Thursday, October 22, 2009

Praise - Too Much of a Good Thing?

This week on my book review blog, I am reviewing a new book called Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. You can see their website here.

This book looks at research about children and what it says about "best practice" for our kids. And some of it might surprise you! So, for the next few posts I thought I would highlight a few pieces of information from the book and ask you what you think. Today, we will talk about praise.

*Parents can over-praise, leaving kids either feeling like that can never measure up to parental expectations or feeling like the praise is empty and fake. Praise should be genuine and specific.

*Telling kids, "You're smart" can actually leave kids feeling fearful of trying something new or difficult. They think, "If I'm smart, this should be easy." Instead, praise hard work, perseverance, and process.

*The brain is a muscle. It grows new neurons when it works on something hard. When kids know this, they can see the value in trying new or hard things and "exercising" their brains.

I have to work hard on praising specific things and not using "smart." What about you? What do you think about praise? Can it be too much of a good thing? or a bad thing?

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