The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine ~ NanoThoughts 1.0

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine

Here's a nice article, The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine, relating some psychological work which I've always tried to explain to my relatives and friends that were parents. i.e. I'd rather be hardworking than lucky and I'd rather be lucky than smart. Drive, perseverance, resiliency are so much more important than any innate abilities or aptitudes one starts out with.

Bottom line: Praise effort, not intellect. And emphasize the motivatee's process, not the motivatee's abilities.


Rob said...

Awesome article.

As the author points out, the problem is going to be getting the parent to not give the praise of "you are smart". The child will be fine, but the parent is going miss it, because in a sense, they are building their own self esteem.

Rog said...

Word. That's another great point, namely that people aren't often the best motivators when they have such a personal stake in the matter.

Rob said...

How does that work with some of the best coaches that seem to be such ego driven bastards? Ie Parcells?

Rog said...

Well, in reference to this article, I don't Parcells give a whole lot of praise most of the time. When he does give it, I'm sure he praises effort and the process instead of "hey, you're fast!" etc.

Also, I don't think necessarily that the best coaches are the hothead egomaniacs as I don't think that Joe Gibbs, Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Marv Levy*, Tony Dungy etc.
Of course, they're any number of successful hothead coaches too, but overall the personality of a coach is secondary to how their teams perform.

(*Marv Levy is underrated in my opinion as he took albeit a loaded Bills team to the SuperBowl 4 years in a row, but never won the big one. They really should have won the first one, but got out gameplanned and had the kick go wide right. Against the Redskins and Cowboys, well, the Skins team was just incredibly dominant that year and the two Cowboys teams (and another one two years later) were, of course, a dynasty.)