What are some common mistakes parents make with raising their children?

Answer by Shriram Krishnamurthi:

There are many good answers here, but here’s another. One thing I haven’t seen anyone mention is the notion of growth mindset vs. fixed mindset, as pioneered by Carol Dweck.

The short version is, if you keep praising children in certain ways, they will develop the idea (fixed) that they have certain innate talents that enable them to do things well, and will be reluctant to try new things; when they do and (inevitably) fail, they will blame this on their lack of innate talent. Whereas other kinds of encouragement make them realize that everything they do is the result of hard work and persistence (growth), so when they take on new things, they realize that it needs to be addressed through the same means. Therefore, not all praise is good, and when you want to praise a child, pay very close attention to how you do it.

As an educator I run into this fixed mindset problem over and over again in students of all ages. Unfortunately a lot of the writing on it has that overly simplistic pop-psychology tone, but if you’re looking for a short summary, there are decent articles about this in good magazines. Go to http://mindsetonline.com/ and click on the links to various other sources that the site provides.

What are some common mistakes parents make with raising their children?

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