Being a parent of young, growing children is certainly challenging. This is because the manner in which you reciprocate to their efforts will shape their mindset towards challenges. Therefore, it is important to be careful about appreciating your kids for their accomplishments. Research says that ‘praise’ plays a vital role in shaping a growth mind set in young children. Praise can be divided into two types – content and process.

Content Praise and Process Praise

According to Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, praise can be divided into two major categories. These include content praise and process praise.

Content praise is the one that focuses on the end product. For example,

“What a lovely picture” or “That’s a fabulous block tower”.

However, this praise might also focus on a particular quality of your child, such as,

“You are a great singer” or “You are really clever”.

On the contrary, process praise focuses more on the

  • Enthusiasm
  • effort
  • ideas
  • persistence
  • concentration
  • problem-solving approach followed by the child

More on Growth and Fixed Mindsets

The studies carried out by Dr Dweck hugely revolved around the impact of both these types of praises as well as the manner in which the children responded to setbacks. The findings of Dr Dweck’s studies showed that children who received process praise do not give up easily, tried harder and also stood up to new challenges.

This is referred to as ‘growth mindset’. This is the one that ensures better academic outcomes as well as improved overall resilience. However, on the other hand, children who received content praise developed a fixed mindset. These children considered their abilities to be unchangeable and predetermined. Therefore, they less likely tried, as soon as they felt that they were about to lose or fail.

Here is how parents and guardians can word their process praise for promoting growth mindset in children:

“Tell me about something your drawing – I am seeing that you have put quite a lot of efforts into it”.

“Gee you are really trying to concentrate hard – that is great”.

“The manner in which you never give up trying even when the task gets really tricky has impressed me”.

“Gosh – you have a lot of ideas. I can tell you that you are certainly feeling proud of yourself”.

As children are young, most of the tasks will be new and at times even difficult for them. Frequent setbacks come with new challenges, followed by mistakes and frustration. However, learning is all about that. Therefore, it simply means that process praise helps children to develop a resilient approach towards learning.

If you have a kid who needs to be encouraged to continue a task when it gets tedious or difficult or have a child whom you believe can put more efforts but unfortunately does not, then process praise is the best way to tackle the situation. This makes a huge difference over time.