She's in sixth grade and she started playing in third. She's not a natural on the court by any means. She's not very athletic. She's a bit scrawny. She not a great dribbler, and she doesn't shoot well.
But, get this. I was so proud of her tonight!!! I mean I was really proud of her. She stole the ball so many times. She blocked a few shots. She got more rebounds than anyone else. And, she was on that floor after that ball like no other!
After the game, I told her I was so proud of her. I wanted to tell her, "You were the best rebounder on the team. You are so good at stealing the ball!" But, I didn't. People who are way smarter than I (and there are a lot of them) say that when we praise our children for their accomplishments, we risk that they won't attempt them again.
I think it was Carol Dweck who did a study with young people. They were given a simple puzzle to put together. Half the kids were told they were so smart for making the puzzle. The other half were praised for their effort. Then, the kids were asked if they wanted to try a more challenging puzzle. More kids in the "effort" group attempted the second puzzle, compared to the "smart" group.
Why? Apparently, when we tell kids they rock, they want to keep that "Rock" title, and if they try again, they may fail. If they do, we'll no longer think of them as "rockers". Yet, when we praise a child for their effort or improvement, as long as they keep working hard, they'll get that praise from us again.
So, tonight I told my girl, "You worked so hard tonight. I saw you on the floor over and over again. And, do you remember when you you started this season, how you never jumped for rebounds? Did you see how much you improved tonight? I loved watching you tonight!" Hopefully, she'll want to play again next season.
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