If your child believes in these labels, it can deeply hurt her motivation. When children believe that success comes from ability, rather than effort, they can quickly decide there is no point in trying.
To reinforce the importance of effort, emphasize:
• Practicing skills. If necessary, find a tutor for your child, or find a high school student who can earn service learning credits by tutoring.
• Effort and improvement. Notice every bit of hard work your child does, every small step of progress she makes.
Do not emphasize:
• Winning contests and awards.
• Getting a certain grade, especially when you know your child is trying.
When your child does well, say “Your long hours of studying for that test paid off,” not “You’re brilliant!”
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