Skip to main content

View Diary: Thoughts on Raising a Daughter (129 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The trouble with smart kids (19+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed your diary!

    One thing that caught my eye was the part where you said
    "I praise her when she does well, tell her that she is my very smart girl, and don't let mistakes slide."

    Praise is good for self esteem, but it matters how that praise is delivered.


    The main idea is included in the paragraph below:

    The kind of feedback we get from parents and teachers as young children has a major impact on the implicit beliefs we develop about our abilities — including whether we see them as innate and unchangeable, or as capable of developing through effort and practice. When we do well in school and are told that we are "so smart," "so clever," or "such a good student," this kind of praise implies that traits like smartness, cleverness, and goodness are qualities you either have or you don't. The net result: when learning something new is truly difficult, smart-praise kids take it as sign that they aren't "good" and "smart," rather than as a sign to pay attention and try harder.
    This was a real eye-opener for me and, since reading it, I definitely have changed my style of giving praise to my kids from saying how smart they are to saying that they must have worked hard to have done so well or something similar.

    I also appreciate your anecdote about helping your daughter with handling that bully.  Haven't really had bullying come up too much yet, but I am filing that away for future reference!

    "Why do we see the same old Republicans all over the news all the time when they were kicked out for screwing everything up?" - socratic's grandma

    by Michael James on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:39:00 AM PST

    •  Thank you! (12+ / 0-)

      That's a different perspective. My parents never said I was smart, actually. I didn't know that until I got a "C" --first one ever--in 8th grade, and my father said, "Jesus Christ! Your IQ is 154! How the HELL did you get a C?" I said, "It is? Is that good?" My father said, "It's not bad. But a C is TERRIBLE."

      I may have to re-think this. One huge difference is that I am a MUCH older parent than my parents were. And I struggled with infertility to have my daughter. So I perhaps am more effusive than they were.

      •  Here's my advice, for what it's worth: (26+ / 0-)

        I think it's good to tell your daughter she's smart, as long as you don't do it too often or make it appear that it's a big deal.
        My father was very proud of me- wherever we went, he'd introduce me to some friend who'd say "she's so pretty!"  And my father would reply "she's smart as a whip, first in her class!"

        Very enlightened for those times, right?  Except that somehow the message I took from that was that my being smart and being first in my class was of supreme importance to my father, and that he would be devastated if that were not the case. None of that was true- eventually I realized that my dad would love me no matter what- but I spent too many years worrying and obsessing over grades and being a neurotic mess over all of it.

        When my kids were in school, I hear the same story at every conference: "She's doing well, but if she really applied herself she could be a straight A student".  And I would say "I'm sure you're right, and if that ever becomes important to her, I'm sure she will".  Teachers tended to think I was kinda nuts. But my daughter was happy and healthy- and turned into a straight A student in college- because she wanted to.

    •  I've read that same thing, however... (8+ / 0-)

      I worry that just substituting "you must have worked hard" for "you're smart" will lead to confusion when the child hasn't worked hard to do something.

      If someone praised me for working hard when I ripped through my math homework in nothing flat, because I'm good at math, that wouldn't have been accurate or useful.  But of course you have to pay attention to the child to make sure the praise is appropriate.

      Active Listening practiced here.

      by CA coastsider on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:01:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My favorite parenting book (12+ / 0-)

        How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, discusses praise and recommends that praise be specific.  Not "that's a great picture" but "I really like the way you use colors, especially here in the garden."  Not "you look so pretty" but "I like how you put outfits together; I wouldn't have thought of xxx."  The thinking is that specific praise shows that you are paying attention, and doesn't lead to that all-or-nothing feeling of needing to live up to something all the time even if you are not sure what it is.  It praises the child for doing something specific, not for a state of being.  \

        The change to working hard from being smart is the same sort of thing, I think.  And I agree that the story of how you taught her to deal with a bully is remarkable. Where on earth did you get that idea?

        Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

        by ramara on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love the suggestions! Thank you. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ramara, mithra, The Marti, Mr Robert, kurt

          Because I didn't want her to say anything that would get her in trouble. If she insulted the boy, he could tattle on her. Silence was best. It's a little hard for her, being the new kid.

          When I was 17, Daddy told me, "Never say anything today that will change all your tomorrows." I have a very sharp tongue, and I took that to heart. It's usually far better for me to remain silent than to say something absolutely cutting that I cannot take back and that will never be forgotten.

      •  It can be more subtle than just words (6+ / 0-)

        A sincere look of pride, stating "this was a job well done" and then stating why is understated and doesn't overpraise.

        This is just the technique I've tried to use.

        I cringe whenever I hear "GOOD JOB!" hollered at kids for mediocre or expected acts. But, middle class America can be very competitive for parents. I want my kids to know they earned the success they created...they don't merit praise just for existing.

        Just my opinion. :)

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (116)
  • Community (57)
  • 2016 (44)
  • Elections (37)
  • Environment (34)
  • Media (33)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (32)
  • Republicans (31)
  • Hillary Clinton (30)
  • Iraq (27)
  • Law (27)
  • Barack Obama (26)
  • Civil Rights (25)
  • Jeb Bush (24)
  • Climate Change (24)
  • Culture (22)
  • Economy (19)
  • Labor (18)
  • Bernie Sanders (17)
  • Senate (16)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site