“Particularly prone to serious procrastination problems are children who grew up with unusually high expectations placed on them…or else they exhibited exceptional talents early on, and thereafter “average” performances were met with concern and suspicion from parents and teachers.”
They actually tested me for a learning disability in high school because I was consistently failing math.
They discovered that I actually scored in the 80th percentile in that sort of learning.
Problem was, in every other subject, I was in the 99.8th percentile.
I had never learned how to study because I never needed to—and then, when something proved to be even the slightest bit challenging, my brain went
“LOL nope this is impossible abort”
Meanwhile, this entire time I’m scraping by in subjects like English. The assignments I did turn in, I’d score top marks—but I’d avoid turning in projects I didn’t think were “good” enough.
Essentially, my brain had two settings: “100%” or “0%”.
This sort of Baby Genius shit makes kids and adolescents neurotic and self-destructive.
We learned about this in Child Development. And we learned to reward hard work and not good job. Like don’t say to a child, “oh you are so smart.” Say “Oh did worked so hard.”
Be proud of the child, not the achievement.
Be proud of the child, not the achievement.
Decades of research have been done on this by Dr. Carol Dweck. When the emphasis is placed on effort (a factor people can control) rather than talent (an innate skill), it’s a lot easier to see mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than something you just won’t ever be good at. And kids who were encouraged by effort were also more willing to take on more challenging work and considered it a lot more fun, while the kids who were praised for their intelligence were reluctant to put themselves in a situation where they might lose that identifier as a “smart kid” by making mistakes, so they preferred to do work they were confident they could master. Also, the kids praised for effort wanted to compare their results to kids who got higher scores, to see where they made their mistakes, while those praised for intelligence wanted to compare their results to kids who scored lower, to reassure themselves.
Not only does this set up “smart” students for a lot of trouble when they enter college and start being regularly challenged, the effects last long beyond that. It can be very hard for the “you’re so smart!” kids to unlearn as they become adults and struggle with even common adult things, and are afraid to ask for help because of that lesson they learned from misguided praise that they are supposed to be smart and supposed to know the answers.
…Honestly +1 here. It’s very well researched and documented and yeah. Making the emphasis on “You succeed and we are proud of you b/c you are SMART as an intrinsic quality!” makes failure/setbacks/difficulty -TERRIFYING- b/c if you’re “smart” it doesn’t happen and if you fail that means you’re not smart and that’s what everyone’s drilled into you as your main point of worth.
And the rates of anxiety disorders among “gifted student” kids are kinda horrifying.
I mean, if all your life you’re told “you’re so smart!” by teachers, parents, friends, etc., when you run into a situation you can’t just glide through like normal … you kind of go into this personal crisis of identity thing. Like:
You can’t do this. So you aren’t smart. But everyone’s always said you’re smart. But you’re not smart anymore. So … what are you?
Not a fun time.
I had a huge argument with my mother over this.
“but how will your kids know they are smart if you don’t tell them”
i don’t fuckin care if they know they’re smart, mom
You really think kids don’t start learning they know more than their peers? You really think they don’t know to start altering their vocabulary or understand what it means when their classmates start to expect them to break the curves?
You really think kids don’t understand that they may get the material on question one of the homework but there are 10 questions because that’s not how quick everyone else is?
Please. I’m not saying never to encourage or never to remark on their achievements. But trust me, kids know. You stick them in the type of school settings the US (and abroad) favors and they’ll know.
It also leads to the dichotomy of “You know how to do this, why can’t you do it?!”
Knowledge and ability are two different animals, and if you’re riding in lifes rodeo, sometimes you’re not gonna be able to saddle the big one. If you don’t have the ability to do something, all the knowledge of it in the world isn’t going to make a damn lick of difference. I’m coming against this again and again as an adult. I know /how/ to do something, but I don’t have the muscle memory, the repetition, the /ability/ to do it.
Also the concept of practicing something. Like getting good at something because you practice, you make mistakes. If you’re taught as a kid that you can’t afford to make mistakes (financially, socially, etc.) then you’re never going to be able to practice at shit.
“If you’re so smart, why can’t you *insert random task here*! Everyone else can do it?”
No. No, not everybody else can do it. “Practice makes perfect” isn’t something ‘Smart’ kids are allowed to have. You have to be perfect the first time, or not at all. “Good enough” is also a concept that smart kids are denied.
I’m not bitter or anything, right? *sarcasm*