Pathways to Wellness

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Does achievement matter?

Praising children for effort, not achievement, doesn't mean that achievement is not important.  Achievement matters – learning how to read, getting projects completed, and graduating from high school are important to the health, wellbeing and future of your child.  

The real question is whether praising kids for achievement will result in better performance.  

The research is clear on this point:  praising effort improves performance but it does even more:  it leads to children who are happier, more curious and more motivated to take on new and harder challenges.  And the opposite is true:  praising kids for their accomplishments – whether it's coming in first or getting an A – puts kids at risk for depression and anxiety.  So praising effort makes good sense.

Be prepared:  it's not easy to shift from praising achievement to praising effort.  It's almost second nature to ask "Did you win the game?" or congratulate your child for getting high marks.  Achievement is important, but asking if your child learned something new, made friends, or had fun, or whether practice and hard work paid off results in happier kids who do just fine in life!


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