We all want smart children. The well-intended but out-of-date advice fostered by the self-esteem movement told us that we should tell our kids how clever they are (regardless of whether this was true or not).
More recent studies into smart children show that you should not tell a child the he/she is “so smart” but instead commend their work, and or the effort they must have put into it.
According to Carol Dweck and her team at Columbia University telling kids they are smart makes them want to maintain the image of appearing smart. She says, “We tell them that this is the name of the game: Look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”
A better compliment would be “you must have worked very hard for this.”
Read the full article: How Not to Talk to Your Kids