Stop telling your kids they are GOOD at things


Ask your friend if she sings. Ask another if he dances. Many of the answers are always the same.

“I’m not good at dancing.”  “I’m not good at singing.”  “I’m not good at math.” “I can’t carry a tune.”  “I’m clumsy.” “I don’t have natural talent at that thing.”

Eeeeeeeek (that’s my scream)

All those damn stupid answers because of our parents’ words, or our teachers’ words.
Words told to us when we were young.

Learning, learning a lot, is an important part of life. To be able to learn a lot takes a proper mindset. If we think we are good or bad at certain things, it leads our mind down the wrong path.

Being told you are good or bad at something sets up a mind-set that is FIXED. (I can’t sing, or dance, or do math. I’m good at baseball, reading, dancing.)

Being told you worked hard sets up a mind-set that is GROWTH (My skill comes from practice)
piano practiceLet’s look at the results of a recent test in a classroom.

A very hard test was passed out to the entire class. After the test was given, one half of the class was privately told (individually) “You must be good at this.”

The other half of the class was told privately, “You must have worked really hard.”

Six words. Six words individually told.  Six words with such different meaning.

Then the entire class was given another very hard test.  A test that was identical in difficulty and very much like the first test…just different questions.

The first group, the group that was told they were good at this, scored -20% worse than the first test.
The second group, the group that was told they must have worked hard, scored +30% better than the first test.

That a 50% difference in performance. All brought on by a different mind-set. Just six words.

So, a word to the wise. When your child(Grandchild) does his school work, her team sport, his test, her accomplishment, his report card…let them know they must have worked hard at that. Every time they accomplish anything, let them know they must have worked hard at that.

They might enjoy learning a lot of things. They might sing, dance, do math, science, and understand their skills come from work and practice.

Cause they do!

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About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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One Response to Stop telling your kids they are GOOD at things

  1. fiddlrts says:

    I still cringe when I am told, “It must be nice to be so talented.” No, actually, I am not a natural talent at violin. I sounded like crap when I started, just like every other violinist (except maybe Mozart…), and had to bust my butt for years and years to be able to play like I do. And so has every other musician you know.

    As I tell my kids, everything worth doing takes work.

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