How to talk to kids

I read about 15-20 blogs on a regular basis. Included in this list of reading is one of my good friends (private) blog. I am here to tell you that her most recent post was awesome. At first, when I noticed that it was a pasted article I was like…sheesh you could have just posted the link, then I realized that not very often do people click on links that get forwarded, and by the time they do often times the link is a dead end or the article is gone (new york times articles for example). And being one of those people who typically wont click on links…I re-considered my snap and hasty judgement and read the article.

Wow, what a great article! The article in summary talks about ‘The Inverse Power of Praise’. This researcher and her team did a study of 5th graders (among other ages) that looked at 2 groups of kids. One group was praised for their intelligence and the other was praised based on their efforts. They determined that the group praised on efforts– tried harder, took risks more often (even when failure was an option), and as a result succeeded more often than the group who was praised for their intelligence. Their summary was this– “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.” Moreover, they go on to say that even more effective is specific praise based on efforts. This specific praise regarding efforts helps the child come up with creative problem solving scenarios of their own, and are more successful in their attempts as a result.

This discovery basically slaps my current way of thinking in the face. It reminds me also that children need honestly and positive feedback the same way adults do. They are thinking beings, that are developing coping strategies and devising problem solving tactics at an early age.

All things about science and psychology aside, the article made me think about the kind of parent and person I want to be, and the words I currently use to talk to people, and that I really need to think about a words intended meaning AND how those words are being received (not only how I mean for them to be received).

It also reminded me that kids are not oblivious to the idea of intent, manipulation and coercion in our language, and of its use by adults to get what they want. It also makes me wonder how our parents raised us, and what types of language they used.

It made me think a lot, which I am very pleased about! Thank you anonymous blog posting friend! You can also find the link below–for as long as it lasts… http://www.nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html

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