Praise the process, not the achievement

Psychologist & Author Carol Dweck, PhD, shares advice for parents on why it is important to praise your child's efforts rather than the results to build your child's self-esteem
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Praise the process, not the achievement

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The self-esteem movement led parents think that they could hand their children self-esteem on a silver platter, by telling them how smart and talented they are. Our research conclusively shows that telling children they are talented or smart can actually harm them. It puts them into a fixed mindset. It makes them think that what you value in them is this fixed intelligence. It makes them afraid of mistakes and less eager to learn. What can you do instead? The answer is to praise the process that your child is engaged in. Their effort, strategies, improvement, and learning. What you are conveying to your child is a lifelong value of learning. Watch their self-esteem rise.

Psychologist & Author Carol Dweck, PhD, shares advice for parents on why it is important to praise your child's efforts rather than the results to build your child's self-esteem

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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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