Many parents assume that if a child believe he’s clever (“because mum and dad always tell me so”) then he wont feel afraid to handle new school work challenges. We assume that constant praise will protect our child from intimidating school challenges, however the ability for this assumption to backfire may be stronger than we think.
Underperformance at school could well be the end result.
Why is this? When we praise for intelligence we are, in an indirect way, conveying a message to our child that the game of life is won by looking good and not making a mistake. This is clearly something which is outside of their control.
So what to do? Praise for effort instead. When a child is praised for effort it gives them autonomy over something that they can control (more effort) and this leads to increasing levels of focus on future challenges.
Once a child or teen comes to know himself as being in control of his own success, then their overall success is much more likely to occur.