Teaching my Son how his Attitude is More Important than his Intelligence

When it comes to our children’s education, we see it as a stepping stone to a happy life. All we want is our children happy. This means they have to earn a solid GPA so they can get into respectable college. A college diploma (or two) will go miles in helping them land their career. A good career doing something they love will help them raise happy children of their own.

What could be wrong with this?

More Harm Than Good

Quite a lot is wrong with that, actually. By laying the focus on grades and success, we’re actually conditioning them with a mindset that will set them up for failure from the beginning.

According to studies, too much attention spent praising intelligence teaches their children to avoid any difficult tasks.

When it comes to tackling life’s difficulties, there are two major mindsets: growth and fixed. We teach our children how to view challenges based on not only what we praise but how we praise.

For a clearer idea of this, Talent Smart created a breakdown of each mindset and what each brings to our children.

Fixed—Avoiding Challenge

Based on praise regarding a child’s intelligence, cleverness, or talent. All these things are out of their control—they simply are. This in turn teaches them they can never improve past that point, hence keeping them in “fixed” state as they feel they can never do any better.

Growth—Effort Equals Success

The praise in a growth mindset encourages hard work and commitment. As they learn that hard work brings success, they’re more inclined to seek out challenge and difficult tasks, as they’re new problems to be solved.

Encourage Effort

If by reading this you suspect you may have encouraged a fixed mindset but wish to switch, take heart! You can still have a strong impact on your teen’s mindset.

First of all, learn to compliment them on effort over grades. What we’re looking to do is motivate them first, which will bring the hard work and improvement with it. Perhaps your teen has gone from an F or D to a C. It’s important to remember that the grade itself isn’t as important as the effort they put into improving that grade. Let them know you saw their hard work, and that it’s what they should be doing.

Alternatively, if they’re able to succeed in a class with little to no effort, suggest finding something else to give them a challenge, and let them know that it’s okay if they don’t ace it as long as they try.

Giving our children the proper mindset can set them up for the life they want, but it starts with the proper focus, and a whole lot of effort.

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