Monday, May 3, 2010

How Not to Talk to Your Kids

My friend Josie sent me this amazing article from New York Magazine by Po Bronson, written in 2007.

Josie is traveling along with me on my journey of home teaching my son, Wilkin, and constantly supporting me with wisdom, tools, and encouragement.  We all know that Wilkin is smart - sometimes too smart for his own good.  But we also know that it's a struggle to help him learn, especially when he doesn't want to.

I'm learning more about him and myself as we travel this journey, and this article was incredibly helpful to me.  It takes a while to read, but I hope it will be as beneficial to you as it was to me.  Maybe, like me, you are you are your child's primary educator.  Maybe you're an engaged parent ... I like to consider myself a co-teacher along with my daughter's fourth grade teacher, even though she is the primary educator of my daughter.  Maybe you're a person like my friend Josie, who is invested in your friends' children because you care very deeply.  If you fit into any of those categories, you'll benefit from How Not to Talk to Your Kids: the Power (and Peril) of Praise.

I welcome your thoughts.

1 comment:

Debbi said...


I have seen this and thought this many times, and it's fascinating to see actual research on the subject. At the beginning of my senior year in high school, five of us were told we were in the running for valedictorian. After our first Physics test, on which one of the girls got a 'B', she dropped Physics and took a study hall instead. After our first quarter grades, she dropped Calculus and took Latin Five instead - admittedly a class that would take a lot of intelligence and effort, but one which she could not fail since she was the only student taking it and would be working one-on-one with the Latin teacher, who was thrilled that someone wanted to take Latin Five. She and another girl - who I believe also dropped one of those classes, but I'm not sure - tied for co-valedictorian. I came in fifth - the last of that group! At the end of the first year of college, however, they were both struggling and hated college. Having taken both of those classes in high school (with excellent teachers), I tested out of Calculus and had no problem with Physics in college. I always thought the school did everyone a disservice, making the running such a competition that people would sacrifice learning to get higher scores.