What’s wrong with telling kids they’re smart?
We’ve all admired how kids seem to be a natural at one thing or another. Most likely, we’ve given praises such as “You’re a natural,” or “You’re born to do this!” There is no doubt that these praises for kids’ natural talents are well-meaning and heartfelt.
However, this type of praise may be doing more harm than good. Rather, studies show that praising hard work rather than natural talent makes a huge impact on overall achievement. By praising effort, we are teaching kids that their performance is due to their effort. We also indicate that performance is a learning process that involves mistakes and taking risks.
When we praise natural talent, we teach kids that their performance has little to do with the amount of effort they put in. Instead, we give them the impression that talent is natural and effort has little to do with their success.