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March 3, 2007

How Not to Talk to Your Kids

by Dan

New York magazine has a great article on how praise affects kids.

Then the students were given a choice of test for the second round. One choice was a test that would be more difficult than the first, but the researchers told the kids that they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles. The other choice, Dweck’s team explained, was an easy test, just like the first. Of those praised for their effort, 90 percent chose the harder set of puzzles. Of those praised for their intelligence, a majority chose the easy test. The “smart” kids took the cop-out.

After reading this article, I’ve changed how I talk to my kids. Hard work and effort is essential to success in just about everything worthwhile. I going to try not to praise attributes they were born with and focus instead on what they choose to make of them.

UPDATE: There is another article in Stanford’s Alumni magazine about Dweck’s research and an audio interview by TechNation (courtesy of Guy Kawasaki). She has also recently authored a book about her research.

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