Praise, sleep, and parenting Bronson & Merryman 2012
Contents The Inverse Power of Praise The Lost Hour Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race Why Kids LieThe Search for Intelligent Life in Kindergarten The Sibling Effect The Science of Teen Rebellion Can Self-Control Be Taught Plays Well With Others Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn’t
Flawed Research15,000 studies between 1970 & 2000 Polluted with flawed science Self-Reports Perception Only 200 passed standards No link between Self-Esteem & Improved Grades or Career Achievement
Key ConceptPraise often labels innate intelligence or capabilities ratherthan effort.Students who come to believe that innate intelligence isthe key to success through praise for “being smart,” beginto discount the importance of effort.“I am smart” = “I don’t need to put out effort”Thus, extending effort is public proof that you can’t cut it.
Nuggets• Praise is still important and can be effective• All praise is not equal – specific (feedback)• By the age of 12, children believe that earning praise from a teacher is not a sign you did well – it’s actually a sign you lack ability and you need extra encouragement.• Teachers who praise children may be unwittingly sending a message that the student reached a limit of innate ability.
Critical!• Correlations between liberal use of praise and student’s “shorter task persistence, more eye checking with the teacher, and inflected speech such that answers have the intonation of questions.”• Later in college, heavily praised students commonly drop classes rather than suffer a mediocre grade and they have a hard time picking a major – afraid to commit because of fear of failure.• Frequently praised children get more competitive and more interested in tearing other down.• Ignoring failure (another form of praise) - A child deprived of the opportunity to discuss mistakes can’t learn from them.
Cultural Difference• This may be North American centric. Hong Kong vs. Illinois comparative study.• Other comparative studies have showed difference across other national and cultural boundaries.• But, the brain and behavioral science is actually proven out through these cross-cultural studies because they still support the evidence of praise and its implications.
Recommendations• Nurture the ability to repeatedly respond to failure by exerting more effort – Persistence• It’s a “circuit” in the brain – intervenes when there ‘s a lack of immediate reward.• The alternative is a brain that has no patience for the lack of immediate reward and quits when the rewards disappear.• “Praise Junkie” – the key is intermittent reinforcement
A Story of Recovering Junkie“Every night he has math homework and is supposed toread a phonics book aloud. Each takes about 5 minutes ifhe concentrates, but he’s easily distracted. So, I praisehim for concentration without asking to take a break. Ifhe listened to instructions carefully, I praise him for that.After soccer games, I praise him for looking to pass,rather than just saying, ‘You played great.’ And if heworked hard to get the ball, I praised the effort heapplied.
A Story of Recovering Junkie cont’d“Truth be told, while my son was getting along fine underthe new praise regime, it was I who was suffering. It turnsout that I was the real praise junkie in the family. Praisinghim for just a particular skill or task felt like I left otherparts of him ignored and unappreciated. I recognized thatpraising him with the universal ‘You’re great – I’m proudof you’ was a way I expressed unconditional love.”
“What happens to your brain, again, when it getsto think about something hard?” “It gets bigger, like a muscle.”