Research shows coddling children is bad


Pretty sure that this is something that everyone on here has known and has been saying for a long time

For decades, the prevailing wisdom in education was that high self-esteem would lead to high achievement. The theory led to an avalanche of daily affirmations, awards ceremonies and attendance certificates — but few, if any, academic gains.

Now, an increasing number of teachers are weaning themselves from what some call empty praise. Drawing on psychology and brain research, these educators aim to articulate a more precise, and scientific, vocabulary for praise that will push children to work through mistakes and take on more challenging assignments. Consider teacher Shar Hellie’s new approach in Montgomery County.

To get students through the shaky first steps of Spanish grammar, Hellie spent many years trying to boost their confidence. If someone couldn’t answer a question easily, she would coach him, whisper the first few words, then follow up with a booming “¡Muy bien!”

But on a January morning at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg, the smiling grandmother gave nothing away. One seventh-grade boy returned to the overhead projector three times to rewrite a sentence, hesitating each time, while his classmates squirmed in silence.

“You like that?” Hellie asked when he settled on an answer. He nodded. Finally, she beamed and praised the progress he was making — in his cerebral cortex.

“You have a whole different set of neurons popping up there!” she told him.

A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “persistence,” “risk-taking” and “resilience” — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings.

“We used to think we could hand children self-esteem on a platter,” Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck said. “That has backfired.”

Dweck’s studies, embraced in Montgomery schools and elsewhere, have found that praising children for intelligence — “You’re so clever!” — also backfires. In study after study, children rewarded for being smart become more likely to shy away from hard assignments that might tarnish their star reputations.

But children praised for trying hard or taking risks tend to enjoy challenges and find greater success. Children also perform better in the long term when they believe that their intellect is not a birthright but something that grows and develops as they learn new things.

Brain imaging shows how this is true, how connections between nerve cells in the cortex multiply and grow stronger as people learn and practice new skills. This bit of science has proved to be motivating to struggling students because it gives them a sense of control over their success.

It’s also helpful for students on an accelerated track, the ones often told how “smart” they are, who are vulnerable to coasting or easily frustrated when they don’t succeed.

That’s how teachers at Rocky Hill Middle started talking about “neuroplasticity” and “dendritic branching” during training sessions. They also started the school year by giving all 1,100 students a mini-course in brain development.


Apology Ostrich
I wasn't allowed to watch captain planet (he had green hair like those punk rockers) or stay out past 6 pm

Im somewhat of a hardcore dude now.

Motor Head

I'm just a dummy, and even I can tell you that praising your kids for doing nothing will get them nowhere fast. My parents were total dicks. I would get a B, my parents would say "try harder and maybe you will get an A". I struck out when I was playing little league and "cost my team the game" according to what my dad told me on the way home.

Oh, little Johnny, you managed to only color outside of the lines 18 times....Gold star for you!!!! - This is how you raise an ineffective dunce.


Well-Known Member
There's nothing wrong with building up your kids confidence, but without losers, you can't define the winners. Therefore, if your kid is a loser, try to turn him/her into a winner. Don't just pat them on the head & tell them how special they are; that does not help.


Registered User

bah.. .I can't ever get the YouTube tags right.

As a parent this was one of the funniest Carlin bits I ever saw.

Norm Stansfield

There's nothing wrong with building up your kids confidence, but without losers, you can't define the winners.
Sure you can. A winner is someone who gains something of value.

You're right that the way to build a kid's confidence is to encourage and help them to achieve things that have value, not by praising them. Nothing wrong with acknowledging when they achieved something by praising them, but that (along with the opposite: reproach and punishment) should serve only to teach them what is and what isn't of value (to teach them the right values).

Praise is not what builds confidence. The actual achievement does that. And it has nothing to do with losers. Confidence doesn't have to come at anyone's expense. In fact, trying to win at other people's expense tends to have some very unpleasant consequences, pretty much anywhere outside a sports competition. So teaching kids to do that will most likely backfire.


Registered User
It is about time that this is being taken seriously my mother almost got fired from being a guidance counselor when she told a kid with 54 absences in a year that he wasn't going to an ivy league school. I have gotten written up for telling kids to be realistic with their goals.

For example I told a girl she wasn't going to be a lawyer because she yells loud and likes to argue. When she challenged that I reviewed her transcript with her privately while comparing prelaw program admission requirements. She went home and told her mother who called 311 on me saying that I was harsh and destructive to her child's self esteem. I then got a letter in my file and had to take a professional development on child psychology.

Glad to see that reason is starting to tell these kids and their parents to fuck off.


Gee, who saw this coming?

Oh yeah... Him:



Supreme Champion!!!!!
Thank you! now have a reason for suing my former employer!
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24

what the hell does betimes mean?.....

be·times (b-tmz)
1. In good time; early: "A beneficent microclimate brings out the camellias betimes" (John Russell).
2. Once in a while; on occasion.
3. Archaic Quickly; soon.


Registered User
Holyfuck, the posted article does not even mention parents. Teachers ain't da dam problem. Like mikefrombx's example, it's protective parents that encourage their kids to think they're special and claw anyone that brings their kid's overinflated ego down an inch.