Encouragement is a key concept in Adlerian psychology and parenting theory. Too often we substitute praise which has been proven to be detrimental. Sure, parents don’t mind being encouraging when it comes to learning to make a bed or tie shoes, but when little Junior hits school, parents are riddled with fear about how to be encouraging while secretly yearning and pressuring a child to bring home a report card with straight A’s.
Well, a lovely job of summarizing the research appears in a recent issue of Scientific American. Notice their language as they talk about effort over achievement and teaching children that mistakes are just wonderful opportunities to learn more. It’s all there! I hope this helps parents see the value of being encouraging. I promise a child who is into “mastery” with a “growth mindset” rather than “ego” will go far.