Don’t Tell Your Kids They’re Smart

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One of the most important ways to encourage your children academically and intellectually is to praise them for being smart—or is it actually the complete opposite of that?

For New York Magazine, Po Bronson investigates how praising children for intelligence rather than effort can hinder their emotional and academic development. A preview:

…it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students…severely underestimate their own abilities. [They] adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →