As it happens- across the street from my house, there is a kindergarten.
Before you go all “awww-they are soooo sweeeeet, those little innocent faces !” , well, not exactly.
I mean- they are 5-6 YO -not the actually innocent 0-3, and some of them can start the revolution today, so to speak.
The thing is- I’ve noticed lately that a few mothers start cheering their offspring (loudly ) while entering the kindergarten, and calling out enthusiastically –“I am great! I am a genius, I am the best” while the family’s future is hopping on the painted pavement- evidently checking the boxes that those exceptional compliments are written on.
Now- it is possible that those specific hoppers are -in fact- geniuses,
Perhaps they wrote short musical pieces for the harpsichord- like Mozart, I enclosed a link -if you wish to be impressed by what a genius 5 YO can do:
Or- they might be one of the cute kids they have on talk shows- the kids that at 2 YO don’t bother throwing a tantrum at the supermarket (yes, near the cashiers, where else? that’s where the cheap chocolate and very cheap plastic toys are)-no way- those geniuses run around knowing every dang flag of every country in the world. and every president of those countries as well. in the correct order mind you.
If you want to check me out google those- I thought of linking to one I saw on YouTube but it seemed (to me, only me) like the children were shown off- it was a bit strange to watch (for me, only me. others might enjoy this immensely).
They could be the future Einstein for all I know-
So this painted pavement in the kindergarten across my house may very well be the yellow brick road leading to MIT for all I know.
But- assuming that the previous isn’t exactly the situation- what is going on?
Why would the kindergarten teacher feel the need to let the kids recite all those high praises -which -for the moment– are unaccounted for, every morning while going in the kindergarten?
The obvious reason would be “that’s building self-esteem!!!”-“These kids will be filled with self-assurance and confidence, thus leading a stress-free life, finding the right partner, the right job, the path to happiness and achievement!”.
OK- I hear you- but is that actually the case?
It is high time for the usual disclaimer – I am no child expert, no genius detector, and most certainly- not a genius myself, what I write here is my opinion only, based on my own research +experience+ my intake on this thing called living. your intake is much appreciated, and I would love to read your comments.
Now that our boundaries were once again established-I can continue.
Sure enough, my instincts were right- at the least, they are supported by research cited in “Time” magazine -that’s a good reference in my opinion.
Apparently, the research found that the wrong kind of praise can backfire: constantly praising your child, using compliments such as “you’re a genius!” regarding everyday activities or a drawing of a ball – can both put a lot of pressure on the child+confuse him/her+deter them from further pursue.
In one study- the researcher professor Carol Dweck gave 2 groups of fifth graders a set of easy problems to solve. when finished- the first group was praised as “very smart”, and the other group was praised for the hard effort.
(if I understand correctly- the raises were distributed regardless of accomplishments ).
Then- the children were told they have a choice- between solving more problems- at the same level of difficulty as before- or more difficult ones.
Turns out the majority of kids praised as “very smart” on the previous test- were reluctant to pursue the next level of difficulty- and were inclined to opt for the same level of difficulty- while the second group-praised for “hard work and effort”- was happy to keep going to the next level of difficulty.
Now that- is very interesting indeed.
Turns out kids that were told they were “smart!” solving the easy problems, wanted to maintain their status as “geniuses” and opted out of taking the compliment to another test, that might prove them wrong.
here is the link to the article:
The bottom line is-
When your child brings you their “drawing” of who knows what that is exactly- telling them “is that a Picasso??its you?? genius!” is better altered with a short yet efficient cross examination in the lines of:”let me see that- what did you paint? why did you choose these colors? what gave you the idea?” -meaning- the genuine interest you show in the process of their work is more likely to ensure they keep expressing themselves freely and gaining true confidence due to hard wok -error and trial- and not the offhand praise of a distracted overworked parent.
Oh I told my kids they were geniuses all the way from kindergarten through highschool -and I keep doing it.
But they are!!!!
Enjoy- the cooliflower.