You're SO Smart..

Raise your hand if “you’re so smart!” is your go to compliment. If it is…keep reading. I want to caution you against constantly telling your tiny human how smart they are. I know, it’s getting weird. Stay with me. I ABSOLUTELY believe kids should be affirmed and told they are smart. I once told a 6th grader he was smart and he told me that was the first time anyone every said that to him. That hurt my heart. I’m definitely not saying to never tell your child they are smart BUT… research shows kids who are constantly praised for being smart take less educational risks as compared to kids who are praised for working hard, and they are less likely to rebound when they experience a setback. 

In a study conducted with fifth graders, students were given an initial set of problems. Researchers praised one group of students for their ability and the second group for their effort. The researchers then gave the students an experience in which they were faced with a mild setback in that the second set of problems were more difficult. The students that were previously praised for their ability indicated they felt like failures.  The students that were praised for their effort felt like they’d encountered a learning opportunity. When given a third set of problems, the students that were initially praised for their effort got more questions correct than the students that were initially praised for their ability. 

Am I anti using the word smart to describe children? No. Not at all. But I am a believer in focusing our praise on effort. 

Check out the suggestions to use instead of, “You’re so Smart.” Do you have any to add? Comment with your additions!