Mastering the Art of Complimenting Your Children: Insights from Andrew Huberman

**How to Praise Your Child the ‘Right’ Way**

When it comes to praising our children, we often want to shower them with words of affirmation and tell them how talented and intelligent they are. However, research suggests that this type of praise may not be beneficial for their development. According to Andrew Huberman, a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine, attaching a child’s identity to their performance can actually undermine their performance. In this article, we will explore the importance of effort-based praise and how it can foster a growth mindset in children.

**The Impact of Praise on Performance**

From a young age, children tend to accept what they are good and bad at. This self-perception can shape their identity and impact their performance in various activities. When children are constantly praised for being talented or intelligent in a specific area, it limits their potential. Instead of taking on challenges, they may choose easier tasks to maintain their sense of achievement.

On the other hand, when children are praised for their effort and the process of working hard on a problem, they are more likely to seek out more challenging tasks. This type of praise encourages them to capitalize on their effort and improve their skills. By focusing on the journey rather than the destination, children develop resilience and a willingness to take on difficult tasks.

**Praise with Verbs**

According to Huberman, it’s important to shift the way we praise our children. Instead of using nouns to describe their abilities, we should focus on effort verbs. By attaching effort verbs to their accomplishments, we create room for improvement and reinforce the idea that their abilities are not fixed. For example, instead of saying, “You’re a great athlete,” we can say, “You worked really hard during practice, and it paid off in the game.”

**Teach a Growth Mindset**

Encouraging a growth mindset is crucial for optimizing performance and tackling challenges. A growth mindset means believing that we can constantly find new ways to improve and develop our abilities. It enables individuals to bounce back from setbacks and turn frustration into action. As parents and teachers, we can outline the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset to help children understand the importance of effort and resilience.

**Encourage Children to Ask for Help**

When children face challenges or experience failure, it’s essential to encourage them to ask for help. Seeking assistance from others helps them gain a better understanding of their areas of improvement. It also reinforces the idea that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Additionally, it can be beneficial to ask for feedback even when things go well. By seeking input from others, children can learn from their successes and identify the factors that contributed to their performance.

**Remind Children that There’s a Good Type of Stress**

Stress is often seen as a negative experience, but research suggests that a stress-enhancing mindset can improve performance. By understanding that stress can be enhancing rather than debilitating, individuals can harness the positive aspects of stress. This mindset helps control the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, and allows individuals to view stress as a part of the journey towards success.

To foster a stress-enhancing mindset, children can be educated about the benefits of stress and its role in enhancing performance. By reframing their understanding of stress, they can develop a more positive attitude towards challenges and setbacks.

In conclusion, praising children for their effort and emphasizing the process rather than the outcome can lead to improved performance and the development of a growth mindset. By using effort-based praise, encouraging children to seek help, and teaching them the positive aspects of stress, parents and teachers can support their children’s journey towards success.

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