Parents are always trying to find the next big trend in parenting--and for good reason, too. They want to know how to be better parents, how to raise healthier and more successful children, how to interact with their kids in this dynamic landscape of advanced technological discovery, and so on. But have you ever wondered what the real secret is for raising smarter children?
Turns out, the key is not praising them for being smart.
In fact, more than three decades of study have shown that, overall, the process is much more important for kids than end results, as reported in a piece in Scientific American. Intelligence, at its root, is actually built through making mistakes and learning from them. Thus, to improve one's intelligence, it's absolutely imperative to include the option of defeat.
Kids who believe they are already smart enough don't have room for growth. In the same study, kids who were more "mastery-oriented" felt that it was more important to develop intelligence through determination and hard work. They rarely found intelligence to be a stagnant quality, instead believing that it was malleable--that it can always grow.
Believing in self-improvement, it seems, is by far the most effective way to promote it. Apparently, if we believe we can grow, we often do.
Children who are taught that self-improvement is a desirable trait are more easily able to confront self-faults and deficiencies later in life. They are more adept at molding their reactions to unexpected things; they are skilled at confronting problems, for they see challenges as chances to better themselves rather than hindrances alone.
So, how do we teach children to love self-improvement?
Through proper praise. If we applaud the efforts of our children every time they get things right, they'll learn to grow discouraged too quickly when things don't. In fact, to raise children that appreciate their faults--and learn how to work with them--we should encourage their failures too. Push your child to take risks, to make mistakes, to not do everything perfectly all the time. They need to know that's OK if they don't--it'll just be amazing when they do.