The Hidden Danger Of Telling Your Children They Are Smart

Danger Of Telling Your Children They Are Smart

Why you should NEVER tell your children they are smart.

Could telling your children they are intelligent actually hurt more than help them? Is there a hidden danger of telling your children they are smart?

Perhaps you have told your child he or she is gifted or smart in the past. You probably thought you were building their self-esteem, didn’t you? However, the latest research shows the hidden dangers of praising our children this way.

What Is The Danger Of Telling Your Children They Are Smart?

When a child hears the words, “You are gifted” or “You are smart” it becomes part of their identity. At first the child thinks, “OK… I am smart.”

This seems harmless enough, doesn’t it?

However, here lies the problem. What happens when a child messes up, makes a mistake or fails a test? The child begins to think, “Oh no… I am not smart after all. I don’t want people to think I am not smart.”

Why is this a problem for a child? Because now your child is afraid of making mistakes. Now they will do everything they can to avoid taking the risk of looking like they are NOT smart. This means they will often avoid doing things or learning new things that could make them “look bad” in the eyes of others.

Can you see the danger of this? The only way to grow and succeed in life is to be willing to make mistakes along the way. In fact, scientists now tell us that making mistakes is what causes our brains to grow! This means that if we are to become smarter we must be willing to make mistakes.

What should you tell your children instead of “you are smart”?

The experts tell us to praise the child’s effort and results. This encourages our children to continue making efforts and striving to improve and grow.

Furthermore, we can tell our children that it is SAFE to make mistakes and fail while learning something new. This will encourage them to be bold and practice until they reach their goals. This could be the best gift we can give our children.

Believe it or not, some experts actually tell us to sympathize with our children when they get 100% score on their test. You might be thinking, “why sympathize instead of commending?” It is because they did not get to learn anything new!

Could this be a challenge for some parents?

Some parents grew up this way and so demand perfection from their children in their academic studies. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on little minds and hearts. It builds the belief that unless they do things perfectly, they cannot be loved and accepted by the people they love.

Can you imagine the amount of stress that creates in a young child’s mind? They may start to think that “no matter what I do, it’s never enough unless I do it perfectly.” No rational parent would ever intentionally do this to their child on purpose, would they?

The lesson?

So, if there is the danger of telling your children they are smart… How do you help your childrens self esteem?

  1. Praise effort and every mistake made by each child.
  2. Create a home environment where mistakes are welcomed and celebrated.
  3. After every mistake, make it safe for the child to make it a learning experience.
  4. Ask the question “Based on what you learned, what might you do differently next time”?
  5. Finally, teach your children that failure isn’t really possible. This is so because every time we fail, we learn something new that leads to our future success.
  6. In conclusion, we hope you found this latest research on helping our children grow their brains helpful.

Furthermore, here at we take education seriously. We believe every child has the right to learn and grow at their own speed and in their own way.

And finally, we celebrate the schools and teachers that embrace this mindset and make learning fun.

If you would like to learn more on how we make school fun for children during the holidays quick here.