Friday, December 04, 2009

Should you only praise and love your children?

Over the Thanksgiving weekend a friend told me about Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. The authors reviewed current beliefs about parenting, and looked at the research. They explain how several myths on how to raise children are wrong.

One of their findings was that it is best when parents both praise and give corrective feedback. And we have to be careful about what we praise. If we praise the wrong things, like "You are so smart," too often children will then be reluctant to try difficult tasks. It is better to says things like "You are persistent!"

In It’s OK to praise, punish, Joanne Jacobs recounts an experiment where children in the US and Hong Kong were given IQ tests. No matter how the children did, the researcher told the mothers their children had done poorly. Joanne writes:

Then she left the mothers in the room with the kids for five minutes.
The American moms talked to their kids about what they would have for dinner. They talked about the day. They never mentioned the test. The Chinese moms immediately told the kids that the children didn’t do well enough on the test; then the mothers and children sat down to look at where the kids went wrong.
Upon the retest, the Chinese kids improved at twice the rate of the Americans.


Here is an interview with Po Bronson:

For more information you might check out ABC Newss interview of Po Bronson in The Myth of Praise, or the NurtureShock web site.

Nurture Shock looks worth reading. I have reserved it at my local library.

Technorati tags: children, parenting

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