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Quick: What's more important? That your kid has a natural talent for playing piano or that he needs a lot of practice? Is it better for a child to know how to count to 100 before kindergarten or that she keeps on trying until she can? Is it better to be gifted or stubbornly persistent?
Turns out, it's the latter. Science in motivation and other areas of psychology are concluding time and again that the struggle is not only real, as they say, but it's also really good for kids.
Recently on Inside Quest, a YouTube series hosted by Tom Bilyeu who interviews a variety of guest experts, Stanford Psychology professor and author of the New York Times bestselling book "Mindset," Carol Dweck, explained an important new idea in parenting: not praising our kids.
So what's an impressed and supportive parent to do? "Don't praise intelligence or talent," Dweck says. "Praise the process." Instead of saying "What a pretty picture!" parents can acknowledge the child's hard work, recognize or ask about the strategies they used. Talk about focus and persistence, as those "create a growth mindset and make the child love challenges."
Dweck describes a study of mothers and measured how much subject moms praised their babies, who were as young as 1 to 3 years old. The moms who praised the process, rather than the outcome of a game or skill, the more the child demonstrated a growth mindset and desire for challenge.
So what's the mom of a 7-year-old who's been hearing "Good goal!" or "You got all A's!" to do? Dweck says it can always be changed. And it should be. "It's powerful," she told Bilyeu. It's so powerful she wants all parents to know about it.
"Now I feel entitled to interfere in airports," she said.