So far, the research has treated praise as a fixed influence—a kind of powdered sugar (or crack) that tastes the same to everyone. But a new study in Psychological Science clarifies that praise’s effects depend on the characteristics of the kid receiving it. Kids with high self-esteem often respond to glowing kudos by taking the types of risks that might win them more approbation. Meanwhile, kids with low self-esteem tend to “avoid crucial learning experiences” in the wake of compliments, says Utrecht University psychologist Eddie Brummelman, because they fear “revealing [their] deficiencies.”I have had people tell me that gushing praise is always best for a child, and that anything else might permanently damage his self-esteem. Such advice is lousy. Over-the-top praise might sometimes be appreciated, but it is not good to always give such praise.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Praising kids can be good or bad
Slate reports on parenting research: