Praising your child helps build confidence, but the kind of praise he receives may determine how he would make decisions a few years down the road. This is what researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University have said in a recent study featured on TIME.

The team, led by assistant psychology professor Elizabeth Gunderson, worked with more than 50 toddlers from ages one to three and recorded how they interacted with their parents in several 90-minute sessions. A follow-up was then done five years later in order to see how the grown children take on challenges both at home and in school.

The results showed that children who received "process praise" regarding their efforts (e.g., “You did great,” “You worked hard.”) were more open to challenges and were more likely find several solutions to problems as compared to those who only received "person praise," which focused on their inherent qualities (“You’re such a good boy,” “You're so smart.”). Interestingly, boys received more effort praise (24 percent) than girls (10 percent).

Although there is nothing wrong with praising how your child looks or how good he is, focusing more on his abilities may enable him to be more confident in them, and this confidence will indeed come in handy once he grows up.

(Photo by FennecCooper via Flickr Creative Commons)

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