.
You added so much detail to your narrative that it really helped me to really imagine what was happening.
You made mistakes, but they were smart mistakes. It totally made sense why you thought that would work.
You got stumped, but you asked for help. You never gave up and you succeeded!
You are trying so hard! That makes your neuron pathways get thicker and stronger.
I noticed that you really took time when writing that essay.
Even when you were frustrated, you never let that stop you!
You thought of a great way to do that!
You're putting a lot of time into your work...and it's totally working!
It's pretty obvious you figured out how to master division.
You showed fractions who's the boss!
What? You did that by yourself?
When did that start making sense to you?
You made a better mistake the second time! Nice!
What kept you going when you wanted to quit?
For example, "You are so brilliant!" You don't want your child to think s/he is a certain amount of smart and they can't change it. That's a fixed mindset. This can cause very capable students to try something challenging because what it they have trouble? This is addressed in the video posted above.
For example. "You're a natural whiz at math!" This can freeze willingness to try something difficult. What if they try and then fail?
For example, "You're such a talented dancer!" A talent is something not in the students' control. So if they don't feel talented in something, then there's no point in trying or practicing.