Dangers of rewarding achievement

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Dangers of rewarding achievement

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Suppose your teen improved his grades this year and your tempted to reward him for that achievement. I say don't do it. Reward verbally. Say how the effort and studying paid off. Say that you're proud that he improved his grades, but what kind of message does paying send? Years of research has shown that when you pay someone for something that they enjoyed or even feel good about, you undermine their motivation. You're telling them, "You know, you wouldn't do this if you didn't get paid," and the next time they're not as personally, intrinsically, deeply motivated. I think that your son would take tremendous joy in knowing that you appreciated his effort and his studying and the progress he made, and that's where the focus should be.

See Carol Dweck, PhD's video on Dangers of rewarding achievement...

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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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