Intelligent Failure

Hey, Tiger Moms and Dads:

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying: Keep that in mind the next time your child brings home a not-so-great report card!

It seems simple: We want success for ourselves and our children. And sometimes we might set the bar a little too high for our kids. But they can be more sensitive to the way we handle failure than we think.

Stanford University researchers wondered: Do children inherit their parent’s beliefs about intelligence and failure? To find out, the researchers surveyed seventy-three parent-child pairs. Separately, each parent and child were asked questions concerning their beliefs about intelligence and failure.

Results? Parents’ beliefs about intelligence were not passed down to their children. However, each child’s sense of his or her own intelligence depended heavily on their parent’s reactions to failure.

Therefore, children with stern parents were more likely to believe that their own intelligence is fixed. This diminished those children’s belief in their own ability to grow.

So remember: One F can mean Fail. Two Fs? Fantastic Future! Just think about it.