Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.


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5 responses to “Think Your Kid’s Smart? Don’t Tell Him!”

  1. Ann

    This is great, and I love it. My mom was always very careful to tell us how proud we should be of ourselves, rather than how proud she was of us in an effort to instill internally motivated children. It’s a good concept, though every so often I think it feels good to have your parents verbalize that they are proud of you.

    I do have a question though. What do you say when a child is simply smart? Before the subject matter gets harder, before they need to study as other children may have to. Say a child just remembered the lesson that was taught and gets 100%? Certainly you don’t want to ignore it, but I’ve always wondered what you say in those early days when different children are simply wired differently. Praising the work they did to achieve the grade doesn’t quite fit the bill. They didn’t work hard, they just knew the material.

  2. Barbara Reidy

    Hi Ellen,
    This is a great piece and and addresses how we struggle with praising our little ones, yet being concerned that it encourages the ‘all about me mentality that seems so prevalent today. The information you reference and the examples you give, help to better understand a manageable middle ground between being a self absorbed parent and a latest best-seller,
    Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

  3. » What makes people see something as creative Joshua Spodek

    […] counterproductive in a way I’ll state without justification that’s like why people recommend calling your child hardworking (describing process and behavior) instead of […]

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