Some parents (and some kids) think smart is something you’re born with. Others believe you can “get smart.”
Do those beliefs matter? Studies show they do. People who believe they can “get smart” are able to face a challenge.
If these people come up against a problem they can’t solve, they don’t give up. They don’t say, “I was never any good at math anyway.” Instead, they decide that they may just need to work a little longer. They also try a different approach.
In contrast, people who don’t value hard work are likely to give up. If they run into trouble, they give themselves all sorts of reasons why it isn’t their fault. “I can’t do math. I was never very smart in math anyway.”
What can parents do? There are ways you can give your child “get-smart” messages. Here are some things you might say:
- “I know you can do it if you keep trying.”
- “You’ve worked really hard on your spelling. Before you know it, you’ll have learned those words.”
- “You’re not going to give up until you figure it out, are you? I’m impressed with your hard work.”
- “If you work on your science fair project every day this week, you’re sure to be proud of the result.”
When you talk about the things you have done, make sure you send the same “get smart” messages. Tell your child you type so fast because you’ve practiced since you were 15. Or point out how proud you were when you finished painting a room.
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