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 Dangers of Over-Praising Children
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 12:30 PM

Dentus Chookus

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A fixed mindset could be holding you back — here's how to change it

By Anna Kelsey-Sugg and Ann Arnold for Best Practice

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Photo: If you've got a fixed mindset you could struggle more than others to adapt to change. (Getty: Peopleimages)

It seems counterintuitive, but trying to build a child's self-esteem by constantly praising them might actually create a brittle, fragile person.

"It turns out that's kind of backfired on us," says Professor Jill Klein from the University of Melbourne's business and medical schools.

She says indiscriminate adulation doesn't foster resilience or happiness in a growing human. Rather, children and adults alike need to manage — and expect — both successes and failures.

"Our mistake was thinking that you build robust self-esteem by telling kids 'you're brilliant, you're so smart, everybody wins, nobody loses, everybody gets a trophy'," Professor Klein says.

"It's led to a fixed mindset."

Mindset theory looks at how whether we perceive abilities as learned or innate, and how we view and recover from mistakes or failure.

It places our mindsets in one of two categories: fixed or growth.

Ways to develop a growth mindset

Acknowledge and embrace your weaknesses
View challenges as opportunities
Try different learning tactics: what works for one person may not work for you
Replace the word 'failing' with the word 'learning'
Make a new goal for every goal accomplished
Value the process over the end result
Celebrate growth with others

A person of fixed mindset, Professor Klein explains, believes intelligence and abilities are fixed entities.

"You have a certain amount of intelligence and there isn't that much you can do about it."

But raising someone to believe they don't need to develop skills because they're brilliant at everything they do is difficult to sustain, she says.

"When the world starts to be a bit more honest with you about what your strengths and weaknesses actually are, and you start hearing negative things about yourself, if you've developed a fixed mindset you become very brittle," she says.

"If you either have it or you don't, when something suggests you don't have it — a failure or a set-back or hearing criticism — that is a big blow to identity.

"There's a defensiveness. You either blame failures or setbacks on other people or you deflect criticism. If you can't do that — it can lead to a real crisis [including] depression."

Someone with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes intelligence and abilities are malleable, and can change and develop through practice, study, feedback and working through setbacks.

They are likely to bounce back better from failure, as it's an opportunity to develop or improve their skills.

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At last! An academic has come out and exposed the dangers of constantly praising children and shielding them from failure. This "everyone is wonderful" mantra that has removed competition to the extent that schools give out "I ran in a race" stickers instead of acknowledging winners has been going on for too long.
Those behind the concept of wrapping a child in cotton wool often fail to reflect on their own upbringing and the successes and failures they encountered on the way. It is those peaks and troughs that prepare young people for the real world - a world where life's disappointments can be cruel.
The artificial "everyone's a winner" concept doesn't work. Education is about learning and, in life, we learn from our mistakes. Sadly we have a generation that have lived a self-centred, cocooned childhood.

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

“All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” - John Wooden
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 02:09 PM

Rana Capillum

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Now all that needs to happen is for it to become "mainstream".

Life is neither a race to the end, nor a slow ramble whose sole aim is longevity

Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 02:29 PM

Supremo Poster

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The progressives won't like this after all everyone is supposed to be "equal" regardless of their abilities and the effort they are willing to expend.

None the less, most of us have known this for years and it is good to see an academic agree. Hopefully others will agree and change can happen.

Everybody is Willing:
Some are willing to work, the rest are willing to let them!

The older I get, the better I was.
Phillip J.
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 04:21 PM


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I really think that this is wrong, but I read an article where Ian Thorpe was pushing for no 1st 2nd 3rd places in the Olympic Games, because he thinks it'll take the pressure off during training, etc. He seems to favour something like school carnivals where the medals can be "participation medals!"
Can you believe this? What would be the purpose of the Games, in that case? I personally can't see that it would work! Taking the pressure off would actually mean, why really bother at all! I mean, someone will win whatever the sport is, but, big deal. "Oh, guess what? I participated in the Olympics AND got a medal!" I would've expected more from any Olympian, let alone Mr. Thorpe!

Live as if the world were as it should be, to show how it could be.
If what we do doesn't matter, then the only thing that matters is what we do.
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 04:48 PM

Supremo Poster

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There even is a prize for just attending school

This post has been edited by charka: Jun 26 2018, 04:59 PM
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