When and how to criticize your children

Carol Dweck, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on the best ways and times to criticize their children in order to have the most beneficial effect
When And How To Constructively Criticize Your Child
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When and how to criticize your children

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Parents often worry if they criticize their children, they'll harm them and won't be a good parent. You must criticize your child and I'll tell you how. Recently, a coach comes to me and says, "Where are the teachable athletes?" When he tries to coach his athletes, they go, "Whoa, coach, my self-esteem." Critique, feedback, that's coaching. That's what the guy is supposed to do. Some of the guys actually call their parents to be comforted. These are these big athletes. Where did we stop learning how to accept criticism? Coaches tell me, parents used to drive their kids home from Little League, "You have to keep your eye on the ball. That's why you struck out." Now they say, "The umpire robbed you." You are not doing your child a favor by withholding criticism. How should you criticize? You should give constructive criticism. Constructive criticism tells kids or discusses with kids what they did wrong and what they can do better next time. Kids learn from criticism. If you never criticize them, they will think mistakes are so terrible that they can't confront them.

Carol Dweck, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on the best ways and times to criticize their children in order to have the most beneficial effect

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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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