Helpless and dependent children

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Helpless and dependent children

More and more parents are telling me that their children are helpless and dependant. They have no idea why this has happened. They’ve given them everything, they’ve encouraged, they believed, they’ve praised them, they’ve told them that… how wonderful they are and they’ve provided all these opportunities. But they’ve never taught them how to do hard things, figure them out on their own. How to be resilient in the face of failures, how to pick themselves up and wipe themselves off. Those parents have been too eager to save their children from struggle and instead, the secret of life is to teach your children how to struggle and to be supportive. And the secret of parenting is how to be supportive of that struggle. So that’s what we need to do for our kids to make them less helpless and dependant.

Watch Carol Dweck, PhD's video on Helpless and dependent children...


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Carol Dweck, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research focuses on why students succeed and how to foster their success. More specifically, her work has demonstrated the role of mindsets in success and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine students’ motivation and learning.

She has also held professorships at and Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences. She recently won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the highest award in Psychology. 

Her work has been prominently featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, and The London Times, with recent feature stories on her work in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, and 20/20. Her bestselling book Mindset (published by Random House) has been widely acclaimed and has been translated into 20 languages.

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