Praising and encouraging our kids

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Praising and encouraging our kids

I think it is really common to praise kids innate abilities by saying things like, "You're so brilliant." "You're so clever." Or "What a kind kid you are." Actually we have 35 years of great research that shows that when we praise those things that our kids are not in control of, their innate talents, it can make them anxious and derail them from doing whatever they were doing when they looked so clever and we praise them. It is much more powerful and constructive if we praise them around their effort around a certain arena. Even not to praise them but to ask questions about the process. When your kids come home with a beautiful art project, it might be natural to say, "You are such an amazing artist." Instead, you could just ask questions. "How did you do that? Who taught you how to do that?" Just helping them engage in the things that they are actually in control of which is, generally, the process in doing something or their own efforts in it.

Watch Christine Carter, PhD's video on Praising and encouraging our kids...


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Christine Carter, PhD

Sociologist & Happiness Expert

A sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, PhD is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Dr. Carter also writes an award-winning blog for Greater Good, which is syndicated on the Huffington Post and Carter has helped thousands of parents find more joy in their parenting while raising happy, successful and resilient kids. Known for her parenting and relationship advice, Carter draws on psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and uses her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures to demonstrate the do’s and don’ts in action.

After receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, Dr. Carter worked in marketing management and school administration, going on to receive her PhD. in sociology from UC Berkeley. Dr. Carter has been quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications. She has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” the “TODAY” show, the “Rachael Ray Morning Show,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and NPR.

Carter has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of events and professional groups. In 2010, she received an award from the Council on Contemporary Families for her outstanding science-based reporting on family issues. In 2011 she won Red Tricycle’s award for the “Most Awesome Parent Education,” and so far in 2012 she has been nominated for a Bammy Award and for an award from the American Sociological Association for public sociology.

Dr. Carter teaches parenting classes online throughout the year to a global audience on She lives with her family in Berkeley, CA.

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