Everybody Wins a Trophy?

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For years, self-esteem, punctuated by an “everybody wins a trophy” mentality, dominated the child-rearing landscape.

Whether it was an award for simply showing up or a belief that no student should receive a grade below a ‘C’ – this philosophy was believed to lead to self-confident children.

Yet it soon became apparent to many experts that empty praise was leading to overconfident, entitled kids.

Now, it seems, the pendulum may be swinging.

“Today, we are trying to balance overconfidence with feeling competent,” explains Gila Haor, coordinator for professional development at SHEMESH, a program of The Associated. Competence is based on something real – the sense of ‘I can do the monkey bars, but I may have to work at it.’”

Fueled by the extensive research of psychologist Carol Dweck, author of the book “Mindset,” is the idea of a growth mindset – that by working hard at a skill, problem or challenge, one not only gets better, but gains confidence from that accomplishment.

Take the toddler learning to walk who falls down the first time, says Haor. “If you encourage him to stand back up, he will continue to work at it until he gets it right. Click to read full article.


The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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