The word "clever" is a no-no?

Discussion in 'News & Debates' started by superfrizbee, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. superfrizbee

    superfrizbee Love my princess & prince

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    So the other day my DD was making some animal noise and I said something along the lines of "clever girl". I was then told about some online pyschology article they said for some reason or other you shouldn't tell children they're clever, bit that they "tried hard". My first reaction was that it was a load of nonsense, has anyone ever heard anything similar??
     
  2. Larkspur

    Larkspur Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it actually has some pretty solid research behind it. Google "Po Bronson" (the original author) and "praise" and you should find the article.
     
  3. MrsT&Ben

    MrsT&Ben Well-Known Member

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    Seriously?? What a load of crap... This kind of research really annoys me.
    My child is clever and I will tell them so. 'Tried hard' to me sounds like they could do better, if my son had just written his name for the first time then to me that is clever, trying hard sounds like a put down.....
     
  4. Button#

    Button# Well-Known Member

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    I tell my little boy he is clever, I've read one or two articles about praise but it's normally a spur of the moment comment on something he's done and I normally don't think about what actual words I use, I just want to convey how proud I am of him.
     
  5. Tor

    Tor Mummy of 2

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    This is exactly what I thought when I read it. I call my boys clever all the while.
     
  6. freckleonear

    freckleonear Crunchy mummy

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  7. moomin_troll

    moomin_troll mummy to zane and corey

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    If zane does something and it was a good try but not great, I said "oh good job, try again tho babe"
    Other then that I go over the top, I say he's amazing, so smart. That builds a child's confidence. I'd never dream of not making all the fuss in the world when he does something good
     
  8. lozzy21

    lozzy21 Mummy to Niamh

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    I tell me child that's she's beautiful, smart, kind, clever wonderfull all the time. If she tries but doesent quite get it she gets told "good try"

    She might never study neuroscience but every one is good at something. I want her to grop up knowing while she might not be the smartest in her class she has her strengths.
     
  9. Hunbun

    Hunbun Wifey & Mummy

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    I tell LO that he is 'so smart!' all the time. I think it is a good way to encourage him and make him feel proud of his achievements.

    I agree with PP who said 'you tried hard' sounds like such a put down!
     
  10. randomrach

    randomrach Well-Known Member

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    I do animal sounds with my daughter and she attempts to say what they are or points to the picture or animal, now she can't actually say them properly so I usually correct her and tell her she's clever ie 'yes, that is a DUCK, clever girl/well done' she is only coming up to 13 months though and actually just can't pronounce the 'ck' properly yet but she's clever because she knows what it is :thumbup: I can't see me ever 'praising' her with 'you tried hard' at least until she's a fair bit older.
     
  11. AngelofTroy

    AngelofTroy Well-Known Member

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    I feel so guilty when I read this, I've heard this before and it really resonated with me. I was labeled "clever" at school and as a result I didn't work as hard as I could/should have later on.
    I swore I wouldn't do this with Micah and yet I regularly hear myself saying "aren't you clever" and "clever boy "… I don't know how to stop myself it just rolls off the tongue!

    I don't think trying hard has to sound like an insult. Something like "wow you must have worked really hard at that to do so well" or "good work" would suffice I think.
     
  12. Tigerlilyb

    Tigerlilyb Mum of one each

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    I've read the article and I see the point. It's likely true if you do it right, but from a personal point of view I won't be following it at all. I believe in praise where it's due.

    As a kid I got the "you tried hard!" sort of compliments and I never felt good enough and therefore never felt inclined to try any harder or put any effort in. I feel like I worked hard and then the other kids got the praise. It's not a nice feeling.
     
  13. Foogirl

    Foogirl Baby Abby 11 weeks early

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    I think there is too much psycho babble about the use of language. Frankly I'd rather someone uses the clever lable with my girl than the pretty one. It irks me we immediately focus in on how sweet a girl looks rather than how bright she might be. As I tell Abby all the time, clever's forever, pretty comes and goes.

    I tell her she is clever, because she really is. I reward effort but also reward the end result. There are a lot of things Abby physically can't do but she needs to keep trying to find a way.. Really good effort is a common phrase in our house, and she is often told if she hasn't tried her best, she hasn't tried at all.

    This whole nonsense about having no winners, no top set, no first place is crazy. Can you imagine an Olympics ceremony where no-one got gold or silver and everyone just got a taking part medal?

    Of course it is important kids try their best at whatever they do and they need to understand they can't be good at everything but I think it is just as important to heap praise of them for the things they are good at too.

    I was labled clever at school but it didn't stop me trying to do my best at all things whether I was naturally good at them or not.
     
  14. Destiny08

    Destiny08 Well-Known Member

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    i taught in a preschool so i understand where they're coming from, but i use the word clever with my DD. its a positive word, so ofc i do! i do try not to use words like bad or naughty, but anything positive im happy to use :) i say 'that was a really good try! clever girl!' if she hasnt quite managed something so she learns that clever isnt only if she gets it right, but clever is just yea
    ..a positive word! and a good thing to be!
     
  15. kimberleyrobx

    kimberleyrobx Well-Known Member

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    Yeah i saw that online! Apparently praising your child is setting them up for disaster in the future! Total nonsense!!! xx
     
  16. OmarsMum

    OmarsMum Well-Known Member
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    I have a sensitive spirited kid, all the books I've been reading about his personality encourage praise to help him to over come his sensitivity.

    He's also advanced for his age, but he gets bored easily, if we dont give him a push forward, he things what he's doing is not good enough. He asks for praise, stars, etc. I never introduced stars for his behaviour.

    My parents never told me that I was a clever girl, they never got me a gift for high grades, I was a very smart kid, but I got bored at high school. They were very nuetral & it used to get on my nerves. I used to get "you can do better" & so on but I didn't like it.
     
  17. BigLegEmma

    BigLegEmma Well-Known Member

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    ^ I agree. Being told I was clever never did me any harm. It made me want to excel.
     
  18. LPF

    LPF Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there must be evidence behind this article but I just don't believe it! People who are really good at something can't always be that way because they were taught for more hours at home, I don't believe that there is isn't a natural ability or talent in some things.

    Me and my brother practised the saxophone for the exact same time at home and I passed grade 8 in 5 years and found it so easy and he stopped after 5 years finding it really difficult to learn past a basic level - but our teaching and hours were very similar.

    Lo has a real ability with numbers. He's been assessed by the lea (for different reasons) and is functioning at reception level. Aside from counting as a baby, I've never done anything with numbers - he's just picked it up.

    I agree 'trying hard' is a really patronising phrase. Being a 'hard worker' isn't as bad I guess. I think if a child or adult does something that is genuinely clever, they should be told so.
     
  19. Destiny08

    Destiny08 Well-Known Member

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    i used to get that too. always 'you can do better' but my older brother who got worse grades than me got 'clever!' and rewards for even getting what was average for me lol to the point where i just stopped telling my parents what my grades were.
    i think 'you can do better' is a terrible phrase, even if its true.
     
  20. Jchihuahua

    Jchihuahua Mummy to 3

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    I always tell my kids they are clever, because they are to me :).
     

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