Many of the best parenting and discipline approaches suggest that we praise our children to help them develop a healthy sense of themselves and a willingness to do what we tell them to do. We have known for a while that specific praise (“Thanks for touching the baby so gently!”) works better than general praise (“What a good brother you are!”) Now we are discovering that it also matters what specifically we praise! It turns out that when we praise a quality in our child, it doesn’t help as much as if we praise the work or effort that our child has put forth. Admiring a quality like being good or being smart tends to make our children take less risks to learn and grow. Valuing our child’s effort, on the other hand, tends to help them develop a “growth mindset,” with the ability to risk failure and be more persistent in difficult tasks. Want to hear more? Here is a great video explaining a recent experiment.