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This morning I was telling Noe how smart he was for taking eating his pasta on his own or for kicking a bouncing ball. Then Rani warned me that what I did may backfire on Noe's motivation to try more difficult tasks. I did not believe her at first until Rani showed me this article on How Not to Talk to Your Kids.
Here is some citation:
When parents praise their childrenâ€™s intelligence, they believe they are providing the solution to this problem. According to a survey conducted by Columbia University, 85 percent of American parents think itâ€™s important to tell their kids that theyâ€™re smart.
But a growing body of researchâ€”and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school systemâ€”strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of â€œsmartâ€ does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it.
In short, if kids are praised for their "effort", they will have a tendency to choose harder set of tasks. Whereas those that are praised for their "intelligence", a majority will chose the easy tasks. Generally, the â€œsmartâ€ kids took the cop-out or easy way out and their mindset will work this way: "I gotta look smart, and can't risk making mistakes!".
So, when you see Noe, please don't tell him that he's smart. Instead, praise him for the effort.
PS: Thank you, Raniku!